Someone to Love, page 9
I drain the rest of my water and end up spilling the reserve down my chest.
“Watch the equipment, buddy. That’s a three thousand dollar machine you’re desecrating. You think getting your heart ripped out of your ass hurt like hell, wait until I come after you for restitution. How’s the bed and breakfast going? Business mistreating you much these days?”
A groan escapes my throat at the mere mention of that money pit. “I handed the reins back to my mom last summer when I ditched my sanity. I should swing by and glance at the books.”
“Wear safety goggles. Those books have a way of trying to knock you out. I should know. Hey, school starts tomorrow. You ready to begin instructional duties?”
“Yup. Already found my favorite student.”
“Yes,” I say, exhilarated by the thought. “Wrote up a syllabus just for her.”
“I bet you did. You fucking perv.” He says it with a marked sense of pride.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Pennington struts in with his thin frame puffed out, his glazed expression that lets me know he’s already high as a kite at this early hour.
“I bet he rolls his joints with your daddy’s Benjamins.” Cal spits out exactly what I was thinking, and I give a little laugh. Then an idea comes to me.
After Zumba, my limbs rebel and quietly petition to secede from the union of my torso. Okay, not so quietly. Every muscle in my body is on fire and rioting in protest to my sudden faux interest in fitness. I hit Starbucks afterwards as a show of affection to my poor earthly frame. I thought about asking Cruise to join me on my quest for the perfect cup of Joe, but I’d hate for him to think I’m clingy and needy. The last thing I want him to feel around me is like he can’t breathe. But God, how I’d love to smother him—preferably with my chest.
Snow covers the ground in smooth, sparkling sheets, a visual treat that I’m in no way prepared for. It’s as if the landscape of my heart magically transformed into a fairytale much like this new world I’ve touched down in. Cruise is the sparkling magic. He’s adhered himself to that secret place inside me that I once denied existed. He’s molded himself perfectly over my heart, my soul, my marrow. And now I can never let go. How will I ever tell him the truth? That I don’t want twenty boys on speed dial—that I only want one. And that he just so happens to be the one in question.
Carrington glows a resplendent shade of lavender, dressed in a winter wonderland that up until now, I had only seen in movies. I don’t know what possessed my mother to pack up on a whim and move clear across country—trade paradise for smog and traffic. The fact my grandmother passed away around the same time she graduated might have played into it, but still, now that I see how nice everyone is here, and how stunning the scenery is, I never want to go back to California. Although, I guess if she didn’t hit the West Coast, she would never have met “the loser surfer” she hooked up with and spawned my brother, and me.
I glance inside Starbucks and the line looks incredibly long, but I venture in anyway. The thick scent of roasted coffee lights up my senses. God, I love this smell. If this out of body experience I’ve been enjoying with Cruise had a fragrance, this would definitely be it. They should have a coffee named after him—Kisses with Cruise. I’d drink it down by the pitcher—get on my knees and let them pour it down my throat like a beer bong.
A group of cackling girls walk in behind me, and I’m quick to secure a place in line. I glance over the counter and don’t see any sign of Lauren or Ally. Honestly, I can’t remember which one works here.
I hope Lauren’s okay. Last I saw her, she looked heartbroken over the idea her boyfriend might be cheating.
A vision of Cruise with that girl in the thigh-highs he almost took home that first night shoots through me, and a wild pang of jealousy cinches my stomach. Just the thought of him touching her, his oven-hot hands searing over her flesh the way they did mine makes my heart drop like a stone.
I shake the thought away and distract myself by counting out the people ahead of me. If they each take five minutes, then I’ll safely be here a solid hour.
“Next!” A friendly voice calls from over the counter and Ally waves at me. The line moves briskly now that two baristas are at the helm, and I step over to her in less than ten minutes. “How’s it going?”
“Great. I can’t get over how gorgeous the world looks covered with snow.” I dig out my wallet. “Venti, iced mocha.”
