Abbi spent most of the next couple of weeks going through her room, trying to decide what she wanted to take
with her. She had pulled out all of her summer clothes and a few of her sweat suits and sweaters. She knew that it could be
cool at night. She packed up her favorite books and her three cameras. She packed shoes, and all of her CD’s. As she
was putting them into a box, she was checking to see if Derek’s name was on any of them. It was. Derek Alexander was
the producer on almost one quarter of her CD’s. He was busier than she had originally thought.
Her mom and dad, after meeting Derek, had come to accept that their youngest daughter was leaving the nest. They were quiet,
but supportive as she packed and prepped for her move. They had a small dinner for close friends and family after her graduation
ceremony on Thursday. Abbi was glad to be done with school and was looking forward to the summer months ahead. Everybody wished
her well on her new endevor. By 10pm, everybody was gone and Abbi fell asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow.
On Friday she spend most of the day in her room, sorting and packing. Stephanie came over and helped her finish. It was
a bittersweet experience. Abbi was ready for a change, but it was still going to be hard to leave everything that she had
Jason had not called or stopped by since their argument, but she wanted to say good bye to him before she left. She had
boxed up some of his belongings that she had. A few tee shirts, an NIU sweatshirt, and some CD’s. There was a book that
she had borrowed from him and some pictures that she had taken of him. She didn’t want to have any reminders of him
when she came back.
Stephanie helped her load the boxes into her car and then she went home. Abbi headed over to Jason’s apartment, where
he lived with his brother. She grabbed the box and headed for the door. The front door was open and she could see into the
apartment through the screen door. She nearly dropped the box when she looked in. Jason was on the couch, with Dina Stanton.
Dina and Abbi had been friends in high school. They had stopped talking when Abbi started dating Jason. Dina had had a crush
on him for awhile and was a little hurt that he had chosen Abbi over her. Now, Dina was in Jason’s arms, half dressed.
Jason had his shirt off and was kissing Dina deeply.
Abbi knocked loudly and let herself into the apartment. Jason jumped off the couch, and Abbi noticed that his jeans were
unzipped. He quickly stood in front of Dina.
"Abbi, what the hell are you doing here?"
"Hmmm, good question. I wanted to say goodbye and return your things. I wanted to be sure that we were over. Obviously
we were. You have moved on, and I will to. I just wish that I had known that you had somebody waiting in the wings." She dropped
the box and turned towards Dina. "Maybe you two have been together all along. Maybe I was just that stupid."
"Abbi, it’s not…"
"Please do not insult me by saying that it is not what it looks like. It is. It’s exactly what it looks like. My
ex boyfriend in the arm of someone else, making out, sleeping together. Whatever. I guess I made the right decision, huh,
Jason?" She turned and walked out the door.
"No, Jason. It’s over. I knew it was over two weeks ago, but maybe it was over way before that. It doesn’t
even matter anymore. It really doesn’t. Good bye."
She walked to her car calmly, got in, shut the door, and then cried until she had no tears left. She never suspected that
Jason would cheat on her, and maybe he hadn’t . But he didn’t wait long to find his next girlfriend either. She
wiped her eyes and rubbed her cheek with her hands. She had told Jason that it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter.
She was going to start a new chapter in her life. But that didn’t stop her from going to Stephanie’s house and
sobbing some more.
Stephanie was the perfect sister. Telling her it was okay to cry and bashing Jason for her. Before she left, they were
both laughing and Abbi was more than ready to move to Richfield and start a new life.
Derek and the boys arrived promptly at 1 o’clock. Abbi was bringing boxes down from her room. George let Derek and
the boys in. Bev was in the kitchen getting drinks for everybody. Abbi brought down another box, without realizing that Derek
had arrived. Her hair was coming lose from it’s ponytail holder, and her face was flushed from carrying boxes. She was
wearing light blue jeans, and a dark blue tee shirt. She had slipped her feet into some flip flops. Derek thought she looked
sexy as hell.
