The Secret Diamond Sisters

By: Michelle Madow

“The little one was more my type,” Damien answered. “And she looked the most innocent. Which makes her the most interesting.”

“Whatever,” Madison said again, focusing on the screen in front of her. She’d burned 150 calories working out, and she’d eaten about 400 so far that day, which equaled a net of 250. If she was careful during dinner she should be able to stay under her maximum calorie goal of 800 a day. She would have to watch what she drank tonight, as well. Alcohol had calories, too—about 100 calories per glass of wine, to be exact. Not that Madison liked being wasted. Acting like an idiot and doing things she would regret wasn’t her style.

She upped the incline of her workout, the muscles in her legs burning, and grabbed the bottle of ice water in her cup holder to take a sip. Damien watched her every movement. Their flirting was always playful, but Madison suspected if she wanted to take their friendship to the next level, he would jump on the opportunity. He was probably saying that stuff about the Diamond sisters to make her jealous.

The explanation satisfied Madison. No way would she let his comments affect her. Besides, at least having Damien around didn’t make her feel as terrible about Brett Carmel’s rejection a few weeks ago.

Her feelings for Brett didn’t make any sense. Her friends thought he was a major loser. They were right, but ever since she’d tutored him in biology last semester, she’d known he was different. His deep forest-green eyes always made him appear to be thinking about something important, and while she would never admit it to anyone, she was intrigued by the way he blew off everyone at Goodman to hang out with his public-school friends. He was always talking about an indie movie or local band they were going to see—activities that Madison’s friends would never dream of attending. It was like a foreign world, and hearing Brett talk about it made her curious about what it would be like to not worry about being photographed in the same outfit in too short a time span, or to not feel like she had to constantly entertain the people around her. She had mastered maintaining a perfect balance of being exciting, funny, charming, confident, inclusive to her friends, and exclusive to those who couldn’t keep up with them. She loved having that control, but it did get exhausting at times.

Before meeting Brett, she never would have considered going for an outsider like him. But the way he’d looked at her two weeks ago at Myst when they’d made out for practically the entire night—it was like he’d really cared about her. Like he’d thought there was a possibility of more between them.

Then again, he’d been drinking that night. The next day he’d told her he wasn’t interested in her as more than a friend, since they had too many differences to make it work, and that they should go back to the way things were before.

Too bad Madison didn’t agree. How could he ignore the chemistry between them? His resistance only made her want him more, and he would be at Myst tonight, so Madison would find a way to capture his attention.

Energized by her determination, she picked up her speed on the elliptical. She’d never had a problem getting guys to notice her. Why should it be different with Brett?

“Madison?” Damien’s voice snapped her out of her thoughts.

She tried to push Brett from her mind. “Yeah?” she said, doing her best to look cheery.

“You seem upset. What’s going on?” Damien’s face softened, and Madison’s heart twisted in guilt. Why couldn’t she want him instead of Brett?

“Nothing.” She smiled and shook her head, making sure to appear untroubled. “Just figuring out what to wear to the Fourth of July party tonight.”

“Very deep thoughts.” Damien chuckled, his eyes roaming up and down her body. “You’ll look great in whatever you pick. You could wear what you’re wearing now and you would still be the hottest girl there.”

Madison glanced at her gym clothes and scrunched her perfect ski-slope nose in a way she knew looked cute. Okay, she was more than aware that the tight black shorts and pink sports bra showed off her curves. And she totally wore stuff like that when she worked out with Damien because she liked catching him admiring her. But she would never wear it to a party—especially not one at Myst. She needed to stand out in a good way. No guy she was interested in had ever turned her down, and she wouldn’t let Brett be the first.

Damien slowed his machine and came to a stop.

“Ending your workout early?” she asked.

He picked up a towel and wiped sweat from his forehead, messing up his dark hair. “The Diamond sisters are most likely in their condo right now,” he said. “I might as well stop by and introduce myself. See if they want a tour of the building...”

Madison’s grip tightened around the handles of the elliptical. Why was she getting upset about Damien’s interest in those girls? Damien went from girl to girl all the time, and she had never given it a second thought. No matter what girl he was with, he’d made it clear he would drop them if Madison wanted to take their friendship to the next level. Which she didn’t. So she had nothing to be jealous about.

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