Shawn smiled as he looked over at her, sensing the nervousness she was feeling. It meant a lot that she cared so much and she hardly knew him. He lifted her hand to his lips as he stopped at a red light, kissing it softly. “You need to relax Angel. And there’s nothing taboo really. Joe and Brenda just want to see me in something serious, something secure. I’m not exactly sure what you do or what your future plans are but I’m sure whatever you say will sound great. I think the important thing is to go over our history. How about we met in our Ancient Greek History class. Sounds promising and I’m actually taking a class like that. I don’t know what courses you’re in but feel free to talk about those, flaunt your intelligence because I’m sure you are very smart and they will love that. Talk about you future goals, if you don’t really have any which is really okay, make something up that sounds nice. Just don’t say you want to travel. I said that and they almost punched me out. Even though I’m still going to. Sound good?”
He laughed as he looked over to her and she tried to take it all in. As the pulled up to the restaurant, he leaned in and kissed her slowly, a large part of him wanting to turn the car around and spend more time with her in his bed. “You’ll be fine.” He winked at her as he got out of the car, opening the door for her as she took his arm. Shawn wasn’t one who spent more than one night with a girl but he needed help and he was thanking whatever God was out there that Dakota was willing to help him. He put on his best smile as he spotted his foster parents and slid his hand down to meet Dakota’s, taking her hand and giving it a light squeeze of reassurance. Clearing his throat as they approached the table, he shook his fathers hand and kissed his mothers cheek lightly. “Joe, Brenda, I’d like you to meet Dakota, my girlfriend. He smirked at their surprise and curiosity as the asked them to sit down and relax and tell them how they met.
Shawn cleared his throat, reaching across to squeeze Dakota’s hand lightly, signaling that he would take the reigns on this one. “Well, I walked into my Ancient Greek history class on the first day and I had my head down because I was trying to look through my syllabus from my last class and I bumped into someone on the way in. I bent down to pick up my papers and I looked up and found this gorgeous girl standing in front of me, apologizing when I was the idiot who wasn’t looking. She was the first girl to make me seem like an awkward dork as I sat next to her and tried to tell her my name without stuttering. And well when I finally did it all just went up from there. I grew a pair eventually and asked her out for coffee our next class and I mean then she couldn’t resist my charm. And now 5 months later, here we are and Mom, Dad, let me tell you, I’ve never more in love.” Shawn looked in Dakota’s eyes and smiled, momentarily ignoring his parents before looking back in them, smiling widely as he took in their faces: Joe with a proud smile on his face and Brenda with her hand clutching her chest with a smile. Damn I’m good. He thought as he took it in. He had even called them Mom and Dad. He would never say things like that, mostly due to the fact that he thought everything he said was bullshit and it wasn’t even true. He knew if Ryder was here he would be laughing like crazy and he smiled to himself, eager to tell his best friend later.
He looked up and winked at Dakota as she stared at him in surprise. Leaning over he whispered in her ear, “I’m a good actor Angel.” He pulled back as their food came and his parents started to ask Dakota questions about her life and her future goals just as he had assumed they would. He squeezed her hand one last time for reassurance before sitting back and waiting for her to do her part.
As hard as Shawn tried to calm her nerves, Dakota was only growing more anxious. She wasn’t the type of girl that guys brought home to Mommy and Daddy. She listened silently as he spoke about their fake history and made note of the story in case she would need to refer to it at any point during their upcoming lunch. No mention of travel. She could do that, even if that was what her plan was. God, how was she going to do this? She wasn’t even really in college. She was enrolled in a couple of night classes at the community college, but she spent most of her time waitressing and partying. She was going places, that’s for sure. Normally, she didn’t question her own plans, but when thrown into a situation like this, she began to realize that she might have to do some reevaluating.