Abbi stopped at the bottom of the stairs and took a breath. Derek was wearing tan shorts and an orange tee. His hair was
shaggy and falling in his face. He was wearing white socks and white Reeboks. And he looked gorgeous.
"Hey, you’re here. I was just bringing down a few more boxes."
"I wonder if we can fit it all in the truck."
"I hope so. I just have these five boxes and two suitcases."
"Okay, let me know move the seats around a little." He effortlessly lifted one of the boxes and went out the door. Abbi
ran to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. She almost yelped as she looked at herself. She took her hair down and finger
combed it. Then she put the ponytail holder back in. She put some cool water on her face and then returned to the living room.
Derek had returned and grabbed another box. "Luke, why don’t you grab that little bag there for Abbi." Luke obeyed
and followed his dad out to the truck.
They returned and for the last trip out, Derek, Abbi and George all carried a box. Bev carried the suitcase and the boys
trailed behind. All of Abbi’s must haves fit into the back of the vehicle with room to spare. Derek fit everything in
and shut the back door.
"Well, if that’s everything, we can get going."
"Okay," from Abbi.
"Not already," from Bev. "I mean, don’t you want to have a drink before you head out?"
Abbi knew that Bev did not want her to go. Abbi also knew that she needed to go.
"Mom, it’s a two hour trip and then I’ll have to unpack and get settled. We should really go."
"Okay, if you think so," she answered defeated.
Abbi moved closer and put her arms around her mother. "Mom, I’ll be back in two weeks."
"I know. I know. I’ll be fine. Go, go. You take good care of those boys, ya hear."
Bev was crying and Abbi was tearing up. "I love you."
"I love you, too, baby." Bev pulled slowly away.
George opened his arms and Abbi fell into his embrace. "I love you, Pumpkin. Be good, have fun."
"I love you, Daddy. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks."
"I know. Call us when you get there."
"Just this one last time. For me."
Abbi smiled. "Las time."
George smiled back.
Derek quickly and quietly loaded the boys into the back seat. He then held the door for Abbi and shut it after she had
climbed in. He moved around to the driver side and climbed in himself. He started the car and Abbi looked out the window at
her parents. She looked at them as long as she could. When they had turned off of her street, she turned to Derek.
"Wow. That was harder than I thought." She said, putting on her sunglasses to hide the tears welled up in her eyes.
"What? Saying Goodbye?"
"Just leaving. I can’t believe I’m not going to be living in that house for the next three months. It just
seems weird. I never even went to summer camp."
Derek laughed. "Well, hopefully this will be as much fun as summer camp." He threw a parental eye at the boys. Abbi chuckled.
The boys quickly settled in with their personal CD players. Abbi and Derek were able to talk.
"Are you nervous?" he asked.
"No, no. Of course not." She looked at Derek and grinned. "Okay, yeah, I’m a little nervous. But I’m excited,
too. Too many people have told me not to go, not to take this job. I almost felt like I have to take it."
"You took it just because you wanted to prove something to people?" he asked curiously.
"No, that’s not what I meant. I really want the chance to do this job and do it well. But you know how it is when
people tell you not to do something, you feel like you have to."
"I understand. How do you think I got to be a producer? My parents wanted me to go into business, but I always loved music."
"Yeah, it’s funny that we do well when we are supported by those around us, and also when they tell us not to do
"Would one of the people telling you not to do this be a boyfriend?"
"Yeah. Well, kind of. He’s not my boyfriend anymore. It’s a long story and I’m ready to put it behind
"I’m sorry to hear that."
"Ya know, I should be upset, but I’m actually glad. Jason and I had been together for a while and I wasn’t
always sure why. I think we were overdue for a separation. I’ll be okay."
"Are you sure? You look a little sad."
"Endings are always sad. I’ll be fine."
Derek wanted to reach over and squeeze her hand, but he held back.
