Authors: Desiree Wilder
Copyright © 2013 by Desiree Wilder. All rights reserved.
First Print Edition:
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.
Table of Contents
I watched Gia
head through to security until she was completely out of sight. I wanted her to stay. I was going to miss her like crazy. She’d been a whirlwind of fun, emotion, and a renewed faith in love to me in the last month.
Now I was alone again.
As I walked back to my car I had tears, not necessarily the sad kind, but the bittersweet ones. I knew Eth
an was going to take care of her. They had an unbreakable bond, a love of a lifetime. I was jealous of him. He had all of her, right down to her core. I wanted to have all of someone, someone like her. She was amazing.
I sat i
n my car, listening to the roar of the airplanes coming and going. Gia was on one of those planes. Unfortunately it was one of the ones going. She made me feel happy. Her fun-loving personality radiated from her even after all she’d been through. Her spirit had never been broken, although she’d carried a heavy load of heartache and guilt. It took its toll on her, for sure, but she persevered and won. What an inspiration she was.
I drove home. I had to get ready for work soon, and wanted to relax for a bit first. I put in a movie to drown out the silence in my apartment as I cleaned up the kitchen.
Gia had wanted to wash our cups and fold up our blankets before she left, but I insisted she leave everything. I knew I’d be lonely and looking for something to do when I got back from the airport. I picked up the pillow she’d slept on the night before. It smelled of her.
My shift at the hotel went smooth considering the somber mood I was in. I got a text from Gia that she’d made it home safely. I was relieved. Again, it was bittersweet, knowing she was home safe, but knowing she was so far away. Every time the elevator stopped on the floor she’d stayed on, I wished she’d be on the other side of the door when it opened, but she never was.
When I got back home I made something to eat and flipped through the channels. I didn’t find anything worth watching, so I put in a movie and tried to relax. As I watched the two people on the screen fall in love, I became hopeful. I wanted so badly to meet someone to fall in love with. Someone available, someone who could love me back, like Gretchen did. Before I met Gia
, I’d pretty much given up on the possibility, but she and Ethan inspired me to become a believer again.
I watched another movie after that one and then decided to get some sleep.
I awoke when my cell rang. ‘Brynn McDonald’ it read on the caller ID.
Wow. Gia didn’t waste any time giving her my number.
I was nervous when I answered.
, Sean,” she said. “I hope it’s okay, Gia gave me your number and I was wondering if you’d like to get together sometime. Maybe we could grab some coffee or cocoa or something?”
, knowing Gia had probably told her to say that. She sounded sweet and shy. “Sure, that sounds good. I just woke up, but I could meet you in an hour.”
I’m not doing anything else today, why waste time?
“Um, in an hour? Okay,
I can do that.” She was hesitant.
We decided on the bistro outside the hotel. I think she was surprised I’d suggested we meet so soon, but I was curious about her and I wanted to do something new and different. I hadn’t been on a date in a long time. I wanted to start dating now.
I stood in front of the mirror after I’d showered and shaved and took a good look at myself. My dark brown hair needed a trim so I added a bit more product and mussed it with my fingers. The last couple of trips to the beach had really tanned me and that new work-out I’d started with my buddy from the hotel a couple of months ago added to the definition in my chest and abs considerably. It made me feel good when Gia had told me I was hot and I hoped Brynn would find me attractive, too. I walked in front of my closet and wondered what I should wear. I normally dressed somewhat preppy, but since I’d met Gia and went to the Hairball show, I’d purchased some ‘bad boy’ clothes. I put on a pair of good jeans and a polo shirt. I didn’t know if I was comfortable enough with my new look to wear it to meet Brynn for our first date.
I was about ten minutes early, so I grabbed a table on the sidewalk and waited for Brynn.
I didn’t know a lot about her, having only been around her for a short time while she was in therapy with Gia, so I was anxious to sit with her one on one and get to know her better.
, Sean.” She approached me from behind.
I stood as she came around the table. “Hi
, Brynn, how are you?” I pulled out her chair. She was prettier than I’d remembered. Of course, I was focused on Gia when I’d seen her, so I didn’t notice anyone else. She had jean shorts and a pink Nike tank on her tiny figure and I could tell by her golden tan that she spent a lot of time outdoors. Although she was small, she looked very fit and I knew she worked out. Her blonde hair was long and straight, shiny almost, and when she took her seat, the breeze blew through it, pushing the sweet vanilla scent into my nostrils.
“I’m good, thanks. How are you?” Her voice was small and soothing, but I noticed a bit of nervousness in it.
“I’m good. Thanks for calling. I hope you were okay with meeting so soon. I have the day off and didn’t have any plans.”
“I was surprised, but in a good way
.” Her face turned pink. “I didn’t have any plans for the day either.”
came and Brynn ordered hot tea and a veggie omelet, saying she hadn’t had time to eat breakfast before she came. I hadn’t had time, either. “Make that two,” I told him.