“Iced huh? You really are from California.” She leans in. “ Hey, that girl in the corner over there…” I follow her gaze to the back where a teenage girl sits. She has a tissue pushed into her face, and it looks as if she can’t stop crying. “That’s Cruise’s sister, Molly,” she whispers. “Maybe you can see what’s got her so broken up. She’s been sobbing for the last half-hour.”
I take in a breath at the sight of her. “Oh, I totally will. I know how it feels to be crapped on by kids at school. I bet she’s dealing with some serious bullying issues. High school is nothing but a hotbed of bitches.”
Ally belts out a laugh. “I’ll catch you at school tomorrow, where there will be very few bitches, I promise.” She writes something down on a napkin and slides it toward me. “Call me when you’re free, and we’ll get together.”
It takes another few minutes for my coffee, and all the while, I inspect Molly from afar. She’s stunning with her dark blond hair, her pale smooth skin—gorgeous doe eyes. My heart breaks seeing her back shudder as she sheds her not-so-silent tears.
I take up my drink and make my way over, nervous at the prospect of crashing her tear fest but totally dying to meet her and hopefully make her feel better.
“You mind?” I point down at the empty seat beside her—half afraid she’ll bolt now that I’m here.
“Nope.” She moans and drops the wad of tissues to the table like she’s making a statement. Her heavy-scented perfume creates a toxic cloud in the vicinity, sandalwood mixed with unripe fruit, something just this side of glorified body odor. Maybe it’s not people upsetting her. Maybe it’s the fragrance offense she’s committing.
“I’m Kendall,” I offer. “I’m actually staying with your brother.” She looks much prettier up close, and here I thought that was impossible. “Is everything okay?”
“Brayden Holmes is a dick.” She announces it like a fact, and her cheeks depress with an impression of a smile.
“Boy trouble,” I say it mostly to myself. If it were pissy girls I could’ve given her sound advice, all of which I’ve thought long and hard about but never truly implemented. But people with hanging appendages were involved, and seeing that I’ve never handed my heart to anyone on a silver platter, I don’t have the first clue how to help her.
“It’s over, so there’s really not a problem.” She spits it out with a viral level of angst reserved for high school girls the world over. And judging by her visceral reaction, it is so not over.
“Can I ask what happened?” I can’t help but feel I’ve just dived in over my head. She probably caught him looking at someone, and now she’s heartbroken.
“He tricked me into sleeping with him, then dumped me for some slut named Tracy Schaffer.”
“Holy shit!” I bounce back in my seat. “We need to tell Cruise. He needs to beat the living crap out this… this… Brayden person.” I’m panicked at the thought of someone taking advantage of his little sister like that. And I had no idea we were going “all the way” in our conversation or I may have opted to forgo the meet and greet for another time, like after she clawed “Brayden’s” eyes out and was staring down the barrel of a prison sentence. No wait. Preventative measures need to be taken to ensure neither she nor Cruise land behind bars. Once cooler heads prevail, I’m sure we’ll think up a way to inflict bodily harm to the jackass without leaving forensic evidence behind.
She snatches my wrist so quick she nearly knocks my coff
“Of course they’re not going to kill you.” They are so going to kill her. “Did you use protection?”
“I’m on the pill.” Her eyes enlarge as I writhe in front of her.
“You’re on the pill?” I’m horrified by this. There’s no way I’m going to be able to keep all these secrets from Cruise.
“Yup. In fact, I just ran out. You think you can give me a ride to the free clinic? It’s all the way downtown and I’ll probably freeze if I try to hoof it.”
“I…” Fuck. Should I be giving her a ride? “I guess.”
I hope to God it’s me Cruise doesn’t kill.
The Carrington free-clinic is situated in the seediest part of the downtown district. Two derelicts seek shelter in the alcove of the entry, and one of them has decided to spell his name on the wall with a creative spray of urine. I’m quick to usher Molly through—ready and willing to implement my ninja moves should he decide to get creative in other ways with the disgusting hose in question.
We land inside and I let go of a breath I didn’t know I was holding.
