Authors: Brittney Coon
Breaking Down Sydney
A Sydney West Novel, Book 2
By Brittney Coon
Breaking Down Sydney
Copyright © 2016 by Brittney Coon.
All rights reserved.
First Print Edition: May 2016
Limitless Publishing, LLC
Kailua, HI 96734
Formatting: Limitless Publishing
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.
This is for anyone who has felt broken.
Know that you are never alone.
Table of Contents
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“I don’t know how much longer I’m going to live, Sydney!” Amelia sobbed, clinging to me in the middle of the hallway as if I were a life raft. She was acting like she was lying on her deathbed.
A sigh escaped my lips. “You’re going to be fine. How about you go down to the corner store and buy some junk food?” She hugged me closer, trying to press me into her body. “People are staring at us.” I held Amelia by the shoulders, attempting to get her to calm down. “Get some candy and ice cream. I’ll finish unloading the truck. Then we’ll watch movies and get fat, okay?”
After we left California, she melted into a puddle like a chocolate bar left in the hot sun. Her emotions were out of sorts. All she could do was cry. The summer spent with her hunky surfer Hunter did something to her. He was more than a summer love. He was the guy who captured her heart. Cupid poisoned her, and there was no cure. What she had was lovesickness, and she had it bad.
“Just go get some junk, then come back here and unwind. We don’t need to unpack today,” I said, staring into her puffy eyes.
She gave me the briefest of nods. “How can you be so strong, Syd? Aren’t you as torn up as I am about leaving your heart in California?”
That was still up for debate. Did the pieces left in my chest count as an entire heart? A wise person would say no sane person falls in love during a season. No, you’re overcome with the feeling of love, but you’re not encased in it, though the Greeks and Romans would beg to differ.
I licked my lips, delaying my answer. “You can’t let a boy ruin your whole life, Amelia. If it’s meant to be, it will be.”
She wiped her tears away with a tissue. “There you go again, living off those quotes you spew. Can you honestly live a life off of quotes you get from the Internet?”
“Why not?” I grabbed one of her bags and nodded toward the doorway. “Let’s move everything inside.”
“Fine. I guess I can buy food to fill the hole left inside me,” she said, following me into the room with a suitcase in hand.
Amelia’s hazel eyes were darker due to all the tears. She took some money out of her piggy bank, which was dressed up as a princess, and went down to the store, leaving me to bring up the rest of our stuff since we’d cleared the hallway.
None of the boxes were giving me trouble until the big one labeled books came along. I thought I had it, but it had me. I tripped over the curb and fell right on my tailbone. It was going to be bruised and ache for weeks now.
“Need help, Syd?” a familiar voice asked.
I looked up and found my study buddy Oliver smiling down at me. The boy was a sweetheart who sadly had a taste for men. It was a shame because I loved his strong jaw and high cheekbones. His hair was frosted and combed back like a model’s. There was always a spark in those brown eyes of his. When I first met him, I wished to have his lips on my body, for his bronze-skinned hands to caress my porcelain breasts. The entire fantasy fell apart when he introduced me to his boyfriend.
“I’d love some help,” I said, giving him a friendly grin.
He offered me a hand and I accepted. Oliver pulled me to my feet and felt it was his duty to fix my hair. It made me feel uneasy to have a male friend obsessed with my hair like a mother with her child. I took the time to brush off my jeans before lightly swatting away his hand.
“That’s enough grooming for one day, Mom.”
He laughed and ran a hand down his perfectly ironed shirt. “Sorry, didn’t mean to mess up your mane, Simba.”
The Lion King
mention. It reminded me of Jason and the time I fell asleep on him while watching the film. Not to mention the sweet song request at The Organ Pizzeria.
To get the image out of my head, I kicked the box with the heel of my shoe. “Damn box.”
“I’ll take this since it was giving you trouble.” His lip curled up at his comment.
“I see that smile of yours,” I said, balling my hand into a fist. The box was my enemy, and Oliver was taking its side.
