Where the Lake Meets the Shore

Where the lake meets the shore, there's a tree. Look up and that's where you will find me. I never thought though, that a stranger would find my place, but when he does, that's when everything changes.


In the part of the park where nobody goes, that's where you will find 20 year old Katie Mason. As she enters her third year at NYU, she seems to have the perfect life, perfect friends, and an all around perfect world. Enter Michael Clark, the new transfer student from down south. Charming young Katie with his southern charm, she just can't help but be lured into his grasp. He might just be the one person she needs to open her up to the harsh reality of the perfect life she believes to have, and sends her entire world into the perfect tailspin.


3. ~Chapter 2~

I wake up to a searing pain spreading all across my brain. Groaning, I look around and realize I'm in one of Carly's many guest bedrooms, laying face down on the cushy bed. Too bright... I think to myself, swiftly shutting my eyes again to block out the harsh white sunlight. Finally, I open up my eyes and slowly push myself up out of the bed, causing the whole room to spin and sending my stomach into flips.

Once the room finally stops spinning around me I stand, noting the marvelous smell of coffee wafting up into the room and follow it, slowly stumbling down the stairs into the kitchen. I look around and still see bottles and cans laying pretty much everywhere on the floor. "You know, we have to clean this shit up before your parents get home, right?" I say, directing my question towards Carly, who just groans in response from where she lays her head on the table. At the counter stands our friend Brandon, who seems to not at all be hung over. Brandon also just so happens to be the 25 year old roommate of Carly's parents who is very much into the many parties Carly throws when he is 'keeping an eye on the place' while Carly's parents are gone.

"We will deal with that in good time" He says and hands me a cup of black coffee; the best cure for a hangover.

"Oh you angel" I mumble and take the coffee from him, sliding into a chair across from Carly. "How are you not hung over right now?" I ask him, actually struggling to keep my own head up.

"Unlike some people, I only had one drink last night" He smirks at me. Brandon barely ever drinks. I'd say I'm the same but given the condition I'm in right now, that would be a major lie. "By the way," He says, turning to Carly. "Where's Matt?" He asks, getting nothing more than a muttered groan that sounded like something along the lines of 'bed'. He simply nods and turns back to me. "How much did you have last night?" he asks.

Flinching from another sharp pain shooting through my skull from his words, I finally manage to reply. "Way too much" I mumble.

Suddenly Carly's head shoots up and she looks directly at me, apparently remembering something important enough to rid her of all hangover symptoms. "I saw you with Jack last night, anything happen between you two?" She asks me, excited curiosity evident in her voice.

I vaguely remember losing Jack in the crowd shortly after meeting him. I didn't see him after that so I'm assuming he went and hooked up with someone. "Wasn't my type" I simply say, sipping the last of my coffee and sighing because of it being gone. "I think he wanted a hookup but you know that's not really my thing" 

"Ugh Katie, you need to lighten up a bit" Carly says, leaning her head back down on the table.

I roll my eyes at her. "Sorry if I don't feel like sleeping with the first guy I meet at a party, Carl" I say to her.

Just at that moment, Matt walks in. "What's so wrong with that? It's how Carly and I met" He says, walking over to Carly, sitting in the chair next to her and pulling her into his lap. "Isn't that right, babe?" He asks her.

In response she leans up and starts making out with him right there.

"Guys, get a room" Brandon says in disgust, turning back to whatever he's making for breakfast while Carly and Matt finish their make out session. "Are you staying for breakfast, Katie?" He asks.

Just the sound of the word breakfast sends my stomach into a knot. "No thanks, I need to be going home actually" I mumble. "Maybe I can hide this hangover from my parents and take a nap"

"Whatever you say" Brandon replies, flipping an egg onto a plate and setting it down in front of Carly and Matt. Carly almost instantly turns green and runs for the bathroom down the hall with Matt chasing after her calling out her name. "Oops, I forgot that she's worse hung over than you are" He says, chuckling and taking the plate for himself. "Would you like a ride home?" He asks me.

"No thank you, I need the fresh air I think" I say, standing up.

"Cool" He says, pulling me in for one of his classic bear hugs. "Don't be a stranger!" He says when I pull back again.

"I never am" I laugh and leave the house, not bothering to say goodbye to Carly because in my current condition, the sight of vomit makes it a whole lit worse. I pull out my sunglasses the hangover glasses as Carly calls them, and start walking through the bright sunshine.

As I walk my head begins to spin again. I soon find myself in the park near my house and in a clearing looking up at a tree. My tree. It's a tall, beautiful maple tree that's been here for as long as I can remember. Since it's only April, the leaves are just starting to bud out and soon it will be back to it's beautiful lush green colour. At the base of the tree, just a few feet away, there's a calm little lake. Even on the windiest days the lake water laps up against the shore in the most peaceful way. I pull off my shoes and wade through the cool water, letting the coldness radiate up my legs and soothe me. I then look up towards the tree towards my branch and begin to climb. Finally when I reach the branch I sit back and let my back lean up against the thick trunk it's attached to and look out across the lake, willing my hangover headache to disappear.

After what feels like no time has passed, I feel my phone vibrating in my lap. Looking at the display I see that it's my mother calling me. "Mom? What's up?" I answer the phone.

"Katie, where the hell are you? It's almost 5 in the afternoon!" Mom replies, anger in her voice. 5 in the afternoon?? I must've fallen asleep up here. I think to myself. "When do you plan on coming home?"

"Sorry mom, I was on my way but got sidetracked" I reply through the mouthpiece. "I'm heading home now" I say quickly, rubbing my eyes under my sunglasses.

