But I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
“I’ll go to the beach,” I say, because it’s what I should say. “And check out the hotties.”
“I’m sure you’ll find someone. I mean come on. You’re Gabe Walker, dude. Chicks quiver and get all flustered when you so much as look at them,” Shep says in encouragement.
“I think you’re mistaking me for you.” The girls definitely used to quiver and get all flustered when Shep so much as looked at them. And they want to fix Tristan because he’s so growly and moody all the damn time.
Me? I have no problems with women but I’m not like my friends. And now I’m seriously worried I’m losing game because I fucking fell asleep while kissing a hot girl.
I still can hardly believe it.
“Have fun. Don’t get yourself all twisted up in knots over this girl. There are plenty of other fish in the sea.” Shep lowers his voice. “Hell, I hope Jade didn’t hear me. Gotta go. See ya G.” He ends the call before I can say anything else.
Deciding I need to face the world sometime, I crawl out of bed and head to the bathroom, take care of business and then shuffle downstairs to find my sister sitting at the kitchen counter, eating potato chips she dunks in thick ranch dip.
“Breakfast?” I ask as I swipe a chip out of her fingers, dip it in the ranch and then pop it in my mouth.
Sydney glares at me, but she looks more like a fluffy kitten trying to bear her claws. Her hair is piled on top of her head in this messy topknot and she has no makeup on. She has on a tank top and black leggings and looks more than a little sweaty.
“More like lunch, considering what time it is.” She reaches into the chip bag and pulls out a giant one, which she points at me. “Did you really just get up?”
“Yeah.” I go to the fridge and pull out a cold can of Coke. “What’s the big deal? It’s summer.”
“I’ve been up since eight.”
I turn to look at her, chugging down half the soda before I speak. “So? You want a medal for that or what?” Swear to God we revert to ages seven and ten when we start bickering.
“I went down to the beach.” She smirks. “Saw your crush there.”
I have the can up to my mouth when she says that and nearly spit out the mouthful of soda I just took in. “You saw Lucy?”
Sydney raises both brows. “You know her name?”
“Well. Yeah.” I didn’t tell Sydney I was going over to Lucy’s house last night for fear she could mention it to our parents. But now the jig might be up. “We, uh, talked yesterday.”
“Really? Well, we talked today.” Sydney shrugs and starts munching on chips again, which is really fucking annoying. As in, it’s all I can hear. And she doesn’t say another word, knowing that her silence is driving me crazy.
I finally can’t stand it anymore. “What did you two talk about?” I’m trying for nonchalant but the look Sydney sends me says she doesn’t believe a freaking word I say.
“Definitely not you.” Sydney rolls her eyes and sits up straight. “I don’t know, we chatted about—stuff. Nothing major. Just small talk. We walked along the beach together and then all the way back here.”
I’m blown away. She’s making nice with my baby sister, all the while growing a real hate on for me?
Life just isn’t fair.
“You like her?”
“She’s really nice.” I want to squirm under my sister’s scrutiny. “Do you like her?”
“She’s all right.” I shrug.
“Right. After the way you’ve been stalking her, now she’s just all right.” Sydney laughs. “You’re full of shit, Gabe.”
“Language, Sydney.” I sound just like our Mom, which makes Sydney laugh harder.
I smile in return. “Seriously. She never mentioned me?”
Sydney shakes her head slowly. “Not even once.”
The disappointment that stabs me in the heart is almost polarizing. I’m turning into a complete wuss.
I dug and dug for information about Gabe when I talked to his little sister, making her swear on a giant imaginary stack of holy bibles that she would never, ever repeat to him what I asked. That I even asked in the first place. I don’t want him thinking I’m interested, because I shouldn’t be. Oh no, I absolutely should not be because he is a complete jackass who falls asleep on women when he should be kissing them.
But I can’t help it. I’m still interested. I tossed and turned last night, unable to fall asleep. He was all I could think about. Gabe and his pretty—and very skilled—mouth. Gabe and his big, wandering hands. Gabe admitting that he wanted to fuck me—I have never had a guy say something like that to me before and I should’ve been offended. That’s offensive, right?
No, it wasn’t. It was hot. Hot as fuck.
See, and he’s making me think differently too. I don’t think things are “hot as fuck.” I just don’t. That’s not my style. I work hard, I study hard, I sleep hard. My life is boring but I have an end goal. Get through college, graduate and get a good job. A well-paying respectable job. Then the rest of my life can start.
I didn’t bargain on taking this summer job. It unexpectedly fell into my lap, the opportunity given to me by one of my mom’s employers. They’d been on a spree selling all of their various homes and needed to travel out of the country to take care of some of the homes they had there. The only one they wanted to keep on the west coast is the very one I’m watching.
So who wouldn’t want to spend most of their summer in an expensive mansion in a gated community in Santa Barbara mere feet away from the beach? They paid me a criminal amount of money too. I couldn’t pass it up. The housesitting job is so easy it’s almost embarrassing. I’m not in summer school for the first time in forever and I can hardly sleep, my brain is too filled with thoughts of the hot man who kissed me senseless. My life has been turned completely upside down.
I don’t like it.
I do like Sydney though. She’s sweet. Certain features on her remind me of her brother. They have the same eye color. The same color hair. Their smiles are similar though when he aims his at me, I want to melt. Sydney doesn’t have that certain melting skill, which is fine. I don’t want her to melt me.
I want him to melt me.
Ack, no I don’t. I’m still mad at him. For falling asleep. I’m probably making a big deal out of this but crap. Who does that?
Vowing I don’t really need lunch, I change into a swimsuit—an old one I brought with me, a nice one piece that covers me up completely—and head out to the pool. I’m totally off schedule in regards to the Gabe watching. I don’t care if he sees me. He can suck it. I’m over him.
I’m also a liar.
The wind is strong today, and with it brings a hint of coolness that makes me shiver. I decide to bake in the sun first and then jump into the pool to cool down. I’d already sprayed every inch of my body that’s not covered with SPF—yeah, I’m Mexican and have naturally dark skin, but I can still burn and skin cancer is not on my agenda. Mama laughs at me, claiming how she used to work in the fields when she was a little girl and she’d turn so brown. How could the sun do me any harm, she says time and again.