For Love or Money - Tara Brown

Chapter One

Why do the hot guys always have poor shoes?


My reflection in the bathroom mirror is paler than normal. Cambridge is murder on a West Coast girl’s tan. I haven’t missed the beach more—ever. Considering I am on a coastline, it’s almost ironic. It’s just the wrong coastline.

Nance’s eyes dart to mine like she has something sinister to tell me. I almost want to know what it is as she smears the coral gloss across her perfect pout. She rubs it together before she smacks her lips once and says the thing that was obviously brewing in her mind. “I believe in God, for sure. I know he’s up there laughing his ass off every time I fall for a guy, and THEN it hits me. I remember where I saw his shoes—Costco.”

“YOU went to Costco?”

She looks like I asked her if she went to prison. “My cousins like to go. To them everything bigger is better.”

“Yikes.” I don’t even remember what it was we were talking about before we started applying makeup, but as usual she makes me laugh. In this overly intellectual haven for nerds and pompous assholes that is the most important thing. If you can’t laugh you will cry. The weather is shit compared to LA and the people are too smart for their own good, always trying to argue about everything and be top know-it-all. It’s exhausting.

She is refreshing and she reminds me of every one of my friends back home. She doesn’t try to be anything but what she is—a trust-fund kid whose dad bought her way into Harvard. The best thing about Ivy League dads like ours is them getting us rejects (people who couldn’t get in if we were normal peasants) into the schools they went to. Not only do we have to go to a school we don't want to attend, but we also end up with teachers who put us up to the same standards as our family members.

Nance and I are exactly those types of rejects.

I blink and realize she’s still nattering on. “Remember that kid you dated last spring? Every time I saw him he had on something I swore he had stolen off a homeless man. He was so beautiful but he smelled like patchouli. That just isn’t right—hot guy, hot body, great smile, no money . . . Why? Why can’t we ever have nice things? All the guys in our financial league are out of shape or gross. Yay, you have money now spend some of it on getting that hideous mole removed. Like really.”

“It’s all about balance. We have money, looks, awesome lives—apart from this hellhole, so every sexy guy we meet has to be the balance and be poor or ugly as sin. So either we need to be poorer so we can randomly end up meeting the next JFK or do some good deeds to earn something back from the universe. I read up on this. It’s called karma. If we worked in a homeless shelter or volunteered, we would meet a rich hottie with a killer body. It’s like God would owe us for our goodness.” I’m joking but I can see her adding the sum up in her head.

She points the lip gloss at me in the mirror and nods. “You are so right.”

I narrow my gaze, wondering if she actually believes it, not that it matters. My palms are burning for some action and the girls’ bathroom isn’t the place to get it. I need to party tonight—hard.

Nance smears her second coat on. She’s so addicted to plumping lip gloss it’s frightening, although I do enjoy that tingle too.

“That makes perfect sense.” She’s still going on about the comment I made like she’s stuck on repeat. God to be that clueless, just floating through life. No amount of drugs taken or tests failed has managed to make me that free intellectually. I actually have to work to keep up with her.

I chew my lip, contemplating the fact I have to dump Chad later, as she continues to over process my lame comment. “I need to do some volunteer work. I have the worst luck. Remember Brooklan—that guy I dated who was the quarterback? I was actually faithful to him, only to find out he’s a scholarship kid and his parents have a farm! Like, what? A farm? You’re kidding me right now? No. No. I don’t think so. Gross. I wasted my new European lip gloss on him. You know