The conversation trickled as they drove. Jake started to fall asleep. Luke was jamming in the back seat, listening to his
CD. Derek drove smoothly and Abbi enjoyed the ride. She thought she might have dozed off.
She awoke when Derek slowed the vehicle. They were turning into a drive that had black iron gates near the road. The gates
opened as Derek pushed a button over his head. He heard Abbi’s gasp and he grinned.
"Usually I leave the gates open, but when I’m working, they are closed. I don’t want any of my clients to be
bothered by fans or the media."
"Oh," was all she could say.
Abbi’s awe continued as they moved closer to the house. Derek watched the expression on her face. The exterior of
the house was red brick, with white columns. The windows were framed with white stucco. The driveway went straight to the
garage but also curved towards the front of the house as well as continuing on towards the studio. Derek reached above his
head and pushed another button, the garage door opener. Abbi noted the short, bushes surrounding the front and sides of the
house. He pulled up to the garage.
He opened the door, and stood aside so that Abbi could enter first. She walked through the hallway past a small laundry
area and a family room. Then she was in the kitchen. She was speechless. It was huge. Green granite flooring, silver appliances,
maple cabinets. There were windows along the far wall that looked out over the backyard, or at least part of it. Derek lead
her through the dining room and to the foyer. This house was so much more than she ever expected. There was tan marble flooring
and striped, tan wallpaper. The stairs wounding up to the second floor were white railing with dark green carpet.
Derek went back out to get the boys as Abbi continued to be awed by the beauty of this home.
"Would you like a house tour first? Or we could take your things up to your room?"
"Um, I guess, my room."
"Okay." He went back out and grabbed a box. Abbi took a box and followed Derek into the house and up the stairs.
"That’s Jake’s room to the left and Luke’s to the right. Your room is right here."
He opened the door and walked in ahead of her. She followed slowly, still looking around. He put her bags down on her bed
and turned to look at her. She was standing in the middle of the room, still holding the box.
"So, what do you think?"
She did a slow spin, taking in the whole room. The carpet was sand colored, and the walls were a matching shade of tan.
The bedspread and sheets were a deep red. Her bed was a bronze finished iron sleigh bed. The curtains perfectly matched the
linens and the woodwork was an eggshell white, that blended perfectly with the floor and the walls.
"This is beautiful, Derek. Just beautiful." She did another slow circle.
"Great! Let me go get the rest of your things."
Abbi looked around again as Derek headed out of the room. She was feeling a little bit like a fairy tale princess. She
could hardly move, she was trying to take it all in. This house was spectacular. Her room was gorgeous, warm feeling, and
it was all hers for the summer. She sat on the side of the bed and waited for Derek to return.
"Here’s the last of it, Abbi. Why don’t you go ahead and get settled. We’ll be down in the family room
when you’re done. Then we’ll give you the rest of the tour."
"That sounds great."
Derek turned and shoed the boys away from the door. They had just come up to see if Abbi liked her room. Derek pushed them
forward and shut the door behind himself.
Abbi plopped her suitcase on her bed and unzipped it. She put her clothes into the dresser, her shoes in the closed. She
had a few photos along that she put onto the desk that was sitting next to the closet door. She looked around the room again
and giggled. She had to tell Stephanie about this.
"Stephanie? It’s me."
"Abbi, hey! How’s things in Richfield?"
"Things are great! This house is fabulous!" Abbi took a few minutes to describe what she had seen so far to Stephanie.
"I can’t wait to come up there and see it for myself."
"After I get settled, maybe you can come up for a weekend or something, when Todd is working."
"That would be great! Have fun, Abbi. Don’t forget to call Mom and Dad."
"I will, eventually."
They laughed together and said goodbye. Abbi quickly placed a call to her parents. She assured them that the house was
in a safe neighborhood, the ride up was fine, and she would call them again in a couple of days.
Abbi made her way slowly down to the family room. She was still trying to take in everything. She was sure that this house
was so big that it would take her all summer to learn her way around. She loved the marble floors in the foyer, the dark woodwork
on the baseboards and railings, and the fun and funky colors that Derek had on the walls.
