CHAPTER TWO: I AM NOT A CYNIC
They were getting to the good part in She's All That. Freddie Prinze, Jr was about to deliver his brilliant speech, asking for forgiveness, after finding out that Rachel Leigh Cook didn't sleep with Paul Walker in the motel room after all.
"Such a fine male specimen," Camille said, her glasses fogging up.
"Fictional male specimen," Melissa corrected.
"Bah, you and your cynicism." Camille shook her head, and lay on Melissa's bed, hugging a pillow. "Those of the male persuasion aren't as vile as you think."
Melissa grabbed Peepers, her blue stuffed monkey, and threw it at Camille. "I am not cynical, and I don't think members of the male persuasion are vile, not that vile anyway." She motioned at the gorgeous Freddie Prinze, Jr. on screen. "I just don't think guys like that exist. The geek girl he never noticed until she turned hot inspired him to study performance art? Come on."
"And you say you're not cynical," Camille said with a wry smile. She picked up Peepers who was sprawled on the floor, and looked into his bulging plastic eyes. "Tsk, tsk. Cynicism isn't good in one so young."
"And naïveté isn't good in one so old." Melissa lay down on the bed next Camille, unable to hide the smile on her face.
"Perhaps you should say that to Lance Ordonez," Camille said, playing with Peeper's arms. "He showed extreme naïveté when he hit on you today. Doesn't he know that you're intent on ending world starvation before indulging in something as silly as love? The poor boy never stood a chance."
"The poor boy you're referring to will sleep with anything with a vagina," Melissa said. "He's not exactly choosy when it comes to who he—"
"Connects his apparatus to?" Camille raised her eyebrows.
Melissa burst out laughing. Camille was the only person she knew who could make something as raw as sex sound technical. She got up to turn her television off, and slumped on the bed again. "Why are we even talking about Lance's apparatus? I have a feeling it's more than a little overused."
"I forgot you're only interested in Hunter Alvarez's apparatus."
They started giggling after that, and only stopped when they heard someone knocking on Melissa's bedroom door. She stood up and opened the door. Her father stood framed in the doorway, a frown marring his forehead and his huge arms crossed over his chest.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Santiago." Camille jumped up from the bed.
"Good afternoon, Cam," Mr. Santiago said. "Will you excuse me and my daughter for a while? I need to talk to her."
"No problem," Camille said, grabbing her backpack. "I was on my way out anyway."
When Camille said goodbye and left, Melissa and her father were left in her room. A feeling of dread settled in the pit of her stomach, like mercury at the bottom of a thermometer, refusing to go away.
She hoped he didn't know anything about her getting kicked out of class, but how could he not know? He was the principal, and she hadn't acted like the principal's daughter when she stuffed a ball of paper down Lance Ordonez's throat. He seemed to have a sharp radar for every wrong thing she did. If Melissa found out her father had another eye hidden at the back of his head, she wouldn't be surprised at all.
Mr. Santiago sat down at the foot of her bed, running a callused hand through his crew cut. "I heard about what happened today, and I have to say I'm very disappointed in you, Melissa."
There it was, floating in the air between them. She looked down at her feet, the feeling of dread taking over her entire stomach. "I'm sorry, Dad. I didn't mean to."
"That's not good enough, Mel," he said, his voice hard. "Imagine my embarrassment when Mr. Romualdez came into my office and told me what you did. My own daughter harassing her classmate. Do you have any idea how ashamed I was?"
"Dad, I lost my temper," Melissa said. "He kept bothering me, and I had to do something."
"Losing your temper isn't a good enough excuse." Mr. Santiago pointed a finger at her. "You're grounded. No TV, no phone calls, no visits from Camille."
Melissa's head shot up, and she looked at her father. No, he wasn't her father now. He was the Saint Agnes Catholic Academy principal, and he was doling out punishment as he saw fit. Even if she knew it was futile, she tried to defend herself, "That's unfair, Dad. I was kicked out of class already. Isn't that punishment enough?"
"No, it isn't." Mr. Santiago stood up, signaling the end of their discussion. "What do you think Mr. Romualdez was thinking when came to my office to report what you did? If I can't discipline my own daughter, then I sure as hell can't run a whole school. Do you think my students will respect me if you keep acting like this?"
"You're acting like it's such a big deal," Melissa said. "I got kicked out of class once, Dad. That's it. I've never been suspended, and I've—"
"You're proud of the fact that you've never been suspended?" A vein threatened to pop in her father's neck, and his face started turning red. "If you only applied yourself, you'd have other things to be proud of. You could be in the honor roll. You could even be at the top of your class, for God's sake!"
