Chapter I

"I want to be a billionaire so freaking bad ... and buy all the things I never had ... I want to be on the cover of Forbes magazines, smiling next to Oprah and the Queen," I sang under my breath as my slender fingers attempted to work my long midnight-black hair into a knot on the top of my head. My curly hair hated to be tamed in any manner. Meaning, whenever I got ready to run, my hair seemed to know I wanted to put it up and persistently found a way to escape the elastic that was holding it in place. My bra was the same way, and it wasn't like I had very big breasts. I mean I'm a 36C, but I've seen way bigger. So I always had to make sure no one was getting a free peep show whenever I stretched or jumped the hurdles, or even when I ran a simple sprint.

I threw my gym bag over my shoulder and made my way to my Nineteen Ninety-eight-Nissan Pathfinder. I needed to relax and forget the stress I was experiencing with some of my friends. My temper was something that was seen and never forgotten. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, my tongue is always the first thing to lash out. I remember, last year I got kicked out of the national track meet competition because I back-talked one of the referees after he made a bad call ... It didn't end well. Just between the two of us I should have place second at least.

Gabriel was already there, facing the entrance, as if he were waiting for me, with his biceps flexing with every repetition. He had been my next door neighbor since I was ten years old. We were best friends, but not necessarily attached at the hip. He was the guy every girl wanted to be attached to or dancing with after he was crowned king at any of the dances. The athletic "bad boy," who none of the female population could resist, including the bisexual and homosexuals. We had an unspoken agreement about our relationship, and the line had never been crossed, except occasionally in the heat of the moment.

I walked toward the weights, hoping Gabriel wouldn't say any smart remarks about my sport's bra and legging-style workout pants. My body was an issue that upset me easily, like I always have this feeling in the back of my head that I could be in better shape. But fat was not exactly the word I would use to describe my figure; it must be one of those girls' things. Or at least, that's what I keep telling myself. If I didn't tell myself that, I would probably be in the bathroom right now, throwing up all the food I ate today, most likely water if I was really feeling unattractive.

I lifted the five-pound dumbbell, not wanting to bulk up. My arms had tone, but they weren't to the point where I was as ripped as Angela Basset. Gabriel gave me the once-over and winked approvingly at me after about ten minutes of warming up my body. We always joked, but never actually went to the extreme of checking each other out. It made me comfortable to know that he would think my body worthy of his male attention when we agreed that we weren't interested in each other like that anymore, but it was appreciated because it let me know my body wasn't totally disgusting. Or at least, I thought our relationship wasn't like that...

"Stop giving me that look" I said, knowing I would catch him off guard. We tried to keep the sexual tension down between us. I wasn't really into dating friends. Most guys went for my sister, Kandace. She is taller than me by three inches and had way more curves than me, giving her the allusion of big boobs and a tiny waist. And to top it off, her hair was like black corn silk: it took whatever form she wanted it to take. I was so glad when she decided to live on campus so that fewer people would compare me to her. But that doesn't stop the comparisons from still happening, because it did, all the time - at home, at school, or with some of my so-called-girlfriends. Honestly, I've never really got along with girls. I'm nice and everything, but they always tend to not like me. But maybe this year, things will change...

"I'm just enjoying the view." Gabriel's smirk refused to leave his face. My ocean blue eyes immediately went down to my chest to check that it was still covered. I followed his gaze and found him staring at my pierced belly button. It wasn't like this was a new discovery in the Chasity Body Department.

Without even excusing myself, I walked away and got on a treadmill. I started at the turtle icon, with low impact, then worked my way up to a big jungle cat that was not easy to identify over the time period of half an hour. Hearing someone panting on the machine next to me, I turned to look. Low and behold, it was Gabriel again. His shirt was off.

I'm not going to lie. His abs were godly perfections; they were lick-able without being over powering, letting him be lanky enough to be considered skinny. His chest was smooth, except the line of blonde hairs that lead into his dangerously low track pants, allowing his hip's deep cuts of definition to be seen in plain view. And his right nipple was pierced. It made my mouth water just thinking about playing with it.

