I was going to make this the worst date he’d ever had. He pulled his car out of the circle drive and I silently seethed.
The twins showed up a few minutes later and we spent half an hour primping in my bedroom before climbing into their little VW Bug and following the rest of the community down to the pier.
The four guys we met were waiting near the entrance, looking just as dangerous and sexy as I’d remembered them. The one guy, I think his name was Carlton, flicked a cigarette down into the sand and ground it under his foot. Another kid, named Mark wrapped his arm around Kat’s waist and pulled her close. Krystal stepped closer to the cute black guy, and I was left facing a flirty kid named Jeremy who had his hat turned backward.
I’m sure Jeremy would have totally been my type of guy, except that images of Brandon clouded my vision. I needed to try harder.
“What does your hat say?” I asked, reaching around Jeremy’s back. He took the opportunity to wrap one arm around my waist while I was so close. His arms were strong, like he lifted weights, but gentle like he didn’t want me to be afraid of him. It worked. I melted into his arms as I turned his hat around to reveal the Pittsburgh Steelers logo. “Do you play football?”
“I used to play football.” His sultry voice was close to my ear and his breath hinted that he’d spiked his bottle of Coke. A tiny thrill shivered up my back and I wasn’t sure if it was in relation to my mother’s warning to be careful, or my own desire to experiment with danger. I chose the latter.
“What’chu drinkin?” I asked in a voice low enough for only him.
“You ask a lot of questions, don’t you?” He raised his eyebrows and smirked, but seductively twisted off the cap, one arm still wrapped around me so that I was locked into the cage of his arms.
“Are you answering my question with a question?” I gulped but raised my brow right back at him.
“See, another question.” He pulled me just a little closer and handed my his now-open bottle of Coke.
I sniffed then bravely took a swig. I wasn’t sure what it was, but it paired well with the Coke. I licked my lips as I looked him in the eye. “I kinda like it.”
“There’s more where that came from,” he said.
“Does that mean you’re willing to share?” I asked.
“That depends on what you’re willing to share.” His voice was husky.
“Jeremy, you are exactly what I need tonight.” My thoughts immediately turned to Brandon and how easily this could work to my advantage in making him jealous.
“I’ll take that as an invitation,” Jeremy said.
“Guys,” Krystal called from behind me. “Let’s go ride some rides and play stupid carnival games.”
I grabbed Jeremy’s hand, and followed my friends into the midway. I can’t deny I was constantly scanning the faces to find Brandon but focused my primary attention on Jeremy. I flirted with him relentlessly and stole his Coke bottle frequently.
We wandered from game to game, wasting the guys’ money trying to win a stuffed animal. The guys didn’t seem to mind.
Too soon Jeremy’s bottle of Coke was empty, and he handed it to Carlton, who always seemed to have a cigarette in his hand or his mouth or tucked behind his ear. He wasn’t chain smoking. More that he needed a pacifier. Most of the time the cigarettes weren’t even lit. Whether it was a coincidence or not, he was the only one of the four friends who didn’t have a girl on his arm.
“Will you go grab me another Coke from the cooler in my car?” Jeremy pulled his car keys from his back pocket and placed them in Carlton’s hand.
“Sure thing.” Carlton’s voice was less gruff than I thought it would be. He sounded like he was probably a nice guy. Jeremy on the other hand was danger personified, and I liked it.
“That kid’s dangerous,” I told Alicia. “I can tell.” We were just settling into the sticky vinyl seats of the Scrambler and I locked the handlebar in place.
“Who?” Alicia turned to see where I was looking and lowered her brow. “That guy your little sister is hanging all over?”
“Yeah,” I said, craning my neck to catch another glimpse of them as the Scrambler shifted in their direction. It gained speed with each turn and I could no longer see them. “She’s not my sister.”
“That’s good to know.” The sarcasm dripped from Alicia’s statement as her body pressed up against me from the centrifugal force of the ride. “Because the way you’ve been staring at her all night, it seems more like she’s your girlfriend.”
I focused my attention on my date. “Her mom asked me to keep an eye out for her, that’s all.”
“Oh, you’ve been doing a great job at that.”
“I’m sorry I made you feel that way.” I pulled my hands free from the handlebar and wrapped my arms around Alicia. “I’ll try to pay better attention to you.”
“Thank you, I appreciate that.” Alicia rested her hands on my arms, pulling herself even closer to me. As the ride gained momentum, it was more difficult for us to talk and I just held her. Alicia felt good in my arms. It had been a long time since I’d held a girl.
When the ride stopped I fought the urge to look around and search for Sammy. I helped Alicia down from the cart and continued holding her hand as we walked out of the gated area.
I needn’t have worried about searching for Sammy because we ran right into her when we stepped into the midway.