Her eyes drifted closed as Shawn kissed her slowly. She wanted nothing more than to stay in the car with him or to go back to his apartment. They walked into the restaurant together and she tried to keep her heart race and nerves at bay. As they walked over to the table and found his parents, Dakota smiled and shook their hands. She was thankful for the dress that Shawn had picked out for her and for his pep talk. Maybe, just maybe she’d make it through this lunch alive. As the group sat down, she sipped at her water and nodded at Shawn when he squeezed her hand. The more talking he wanted to do, the better.
Dakota could barely believe the story that Shawn concocted. She couldn’t believe that his parents actually bought the story. She was impressed, to say the least. Leaning back in her chair, she was relieved that their food arrived. At least there would be a little something to break up conversation. She turned her attention to his parents. “Well, I’m taking a few classes here and there. Obviously, the Ancient Greek history course, with Shawn,” she started, wrapping her hands around his arm in a comforting gesture. She mustered up the best smile she could. “I live in a small apartment by myself and work part time.” Taking a deep breath, she started to poke at her chicken caesar salad. She let that little information sink in with his parents. She knew that she would have more to reveal about herself, so she needed time to compose herself.
Downing her second glass of water, she cleared her throat. “I’m studying to be an elementary school teacher. I love kids and I think I would really love to make a living teaching them so that I can help to make a difference in their lives. The way I look at it is this, if I could at least change one little child’s life then I’ve made a difference in the world.” The smile that followed was genuine. She actually wasn’t lying to try to impress the Pearsons. She had toyed with the idea of starting a real college education. And if she was to start college, she would most likely pursue a career in childhood education.
Shawn stepped away from the table for a moment, presumably to use the restroom. As he did so, Dakota panicked briefly. However, when his mother leaned across the table and whispered in her ear, the panic washed away. She did her best to control her laughter. He had no idea what was coming his way when he came back to the table. She turned her gaze to thee side and she caught Shawn’s eye as he strutted back to the table. She couldn’t peel her eyes away from him, but she didn’t worry too much. It would be natural for a girlfriend to stare at her boyfriend, especially when the boyfriend was as good looking as Shawn is.
He rejoined them at the table and moments later, there was a trio of waiters serenading the table. The tune of “Happy Birthday” rang out through the restaurant and a delicious looking slice of chocolate cake was placed in front of Shawn. He remained cool and calm, laughing slightly. When the waiters left, Dakota turned and kissed him on the cheek. “Happy birthday, pretty boy. We can celebrate just ourselves, later,” she said in a sultry whisper against the shell of his ear.
Shawn looked her up and down again, smiling as he tossed around a couple thoughts in his mind. He looked at his watch and decided that being late may not be the worst thing. “How about this, you take a shower, take your time, get yourself all prettied up. I’ll have a dress here for you by the time you finish. Something very nice.” He winked at her and laughed as she looked at him incredulously. “Look I’m not Richard Gere in Pretty Woman I swear. I’m just a guy who’s in real need of someone to save him from the annoying lecture from his foster parents. Please help a guy out?” He didn’t wait for her answer, or the surprise that usually came with the mention that he was adopted. Everyone just assumed that he had always been a stuck up rich kid. He simply handed her a towel and turned on the shower as he motioned toward the bathroom and turned around to leave the room.
Running to the elevator, he bounced on his heels as he rode it down to the garage, pulling out of his spot quickly and speeding off down the street. He smiled as he walked into Macy’s and walked towards the woman’s section. “Shawn Pearson, always a pleasure to see you.” He smirked as he leaned against the counter and looked at the older woman standing in front of him. She was like the fairy godmother he had always wanted, helping him with all his fashion needs. She was the one who taught him how to dress once he had the money to afford it all and the ability to ditch his baggy sweats and t-shirts. “Meryl, you look more beautiful every time I see you.” She rolled her eyes and laughed, walking around the counter to step in front of him. “What can I do for you today Mr. Pearson?” He laughed and looked around the women’s section. “I need a dress, for this girl. She’s meeting my parents. Foster parents. Lunch date. She’s probably about a size 3 or 4.” She looked at him skeptically before nodding and leading him to the other side of the counter, pushing a few dresses aside before pulling out a simple beige dress that he knew would look perfect on Dakota. “Perfect,” he whispered as he looked at it, kissing Meryl on the cheek lightly as he paid for it and held it close as he ran back to his car.
