Authors: M.H. Strom
Tags: #romance, #girl, #love, #coming of age, #inspirational, #faith, #sex, #sexy, #young adult, #young love, #novel, #teen, #ya, #first love, #edgy, #boy, #falling in love
M. H. Strom
Copyright © 2009, M. H. Strom, all rights
“You wanna play?”
“Yeah, okay.” I didn’t really but these girls
were pretty cute, especially the blonde one.
“Throw the rings over the Eiffel tower.” The
blonde girl pointed to the miniature Eiffel behind her. “You get a
French treat for each one you get over.”
Her hand brushed mine as she handed me the
rings, and I glanced up into stunning blue eyes. She turned away,
and I traced the shape of her sleek, young body, my eyes lingering
on the gentle curve of her hips and butt. I blinked and
concentrated on the model Eiffel. I didn’t wanna make a fool of
myself in front of these girls.
I threw the first ring, and got it over. Both
girls cheered and I almost laughed at their enthusiasm. I tried to
focus again but was too hurried this time and missed.
“Ohhh that was close.”
“Come on, you can do it.”
I threw the last ring, and the girls cheered
again. I couldn’t help but grin at them. I wondered what my French
treat would be.
A French kiss?
The dark-haired girl held up a tray with some
kind of tart on it and a bread stick with a French flag toothpick
stuck through it.
I took my prizes. “You made these?”
“Yeah.” She smiled.
. . .
it’s good.” I stood there eating, not wanting to move away just
. . .
how come you’re
doing this beach festival?”
“It’s a camp activity. It was Lizzie’s idea
to do a taste of Paris.” The blonde girl glanced at her friend,
then smiled at me with such natural ease, her pretty face blooming
I glanced at the dark-haired girl I presumed
was Lizzie. She looked plain now compared to her friend.
“That’s cool. So you’re camping here?”
“Yeah, with our parents.” The blonde girl
smiled with such unguarded friendliness it took my breath away. “We
come here every year.” Her lips were a soft, natural pink. “It’s a
family camp.” Her long, golden hair shimmered as she combed her
fingertips around one ear.
“What about you?” Lizzie, asked, distracting
me from my stare.
“Uh, I live here. My parents own the
convenience store up the road.” It sounded lame, but oh well.
. . .
I looked at the pretty girl again as Lizzie
continued to talk. When she fell silent I realized I hadn’t heard a
word she’d said, and now she was looking at me expectantly.
“Um, yeah,” I said, non-committal-like.
Lizzie smiled. “Me too.”
“I’d love to live near the sea.” The pretty
girl looked into my eyes then glanced away, a slight blush coming
to her cheeks. The skin of her throat down to her neckline was so
smooth it shone with reflected sunlight. “It’s beautiful here.” She
looked again into my eyes, and this time she held my gaze. I was
shocked at how pretty she was. We were just staring at each other,
and I knew I had to say something, but the conversational part of
my brain had stopped working. I swallowed.
“You wanna play?” Lizzie called, looking past
me. I turned to see a young boy approaching the booth, and stepped
back to give him some room. The blonde girl gave me a wistful
smile. I flashed her a smile, turned and walked away.
I was on an adrenaline high, it was such a
rush talking to a pretty girl like that.
I wonder how old she
I started replaying our conversation in my head, inwardly
groaning that I hadn’t even said one semi-intelligent or witty
thing the whole time.
I turned, and my heart jumped. She was right
there behind me.
“What’s your name?” She asked.
. . .
She grinned. “I’m Joanna.” She stood there
for a moment, just looking at me. “Well, it was nice meeting you,
Zach. Hope I see you ‘round some time.”
. . .
She whirled and danced away before I could
say anything else.
I stood watching after her. She
really was something to look at.
The next day, full of nervous energy, I
jumped the fence and took a shortcut through the campground. I
could hear the noise of the festival through the trees, and caught
a whiff of popcorn and hotdogs, reminding my stomach I hadn’t eaten
yet. I came out into the wide-open blue of sparkling ocean
stretching to the horizon, and joined the festivities on the
Various stalls and booths were set around a
stage area, where a small crowd had gathered to watch a
performance. I wandered past them to the booth with the painted
backdrop of the Eiffel tower and the words ‘Taste of Paris’
scrawled above it. She wasn’t there, only Lizzie sitting on a
“Hi, where’s Joanna?”
“She went somewhere with her parents.”
“When’ll she be back?”
I decided to stick around a while and wait
for her. I leaned up against the booth.
Lizzie smiled. “She likes you, ya know.”
“Yeah, she talks about you.”
I smiled. “How old is she anyway?”
“Fifteen, same as me.”
Fifteen? She didn’t look that young.
Lizzie gave me a sideways look. “Why? How old
“I’m eighteen.” I watched her face for a
reaction, but she just looked away.
“Hi!” A bubbly voice said behind me.
I swung around to see Joanna with a beaming
smile, obviously pleased to see me. She was wearing a dress with
string straps, showing off her smooth, tanned shoulders.
“Hi,” I said, suddenly self-conscious.
“We were just talking about you.” Lizzie
“What were you saying?” Joanna looked from
her friend, to me, and back again.
“Oh, nothing,” Lizzie teased, and I
Joanna tried to frown at us, but couldn’t
hold her expression long before breaking into a big grin. “Hey, you
wanna go to the games room with me?” She looked right at me,
waiting so expectantly for my answer that for a moment everything
seemed frozen in time.