"We’re in here, Abbi," Derek called.
She found her way to the room by going through the dining room and the kitchen. She entered the room and found Derek on
the couch, the boys on the floor in front of the TV, playing video games.
"Get everything put away?"
"Yup. So far so good."
"Did you call your parents?" She gave him a funny look and he grinned. "Well, you promised you would call and I don’t
want to have them thinking that I kidnapped you or something," he teased.
"Yes. I called my parents. Derek, this house is beautiful."
"Thanks. I’m glad you like it. It’s very comfortable to us, and I hope that it will quickly feel like home
to you to."
"Oh, me too," she answered, before she realized how that had sounds. She gasped and covered her mouth.
"It’s okay, Abbi. I know what you meant. Would you like to go for a swim," Derek asked.
The boys were running up to their rooms before she could answer.
Abbi laughed. "What was that all about?"
"They’re not allowed in the pool unless there is adult supervision. When I mention the pool, they run for their suits.
Swimming is one of their favorite activities," Derek laughed softly.
"Great, maybe I’ll just keep them in the pool all summer," she joked.
"Don’t even say that. They would love it. However, there are other things around her to do besides swim."
"I know. I was just kidding."
"I know. We’ll talk more later about your full duties."
"Great. Well, a swim does sound like fun."
They walked up the stairs together to get into their suits. Abbi changed into her navy bikini and pulled her hair back
into a soft ponytail. She knew that the water would frizz it out pretty quickly. Abbi grabbed a burgundy towel off the counter
in her bathroom. It was soft as fleece and smelled like flowers. She had to dig through two boxes to find sandals to wear
to the pool. She slipped her feet into a pair of designer flip flops with flags on them and made her way down the stairs.
Abbi saw the boys in the pool, laughing and splashing, as she came through the sliding glass door. She stepped lightly
out onto the patio and stopped by a white lounge chair. She dropped the towel and held onto the towel. She was looking down
as she slid her feet out of her sandals. When she looked back up, Derek was lifting himself up and out of the pool.
His hair was slicked back, his eyes smiling. She didn’t move as she saw more and more of him emerge from the water.
His strong arms lifted up his firm, cut chest. His six pack abs were revealed above his white and green swim trunks. His legs
were lean and firm, and tanned. She had to shake her head to look away from him. It was then that she realized she had been
holding her breath as she watched him.
Derek hadn’t realized that Abbi had come out already. He had swam a few laps, but was now getting out of the pool
so the boys could play. She was standing by the white lounge chair. Her navy blue swimsuit covered enough to be decent, but
left enough uncovered to keep his mind in fantasies for a month. There was not one ounce of fat on her. Her dark, curly hair
was pulled up and revealed a soft, smooth neck that lead down to her tanned, firm shoulders. The shoulders were connected
to lean and sleek arms. He watched one of those arms drop the towel and grab the back of the chair. He saw her firm, supple
leg gently shake the sandal from her right foot. He noticed the muscled thighs, trim calves, and that her toenails were painted
pink again. Then his eyes slowly drifted back up her body to her washboard stomach. It was flat more from athletics than from
a good gene pool. He turned slightly to look at the boys. He felt his face flush slightly. Had he looked too much, too
long? Had anybody noticed? Maybe keeping the boys in the pool all summer wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
He shook his head, heaved himself over the side of the pool and walked toward Abbi, dripping water all the way. "Swim or
hot tub first?" he invited.
"Huh? Oh, um, swim." She looked around quickly. "There’s a hot tub?"
"Right over there." He pointed to the right of the pool.
Her gaze caught on his face and followed the length of his arm before she noticed the hot tub he was pointing to. It was
off the side of the deck, one level up with a deck of it’s own, situated so than anyone in it could view the pool.
"Oh, okay. Um, Swim first."
"Great! Come on." He ran to the pool and did a cannonball.