Shawn smiled as he drove back to his house, bobbing his head along to the radio as he did so. He glanced at his watch and saw that he still had about a half hour to spare before dinner. He whistled to himself as he rode the elevator up, hopeful about the day ahead. He lay the dress down on the bed, realizing that Dakota was still in the bathroom. He moved to his desk and played around on his computer, smirking as he heard the door open, turning to see Dakota standing in the doorway in just a towel. There was no denying how attractive she was and he couldn’t stop his eyes from traveling up and down her body. Standing up he pointed at the bed and smiled at her. “There you go Angel,” he said liking the way the nickname sounded, “I was told that this is the perfect dress for a lunch date. I’m pretty sure it will fit.” He winked at her as he saw her walk over to the dress and turned around as she dropped her towel. He was a gentleman after all. He turned back around when she asked him to zip her up and moved closer to her, pulling her zipper up slowly. He kissed her shoulder lightly and smiled as she turned around. “Ready to go, girlfriend?”
Dakota didn’t even have the chance to respond to Shawn. He just quickly explained why he was in need of her services and left the apartment. She had no choice, so it seemed. But honestly, if she had been given a choice, she would have helped him out. He had been so kind as to not take advantage of her in her most vulnerable state. She could pretend to be his girlfriend for the day. It was the least she could do to even start to repay him. Spinning on her heel, the blonde clutched the towel that was given to her and followed his footsteps into the bathroom so she could take a shower.
She had never seen such an impressive bathroom. Beautiful walls, stunning tile work, gorgeous shower and tub. She was almost afraid to take a shower because everything seemed so expensive. Glaring at her tired reflection in the mirror, Dakota sighed softly. Could she really pretend to be Shawn’s girlfriend? His parents were bound to know that something was up with her. Shawn would never settle for someone like her, someone so beneath his status. She shook her head. She would never be able to survive this lunch if she kept thinking like this. If Shawn was convinced that Dakota could fool his parents into believing that she was his girlfriend, then she’d be damned if she let him down.
Dropping the towel that she had wrapped around her lithe body, Dakota slipped into the hot spray of the shower. The water felt refreshing and rejuvenating to her tired skin. She didn’t think she had ever taken a better shower. Maybe she’d stay with Shawn in the penthouse more often. As she stepped out of the shower after turning the water off, she wrapped the towel around her body once more. She heard the door open and as she walked into the bedroom, she noticed the dress laid out on the bed before her. It was a stunning yet simple beige knee length dress that she would never have been able to afford. Turning around, Dakota smirked deviously as she watched Shawn’s eyes travel up her form. “It’s perfect. Thank you. Really.” She smiled warmly in his direction and turned her back to him and let the the towel fall to the floor. Dakota shimmied her way into the dress, turning her neck slightly to ask for help with the zipper.
The cool touch of his lips on her shoulder sent shivers up her spine. It also flooded her mind with impure thoughts of better ways that the two could spend their time together. But she would save those ideas for a later time. “Oh, it’s definitely going to take me some time to get used to that. But yes, I’m ready to go,” she said, tossing her damp hair over her shoulder. She snaked her hand down his side and found his hand, linking their fingers together. The pair turned around and she followed his lead to the car. As they sat together, her heart raced. Dakota had never met someone’s parents when she was in a relationship. She was still nervous, even though the relationship was only a pretense. “Okay. Is there anything that I should avoid mentioning or anything like that? I don’t want to mess up anything for you, Shawn. I really don’t.”