“So, Gia tells me you’re going to be a therapist?” Brynn said.
“Yeah.” I nodded. “One more year until graduation. How ‘bout you? What do you do?”
“I’m a dancer
.” She looked down, like she was embarrassed. I thought that was odd.
“Really? That’s interesting, what kind of dancing?” I wondered if she was in the new
musical I’d seen advertised lately.
The waiter brought our tea and she thanked him as she quickly poured the water over her bag. “Um, well, I dance at
a place called Sashay. Have you heard of it?” She didn’t look up.
It sounded familiar. I thought for a moment. “I think I went to a bachelor party there once. Isn’t it a strip club?” It dawned on me. “Are you a stripper?” My eyes were big.
She hung her head even more, but I made out her nod. Shit, she thought I was judging her, but I wasn’t. I was just shocked when I’d realized it. I reached my hand across the table and put it on her forearm.
“Brynn, I’m sorry. That came out wrong. It took me by surprise, that’s all.”
She slowly looked back up to me. “It’s okay. I’m used to the way most people react. I didn’t know how you’d take it, but Gia said you’d be non-judgmental.” I smiled at her. She seemed so quiet and shy. I’d never have guessed her for a stripper.
“Well, Gia was right. People judge me sometimes
, too,” I told her. “They have one idea of me when I say I work in an elevator, and yet another when they find out I have money. I can’t win!” I chuckled and it made her smile and visibly relax a bit.
“I’m glad that’s out of the way,” she said. “It’
s just a job, a very well-paying job. It enables me to live on my own and save for college, so I’m prepared to stick with it full time for at least another year.”
“You’re going to school? In a year?” I couldn’t imagine having to do something you were ashamed of to put yourself through school.
This is one tough girl.
er face lit up. “I’m going to be a teacher.” Her little shoulders hunched as she beamed.
I smiled at her enthusiasm. “G
ood for you, Brynn. ‘The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book.’ I heard that somewhere once and just seeing you giddy about your future as a teacher reminded me of it. I’ve no doubt you’ll be one of those.” How refreshing it was to watch her excitement. She reminded me of myself when I’d decided to become a therapist.
“I love t
hat. Thank you.” Her eyes were glassy as she quickly looked down at her tea.
Our omelets came, breaking up the awkward silence. I felt I’d touched on something persona
l maybe. She’d sparked my curiosity to know more about her. She was interesting and I wanted her to be comfortable around me. I decided to lighten things up.
“Do you want to go to the beach after breakfast?” I asked her, remembering
the story about her and Gia having fun there on their group outing.
“Sure!” She smiled and nodded. “I’ll have to run home and get my suit and things.”
“I could follow you home and then drive from there,” I suggested.
“Oh, I don’t have a car,” she shrugged and took a
tiny bite. “I took a cab over.”
“Okay, well, I’ll give you a ride to your place to get your stuff then.” I needed to stop assuming things with her. She was unlike the stuck-up, sn
obby girls I was used to being around at school, and I didn’t want to make her feel ashamed or judged.
“Sounds good. T
hanks, Sean.” She pushed her hardly touched omelet away.
She insisted on buying breakfast since she was the one who called me. I hated that idea, but could tell she was going to be upset if I fought her, so I
caved. When we approached my car, she looked up at me with wide eyes.
“You drive a Corvette?”
I nodded and opened her door. “You’re not judging me, are you?”
.” She shook her head and slowly got in. She acted as if she was afraid she’d touch something and break it.
I hopped in, buckled up, and watched as she very gently pulled her strap across her and
snapped it in. Then she put her hands in her lap and smiled at me before she looked forward. “Are you comfortable?” I asked her.
“Yes, thank you
.” She looked the opposite.
“Brynn, is something wrong? You seem very uncomfortable right now.”
She let out a breath. “I’m sorry.” She shook her head. “I didn’t realize how out of my league you were. Maybe we should skip the beach.” She seemed disappointed.
I was surprised. “Do I make you uncomfortable?”
“No, you’re sweet. I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”
If you don’t want to go, then that’s okay, I’ll give you a ride home, but I’d like to spend the day at the beach with you. I think we should get to know each other better before we decide which league we belong to.” I felt bad that she’d convinced herself I was too good for her because I drove a nice car. I wondered what her story was, why she was in therapy.
“I’m sorry. You’re right. I have some self-esteem issues I’m working through.” She took a deep breath and smiled. “Let’s go to the beach.”
I smiled back. “Good! Now, where do you live?” I started my car and backed out of the spot.
“Northside, by the old theater. Parkside
Apartments.” She watched my expression.
“Yep, I know the area,” I told her, not letting on to the fact that I knew it wasn’t a very safe place for a young single girl to live. When we pulled into a space, I turned off the car and got out, which seemed to surprise her.
