Authors: M.L. Young
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblances of characters to actual persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental. The author, M.L. Young, holds exclusive rights to this work.
Copyright © 2014 by M.L. Young
All rights reserved
: This is a serial, and unfolds over three volumes. This series also has alternating points of view. Each volume is 20,000 words, and each volume will be $0.99, but free to read with your Kindle Unlimited membership. Please join my mailing list (link at the end) for release dates, as well as to know when things launch as they happen. I will also update this on my Facebook, with the link below at the end of the volume.
Also by M.L. Young
Table of Contents
ad passed and nothing had changed. I was still hurt, confused, and unable to fathom why things happened the way they did. I kept replaying the sequence of events in my head. I couldn’t get the image of that woman standing there out of my mind, and I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to get over it. I wanted to say that she was nothing like me, that she didn’t even hold a candle to me, but she must have had something good about her to get Chase to pawn me off and dump me for her.
I had stopped crying, but I wasn’t sure if it was because I didn’t care anymore, or if my body just couldn’t produce any more tears. It was like my tear ducts had dried up, and they had no intention of producing more tears anytime soon. It was horrible.
I tried not to get too worked up over it, though, knowing that I had a date soon with Travis. I didn’t know what to think about him, since I hadn’t even met him yet or knew if he’d even be worth my time, but it was nice just to get out, even if nothing romantic came of it. I didn’t have many friends, at least not a ton I hung out with, because our schedules were too crazy to have anything frequent, so just getting out with someone fun was a saving grace that I really needed.
Travis texted me this morning, saying he was happy to see me, and told me where we would be going. It was only the pier area, down on the beach, something I knew Chase would never do. All we ever did was go to nice restaurants, not little beach shacks that looked very questionable in the health department but always seemed to have the best tasting food. Maybe germs and filth did that to food, because the grungiest places were always the best.
I still had no contact with Chase, even though he had contacted me. He tried every day, it seemed like, sometimes even multiple times a day. He hadn’t shown up to my front door yet, but I wasn’t sure he wouldn’t at this point. He seemed adamant about talking to me, about what I didn’t even know. We had nothing to talk about. I didn’t sleep with him, he slept with another woman, and I caught them almost in the act. How do you get yourself out of that? How can you say anything that will make all of that seem okay? I didn’t see a way that would happen.
I guess it wasn’t that it could never happen, that I wouldn’t hear him out or ever take him back, but not now, not soon. I needed more time. We might have rushed into something the last time, getting back together after things seemed bleak and like they would never be healed, and I wasn’t making that mistake again. Time heals all wounds, and right now, mine needed some heavy medication.
Later that night, I left my apartment, the sun still shining but close to setting along the horizon of the Pacific Ocean. I was wearing shorts, not
short, and a white tank with a light pink flowing blouse over top. I wanted something that was casual, yet screamed girly and flirty, if that was even a thing. Nothing too done up, where I’d be wearing some skintight dress, but also something not so casual that it was just like two buddies hanging out, grabbing a few fish tacos. I might not be fully ready to date right now, right this instant, but knowing you’re wanted and that someone likes you was still something I very much wanted and needed right now.
I took the bus down to the beach, the sidewalks and sand both crowded, even though the night was still very young. I looked around to see if there was some kind of concert or event in the area, but saw nothing. I guessed it would just be a night of bobbing and weaving in between the crowds and lines of people. That made it just a little harder to have a conversation or be with the person you were meeting.
I went to the spot Travis told me to be at, right outside a little shirt store that sold things mostly to tourists, who just loved airbrushed beach shirts and ones with the Hollywood sign that you buy and never wear once.
I turned to the right, hearing my name, and saw him walking towards me. He was smiling, his hair dirty blond and shaggy, a light tan on his skin from tons of time spent hanging out on the beach, and bright white teeth that contrasted perfectly against his sun-glistened skin.
“Hey,” I replied, smiling.