Sunlight. Shawn Pearson’s enemy on Saturday mornings. Sighing as he rolled out of bed, he reached into his nightstand and grabbed two painkillers, popping them into his mouth as he head for the shower, clicking on his stereo on the way. He sang along to the music as he showered, thinking about all the last minute things he had to get in order before his party tonight. It was the day before his birthday and while he actually didn’t get shitfaced on his birthday, he always did the day before. He smirked as he got dressed, throwing on a simple v-neck and a sports jacket with pair of jeans as he slipped on his favorite pair of nikes. He grabbed his car keys and smiled as he received a text from Ryder, saying he had a hot date for his party tonight. Shawn let out a content sigh as he rode the elevator down to the first floor, happy that his foster parents guilt had led to him living alone in the penthouse. Their guilt combined with their neglect of their adopted son. According to them “life was just getting in the way.”
Shawn whistled to himself and played around with his keys before reaching his car, quickly getting in his Jaguar and pulling out of the parking lot quickly as he made his way to the supermarket. Shawn felt good. He felt hopeful for tonight. Granted half the people in the room, or actually more than half, probably didn’t care about him but they cared enough to have fun and that was all he wanted for the night. To have lots and lots of fun. Stacking his shopping cart high, he flashed his best smile to the cute girl at the counter as she started to ring his stuff up. “Big party tonight?” She said, attempting to flirt with him. He looked at her, deciding she was definitely someone he wouldn’t mind spending the night with. “Yeah, its my birthday party.” “Oh, well then happy birthday.” She smiled at him and he leaned forward as he obviously looked her up and down, smiling when she blushed. “You know…Laura,” he said looking at her name tag, “you should come check it out. Its going to be a hell of a party. And I mean a gorgeous girl like yourself should not be alone on a Saturday night.” She blushed again and bit her lip. “I would love to come.” “Wonderful!” He took a pen out of his jacket pocket and grabbed a piece of paper, scribbling down his address before paying for his groceries. He slid over the paper to her and winked. “See you tonight gorgeous.”
8 hours later
The party was in full swing and Shawn was smiling wide as he wrapped his arm around his best friend Ryder’s shoulder and looked around, both of them drinking happily. “Happy fucking birthday Shawn!” Ryder yelled as he patted Shawn’s shoulder and grabbed another beer, moving away as a girl caught his eye. He smirked when he realized that it was the girl from the super market, sure that she was going to be having a good night. He grabbed a glass of champagne and surveyed the room, smirking as he spotted a tall and extremely attractive blonde across the room. He raised his eyebrow as she moved towards him, setting the glass of champagne down as she backed into him and started to dance. He laughed as he listened to her, his hands moving to rest low on her waist. “Oh do not apologize at all.” The two danced for quite some time, swaying to the music as if nothing else was going around them. A few minutes later his arms rested on her ass as they climbed the stairs to his bedroom, shutting the door closed behind him as the two started to get undressed, both of them hopeful for the night. “God you’re gorgeous,” he whispered as he took her in, perfection standing before him in only a bra and underwear. She smiled at him and pulled him by his tie, his lips crashing against hers as they fell back on the bed. He moved to kiss her neck and stopped suddenly when he heard snoring. He pulled back to find that the blonde had passed out, probably from way too many drinks. Sighing he moved off of her, moving her to the center of the bed and covering her with his blankets. “Happy Birthday to me,” he whispered as he heard the party raging on below, knowing it would quiet down eventually as he lay down on his couch, hoping that sleep would come quickly for him too.
The Next Morning
Shawn groaned as he stretched out on the couch, making note that he really needed to get a more comfortable one. He sighed as he stood up and looked at his bed, finding the girl from last night fast asleep. He moved around his room, looking to where she had pulled off he dress and finding a small purse beside it. Rummaging through the purse he found her wallet and glanced at the ID, smiling as he looked at it. “Dakota Anderson,” he whispered as he stood up and walked over to the bed. Placing his hand lightly on her arm he tried to shake her awake. “Dakota? Dakota time to wake up.” He let out a relieved sigh as she finally started to move, her eyes slowly opening and adjusting to the light. “Well good morning sunshine.” He got up from the bed and moved to his dresser as he began to pick out clothes for the day. He had an hour before he was supposed to meet his foster parents for his birthday brunch and he knew he had to dress to impress and show that he was fine on his own. He could hear Dakota moving to sit up and firing questions at him. “No we did not have sex. You passed out mid make out.” He turned to smirk at her and laughed. “Also its such a pleasure to meet you. I’m Shawn Pearson.” He smiled once more before turning away and moving towards his closet to pick out his best suit. “Now I hate to be a horrible host but I have a very important lunch to get to so i suggest you try to get yourself together gorgeous and get out of here by the time I’m dressed. The maids don’t like when people are here while they clean.”
