Escape Bubble cover

Seventeen-year-old Zax Banovic was tall, gorgeous and smelled like citrus with a hint of musk. His sandy blond hair, mesmerizing blue eyes, and kissable lips complemented his athletic body perfectly. Leighann DaCosta, like many other girls at Westwood Academy, got an eyeful when he ran out of the boys’ locker room in his underwear chasing some girl down the halls of Westwood Academy. Leighann blushed when she saw his ripped abs, tight ass and generous package filling out his heather gray CK briefs. Since then, he frequented her dreams a million times, but instead of chasing after another girl, he ran to her, pinned her up against the lockers and ravaged her.

In reality, Zax represented the other half of Westwood Academy’s super couple…

Kristin (The Bod) Newman was the lust object of every boy at Westwood Academy. She was the school’s tennis champ and well on her way to going pro. Girls hated her, not because of her killer legs or the way she rocked her tennis outfits, but because she was dating Zax Banovic. They were the Brad Pit and Jennifer Aniston (pre-Angelina) of Westwood Academy. Together they were known as ZaxTin. Together, Zax and Kristin were sickeningly perfect. They walked the halls of Westwood Academy cooing at each other, totally wrapped up in their own universe.

Zax was the first boy who had taken Leighann out on a date. She was so giddy with excitement that she didn’t realize that he’d only ask her out to make Kristin jealous. Their second date (pre-Kristin) was cleverly orchestrated by Zax’s bratty sister, Adriana, who used Leighann’s crush on him as a bargaining chip.

Leighann opened her locker and glanced at the locker next to hers. The locker, which now stood vacant, once belonged to Adriana Banovic. Despite her prickly personality, Leighann missed her, and the school wasn’t the same since she’d gotten expelled, or ‘transferred’ as they were calling it. Adriana was interesting to watch, she had a way of twisting things to make it work in her favor no matter how wrong it was. Leighann admired her confidence and fearlessness as much as she admired her style risks. Adriana wore what she wanted, when she wanted, and however she wanted. Her style was copied by several imitators that had popped up since her expulsion ‘transfer’. The students of Westwood Academy seemed to have a weird love-hate obsession with her. Even though they missed her, no one ever dared come out and admit it.

When the bell to Math class rang, Leighann’s stomach churned. She hated math and failed every test that she’d been given. She desperately needed help, but was too ashamed to ask. When Mr. Wells, the Math teacher, returned her test results, once again he asked to see her after class. Leighann was used to their talks, and while Mr. Wells did his best to help her with extra lessons, it took too much of his time. This time he presented her with a possible solution; the Give Back Program. He explained that the graduating seniors of Westwood Academy who excelled in a particular subject would volunteer to tutor juniors who were struggling in their area of expertise. The program had a 100 percent success rate, and he believed that the success was because students learned better from their peers.

“The list of juniors waiting to get in the program is very long, and we have more juniors waiting to get in than seniors willing to tutor.”

“What are my chances of getting in?” Leighann asked hopefully.

“You’re in,” Mr. Wells replied happily. He had already enrolled her, knowing that she wouldn’t object. He suspected that she wanted to do well.

Leighann was thrilled. She thanked him profusely and received instructions to meet her tutor at the east campus library after school.

 

Leighann waited outside of the library, where the other juniors were gathered. One by one they paired off with their respective tutors and disappeared. She prayed that her tutor would be patient and wouldn’t make fun of her because she was a slow learner. Leighann often wondered if she had a learning disability. All her life she’d had to fit her academic schedule around her music career, and this was her first foray into institutionalized education.

At the age of ten, Leighann won her first Grammy, and since then, she’d had a career that most fifteen-year-old girls would kill for. But she wasn’t happy and longed for a life outside of stardom. With the support of her sister/confidante, she resigned from the music business at the height of her career and faced scathing backlash from the press, the record label, disappointed fans and especially her mother/manager.

Leighann’s quest for a normal life began when she moved to California to live with her sister, L’Wren. She enrolled in Westwood Academy of Higher Learning, the Rolls Royce of high schools in California and possibly the country. Her father was an alumni, and recently she’d found out that her mother was as well­—even though her mother never graduated. Leighann was determined to graduate and possibly go on to college like L’Wren. The thought of that excited her, but she doubted herself. What if she couldn’t cut it? What if all she could do was sing and play instruments? Could she go back to the industry that she’d shut the door on? The thought of that sent shivers down her spine.

Almost twenty minutes had passed, and all the tutors and tutees were paired up. Leighann began to wonder if she had been stood up by her tutor. What if her tutor had found out that they were assigned to her and opted for someone else? Leighann’s heart sank. She wanted to prove to her mother that she was good at something other than singing and performing. Her mother had beaten it into her brain that she would never amount to anything other than a singer, and Leighann began to wonder if she was right. Maybe she should drop out of school and beg the record label for another chance. Her songs were still on the charts, and maybe it wasn’t too late. Leighann left the library disappointed.

“LD!” she heard a familiar voice call out, and footsteps running behind her. She froze; only one person on the planet called her LD.

Oh God, please don’t let it be … she prayed, then turned around.

“Sorry I’m late. Basketball practice went a little long,” Zax apologized.

His eyes … those eyes … mesmerizing, seducing, enticing … pulled her in.

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