Melissa reared back like he just slapped her. Her Dad's words hurt more than any slap or punch ever could, because they were laced with his disappointment with having her for a daughter. Tears clouded her vision. She blinked to keep them at bay, but they escaped through the corners of her eyes anyway.
She wiped them away with the back of her hand. "I'm sorry for being such a big disappointment, Dad. I'll try not to step out of line."
"Don't try," Mr. Santiago said, his voice steely. "Do it."
He walked out of her room, slamming the door behind him. Melissa locked the door, and ran to her bed. She buried her face in a pillow, screaming and crying at the same time.
Soon enough, she heard her parents arguing in the next room. Mrs. Santiago thought Mr. Santiago was being too hard on Melissa, but her father always got the last word in. Her mother's tower of feeble arguments always toppled over under the force of his steely logic regarding her inadequacies.
Melissa wiped her remaining tears away, and picked up Peepers from the floor. He must have fallen off the bed when Camille stood up to leave.
"You're lucky," she said, holding his furry arms. "All you have to do is sit on a shelf all day. You don't have to act perfect, and apply yourself. I hate that phrase. What does 'apply yourself' even mean? I bet Dad doesn't even know."
Peepers stared blankly at her in response.
"Hey, you're a good listener, you know that?" She touched his black button nose.
Every single mistake she made at school always boiled down to one thing, her not being good enough for her dad. She wished she could do something right and make him proud, but she didn't think it was possible. He found everything she did lacking. If she set the table, he grumbled about her not washing the dishes. If she set the table and washed the dishes, he picked on her lackluster report card next.
She put Peepers down. Finally in control, she fished her iPod out of her backpack, and stuffed her earphones into her ears. She turned up the volume, and let the music take her to a place far, far away from her father and his impossible expectations.
Lance closed his eyes, and leaned back on his bed. Samantha sprawled half-naked on top of him, her skillful fingers blazing a hot trail down his chest. His eyes flew open when she started opening his zipper. He turned them over so she lay writhing underneath him.
"Not that fast." Lance buried his face in her neck, nibbling at her earlobe.
His lips found their way to her mouth, and he bit down on her lower lip. Her tongue darted into his mouth, and they battled for dominance in the kiss. His hands roamed all over her body, her impressive breasts filling his open palms. If it was even possible, Lance felt himself grow harder.
Samantha's nails raked across his back. She writhed underneath him, grinding their hips together. She broke away from their kiss, and bit down on his ear before whispering, "Touch me."
Lance was only too happy to oblige. His hands reached down to cup her through her underwear, moving his hips against hers. Samantha was wet and ready. He kissed her again, as his fingers started moving.
"That feels so good," Samantha moaned, arching her back and sinking her nails into his.
"I know," he said with a laugh.
Samantha reached down and cupped him through his jeans. When she started unzipping him again, he didn't stop her. He shrugged off his jeans, his left hand searching for a condom on his nightstand. His fingers closed around a foil packet.
He broke their kiss, and ripped it open with his mouth. He unrolled it on himself, and started pulling down Samantha's panties, torturing her with the prolonged agony. Blood pounding in his ears, he positioned himself between her legs, barely able to think.
Samantha's phone started ringing.
What the fuck?
Well, no, not fuck since he obviously wasn't fucking Samantha. Talk about being cock-blocked.
He rolled off Samantha, and covered his face with his arm. Why didn't the stupid girl put her phone on vibrate before promising to fuck his brains out?
Samantha reached for her phone which was on his nightstand, right next to his box of condoms.
"Hi, Dad," Samantha said, covering herself with the blanket. "I'm at a friend's doing homework… Yeah, okay. I'll be home in fifteen minutes."
Lance throbbed painfully. He tried to think of other things to divert his attention. With only three foil packets left inside, his box of condoms was almost empty. He had to get another one soon. Fuck, he was still throbbing. It took all of his self-control not to grab the cell phone out of Samantha's hand, and sink himself into her. Again, fuck.
The whole evening was a waste of his time. He brought her to Mario's, his grandfather's Italian restaurant, and listened to her talk about her summer in London for three fucking hours. When Samantha started whining about not being able to go shopping in Paris, he started to zone out, but he tried his best to plaster a sympathetic look on his face. Clearly, this was not how he hoped the evening would end. He hadn't even gotten off yet, not once.
Samantha stood up and started gathering her clothes on the floor. "I'm really sorry, Lance, but I have to go."
Lance grabbed Samantha's wrist, and pulled her back to the bed. He started trailing little kisses down her chin. "Why? We were just getting started."