He shook his head at how he sounded. He really had become one of those guys. He sighed as he walked toward the bathroom to clean up, thinking about the meal he had ahead of him. He could already predict the questions his foster parents would ask him. Joe and Brenda at their finest. Was he getting good grades? Did he have a plan for the future? Had he found someone to settle down with? They had always believed that if he found a nice girl to keep him grounded he would clean up his act and get on the straight and narrow. He paused as he looked back into his bedroom and watched Dakota getting dressed. He smirked as he leaned against the doorway and called out her name. He waited until she turned around and he flashed her his best smile. “Dakota Anderson, how would you like to be my girlfriend for the day?”
Dakota smiled contently to herself as she danced with the nameless stranger through the night. The swayed together as one and as if no one else was even around. She had long forgotten about Ryder and figured that he wouldn’t be missing her too much. When he suggested that they move to a more private location, she did not hesitate at all. The pair undressed quickly and were soon entwined again. No time was wasted, until the blonde’s head hit the soft bed beneath her. She had had one too many drinks and passed out on the unknown boy’s bed, half naked.
The Next Morning
As the morning sun poured into the otherwise dark room, the girl groaned. Her head ached and her body throbbed. She couldn’t remember anything from the night before and was only hoping that she hadn’t done anything stupid. Dakota felt a cool hand on her arm, shaking her fully awake. Opening her eyes, a brief feeling of panic washed over her. “Who…where…what’s going on?” she stammered. Sitting up, she groaned once more, this time in frustration.
Once he answered her questions, she had to laugh, embarrassed at herself. Truthfully, it wouldn’t have been the first time she would have slept with someone that she didn’t know all that well. Hell, she went to the party figuring that she would end up sleeping with Ryder by the end of the night. Her party girl habits were notorious. She liked to have fun and sometimes, maybe too much fun. “I’m really sorry about that. That usually doesn’t happen. I was hungover yesterday before the party and then became a frequent visitor to that free bar last night.” Reaching her hands up to rub them over her face she sighed. “It’s nice to meet you, too. I’m Dakota. But you already knew that.”
She listened to him rattle off what he had to do for the day and how she had to be out of the house. Did he say maids? Damn. Pretty, rich boy. Suddenly, Dakota felt like some street rat. She didn’t belong in this world. It was a miracle that she was friends with Wes and Addie. They were from a different world as well, but since they grew up together things never seemed weird. Even before she was kicked out of the house, nothing was handed to her. She had to work for a good portion of her stuff. She was used to working, even if she wasn’t used to completely and solely supporting herself. Maybe it was a good thing that she hadn’t slept with him.
For a short moment, Dakota realized that she was still only in her lingerie. Not much care came with the thought, but she did figure that she had better get dressed quickly before the maids arrived. She wouldn’t want Shawn to have to awkwardly explain what had gone on the night before. She kicked the sheets away from her legs and slipped out of the bed and walked over to where she saw her discarded garments from the night before. Wiggling her hips, the blonde slipped her tight black dress back over her thin frame. She’d be doing the walk of shame from an expensive penthouse. How interesting. Definitely a first.
She tried to run her hands through her tangled hair and make herself look at least a little presentable. She knew she’d have to call a cab and didn’t want to scare the driver. At the sound of her name from Shawn, she turned around to find him leaning against the wall smiling at her. “Excuse me? Your girlfriend for the day? Are you really sure that’s such a good idea?” Girlfriend for the day? And most likely accompany him to his very important lunch? Dakota wasn’t that type of girl. Never had she been the type of girl you take home to your parents. She was the girl you take home when your parents weren’t around.