“Well hi, Brandon,” Sammy said. Was she slurring her words? “How are you liking your date with Alicia?”
“I like her just fine, thank you.” My eyes strayed to Sammy’s hip where the punk kid had his thumb tucked into the belt loop on her jeans. I drew my gaze up to his face and he smirked. I looked back over at Sammy. “I thought you said you were just hanging out. This looks a little more like you’re on a date.”
“What are you, my father?” Sammy asked. “We’re just having a little fun. Right, Jeremy?”
“Right.” The guy had the nerve to wrap his arms around her from behind and pull her back against him. “A little fun.”
“Brandon,” Alicia said, pulling gently at my arm. “What do you say we let them have their fun and we’ll go ride some more rides.” I let her hand slide down and wove her fingers together with mine.
Just as I was about to turn away, another punk kid with a cigarette tucked behind his ear walked up to our group and tapped Jeremy on his arm then handed him a Coke.
Sammy reached for the Coke and took it from Jeremy’s hands before he even had a chance to open it. The cap twisted open with ease, without the telltale hiss that always happens when the cap is twisted off a new bottle. Sammy took a long swig then wiped her mouth with the sleeve of her sweatshirt. Jeremy took the Coke from her and took a long drag before twisting the cap back in place.
“What are you drinking, Sammy?” I asked, my temper near the boiling point. Alicia squeezed my hand, but I ignored her.
“It’s just some Coke.” Sammy actually batted her eyelashes at me.
“Yeah, right,” I grumbled.
“Come on, Brandon.” Alicia pulled me away and I didn’t fight her this time. What else was I going to do? A little voice at the back of my mind reminded me that Sammy’s mom had asked me to watch out for her. I obviously wasn’t doing a very good job.
So much for Brandon watching out for me. He just walked away with Alicia and I narrowed my eyes. Jerk. He didn’t even care what happened to me.
“You want some more Coke,” Jeremy interrupted my seething thoughts as I watched Brandon walk away. With his arms around me, Jeremy turned me slightly so that I couldn’t watch Brandon and Alicia anymore. He twisted the cap off again and handed the bottle to me. I took a long swig as he kissed my neck.
An excited thrill ran all through me and I wasn’t sure if it was from the alcohol in the Coke, or the dangerous boy who was trying to seduce me. I turned my head so that my lips met his and he responded immediately, deepening the kiss in a way that told me he knew what he was doing. I wanted more of that feeling.
He released me from the kiss as if teasing me with what was to come. We trudged after our friends, who were now several booths away, completely oblivious to the conversation with that other guy and his date. Brandon, I reminded myself. His name was Brandon. I couldn’t remember what that girl’s name was.
I stumbled and laughed, and Jeremy laughed with me. His arms were still around me and I held our bottle of Coke, occasionally taking a sip and then holding it up to his mouth for him to drink it too.
“You’re really fun to hang out with,” Jeremy said. “We should do it again sometime.”
“We should do it every night.” My words were slurred, and it made me laugh again.
“We should do it right now.” Jeremy pulled me close again.
“We are doing it right now, you silly boy.” I tapped him on the arm in what should have been me hitting him in jest, but my arms felt like noodles.
He didn’t answer me with words again, just pulled me close and his lips were on mine again. My back pressed against a wall and I realized we were not on the midway anymore but had ducked behind a dingy white trailer of some sort. It was darker back here, but I couldn’t think about that because all I could think about were his lips on mine.
He was a great kisser. Not that I had much to compare it to. Had I kissed a boy before? Yeah, once in sixth grade with this kid who had braces. This felt much better.
Jeremy’s hands lifted my sweatshirt a little and crept up my waist, tickling the bare skin underneath. I wanted to giggle from his tickling, but I couldn’t stop kissing him long enough.
Just when things started getting good, Jeremy was yanked from my arms and thrown to the ground by a big guy who looked familiar.
“Brandon? What are you doing?” I yelled, pulling my shirt back down.
“Yeah, what are you doing?” Jeremy had scrambled to his feet as Brandon was looking back at me and launched himself at Brandon and punched him in the face.
Brandon hauled back and punched Jeremy right in the nose, which led to blood running down his face. There were other people around, but I couldn’t make out many faces. Brandon’s date? Jeremy’s friends, the twins, a police officer?
“Break it up,” the office hollered. “What are you kids doing back here?”
No one spoke, and most everyone else scattered except me, Jeremy and Brandon. The guys were breathing heavy and glaring at one another.
The officer lifted Brandon’s hand, which was covered in blood, and observed Jeremy’s bloody nose, then he spoke into his two-way radio. “I need some help over here behind the fun house with a couple of disorderly teens.”
Running To You
Click here to read the next chapter in my work-in-progress!