After scooting in between a six-person strong family who didn’t have a clue where they were or where they were going, from the looks on their faces, he came up to me, giving me a friendly hug. I liked it. It didn’t feel too forward, pushy, or inappropriate, like it did on my last random date. It just felt…natural.
“Did you find the place okay? I know it’s a little hard to find, but the taco shack isn’t too far away, and I figured this would be the best bet. Besides, you might want one of these great shirts,” he said, pointing to the selection of cartoon character shirts on racks outside the shop.
“I think I’ll pass,” I said, laughing.
“Well, I hope you brought your appetite! You’re really in for something that will totally blow your mind. They’re kind of bad for you, though,” Travis said.
“Bad for me? How so?” I asked.
“You can’t eat just one. It’s like a potato chip, but with a lot more calories,” he said, laughing, flashing his perfectly straight, white teeth.
“You’ll have to show me what’s best,” I said, as we started walking down the sidewalk together, maneuvering around people with cameras standing still.
“Anything for a pretty girl like you,” he said.
I smiled, biting my lower lip a tiny bit as he looked away. We walked another few minutes before coming up on a nondescript little beach shack with a line of people ten strong waiting for their turn to order. It wasn’t a place you’d normally stop at, a place that wouldn’t even catch your attention in an area where shops treated their fronts like billboards, advertising anything and everything under the sun, but I was kind of glad I was stopping here. I always did the same things all of the time, even going to the same places to eat when I actually had the money to go out to eat. A change of pace, especially with how my life had been going recently, was something I needed, and I was glad I was getting it.
As we got to the back of the line, I looked up at the menu that was painted on a wooden surfboard nailed to the front of the building. There wasn’t much there, but somehow, the choice seemed incredibly difficult. Not only that, but they had tacos you could build yourself, rice bowls, and even a couple burrito options. The line was moving, the regulars ordering their same old thing, giving me less and less time to figure out what in the hell I wanted. I started to panic before Travis stepped in, likely seeing how flustered I looked.
“Having some difficulty choosing? That happened to me my first time,” he said.
“Yeah, there are just
many things to choose from. How do you pick?” I asked.
“Well, I would suggest the Wahoo Fish Tacos with cilantro lime slaw. Definitely add guacamole, it makes it much better and less dry, and then pick a side. I usually go with fries. I know it’s weird that they serve these here, but they’re extra crispy, not too salty, and seem to go with the citrus just fine,” Travis said.
“Wow, that sounds great. I never would’ve thought of that on my own,” I said.
“I’m pretty good, what can I say?” he said playfully, before the person in front of us ordered their food and it was our turn.
“What can I get for ya, kids?” the man asked.
He was middle-aged, his potbelly pushing through a stained white wife-beater. He wasn’t exactly the type of person I wanted to see behind a food counter, but if everyone else was ordering from him with no problems, I guessed I should too.
“Hey, Frank. We need two orders of the Wahoo Fish Tacos, add your famous cilantro lime slaw. Definitely add guac, you know how I love it, and give us two orders of fries. Let them sizzle like their lives depend on it, and if you can, give us the dipping sauce on the side. Two bottled waters also to top it off,” Travis said.
I looked on in amazement as the words flew off of his tongue, and Frank hit the little bell on the counter with his spatula.
“You got it, kid,” he said, before Travis handed him money for both of us, even though I was perfectly okay paying for my own.
“You didn’t need to get mine. Let me pay you back,” I said, opening my wallet.
“No,” he said, pushing my wallet away. “I want to get it. You’re awesome, it’s no problem.”
I smiled and we stepped off to the side and waited with the other customers as the orders came in one at a time, in perfect order. There were a few other people in the shack with Frank, cooking most of the food, ours coming up next.
“Here you kids go. See you again soon, Travis,” Frank said, as he flopped our meals on the counter, the bottles of water next to them.
We each picked up our own little cardboard boats of food, the tacos perfectly folded inside the boat with the fries surrounding them like water on the outside. We maneuvered through the flood of people, walking onto the beach, the sand sprinkling in between my toes, as my sandals were now gritty and rough.