"I’m not exactly dressed for something like this either. I mean, if you’re planning on bringing me with you to your important lunch date or whatever, you might want to get a good look at me. I’ll end up embarrassing you." She was a confident girl, but knew how to be realistic. Given the opportunity to shower and wear clean clothes, she was a knockout. But Shawn was in a rush. Her hands were tied. "What is this lunch date anyway?"
Groaning as she rolled out of bed, Dakota cursed herself for the eventful evening she had enjoyed the night before. It was a Saturday morning and she had to work her shift at the diner that her parents had forced her into. She slipped into the shower and downed a few Advil in efforts to reduce her hangover. Tying her hair into a damp ponytail, she laughed at the reflection in the mirror. She knew she would just do the same thing all over again tonight. It was the way she operated.
As she walked outside, Wes was already waiting for her in the car. She was grateful for one of her best friends on days like this. She was saving up money to get her own apartment so she could finally move out and be on her own. A diner job wasn’t the best money, but there wasn’t much she could do only with a high school education. “Thanks so much for this, Wes. I promise. Just a couple more weeks and I’ll be out of your hair.” The blonde looked at him with a sincere smile. She owed him a lot. “No problem, Kota. By the way, Addie told me this morning about this party tonight in some fancy penthouse or something. She’s really looking forward to it. You in?” Dakota’s smile changed to a mischievous smirk. “Of course I’m in. The best cure for a hangover is to drink more anyway.”
"Order up!" Ding! The little bell went off in the kitchen and Dakota spun on her heel to pick it up. The shift was slow, but she wasn’t really complaining. She was too tired to keep up with a busy day. She brought the food to the only table she had at the moment - a young couple with a new baby - before returning to her perch behind the counter. Reaching into her pocket, she counted her tips. Slow day, slow tips. She let out a sigh when she heard the chime of the bell that signaled someone’s arrival. Her eyes and ears perked up when she saw the scruffy, but cute guy walking in. Her eyes followed his form as he walked over to a table and she didn’t mind when she realized that he was in her section.
"Well hello there handsome. My name is Dakota and I’ll be taking care of you today. See anything you like?" she asked, giving him her signature smile. She knew she was flirting and she knew that she would get in trouble if she was caught fraternizing with customers on the job, but she didn’t really care. Licking his lips, the boy looked her sleek figure up and down and met her eyes with a wink. "Oh I think I see something I like. Name’s Ryder, beautiful. And since you’ve been so kind, I’d like ya to accompany me to a penthouse party this evening. Think ya can squeeze me in?" he asked, his blue eyes sparkling. "I think so." She figured that the party he was talking about was the same one Wes had mentioned this morning. How many penthouse parties could there be on one night in this small town?
She had given Ryder Wes’s address so he could pick her up for the party. Wes had warned her to be careful with this new guy, but she wasn’t worried. Dakota fluffed her hair in the mirror. The black dress that she was wearing was short and hugged her curves in the best way possible. Ryder would love it, she was sure of that. Her phone vibrated and she looked down at the text. He was outside.
As she entered the car, the blonde kissed the boy’s cheek. The car ride to the penthouse was brief and quiet. All she cared about was getting the party and having as much fun as possible. Hand in hand, the pair walked up to the party and it was clear that she was going to have all the fun she wanted. Liquor flowed familiarly down her throat and burned slightly. Dakota had found her best friends and made quick conversation with them, but was too drunk and too energetic to stay in one place. Her eyes scanned over the crowd, but she had lost sight of Ryder. Without a hint of discouragement, she caught the eyes of an alluring stranger and decided to take her chances. She backed her body into his lithe, yet muscular form and began to sway her hips to the rhythm of the blasting overhead music. “Hope you don’t mind my…forwardness,” she called out.