Chapter 20 – Life Lessons


Danni flopped onto the bed, softer than she was used to. The thick comforter created a kind of half cocoon. Her breath rumbled through her chest in a wave of happiness.

“Did you just purr?” Robyn chuckled a deep, throaty laugh.

“Maybe.” Danni giggled. “Your bed is comfy.”

“You’re not the first person to say that.”

“Dude? You bring guys home? Don’t your parents say anything?”

“Oh, mon petit four, you have so much to learn.”

“Did you just refer to me as a dessert?”

“It’s French. It sounds good. Whatever.” Robyn shrugged. “You still have a lot to learn.”

“About what?” Danni rolled onto her side and propped herself up on her elbow.

“In the ways of the girl who always gets what she wants.”

“Like what?”

“Like that’s what they make windows for. If you’re just looking for a little fooling around, sneak them in and out your window. No one will ever know. And they aren’t confused about what you want.”

“Except, I’m on the second floor, doughnut.”

“You got yourself out tonight, didn’t you?” Robyn rolled her eyes towards Danni in a slow, languid roll. “Or you wait for your parents to go away. If they still leave you with a babysitter, especially with your hot ass brother in the house, this friendship has come to an end.”

“Well, yeah, they leave us home alone when they go away. But…” She paused, not wanting to admit she’d never had a boy stay over while her parents were away. Not even Jon.

“Oh, is my little princess still a virgin?” Robyn reached all and patted Danni’s cheek.

“Well, I mean…” Danni felt her face redden as the one thing she didn’t one Robyn to know came to light. She flopped back onto the bed and covered her eyes.

“Oh my god, you are, aren’t you!” Robyn pushed herself up to look down at Danni. “But you and Jon were together forever.”

“I wanted to, but he didn’t. And besides, I’m only fifteen, Robyn. How old were you?”

“I was fifteen, sweets. You’ve got a few months to catch up to the big girls.” Robyn’s lips curled into a sly smile. “I’m going to have to tease the shit out of Jon.”

“Don’t you dare! He’ll kill me.” Danni smiled slyly at her new friend. “And I thought you said you had so much to teach me. Use the window and wait till your parents are away doesn’t seem like that much.”

“You think you’re ready?” Robyn’s eyes glinted in the dim lamplight. Her voice took on the sultry edge it did when she was talking to boys. A tone Danni used to hate, but now found intoxicating. She nodded at the blonde, whose hair was falling down towards her. Robyn leaned closer. “Boys aren’t the only ones who get to play in my bed.” Her voice was low, like she was sharing a secret no one else knew.

“Really?” Danni’s voice brushed past her lips in a tone of awe. She’d always joked that if she was ever going to fool around with a girl, it would be Robyn. She’d never been serious, but now that the opportunity was right in front of her, she wasn’t sure what to do.

“Have you ever kissed a girl before? Like for real, not that show off stuff from the club earlier.” Robyn’s fingers traced across Danni’s bare stomach and up her arm until it came to rest cupping her neck. Danni shook her head.

“Do you want to?” Robyn’s thumb traced along Danni’s jaw.

Danni felt like she was having an out of body experience. She blinked rapidly, watching Robyn’s tongue flick across her lip. “Yes, please.” She nodded.

Robyn leaned forward until their lips met. Soft. Not soft like when you kiss a boy gently, but like a girl who moisturizes and wears lips gloss. Robyn’s lips tasted like mangos. The flavour wasn’t entirely unpleasant on Danni’s tongue. She gave in to the kiss, pushing herself further off the bed, closer to Robyn.

“See, it’s not so bad, right?” Robyn pulled away, smiling. “It’s just kissing.”

Danni looked down as Robyn’s fingers began to play along the skin of her arm. “Do you do this with a lot of girls?”

“Only a few get invited to play.” Robyn’s voice was thick. “But, I’ve got to admit, I never expected to ask you.”

“Before tonight, I wouldn’t have said yes.” Danni relaxed back into the softness of the down bedding. The room was so foreign. She wasn’t used to the bedroom of someone she hadn’t known for years. She took in the frills and florals spread everywhere. The lamp on the bedside table cast a pink tinted light around the room, making everything warm and inviting. The piles of clothes and make-up on the vanity and floor made the room feel lived in. If she’d been asked to describe Robyn’s room, it would not have been this soft and feminine.

“Do you want to do it again?”

Danni wrapped her fingers into Robyn’s hair and pulled her back in for another kiss.


Danni woke up under the warmth of the down comforter. The pillow beneath her head smelled of Robyn’s perfume. Danni pushed herself up in the bed. Robyn was curled up on her side, her hand resting on Danni’s hip. Through the window, the sky was just starting to brighten. She closed her eyes to snuggle back into sleep.

