Ouch. That sucks. I had to stay in California. Knew I couldn’t get a full ride and without it, I can’t afford the out of state fees. “So what are you going to do?”
Sydney finally comes to a stop and I’m so relieved I almost fall over. I’m trying to be good with this brand new exercise regimen I came up with to distract me and it’s so hard. Like extremely hard.
Especially when all I want to do is wallow in bed and reenact what happened with Gabe and I last night. Talk about a mess…
“I’m going to community college for the first year and then I’ll transfer.” The look of misery on Sydney’s face is unmistakable. “One more year with my parents and then I’m free.”
“Are they that bad?” I ask gently. I glance around the mostly deserted beach, wondering where everyone is. Considering it’s barely past eight in the morning, I figure a lot of them are still in bed or already at work.
Sydney actually snorts. “They’re worse. Didn’t my brother tell you?”
I keep my face purposely blank. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Please.” She rolls her eyes. “You fell prey to his charms. You all do eventually.”
I can feel myself visibly bristle, my imaginary feathers ruffled like a pissed off bird. “I didn’t fall prey to his charms.”
“Oh no?” She raises a brow, her lips in this little smirk that reminds me of Gabe.
I breathe out a heavy sigh. “Fine. Can we take a break from all this running stuff and talk about it?”
“Talk about how you did my brother? Ew, no.” She shakes her head and I start to laugh.
“I didn’t do your brother. And I need to rest. Running sucks.” I plop down on the sand, wishing I had a bottle of water.
Sydney sits next to me, her knee nudging against mine. “Are you serious? So you didn’t hook up with my brother last night?”
This is mortifying. I don’t want to confess the whole truth—hello, I’m a virgin—but I don’t want her thinking I had sex with Gabe either. Or worse, I don’t want her knowing I offered myself up like some sort of strange sacrifice and he didn’t take me up on it. Instead, he walked out of the house like I announced I had an STD or something.
Talk about weird. And humiliating.
“I didn’t,” I tell her, scooping up a handful of cool sand and letting it sift through my fingers. “I think I scared him off.”
“Nothing scares my brother off. If he set his sights on you, he won’t give up until it happens,” Sydney says assuredly.
“And when you say it, what exactly are you referring to?” I brace myself, waiting for her answer.
“Listen.” I turn my head to meet Sydney’s gaze. She sounds so serious. Looks it too. “He’s a total player. So if you’re looking for someone to fool around with, he’s your man. If you want something serious, then I’d say run. I like you, Lucy. So I’d say run regardless. Gabe is kind of a jerk.”
She means well but I can’t help the prick of pain that needles my heart. He was never a jerk to me, not really. He was fun and nice. He seemed interested. Very interested. I’m the one who blew it by telling him the truth.
I should’ve never told him either. Who blurts out they’re a virgin like that? I don’t really know him that well yet I lay all the heavy stuff right out on the table. Making him run.
Sydney must sense something in my silence, or maybe the look on my face. Who knows? But she’s realized quick that it can’t be good. “He’s already hurt you somehow, am I right? It’s only been a few days since he finally got up the courage to talk to you. Did you know he’d been watching you for almost two weeks?”
“Yeah.” I shrug, feeling stupid. Disappointed. That had been fun, knowing he was watching me. Putting on the show. I liked having rich boy’s eyes on me. More than that, I liked having rich boy’s hands and lips on me too. “It’s best that nothing really happened.”
“Totally.” Sydney reaches over and rests her hand over mine briefly. I flick my gaze up to hers, smiling at her. It’s nice, having a friend. She’s a few years younger but I like her. She’s nice. Funny. Her only fault is how effortless she makes all this running around look. Yeah, I sort of hate her for that but…
I can forgive her.
“So what you said earlier.” Sydney releases my hand. “You mentioned being rejected. Are you saying that my brother is the one who rejected you?”
I nod, not wanting to speak. Afraid I might sound all choked up or something stupid like that. I need to get over myself. Need to get over the fact that he seemed so in to me then turned around and let me sink like a stone. I haven’t seen him since. It’s been two days since that fateful night and I haven’t even so much as caught a glimpse of him outside or anything.
It’s weird. And eerie. Where could he be? Hiding from me? Why should he care?
“What happened?” I open my mouth to speak but she waves her hands, like she’s warding me off. “Never mind. I don’t want to know. Too many details will freak me out.”
“There’s no naughty details, trust me.” I give her a brief rundown, omitting a lot of it. Like the making out and groping details, along with the I’m-a-virgin admission. Which means I told her what happened in about one minute’s time.
“And then he just walked out? Are you sure you’re telling me everything?”
“Everything that’s important.” I stand, brushing the sand off my butt. “Let’s go back. I’m getting cold.” A lie though the wind is strong this morning so Sydney might believe me.
“Whatever.” She stands as well. “It’s cool if you don’t want to tell me everything. I get it. He’s my brother. I don’t want to know everything either.”
“Right. Um, thanks Syd.” I smile at her. “For letting me vent.”
“No problem. Let’s try and meet every morning, you know? It’s good for us.” She starts walking, already far ahead of me and I trot after her to keep up.
“Only if you promise to slow down and take my non-exercising ass into consideration,” I call after her.
Sydney laughs and I can’t help but smile in return.
Even though I mean every word I say.
I’m at some shitty country club dinner with my parents. The same place we went a few nights ago when I met that girl. The one Mom tried to match me up with. Audrey is her name. Young, pretty, blonde Audrey, who smiled and laughed at all my jokes while batting her false eyelashes at me. Who tried to grab my thigh not just once but twice and I wondered at one point if she was really going for a dick grab.
I immediately put her out of my mind because of Lucy. I wasn’t interested in Audrey. I wanted Lucy. But now that I know about her virginity status and I rejected her offer of a summer fling sans intercourse, I can’t focus on Lucy any longer. She’s off limits. Not for me. I need to find someone else.
The entire night we flirt. We joke. We drink. Heavily.
She hangs all over me and my parents don’t even care. They’re in their own little world and besides, I’m with a girl that has earned their seal of approval. I could probably pop her tit out and show it off to them like a prize and they’d clap their hands and say, “good choice, son.”