"Yeah, I hope so. See you soon" She says and quickly hangs up the phone.

I throw my phone back in my bag and look down at my clothes, quickly noticing that I never changed before leaving Carly's house and I'm still in the exact outfit I wore out of the house yesterday. How am I supposed to explain this one away?

I begin climbing down the tree and am about halfway down when a voice from below loudly calls out, "Hey!". Startled, I let out a scream and accidentally lose my footing, causing myself to come tumbling from the trunk. Instead of feeling the expected pain that comes from falling out of a tree and onto hard ground, I feel myself being caught in someone's arms.

I look up at a male face looking down at me, causing me to let out another scream and leap out of his grasp and onto my own feet. "Who the hell are you?!" I shout at him, backing up away from the guy. He looks to be about my age, and I must say, he's quite attractive.

"I should ask you the same thing" He says, beginning to let out choked sounds of laughter. "What's someone like you doing up in a freaking tree?" He asks, not even trying to hide his amusement at my obvious fear of him. He has a subtle southern accent, like he's from somewhere in the Carolinas.

"Someone like me? What's that supposed to mean?" I ask, crossing my arms across my chest.

"Well, given the way you're dressed, I'd assume that you're too well off to be making a tree into your home" He smirks, looking at my outfit up and down.

I look down at what I'm wearing. Most of the clothes I have on come from Forever 21 so I wouldn't say I'm ultra rich, like what he's suggesting. Looking back up at him, I speak, "You know it's rude to make assumptions about people you only just met 3 and a half minutes ago" I say sharply.

"Hey," He begins, raising his hands up in front of him. "I was just going based on observation. So why were you in that tree anyway?" He asks again.

"It's really none of your business, but if you need to know, I was sleeping off a hangover" I reply, once again crossing my arms across my chest. "Why are you here?"

"Interesting place to sleep off a hangover in my opinion, but whatever" He shrugs, letting out another chuckle. "I'm here because, as you can see, this is in fact a public park that anyone can walk through" he states, answering my question. "So what's your name, tree girl?" He asks me.

Tree girl?

"I prefer not to give my name out to random arrogant men who walk through the park and interrupt my alone time" I say, rummaging through my bag for my phone again.

"Well in my defense, it's not everyday that you see a girl climbing out of a tree after sleeping off a hangover" He says. "You did literally fall on top of me though, so I think I at least should know your name, you know, to be courteous" He says simply.

"Courtesy isn't in my vocabulary, I'm sorry" I say. "I really need to be going home now" I say, beginning to move forward to push past the boy.

"Whatever you say, tree girl" He says, using the nickname he's apparently given me, making me cringe. "My name is Michael, in case you were wondering" He says.

"I really wasn't, but thank you" I say, finally pushing my way past Michael to go home.


I finally stumble through my front door, out of breath from running from the park. I really need to get  back into shape, I think to myself as I try to catch my breath. The running has also caused my head to start absolutely pounding again. Pulling off my sunglasses I walk down the hall to the sitting room where my parents sit watching Etalk , the celebrity news show that my mom absolutely loves, and my dad can't stand but likes spending the time with her. For the first time in weeks they actually look slightly normal. Dad must've been off today.

"Hey guys" I say, trying not to wince as I plop down on the chair across from them, making my brain feel like it's shaking.

Dad is the first to speak. "Where have you been? And why do you reek of booze?" He asks me sharply.

"I had a little too much to drink last night, and on my way home I stopped at the park because I was feeling dizzy and ended up falling asleep" I say simply and he nods. I'm so glad I have an open enough relationship with my parents that I can tell them these things. "Where's Morgan?" I ask, trying to turn the subject away from me.

"Out with Melanie" Mom replies. "They're spending the day at the mall and then tonight they're staying in and watching movies" She says to me. Right, movies. When Morgan gives mom the BS 'staying in to watch movies' plan, that actually means they're about to sneak into another club and she won't be home until tomorrow afternoon.

Suddenly the remote slams down on the coffee table and my dad has a wild look in his face. "Why would you change the subject like that?" He says to me sharply. "You know how we feel about underage drinking" He says and I just look at him, shocked. He's never gotten this upset with me before after one of Carly's events. My mom looks at him with the same shocked expression on her face, jaw hanging down.

"Dad, I'm sorry, but--" I begin but I get cut off again by him standing up and over me.

"No excuse, Katie. If you ever come home this hungover again, you're never leaving this house" He shouts down at me, making my head feel like it's being used as a drum with every word.

Mom lets out a shout of shock. "Dave! You cannot say that to her, she's 20 years old for God's sake" She shouts at him. By this point the loud noise has my brain screaming for relief from the sounds that pierce through my skull.

"I don't give a shit" He says, "She should know better. You're being way too lenient on these kids!" He shouts back at her, turning to face her. 

"Katie go to your room please and get changed for dinner" My mom says to me, her voice getting eerily calm and I take that as my opportunity to sneak past dad and towards my room.

Once I reach my room my stomach ties in a knot and I race to the bathroom that connects mine and Morgan's rooms together and let everything out into the toilet, leaving a horrible burning feeling in my throat and a sour taste in my mouth. I pull away from the toilet and lean up against the wall, thinking about how sharply my dad spoke to me. This was the first ever time he's ever reacted in this way to me drinking at Carly's parties.

After what seems like hours of vomiting up last night's 'fun', surprised that I managed to hold it in all day, I crawl to my bed and curl up, exhausted, under the blankets. Before I have another thought I find myself once again blacked out.

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