"Gee, put your shirt back on," I said, with my bright eyes unwilling to leave his naked chest. This addition to his nipple had to be new. Of all the times I had seen him, he didn't have one there. My retinas officially had the picture of his body burned in them for the millionth time. I could feel his smirk even without looking at him.

"Nobody is even thinking about you," he mocked me. Gabriel always mocked me when he thought what I had to say was stupid or just "female" whining. Grabbing my towel and removing as much sweat as possible and I quickly collected my things. If he wanted to act like that, then he could do so with one of his groupies, because that stuff just wasn't cute anymore. In fact, it was never really cute from the start.

Without saying goodbye, I made a mad dash for the automatic door, hoping his attention wouldn't fall on me. He always jogged to the gym for a "warm up," so he would want a ride if I was willing to give it. But that wasn't going to happen today. School was going to start in three weeks, and our friends were planning a beach trip that was to begin tomorrow through the two-week mark, and I would get enough of him then, so no need to suffer now what I would have to suffer later.

I finally pulled into my driveway and rushed past my mother, who was scrubbing the kitchen counters. From my earliest memories, she was a stay-at-home-mom. My dad was a banker who loved to crunch numbers more then being home with his family. Personally, I think everyone needs some way to release themselves, so why did it bother my mother so much? My mother and I are rarely on the same accord. We just don't get along.

Shutting my door and peeling off my workout outfit, I replaced my sweaty clothes with my favorite Soffee shorts and baby tee. My bed was welcoming, with the same presence of a lover whom you were rarely allowed to see as flesh came in contact with the sheet. Just as my mind found a point where it could finally relax, I heard a tapping on my window. Looking up and turning my gaze to the closed curtains, I could make out the silhouette of a male body. Who the heck could it be? I got up, seeing that nothing would come out of just looking.

"What are you doing here?" I asked groggily as he maneuvered his larger body in the small space. His knee brushed my exposed tummy, sending electric impulses to my brain to move before something happened. Once he was in all the way, he ignored me and went to the queen-sized bed. His body took most of it up, with him being so tall, and also the fact that, rather than pick a side, he slept right in the middle of my four-post bed.

"My parents are fighting again," Gabriel explained with his eyes focused on me. I nodded while walking back to the bed. I crawled in on one of the free sides until our bodies were pressed together.

Gabriel's dad is a famous Olympian runner, and with that fame he met a woman in the same year as his marriage to Gabriel's mother. The other woman is the mother of Gabriel's half brother. Unfortunately, that only caused arguing and disappointment in Gabriel's home. So he was always allowed to sleep over in my room when this happened.

Ever since we turned thirteen and hit puberty, he felt the need to explore my body, even in sleep. Not in a naughty way-but in the, what makes a boy different from a girl way. Don't mistake me to be innocent; I wasn't really a novice when it came to sex. With all of parties we went to, I had my fair share of dudes. Not to the excess of my buddies but, enough to know what I like and don't like. I said we weren't dating, but we are really close friends. I mean, like I know who he has done or how far he has gone with any girl. We had been taking care of each other for six years on and off. He liked to play on the fact that guys didn't usually feel "girlfriend like" for me. But, a lot of my friends said they didn't mind looking at me in a bikini or anything at all. The only friend I've been naked in front of before was Gabriel. Sexual acts didn't fit in the equation the right way if you want a clear line in the sand. I didn't have a line in the sand with him though. So I guess it could be considered a free play.

Turning to face him I asked him "Gee, did you remember to get your luggage and stuff for the trip tomorrow?" He opened an amber-brown orb. His lips parted then he finally was ready to reply.

"Yeah, I put them in your car with the spare key you gave me," he explained.

I turned my back to him not really wanting to accidentally brush my plump pink lips on any part of his perfect body. Finally in a stress-free position, my mind and eyes went into REM sleep with little effort. Tomorrow just couldn't seem to come quick enough for me.