“Did you want me to wait in the car?” I didn’t want to overstep my boundaries.
“No, it’s okay,” she said, convincing herself.
I glanced around, wondering why there were so many people who seemed to be just hanging out. Some of them looked at me, then back at my car, then back to me. I reconsidered waiting in the car, but then Brynn, who was suddenly walking with a newfound confidence, looked over at them.
“He’s with me, leave it alone!”
she hollered. They nodded. I smiled at her, impressed by her toughness all of a sudden. I followed her in and up the creaky stairs to her apartment on the second floor. I watched as she used two different keys to open two different locks, one on the handle and one deadbolt.
When she opened the door, it was a whole new world than
in the musty, dusty hallway. A sweet smell, the smell of her hair earlier, escaped from inside and filled my nostrils again. I followed her in and looked around while she went in the other room to change. Everything was very neat and tidy, clean. The furniture was dated, but in good shape, and placed just right in the small space to make it seem comfy, not cramped. Her little kitchen table was yellow Formica, with only two chairs, and held a little vase with three yellow flowers in it.
Her kitchen consisted of a small one compartment sink, refrigerator half the size of mine, and small stove with
a little yellow tea kettle on it. It was spotless, everything, and I wondered if she ever cooked. There were a few books on her coffee table, and that was it. I didn’t see any movies, CDs, games, computer, or even a TV! I wondered if she had one in her bedroom.
“Ready!” She was all smiles as she emerged from her room wearing the same outfit she’d had on, but I could see the strings from her bikini top tied behind her neck. She looked sexy, sexier than I’d considered earlier. She was growing on me.
We found a spot on the beach and I spread out the blanket I always kept in my car along with a pair of swim trunks.
Brynn pulled off her tank and shorts and laid down on it while I went up to the bathroom and changed. We sprayed each other with the sunscreen she’d brought and I silently wished it would’ve been the rub on kind instead.
“Last one in is a monkey’s uncle!”
she playfully yelled as she tossed the sunscreen on the blanket and took off for the water.
It made me laugh and I took off after her. She was fast and ran into it until it was deep enough to dive into, which she did, expertly. I followed and we laughed when we finally came up out of the water.
“I thought the last one in was a rotten egg,” I told her.
“Well, you lost, so
I’ll give you your choice of which you’d like to be.” She was cute as she waited for my answer.
“Okay, I guess I’ll be a monkey’s uncle
.” I splashed her and it turned into a water war. She was a lot of fun. We played until we were tired and decided to get a drink and relax on the blanket for a while.
“Two strawberry smoothies,” I told the vendor at the window.
“Mmm,” Brynn said as she sucked her straw. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” I told her. “Thanks for coming. I’m having fun with you.”
“Me too.” She gave me a shy smile. We sat on the blanket and watched the waves as we made small talk and drank our smoothies. It was nice, learning some things about her. She was twenty-three years old, loved to swim and do all sorts of outdoor sports and activities, didn’t own a TV or a computer, just recently got a smart phone and learned to text, loved to bake and listen to rock ‘n roll, had never been to a live concert, and had a tough home life growing up. She didn’t open up much about that last part, but I didn’t expect her to, having only known each other a short time.
I told her
I was twenty-nine and also loved to swim and enjoy outdoor activities, but unlike her I was addicted to technology. I loved watching movies and that I used the internet daily. I told her I listened to rock ‘n roll also and that we should go to a concert together sometime, and although I didn’t bake, I loved eating baked goods, so she should feel free to bake for me anytime.
ever been married?” she asked.
“No, but I was engaged five years ago. My fiancé was killed in a car accident and I’ve just recently, in the last year or two, started living again,” I told her.
“I’m sorry, Sean,” she said as she put her hand on my arm. It felt really nice.
“Thanks,” I told her. “Would you like to have dinner with me tonight?” I was enjoying her company.
“Unfortunately, I can’t. I have to work. What time is it, anyway?”
“Four o’clock,” I told her after I checked my phone. “What time do you have to work?”
“At eight.” She stared at the ocean. “Do you ever just want to make time stand still?”
“You’re enjoying the beach?”
nd you. You’re very enjoyable also.”
“Do you have to work tomorrow?” I wanted to see her again, soon.
“No. I have Mondays and Tuesdays off,” she answered.
“Would you like to do something with me tomorrow?”
“Yes.” She gave me a beautiful smile and I wanted to lean in and kiss her, but I didn’t. I was nervous and I think she was, too. I’d wait until tomorrow.
“Good. What would you like to do?” I was excited.
“Um, I don’t know,” she shrugged. “Why don’t you just plan something? Surprise me.”
“Okay, I can do that. Do you want to swim again before we have to leave? Last one in is a
turkey wrangler!” I took off for the water. I could hear her laughing and it was a beautiful sound, musical almost. She was getting tired and it took her a while to swim out to me.