“Wasn’t trying to hide it.” He winked at me. Oliver was, hands down, the class clown of his high school. No one needed a yearbook to know that.
I ran a hand through my hair and went to get the next box. It was filled with movies and heavy, but I didn’t need to be Hercules to carry it inside.
By the time all the boxes were inside the dorm, Oliver’s boyfriend, Greg, appeared. He brought in the last box, which was filled with sheets and towels.
“Hey, I’ve missed you,” Oliver said, kissing Greg on the lips after he placed the box near the bookcase.
They ended their kiss and Greg patted me on the back. “How was your summer? Meet any yummy guys?” he asked, wiggling his eyebrows. Oddly enough, I enjoyed chatting about boys and fashion with them. They were almost experts.
Normally I came back with a smart-ass answer. Something like, “There were too many to count,” or “They all blurred together.” They both knew I was somewhat of a slut when it came to summers in Malibu.
My lips parted, but no words came out. How could I explain my summer to them? How could I summarize Jason King? What would I say? That he was the only summer boy to make me question love’s existence? No, I could never explain that. I’d need hours and many drinks to get the words to string together.
Greg nudged Oliver’s shoulder with his. “Speechless. Can you believe it, Oliver? Our Sydney is speechless.”
A blush burnt my cheeks. Oliver cupped my chin, studying my scarlet face. “My, she’s blushing. What happened in California, ma chérie?”
To escape his hold, I moved away, leaning my back against the peach wall. “It’s a long story,” I muttered, turning my head and using my hair as a curtain to hide behind.
“We have all the time in the world,” Oliver said, eyeing me head to toe, as if my secret was written on my skin.
With a turn of my head, I looked at Greg. His nose was a bit too long and sharp for my taste and his high-pitched voice clearly stated he wasn’t into girls. What I liked about him was his black hair. It was so thick and curly. At times I wanted to grab handfuls of it and kiss him just so I could feel his hair between my fingers.
I brushed back my hair and looked up at the small crack in the ceiling. “You two don’t want to know what happened to me. It’s full of heartache and fluff. It would only gag you.” I tried to act like it didn’t matter.
Greg waved off my words like I never spoke. “Please. You’re confusing us with those dick-headed guys who only want to get into your pants.”
Oliver nodded, standing next to Greg. “We are nothing like them. We actually care. Now spill the beans or you’re never leaving your dorm again.” They stood as a living wall, blocking the front door.
I remoistened my lips. “Where to start? The beginning is too messy and has nothing to do with the moral of the story.” I searched the darkest corners of my memory and couldn’t find anything I could tell my friends.
What if what I told them changed how they saw me? I didn’t want to be seen as a lovesick fool, like Amelia.
Oliver’s eyes lit with excitement. “Start with what made you blush. Who were you thinking of?”
I felt myself blush again, and they smiled like devils.
They could know some of the details about the summer, I suppose. After all, my heart was still in my chest and not left in California, like poor Amelia’s heart was. I knew this because mine ached.
“Fine. I’ll tell you, but swear to me neither of you will breathe this to a soul.” I gave them my best glare, trying to look tough.
They both crossed their hearts. “To the grave,” Oliver stated.
“All right, the summer started off normal. I partied and picked out which boy was to be my toy for the night. Amelia wasn’t into it.” I shrugged before continuing. “It wasn’t until we were surfing that it happened.”
“Wait,” Oliver blurted and grabbed my wrist. I was taken to the loveseat and they sat on the couch across from me, leaning in. “Okay, go on.”
I gave them a long look before going back to the story. “Amelia had the idea to have these guys give us some lessons on surfing tricks. It worked. The two guys were happy to teach us some moves.”
Greg giggled. “I bet.”
I glared at him. “No interrupting.”
“Sorry,” he mumbled.
“Where was I? Oh, yes, so Amelia got a guy named Hunter to help her. He was tall, thin, and had sandy blonde hair.”
They nodded anxiously, waiting for me to move on to myself.