Samantha kissed him back, linking her hands around his neck. "I'll make it up to you next time, baby. I promise."
"Fuck next time," Lance whispered in her ear. "I want you right now."
"I want you too, but I can't." Samantha untangled her hands from around Lance's neck, and moved away from him. "My dad's expecting me home. He's getting suspicious about where I've been spending all my time lately."
"Tell him you've been spending it with me," Lance said with a grin.
Samantha laughed at that, pulled on her blouse and started putting on her jeans. "We both know you don't want that, Lance."
"You're right." Lance stood up, and pulled her into his arms. "I'm not interested in meeting your father. The only person I'm interested in is you."
"Me?" Samantha raised her perfectly-trimmed eyebrows, her dark blue eyes looking into his. "It looked like you were pretty interested in Melissa Santiago this morning."
Lance laughed. "You don't have to be so jealous. I was just having fun."
"Are you sure?" Samantha narrowed her eyes at him.
"A hundred percent." Lance kissed her, partly because he was still horny and mostly because he wanted to shut her up. He broke away from her, and started putting his own clothes on.
When Samantha finished changing, Lance walked her to the door, and kissed her for five minutes, making her moan into his mouth. He let her go when he started pitching a tent in his jeans again. Fuck him for being so virile.
He then headed to the kitchen where Meredith, the family maid for eighteen years, sat at the marble counter, looking at a mail-order catalog for bright wool sweaters.
The old woman's wrinkled face pursed into a frown when she saw him leaning against the doorway. "Your guest should have been home hours ago."
"Compared to my other guests, Sam actually left early," Lance grabbed an apple from the fruit basket in front of her, shined it on his shirt, and took a huge bite.
"Yes," Meredith said, rolling her eyes. "I was rather surprised when I didn't hear loud moans of ecstasy coming from your bedroom."
Lance laughed at that. "Her father wanted her to go home."
"Speaking of fathers, yours is in his study." Meredith turned the page.
"I'll go talk to him then." Lance took another bite, and left the apple on the counter.
"You better finish that," Meredith warned, not looking up from her catalog.
He walked out of the kitchen, and climbed up three flights of stairs. When he walked into the study, he found his father sitting behind a large mahogany desk. Leather-bound books surrounded him on three shelves, casting elegant shadows around the room.
"Hi, Dad," Lance said.
"I'm working, Lance." Mr. Ordonez didn't look up when he heard his son come into his study. He stayed focused on his laptop, a headset with a microphone on his head.
In his dark suit and expensive tie, Mr. Ordonez looked every bit the serious and powerful CEO that he was. He had rough but handsome features, and Lance looked nothing like him. In fact, the only thing Lance seemed to have inherited from his father was his libido. It was safe to say they both had tastes for beautiful women.
Lance ignored his father, and took a seat in the large armchair in front of Mr. Ordonez's desk. "I have a new girlfriend, Dad. Her name's Samantha."
"That's nice." Mr. Ordonez still didn't look up.
"But I forgot to wear a condom last night before fucking her senseless," Lance said.
Mr. Ordonez's head shot up, and he looked at his son, eyes unblinking. He tore his headset off his head. "What did you say?"
"Just joking, Dad." Lance grinned. "About not wearing a condom, I mean. I did fuck Samantha senseless."
Mr. Ordonez sighed. He leaned back, and pinched his nose between two fingers. "I don't have time for this, Lance. My conference with the Singaporean investors is about to start any minute now. Please, go find something constructive to do with your time."
"Dad, why can't we—"
"What did I tell you?"
"Like you said, I'm leaving." Lance stood up. "Good luck with the Singaporean investors."
He walked out of the study, carefully closing the door behind him. During times like this, he missed his sister Julianne more. She was studying her master's degree in Australia, and wasn't coming home for another six months. His sister was a pain in the ass most of the time, but he still wanted her to haul her ass back home. His mother walked out on them when he was seven, and he didn't even want to think about her, much more seek her out.
While wandering around their twelve-room mansion, he ended up in the movie room. He tried picking out a movie from the thousands of DVDs in his father's collection, but, in the end, he collapsed on one of the red plush chairs that littered the room. He buried his face in his hands, wondering what the hell he was doing.
He was Lance Ordonez. He had more friends than he could count, was dating—nay, fucking—one of the hottest girls in existence, lived in a mansion with five maids, a gardener, a pool boy, and a driver. He was surrounded by more people than a human being could possibly want to meet in a single lifetime.
So, how come he still felt so fucking lonely?