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Discovering Me (Book 1 of Discovering Me Series)

By @ess1223

Transatlanticism - Death Cab For Cutie

[Milo]

I read from my scripts and followed each direction without rebuttal. All of it was forced and it looked it when I watched the playbacks, but none of them saw it as a problem or bothered to ask what was going through my head. I didn’t have any local companions I could turn to for an escape. The ones I had were overseas and time zones made constant contact difficult. Anna and I fell out of touch. She was busy dancing. She didn’t drop a line or send a text in her free time, not even on my birthday. My best friends video chatted me, but she was silent. That stung more than I was willing to admit. I didn’t attempt to engage her, not even to call her out on it, feeling uncomfortable with the fact that the “L” word being exchanged prematurely.

My schedule was packed with activities to rehabilitate my public image. I volunteered — worked in the children’s hospital three times a week, swam a marathon, and assisted with the sea clean-up campaign. I found doing things outside of myself to be energizing. If I had my way, I would’ve added more work and eliminated my press junket appearances. I wasn’t allowed to speak at them. My family was too fearful that I’d say something that would embarrass them. I shook hands with a plastered smile and stood on each of my marks, behaving as instructed. It was suffocating. In the free time I was left with, I went to our beach house. It was my personal hideout, the one place I could run to that felt like mine.

~

On an early August afternoon, I sat on the dock outside the boathouse with my cousin Sal. He was drinking a beer. I stuck to lemonade, knowing I’d be breathalyzed the moment I walked into the palace. I looked out at the horizon, creating ripples in the water with my submerged feet.

“The fact that they say nothing about your hair is ridiculous to me. It is touching your shoulders. They hack at mine the second it’s on my neck.”

He chuckled lightly. “One of many perks of being further down the line. At number three, everyone’s much less concerned about what I do. You will lead for sure. My dad will step up if tragedy strikes before that can happen. The moment you have a child, they will bypass him, making it that much less likely that I will take over.” He shrugged, bringing his bottle to his lips.

“Your girlfriend is very impressive. It is nice to know I’d do well if I went over to America.” He ran his fingers through his hair, pushing the front of it back.

Our genetics were heavy-handed. Both of us looked like our fathers, who looked like their father. Salvatore and I were often times mistaken for twins by foreign leaders we met as a family. We’re only 11 months apart in age. Our hazel eyes, dark hair, tan skin, athletic builds, matching height, and similar features made it easy for others to confuse us when our hair was styled the same way.

I kept my eyes fixated on the water. “You have always been partial to blondes.” I noted instead of directly replying.

“There are not many here. A rare, but beautiful find.”

I rolled my eyes. “Let us disregard personality all together.” I retorted sarcastically.

“You are not with her because she reminds you of Virgin Mary. I bet you cannot even tell me her favorite book.”

“She is not much of a reader, neither am I.”

“Movie, then.”

“What has that got to do with anything?” I deflected.

“Everything. Do not call the kettle black.”

“She can be superficial and insecure at times, but her passion for dance is unparalleled. She did not know of my title when we started seeing each other. It was a great shift from past companions.” I replied honestly.

He looked over at me with a wicked smirk. “She is flexible too?”

I shoved him away as hard as I could with my free arm.

“Drinking and near water; watch it!” He cried in outrage.

“Your reaction proved me right.” He added after settling back into his spot.

I stole his beer and pushed him off the deck. He surfaced immediately and flipped his hair back to get it out of his face. “I have my phone on me, bischero!” He yelled.

He swam over to the ladder and climbed out. He flicked me off before padding down the wooden dock in pursuit of a towel. I put his beer down where he was previously seated. I sipped my lemonade. I stopped drinking and smirked to myself phone when Ladykillers by G-Eazy started blaring from my phone. I picked it up from the dock and brought it up to my ear.

“Discover a new use for duct tape?” I teased.

“Break something that I could’ve salvaged with duct tape?” Ryan retorted with ease.

“No, not today.” I chuckled.

“Good. I’m calling to tell you of our suite assignment.”

“I know it. Warhol 215.”

“I’m talking actual rooms here. I’ve been in our suite before, so I know the layout. Nicky and Finn are sharing a bathroom. They’ll be on the left side. We’re together on the right. I get the bigger room. You get the big window.”

“You are not asking, you are just telling?” I smiled.

“Yes. Don’t act like it’s not the option you prefer. We’re by the woods. You’re into nature and *******

“That was so poetic. I finally understand why the girls at SMA cannot seem to get enough of you.”

“I’m an actor. I know my face and body are my ticket. Why not enjoy the ride?” I could hear the smirk in his voice.

“At least you do not broadcast what you do.”

“I keep it clean and classy – think before and no play-by-play after.”

“You were the reason three relationships ended last semester.” I reminded him.

“They came to me. I didn’t even flirt first. Dylan, Allen, and Lee shouldn’t be pissy about me stealin’ their girls. If they were happy, it wouldn’t have happened.” He retorted as if it were obvious.

“Stay away from Anna.” I warned.

“I’m Team Elle all day, Baby. You dating her is almost too close for me to be.” He scoffed.

“She did not call on my birthday.”

“Be braced for drama, but you’ve gotta dump her as soon as school starts. That’s unacceptable.”

“In her defense, she warned me that she would be busy at the ballet intensive she is attending in New York.”

“She could’ve picked up her phone and sent a text or left a voicemail. A birthday is important. She’s your girl. She’s supposed to care enough to show some effort. You know she would’ve thrown the world’s biggest fit if you forgot hers.”

“You have got that right, but she told me she loved me that last time we talked.” I brought my lemonade to my mouth for a drink.

“Final straw. First day back, go to her suite and cut all ties. It’s gone on long enough. Six months is basically forever.”

“Her claiming to love me is the biggest reason you see for me to end things with her?” I questioned in mild disbelief.

“Dragging it out will make things that much harder for you. You’ll become the tool that used her. Girls talk. Your game will be shot to ****. I’m looking out for you, Miles.”

I smiled. “Who put you in charge of room assignments?” I decided to change the subject.

“I did. I called Nick first. I asked him where he wanted to be, knowing he’s too nice for his own good. He said he wanted to share with Finn. I called him and told him he’d be with Nick on the left side. He couldn’t care less. I saved you for last.”

“All for the biggest room?” My smile widened.

“Eye on the prize. I regret nothing.”

“It is terrible that I miss you.”

“It’s going to be even better this time. You’ve learned the lay of the land. You’ll have a whole year to live it up with us westerners. It’s gonna get crazy.“

“I’ll be counting on that.” I smirked.

I was hard for me to be home under constant surveillance, to feel so misconstrued and inadequate, but I knew in the back of my mind that it was only a temporary state of being. I only had to tough it out until school started. Across the Atlantic, I found where I belonged. I longed for it and the people who enjoyed it with me each moment I was away.

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