On the very edge of sleep, her eyes snapped open again. She was grounded! She needed to get her ass home before anyone figured out she wasn’t there. Quickly, she tossed back the covers and slipped from the bed, making sure not to wake Robyn. She dug through the clothes on the floor before remembering that hers were still in Robyn’s car. She pulled on the top and skirt from the night before and hurried out the window. The grass beneath her feet crunched with pre-frost dew. As she rushed down the sidewalk, she wished she’d at least taken her shoes out of the car. At least there wasn’t snow.

At the corner, Danni turned left and hurried down the sidewalk. She wrapped her arms around herself, rubbing them to keep warm. Their indian summer was gone. Her breath hung in the air around her. If she jogged, her feet didn’t notice the freezing pavement quite as much, but this outfit was not made for running.

Three blocks later, Danni stopped at the main road that divided the old and new sections of town. Ignoring the footbridge that went over the road, she scurried across the empty lanes. Halfway across, her foot came down hard on a sharp rock.

“Ouch. Mother effer.” She hopped to the edge of the road and balanced on one leg. A bubble of blood was forming on the ball of her foot. She wiped it away with her thumb to see the damage. Just a scratch. Testing her weight, she trampled through the grass on the side of the road and ran the last two blocks to her house. The windows were black. She breathed a giant sigh and silently made her way around the side of the house.

This would be the tricky part. The only garden stone high enough to get her onto the railing of the terrace was right beside her parents’ bedroom window. The stone was slippery under her barefoot. The first time she tried to vault herself up, she slipped. The gravel crunching under her foot sounded like cannon fire. She paused, waiting for the light to come on in the window. When nothing happened, she tried again and this time was able to boost herself up onto the terrace roof. From there it only took a second to get to her window and slide through. She tiptoed across the floor, stepping over the squeaky spot a few feet from the bed, and leaned over to turn on the lamp.

“You are not the daughter I raised.” Danni jumped as her mother’s voice sounded from across the room.

“Jesus, Mom!” She pressed her hand to her heart “Waiting in the dark? A little melodramatic, don’t you think.”

“Stop talking, Danni. I am furious. Furious. Sneaking in at…” Mrs. Monroy paused to look at her watch, “Six in the morning! Sneaking in when you’re on house arrest and aren’t supposed to be anywhere but in this room.”

“I can explain.” Danni flopped down onto her bed, crossing her arms over her chest.

“There’s no need. That outfit explains everything. And your brother already filled me in on what’s been going on.”

“Fucking Caleb. Why can’t he just keep his big stupid mouth shut? Did he come home and wake you up so he could tell on me? He’s such a jerk.”

“Don’t you dare get mad at your brother for this! You got yourself into this mess. And from the sounds of it, you got yourself into this long before tonight.”

“You aren’t allowed to side with him!” Danni threw herself off her bed. “He’s not even yours. You’re mine!”

“Don’t ever, ever let me hear you say something like that again.” Danni’s mom remained in her chair, her voice calm and reassuring. Danni opened her mouth to respond, but her mother help up a hand to stop her. “We are done talking about this. I don’t want to hear anything else from you right now. I want you to change your clothes, because you look like a prostitute. You are confined to your room for the remainder of your grounding. You are not to attend any school functions except class. Your father or I will be driving you to and from school. You will be dropped off before classes and picked up immediately afterwards. On the days we can’t make it, I will arrange for you to spend your time in the principal’s office or detention. I called Marshall and told him to get your shifts covered. And I have already emailed your teacher and advised that you will be pulling yourself out of the sewing competition.”

“What! Mom! That’s so unfair! This is my future you’re jeopardizing.” Danni’s voice rose in anger.

“Stop being so dramatic. You’re in grade 10. You have two more years to enter this competition. And you’ve jeopardized your own future by blatantly disobeying me. I may let you act like an adult, but you are still my child. You turned your back on your friends.”

Danni was screaming now. “None of this is my fault!”

“Danni!” The voice came from the door. She turned to see her father standing in her doorway. Caleb stood behind him, rubbing sleep from his eyes.

“This is all your fault, Caleb!” Danni launched herself at her brother. Her dad caught her in his arms and held her back. “You and your stupid new friend.”

“Caleb, go back to bed.” Mr. Monroy turned to his son. “This is none of your business.” He stepped into the room and closed the door behind him.

“What the hell is happening to our family?” Mrs. Monroy sighed, pushing herself out of her chair. “I’m done talking about this. And this won’t happen again. Your door will remain open at all times except when you’re getting dressed. That way, I’ll know that you’re actually in here.”

“But, mom…”

“No more, Danni.” Her father interrupted her. “If your door isn’t open, I’ll just remove it. Just like everything else, the choice is yours.”

Danni threw herself onto her bed burying her face in her teddy bear as hot tears poured down her cheeks.


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