Redemptive: Ch. 8

The way I saw it, our social circle didn’t accept new people easily. Most of us had grown up in the same restricted-access neighborhood known for protecting the privacy of our famous parents. We went to the same schools, shopped at the same malls, and pretty much knew all the same people.

Except for Ty.

Ty’s closest claim to fame was his grandmother’s acting career that began and ended before any of us were born. None of us had ever heard of her. Ty hadn’t even heard of her until she passed, leaving her Malibu estate to her rebellious daughter—Ty’s mother. 

His mother hadn’t spoken to his once-famous grandmother in decades, but with his father in prison upstate, and a cancer diagnosis looming over her, she moved Ty into the estate and enrolled him in the nearest school—our school. 

Under ordinary circumstances, Ty would have been resigned to back-of-the-cafeteria oblivion with Zeke. 

But Ty was charming and bold, and instead of shying into the sea of average, he got my attention. And soon enough, he wasn’t just another new kid anymore.

Zeke hadn’t been so bold. We’d grown up together, but nobody knew his mother was famous until his father died. Zeke didn’t come to school for a month after that, but his mother was on just about every talk show, blubbering about the struggles of being a widow, and how she would be retiring from her supermodel career to focus on her son. 

By the time Zeke returned, his mother’s retirement and his father’s death were old news. He didn’t mention it, and neither did anyone else. He just went right back to being as invisible as he was before.

Five years later, his mother married Ike’s father, and he was put on the radar—as Ike’s preferred victim of torture at least.

But it was time to change the context of the spotlight.

I was going to make Zeke my new boyfriend.

“No,” Ty said when I finished telling him my plan. “No way.”

“But he’s not really going to be my boyfriend. It’s just going to look like he’s my boyfriend. You’ll still be my real boyfriend,” I said.

Ty shook his head. “Is he going to know he’s not really your boyfriend?”

“Well, no. I told you what he said at the party. He said he doesn’t want my pity. If I tell him my plan, he’s going to think I’m only pitying him again.”

“Then, no.”


“No, Cami. I’m not okay with it.”

“Ty, please. It’s the only way. And it’s for a good cause.”

“Think about what you’re asking me. I don’t want to see you with anyone else. I don’t want you to be with anyone else.”

“But I’m not really going to be with him.”

“That’s not what everyone else is going to think!”

“Since when did you care what everyone else thinks?”

“I don’t. But don’t you think this plan is maybe a little over the top? Who’s to say Zeke even wants to be friends with any of us? How do you even know if he likes you like that? Or likes girls for that matter? We don’t know anything about him.”

“That’s exactly my point. We don’t know anything about him, but we humiliate him. Why?” I said. “It’s time for us to get to know him. And on the bright side, if he’s not interested in me like that, at least you’ll have nothing to worry about and I can say I tried.”

“But what if he is? Interested, I mean?”

“Then, we get to know him. He becomes one of us, and my plan is accomplished.”

“And just how well are you planning to get to know him? How far are you going to take this?”

I chuckled. “Ty, I’m not going to sleep with him, I promise. You’ll still be my one and only. We’ll just have to be more careful about the time we spend together. Which we’ll have to do anyway. My mother is going to be watching us like a hawk after this morning.”

Ty sighed, and ran a hand over his neck. “What about prom?”

“We went last year. Were you really wanting to go again this year?”

“What about graduation?”

I shifted in my seat. I hadn’t thought about graduation. 

“I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe graduation could be the deadline.”

“The deadline?”

“Yes. If my plan hasn’t worked by graduation, I’ll call the whole thing off. I’ll ‘break up with’ Zeke, and we’ll tell everyone we decided to get back together.”

Ty was quiet for a moment, and I took that as a good sign. It meant he was considering my plan, and I needed him to agree. I couldn’t do this without him.

“I need to think about it. Can we talk about this later?” he asked.

I frowned. “When?”

“I’ll come over after I visit my mom tonight.”

I bit my lip. I wasn’t sure yet whether my parents would be home. Or what their punishment would be for having Ty spend the night in my bed while they were out of town.

“I think it would be better if I come to you. I’ll tell my parents I have a study group. I don’t know how they’re going to react about this morning,” I said, and Ty nodded.


The bell rang, and we got up from the table to clear away our food. Ty walked me to the door of my next class, but before I could walk in, he wrapped me in his arms and kissed me more passionately than usual. I was breathless by the time he pulled away.

“In case it’s my last chance,” he said. “I love you.”

“And I love you,” I said, smiling, my lips tingling.

He gave me a lingering kiss before he walked away, leaving me questioning whether I would be able to handle our fake break-up. Could I really pretend to be with someone else? Could I even pretend to want someone else? 

I didn’t think so.

But I knew I’d have to try anyway.

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