All chapters here:


New chapter is ready, but I can't say I'm bursting with inspiration for this story. I know how it's gonna end but I haven't decided yet what will happen during the process.

//Here's the recap of Ch 4:

Jessi decides to break into Sara Townsend's house in order to find the proof of her drug addiction. Tanner comes with her and they broke in after the Townsends leave home. Sara's room is clean as can be, but she returns home before they left, still high from the drugs. They flee the house before getting caught and Tanner finally agrees to help Jessi.

Chapter 5:

I called my mother and told her I was going to sleep over Tanner's house since his parents wanted four of us to go to the beach tomorrow morning. I was reluctant to lie to my mother but Tanner said his parents wouldn't be home even if my mom tried to call them.

So, I lied to her probably for the millionth time in the past months. Mysteriously for me, her voice sounded chirpy whenever I mentioned Tanner's name. Maybe after what happened with my father, she wanted me to be happy. Speaking of which..

"Why did my father leave?" I abruptly asked out loud.

Tanner turned to me momentarily before his eyes finding the road again and replied with a small shrug. "I honestly have no idea. I've heard that he was cheating on your mother and ran away with the other woman. We never told each other anything personal before yesterday so I really have no idea."

I was craving to know but I wasn't sure I could bring the topic up without upsetting my mother. I nodded pulling my knees up and started watching the scenery we were passing, curled up on the passenger seat even though it was dark outside.

I had no idea where Tanner was taking me and I didn't want to ask him. I had already had too many questions to ask once we reached our destination but I wasn't sure if he had all the answers. From what he had told me, we seemed to be two strangers just doing a financial business with each other.

After another half an hour on the road, the car finally came to a stop. I looked up breaking out of my reverie. “You drove us here?” 

“Come on.” He ignored my question and left the car.

I followed him to the cheap looking motel, shivering when the cold air hit my bare legs. I kept quiet when he got us a room , it wouldn’t matter though as the guy behind the reception desk didn’t even bother to look up.

The room was crappy and there was a double bed but I had more important things on my mind than the quality of the room. I went to the bathroom to freshen up and returned to the room. 

Tanner was waiting for me sitting on the bed. “I still don’t believe you.” He said as soon as he saw me coming back.

I opened my mouth with disbelief before he silenced me. “But I have a theory what might have happened.”

His words piqued my interest and I plopped down next to him. “Care to share?” I shot back rubbing my tired eyes.

"I think you knew about Sara's addiction before this thing happened." Tanner stated his theory. "Maybe you just found out or you had known for a while, I don't know but you knew. Then, yesterday something happened to you, I'm assuming that you hit your head or fell down from the stairs. The impact made your brain create a scenario, false memories since you had trouble coping with the reality. You.." He silenced my protests again with a look. ".. wanted to believe that this was just a temporary situation and your brain made up another happier life for you."

After he finished talking, he looked at me expectantly. I think he wanted me to tell him it was a brilliant explanation.

"Wow." I chuckled bitterly. "This is the most stupid thing I've ever heard in my entire life."

"It's not." Tanner surprisingly wasn't mad at me. "It makes more sense than the crap you're telling me."

"Whatever." I waved my hand. "I don't expect you to believe me, I just need your help."

"And I will help." He sighed looking away. "Tell me what you want."

"I want to know who I am." I whispered my face burning. "I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. How could my father leave like that? Why am I dating you for money? Who are my friends? I need to know." I almost sobbed.

"Look Jess, I don't know you that well." Tanner confirmed my worries. "But I'll tell you everything I know."

After that, I found out many things about this new me. Apparently I was best friends with Cheryl here too, until my father's departure. "You have changed after he was gone." Tanner said. "You started fishing for attention. You dyed your hair blonde and started dressing differently. I guess Cheryl wasn't pleased." 

He told me that Steve and Cheryl had been a couple for a couple of months, before Cher and I fell apart. I was exiled from their group one day, falling down to the bottom of the social ladder. 

That was when Tanner had decided to offer me a proposition. He was hearing things about our financial problems with my mother and he had offered me money, in exchange for this pretending game. He had overheard his parents talking about shipping him off to a boarding school if he didn't clean up his act. Fallen or not, I was still Jessi Bowens, the nice girl who was just unlucky with his father according to many parents. If he told his folks we were dating, they'd think he was trying to settle down and become a better person.

I had no idea why his parents were sick of him that much. I realized that he must have been doing bad things and people like Cheryl were just scared of him. Anyway, it seemed that we'd been doing this dating business for almost three months without any suspicion, up until the day I had gone crazy.

"Your mother loves me even if she knows about the troubles I've been in." Tanner explained later. "You became a loner after Cheryl but then I came into your life and you started going out of the house again. She was worried about you, now she thinks you're better thanks to our relationship."

"How did I lie to her every day?" I wondered my chest constricting. Then I remembered I didn't, as this was just a crazy alternative reality.

After hours of talking, I had one more question left for him. "Why are you helping me? Why didn't you just walk away after I ran away from you?"

He laughed before giving me a response. "Because Jess, my life has been f*cking boring. I'm tired of playing the good mother's boy and you simply offered me a challenge, a fun challenge."

I shrugged not knowing what to say. I wanted to hate him for stealing Steve but I couldn't judge him for something he hadn't done yet. I simply didn't care what he thought of me, as long as I had his help until I figured out what to do.

"Let's go to sleep." He broke the silence and I agreed, claiming the right side of the bed. As soon as his head hit the pillow, he fell asleep and I thought about things all night, replaying our conversation with Tanner over and over in my head.

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