We sat down across from one another at an empty picnic table, me facing the water, Travis facing the shops and crowds.
“This looks so good. I can’t wait to try it,” I said, as I opened my bottle of water and took a sip.
“It can be a little messy, so just dig right in. I wouldn’t recommend putting it down, either. It tends to break apart a little,” Travis said, before grabbing one of his tacos and taking a big bite, pushing the contents inside a little towards the other end.
I picked up a taco, the warmth of the fish inside heating up my fingers before I took a quick bite, making sure to get enough of it without looking like a dog with a jar of peanut butter. I might be eating messy food, but I could still look good doing it.
The lime juice and cilantro shocked my tongue, the lightly battered fish flaking and dissolving. The small bite I took tasted like a never-ending orgasm in my mouth that couldn’t be any more pleasurable.
“Oh my God,” I said, covering my mouth, it still full.
“See! I told you! They’re the best fish tacos, hell, the best tacos, anywhere. I’m not sure they even make them better in Mexico,” Travis said.
“Yeah, I think they’re the best I’ve ever had. Granted, I don’t eat many tacos, but still. This is easily in the top five meals I’ve had,” I said.
“So, tell me, what makes such a pretty girl like you looking for something? I mean, you’re cute, sweet, smart, and very down to Earth. That combination’s hard to find, and trust me, I’ve searched. What’s wrong with you?” he asked, smiling, joking around.
“I’m not sure. I guess I’m just undateable,” I said, laughing.
I didn’t want to tell him the truth. I didn’t want to say that I was mending a broken heart and just wanted to get my mind off of a man who really shouldn’t have been there in the first place. I wanted to say all of those things, but I didn’t, and for good reason. I didn’t want to turn him off. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Even if we just were friends, I didn’t want to make things awkward. I wanted to keep it happy and pleasurable.
“Naw, I don’t believe that. I just think you haven’t found the right guy. Maybe you will, though. Maybe he’s closer than you think,” Travis said, smiling, before taking a bite of a fry.
Our date went on without a hitch, and I couldn’t have been any happier. We watched the sunset, talked about school, and just chatted like we’d known each other for years. He had some of the same professors I did, though we weren’t in any classes together. It made me wonder what would have happened had one of us picked a different time for our classes. Maybe we would’ve met a long time ago.
It was past nine, almost time for me to get home before work in the morning, and I couldn’t help but think that I didn’t want this night to end already. I was having such a great time. He was so nice. It almost made me hate having this stupid minimum wage job. It was holding me back from finishing off a nice night.
“So, when am I going to see you again?” he asked.
“I’m not sure. Maybe I need to make it a
hard so I don’t seem too easy,” I said, joking.
“No way. You’re not easy at all, trust me. You’re just…great. I really enjoyed our time together tonight. I’m glad we hit it off,” he said.
“So am I. Tonight was something I think I really needed, and I’m glad I said yes when you asked me out. I’m really glad,” I said, smiling.
Travis didn’t reply. We just stood there on the beach, the sand in my toes, as we gazed into each other’s eyes. The area around us was becoming bleak and bare, most people off to other parts of the city, the light no longer shimmering on the glistening ocean surface.
Before I could even comprehend what was happening, I saw Travis moving in, slowly, not aggressively. He was going to kiss me, or at least try, and I wasn’t sure if I should let him. We’d had a good night, a great night, but the last man to kiss these lips almost ruined it for everyone else after him. I didn’t know that I was ready, but as Travis got closer and closer, I wasn’t sure I could turn away. It was too late. It was happening.
Travis’s lips pressed against mine, his lips soft, his tongue nowhere near mine, before he pulled away, our lips sticking together before they were forced apart, his kiss short, sweet, and incredibly cute. The weirdest thing about it was that I liked it. Maybe that wasn’t so weird, but after all I’d been through, it almost seemed a little crazy.