“His friend was named Jason. He was tall, but not as tall as his friend, and had muscles that made you bite your lip. Looking into his eyes was like falling into silver storm clouds…” I looked down to my shoes, embarrassed to talk about Jason and what happened between us.
Greg fake coughed, making me look up at them. They exchanged a knowing look, making my stomach twist itself into a knot.
“So what happened?” Greg asked. They were both sitting on the edge of their seat, as if my tale was some kind of thrill.
I toyed with a strand of my hair. “He wasn’t that into me at first, but I won him over and had my way with him.”
They smiled wickedly. “You then did the old vanish routine before dawn on him, didn’t you?”
The strand of hair was wrapped tightly around my fingers, making them tingle. “Yes. I did, but you’d never believe what he did in return…”
Both their faces went blank. They waited for my answer as if it were bread and they were starving.
My fingers turned red and pounded as if they had their own heartbeat. I released the strong hold on my hair and said, “He wanted to win me back. He hounded me for a while, saying there was something about me.”
“I can’t take it anymore. What happened when summer ended?” Oliver said a bit too loudly.
A smile curled my lips. “We kissed, like a true couple kind of kiss. I may have fallen in love with him, but it was too late. By the time I thought I could have only one boy, it was time to come home, back to reality.”
Everything spilled out of me. The memories were too raw, and my tongue let them escape. I hugged myself, wishing Jason was around to warm the chill in my blood. I told them about how Jason charmed me, slowly winning my heart. I told them everything, from stealing Scooby-Doo at the fair to when he whispered he loved me into the shell of my ear.
They both frowned. It stung to see melancholy faces in stereo. I stood and went over to the window. It was a floor to ceiling window that overlooked the main street near campus. We were five stories up, so my view was pretty damn good.
“Syd, that was a one-of-a-kind story, and I’m sorry it didn’t work out between you and this Jason person.” Oliver came to stand by my side and held my hand.
I squeezed his fingers. “Jason said we’d stay in touch and we’d see each other during the holidays, but I don’t know. I don’t believe relationships can survive distance, especially new ones.”
Oliver brought my hand to his lips and gave it a gentle kiss. “In time, you’ll meet the right guy. It takes time to meet your ‘Greg.’”
“Oh, you,” Greg said from across the room.
Every bit of my heart hurt. At first the pain was dull, but then it turned into a burning sensation. Was it turning into stone, wanting to numb itself from the agony? Jason was so far away, and to see Greg and Oliver’s love up close and in the flesh made me miss Jason’s embrace more than I thought I ever would.
I placed my hand over my heart, half wanting to claw the damn thing out and be done with its pain. “I think I’m going to lie down and relax. I’ll get everything in order later. Amelia will be back soon with ice cream.”
“Are you sure? We can stay if you don’t want to be alone,” Oliver said, releasing my other hand.
I wrapped my arms around my torso and dug my fingernails into my skin to make me think of anything else but Jason. “I appreciate it, but I don’t want to dampen your spirits. Go on and be happy.”
Oliver brought me into a hug. I rested my head on his shoulder and wished to heaven and back that he was Jason.
Greg gave me a hug too before they were both at the door.
“Don’t hesitate to call or text. We’re here if you need us,” Oliver said.
“Thanks, that means a lot to me.”
Before long, they were gone. It was as if they were only figments of my imagination. If I had any energy, or wanted to be pathetic, I could go to my window and watch them cross the street. They’d be super small, but I’d be able to tell it was them. After all, they were the only guys I knew who dressed to impress.
Sitting on the couch was mind-numbing. My temples pounded, threatening to explode and paint the walls red.
Amelia came into the room with a few bags. “I’m back with a feast.” She held up the plastic bags for proof.
“I see. What kind of ice cream did you get?” I walked to the desk she’d placed everything on.
She took the cartons out of the bag. “Rocky road, and for you, cookie dough.”
“Yes! I love you!” I dug through a box for bowls and spoons.