“Okay,” I said, breaking the spell, and she
We walked through the campground, the girls
leading the way. Joanna danced around me as she talked, spinning in
front of me and walking backwards, then spinning around again. She
was so excited
. . .
Man, what am I doing? This girl’s way too
young for me. But we can still hang out and have some fun, right?
We’ll just be friends.
We came to a building, and Joanna grabbed my
arm, pulling me through the side door. Arcade games lined the
walls. There was a lounge area where some teenagers were playing
cards, and in the middle of the room was a ping-pong table. A group
of kids of various ages stood in line beside it.
Joanna followed my gaze. “Ins and outs. You
“Sure.” I was pretty good at table
The three of us got in line, and it wasn’t
long until it was my turn, as an older boy was getting all the
little kids out. He’d met his match with me though, and I quickly
dispatched him to the back of the line. The little kids cheered,
glad the boy was finally out. I looked at Joanna, who was next in
line. She gave me a big smile then pushed Lizzie ahead of her. I
“Be nice. I’m not too good at this,” Lizzie
I gave her a gentle, loping serve, and she
managed to hit it back a couple of times before she got out.
Joanna took the paddle from her. “Be nice to
I served her a nice, easy one, which she
smashed back at me, low and fast. I tried to get to it but the ball
flew past me. I looked at her in amazement, and she gave me a big,
cheeky grin. I laughed, shaking my head as I went to the back of
I watched her while I waited for my turn. She
was nice to the little kids, giving them easy shots they could hit,
but not so generous with the older ones, especially the boys.
She was still in when it was my turn again,
and I soon got my revenge, smashing her loopy serve. She made a
face at me, poking out her tongue as she went to the back of the
A real camaraderie soon developed among our
little group of players. We teased each other with silly banter,
and I sometimes lost to the younger kids just to make things
interesting for them. I was enjoying hanging out, giving them
high-fives and encouragement. I kept glancing at Joanna, and I
noticed she was looking at me a lot, too.
I started showing off, acting like a
professional tennis player, keeping light on my toes and grunting
as I returned the ball. I did big tennis-like serves, throwing the
ball into the air and whacking it as it came down. I was enjoying
myself and getting laughs, especially from Joanna, the crazy girl
was giggling at everything. When I played her again, she beat me.
She laughed at my exaggerated expression of shock.
Other kids in the room had noticed how much
fun we were having, and the line became so long the people at the
end could sit on the sofas in the lounge area. I went and sat down
on one of the love seats and was soon joined by Joanna herself.
She’d lost to a little kid and everyone was teasing her about it. I
wondered if she’d lost deliberately so she could come and sit with
A little boy nudged me, “Hey, you’re sitting
next to a girl. That means you must like her!”
“Yeah, she’s my girlfriend,” I joked, then
glanced at Joanna. She was blushing, but she grinned back at me.
She didn’t seem to mind that the boy was loudly telling everyone
what I’d said.
When Lizzie got out again, she came over and
whispered something to Joanna.
“Hey Zach, we have to go.” Joanna gave me a
cute, little pout.
“It’s okay, I better get going too.”
Some of the younger kids begged us not to
leave, even pulling at my arms to keep me there, but most of them
decided to quit along with us, and the game looked like it had come
to an end.
Joanna was waiting for me by the door. “That
“Yeah it was. We should do it again
“How ‘bout tomorrow?” She grinned.
“I could meet you here after five?”
“Okay.” She nodded and smiled.
I walked home feeling light and happy. Joanna
obviously liked me, and I liked her. She was pretty, and funny, and
. . .
pretty. I couldn’t wait to
see her again.
The next day, after I got off work, I headed
over to the games room. As soon as Joanna caught sight of me she
broke into a beautiful smile, and I couldn’t help but smile too.
This girl just had a way of making me feel so good. Lizzie wasn’t
with her this time, in fact there was hardly anyone in the games
room, and no one was playing ping-pong.
“Where is everyone?”
“I don’t know, there’s no paddles, but I
found this under the chair.” She held up a ping-pong ball. “You
wanna play with me?” She grinned.
“Yeah, just use your hands.” She giggled.
It was actually a lot of fun. The ball didn’t
travel as far from our hands, but it made it over the net and was
easy enough to return with a good slap. Joanna was giggling a lot,
and I soon caught her mood.
“Sorry I’m being so crazy.”
“It’s okay, I like you like this.”
“You do?” She giggled.
We stood there grinning at each other.
“Let’s play a proper game.” She slapped the
ball at me.
We played a game up to 21. Lizzie came in and
watched us while we were playing.
“You guys wanna go to the beach?”
“You want to, Zach?”
I didn’t want to. I was having too much fun
with Joanna all to myself.
“Let’s keep playing for a while.”
“Okay.” Joanna smiled at me, then gave Lizzie
her cute, little “sorry” pout.
Lizzie slumped onto the couch. “When are you
guys gonna be finished? I’m so bored.”
We kept playing for a while, but it wasn’t
the same with Lizzie there—Joanna wasn’t giggling anymore, the mood
I sighed. “Alright, let’s go to the
We hopped over the hot, white sand and found
a place to sit. A couple of guys came and joined us, and Joanna
introduced them to me. One was Matt—blond, tanned, and muscular.
Her friends didn’t seem to mind me being part of their group.
“Let’s go swimming,” Joanna said, looking at
me. She got up and pulled her t-shirt over her head, revealing a
light-blue bikini top underneath.
Whoa! Is she really only
“Come on.” She grabbed my arm to pull me