The Arrangement (New Hampshire Bears Novella)

BOOK: The Arrangement (New Hampshire Bears Novella)
9.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Copyright 2015 © Gone Writing Publishing


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To everyone

Chapter One




I smile at the word as I walk across the courtyard to my next class. Today is beautiful, even better since my sister isn’t in town.


I stroll into the classroom as if on a cloud of happiness. Now, I love my sister Aimee, but lately, she’s been harder on me than normal. I think it’s the wedding. She’s been stressed to the max, and it’s two weeks from the big day.

Mine is much further away.

I push away any minute thought of my future nuptials. I can’t even bring myself to think about it fully. Every time I do, tears form in my eyes, and sadness overtakes me. But, today is going to be the greatest day in a long time and nothing will bring me down.



Homework begins to pile up all over my desk. Doing any of it sounds horribly boring, and taking a run in the park sounds much more pleasing. I giggle as I hop up from the desk chair to the closet and quickly get into my running gear.

The running park isn’t massive like some, but perfect for me. I like to run. Actually, I think I love it more because no one bothers me. I put in my ear buds, crank up my playlist of One
Direction and took off. I know 1D isn’t something I should openly admit to liking, but I do love those guys.

I run my first lap easily, letting my pace match the bass of the music. My mind gets lost in the song about love, imperfections, and growing up. I think of Vance.

Vance Pemberton and I have known each other since infancy. Our parents are dear friends, and we were betrothed and our marriage arranged when we were ten.

Yes, ten is young. Typically, parents wait until the teenage years to make the announcement, but, as the story goes, our mothers couldn’t wait to tell the world. I love my mum and Vance’s mum is equally amazing, but they’re both controlling. It’s not a surprise and both openly admit it, but it’s because they have our best interest at heart. In other words, super-controlling.

I run three more laps and then walk back to the apartment. I share a two bedroom with my sister, Aimee. At least, until she gets married. Our father has paid the apartment up until the end of summer, but after that it’s anyone’s guess on where I’ll go. I assumed I’d be marrying Vance before the summer ends. Vance just finished a season in the Canadian Hockey League. Hockey is his whole life. Not many Irish men make it to the Professional Hockey League, but Vance’s talents exceed most.

As of now, he’s going to remain in Canada a couple more weeks because of a new trainer he found, then he’ll come home shortly before going to America and entering the PHL’s draft. As for me, I’m about to finish at the university.

After I make it back home I take a quick shower and do my best to think about the schoolwork in front of me on the desk, and especially my future with Vance.

One day at a time.

I pick up the top book, take a deep breath, and begin my work.



“Dad, I’m fine. If I need anything I’ll ring you.”

Dad growls softly on the phone. “Just don’t leave the house. It’s dark out.”

“Yes. I promise.” I smile into the phone and hang up. Where Mum in controlling, Dad is protective. Very protective.

Dinner is nothing more than some snacks I find in the pantry and a bottle of water. I give up on the homework and curl up on the couch reading a book. I am not too far into my book when my phone alerts me of

“Hi, Vance.” I notice his dark blue eyes appear tired.

“Hey.” He sounds it too. “How’s your day?”

“It’s well. School and running are the highlights. Yours?”

“Hockey and training.” He answers the same, as I do, all the time.



There are no more words to be said. “Well, I’m reading.” I hold up the book for him to see, hoping he takes the hint that our conversation is through.

“Wait…are you…” He pauses and the picture blurbs as if he’s moving. “Are you in your apartment?”

“Yes. Why?”

“Where’s Aimee?” He grits.

“In London with Mum. I told you it’s her final fitting. They should be home tomorrow afternoon.”

“You’re alone?”

I refrain from rolling my eyes. “I’m fine, Vance.”

“I don’t like it.”

“I appreciate your concern, but the doors and windows are locked. No one is coming in here.”

He’s quiet for a moment, before saying, “I have to go. Bye,” and disconnects from

This time I do roll my eyes, tossing my phone to the side, and going back to my book. Vance treat me like a child a lot of times. Mum says he’s being protective like Dad. But I need to remind him I’m twenty-one and not five. I’m the youngest, and I know my parents have kept me sheltered a lot, but I can take care of myself.

I’m deep into my book when a loud knocking sounds at my door. I look out the peephole to see Gerald, Vance’s oldest brother, and his wife, Robyn.

“Hi.” I open the door baffled as to why they’re here.

“You’re coming home with us,” Gerald says quick and rough.

“Um…I’m okay here.” I know I’m whispering. It happens when I get nervous.

“Dacey.” Robyn steps in toward me. “Just pack a bag for the evening.” Her tone is softer than Mr. Gerald
The Brute

“Fine.” I turn on the heel of my foot and try not to stomp down the hall and show my true frustration. I toss everything into a small bag and send a fast message to Vance.

I would’ve been fine tonight. You didn’t need to send your family.

I grab my books, laptop, and stuff it all into my school bag and head back to the living room where Gerald and Robyn wait.

“I’m ready,” I announce trying to be upbeat when I’m not.

When we reach the car, I send Dad a message, letting him know where I am and then put my phone in my pocket. As we drive along, my phone buzzes a lot, but I ignore every one of the notifications. Vance will just have to wait until I’m ready to talk to him.

When we make it to their house, Gerald and Robyn show me to the guest room as if I’ve not been there before, but I’m polite and thank them as I head into the room, shutting the door behind me.

I take my phone from my pocket and toss it on the bed still without looking at it. I thought about calling Aimee, but she’s busy with Mum, and I don’t want to burden her with my issues. I don’t have
in the true sense of the word because no one really understands our family traditions and what I’m really going through.

I decide to go back to the book I’d been reading. Sure, I should do more homework, but I’m not in the mood at all now. The distraction of the fictional men will help me forget my anger at Vance.

It lasts about ten minutes.

Soon, there’s a knock on the door and Robyn sticks her head in with a sad smile. “Pick up his call, Dacey.”

I want to slam my book shut and scream in annoyance, but instead I offer a small smile, nod, and watch Robyn close the door, just as my phone buzzes again.

“I’m fine,” I answer. “You didn’t have to send your family.”

“You were home alone. Did your father know?”

“Vance,” I sigh. “Of course. My mother and Aimee are in London. I think he’d notice his wife being gone.”

“Dacey,” he pauses. “Please don’t be this way. I’m not there to watch out for you.”

“I’m twenty-one. Again, let me repeat this: I’m twenty-one. I was home alone for one night. That’s it. Aimee would be home by the time I got out of class.” I let the anger control my words, something I don’t normally do.

“Dacey.” His tone is low when he softly says my name. “I’m very aware of your age. I’m just worried. I don’t want anything happening to you.”

I feel my body relax at his words. “Why didn’t you just tell me that instead of sending your brother?”

“You should know how I feel.”

I hate when he uses that line. We never talk about our feelings or anything like that and the couple of times we have, this is his go-to line.

“Get some rest and call me tomorrow,” he kindly orders.

“I will.” I end the call with nothing else said between us.

BOOK: The Arrangement (New Hampshire Bears Novella)
9.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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