Her Best Shot

By: Shannyn Schroeder

Chapter 1

Layla Sharpe held her composure until she reached her car. She looked discreetly over her shoulder and then kicked off her heels and danced in the parking lot. Her pencil skirt rode high on her thighs, and after receiving a few stares¸ she grabbed her phone. Who to call first? Her parents or her best friends?

Her parents would still be at work, so she called Charlie and Felicity on a three-way call. When she had them both on the line and was seated in her car to avoid any more gawking, she blurted, “I had my interview for the summer internship today, and you’re not going to believe this.”

She paused for a deep breath. She wanted to remember the first time she spoke these words.

“And?” Felicity’s voiced wobbled across the line.

“And what?” Charlie said. “We know you got the internship. They love you.”

Layla’s chest swelled with pride. “They offered me a job instead of the internship.”

Her words were met with a high-pitched squeal from Felicity and a “holy shit” from Charlie.

“I can’t wait to tell you guys all about it. You’re both still going to be home for spring break next week, right?”

Charlie answered, “I never left, remember?”

Felicity added, “Well, that was the plan, but don’t you think in light of your excellent news, we should celebrate? I think we should all meet up for a proper spring break. Let’s go somewhere touristy and get drunk and have fun.”

Layla straightened in her seat. Was that really Felicity talking? She would expect partying from Charlie, but never Felicity.

“Okay, who are you? Hey, Layla, are you sure you dialed right?” Charlie asked.

“Yes, she dialed right, smart-ass. Every year we talk about going somewhere and doing something fun. This is our last spring break. After this, we’re all out in the real world. We might be scattered all over the country for our jobs. I heard a girl talking about going to South Padre Island in Texas. Let’s go.”

Layla considered her options. She’d always wanted to drive cross-country on a road trip. This might be her only chance for a long time. “I’m in. I’m going to drive starting right now.”

“Great. I’ll change my flight. Good-bye, Chicago; hello, Texas. What about you, Charlie?”

“I have a con planned for next weekend.”

Layla rolled her eyes. Charlie and her damn comic book/superhero/video game conventions. “So come for the first part of the week.”

Charlie became suspiciously quiet.

“Charlotte, we hear you breathing. What’s going on?” Layla asked.

“I don’t want to take away from your exciting news.”

“Spit it out.”

“I think Ethan has something special planned for this week.”

Ethan. What a jerk. Layla had no idea what Charlie saw in him. He believed her love of computers and games was a strange hobby that she’d outgrow. He had no idea.

“It won’t be the same without you.” It might do Charlie some good to get out of the house, away from games and from Ethan.”

“I know, but you guys go ahead and have fun. I expect you to have my share of fun too. Especially Felicity. Get that girl laid.”

“Hey, that girl is listening. What makes you think I need to get laid?”

Charlie snickered. “When was the last time you had an orgasm with someone other than yourself?”

“Some of us have discriminating taste.”

“Yeah, and some of us are too shy to speak to anyone with a dick.”

“Now, girls . . .” Layla interrupted.

“Whatever, Charlie. Look, I’m going to book us a room. I don’t know how easy it’s going to be since it’s last minute, but I’ll find something and text you the info.”

Layla thought briefly of her bank account. “Make it a cheap room.”

“I’ve got you covered. Consider it a graduation present.”

Felicity was the only one of the three of them who had grown up with money. They’d all met at the same prep school. While Layla and Charlie had been there on scholarship, Felicity’s parents had paid full boat. Felicity was used to being generous with her money. Sometimes too generous.

“I can pay.”

“I know you can. Let me treat you. In return, you can teach me to pick up men.”

Layla felt her smile broaden. “Deal.”

They said their good-byes, and Layla started her car. She’d only packed a backpack before leaving school. She’d spent the night in Maryland to be ready for the interview, but now she wasn’t sure what to do. Should she just hit the road and buy a few essentials on the way, or should she return to school in Boston and pack properly?

All the nervous energy answered for her. She’d change into something more comfortable and hit the road. She had enough packed for a couple of days. She always overplanned that way.

Screw it. It was time for fun and spontaneity. Everything she’d been working toward was within her grasp. Graduating at the top of her class, a sweet job offer working in the field she wanted most, and now a surprise vacation. What more could she ask for?

If she hurried, she could miss rush-hour traffic and log some miles before stopping for dinner. She’d spend the night wherever she landed.

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