The interior is a dingy grey, the color of dead skin. A row of plants on the counter have all wilted to yellow wisps as the sick and the desperate for birth control gather en masse in the tiny Petri dish of a room. I’m sure sixteen different strains of the flu are merging in our lungs as we step deeper into the hotbed of infestation.
Molly yanks me in by the jacket. “Are you sleeping with my brother?” she asks, almost as an afterthought.
“No.” I pull my arm back. Grabby little thing. “Molly, you don’t have to sleep with someone to have a relationship with them.” That doesn’t change the fact I’ve made it my singular goal in life to bed Cruise Elton ten different ways before Valentine’s Day. That’s a personal ambition I don’t plan to make public anytime soon, especially not to his seventeen-year-old sister. “Sex isn’t a sport.”
A hurt look sweeps across her face. “I do it cause I like it.” She struts over to the front desk fueled with anger and attitude.
I pull up behind her as she writes her name down on the roster.
“Did you like the public boo-hoo fest you held in Starbucks?” I ask. “Because in case you haven’t figured it out, the asshole at point-A led to the bawling at point-B.” Maybe not the kindest tactic I could have employed, but something tells me Molly here isn’t the dainty flower she wants me to believe she is either.
She wrinkles her nose. “Look, I like Brayden. He’s special.” She rolls her eyes like he’s really not. “This thing he has with Tracy Tramp-Stamp Shaffer will blow over. It always does.”
“Oh my God, he’s done this before?” I take her in with her watery-blue eyes, her trembling chin like she might lose it right here in front of an entire waiting room of people infected with sore throats and STDs. Molly doesn’t say a word; she just stalks off and takes a seat in the back.
“Ma’am, would you mind signing in?” The gal behind the counter holds out a pen. “There’s a line forming behind you.”
“Oh.” I glance back at the angry mob waiting to accost me if I don’t move out of the way.
The pill? Should I be on the pill? Cruise and those heady kisses spiral through me, and I’m numb just thinking about them. Yes, I should very much be on the pill. I jot my name on the roster and find a seat next to Molly.
My phone buzzes in my pocket. It’s a text from a number I don’t recognize.
Cruise here - set up a double date for tonight at seven. That OK?
Double date? Everything in me warms at the thought of officially “dating” Cruise. For sure I made the right decision to get on the pill.
Better than OK~!
I can’t wait to take my relationship with Cruise to the next level. And dating, well, I guess that throws my experiment out the window. I’m totally fine with that. I didn’t really like lying to him to begin with.
“So what do you think of my brother’s deformity?” Molly smirks before relaxing into an exaggerated sad puppy face. She’s a peach, this one.
“What deformity?” If Cruise is deformed, every man on this planet should be so lucky.
“You mean he didn’t tell you about his accident?”
“What accident?” A rush of heat explodes in my chest at the thought of anything happening to Cruise—past or present.
“He got his balls lopped off after eating it on a motorcycle when he was sixteen. Don’t worry, they saved one on ice and reattached it. He can have kids and stuff one day when he’s ready to pollute the world with his seed. Too bad it chopped his dick in half, though. Horrible disaster.” She clicks her tongue to annunciate her false sense of pity.
The memory of that bulge in his jeans comes to mind, and my face floods with heat. God, if that was half, he must have been the size of a snake. I swear it was as long as my arm, and I thought that was a deformity. Not that I believe one word out of his little sister’s not-so-precious mouth.
The only “horrible disaster” around here is Molly needing to be on the pill in the first place.
The nurse calls Molly and I to the back at the same time, and we each get stowed away in our own closet-like rooms. I take off my clothes and ready myself for a check-up. I secretly hate the gynecologist. I hate having myself sodomised in the name of medicine and vaginal wellbeing.
I lie back and examine the photos of some bodybuilder strewn across the wall. They’re all signed and everything. His frame looks freakishly large, and the muscles bulge from his body like a cloud made of flesh as if someone had blown them up like balloons. I try to imagine him lying over me, crushing me with his truck-like weight.
Rumor has it, pumping their muscles up like that is lethal to the size of their joystick.
A gentle knock erupts as the door slides open, and a tall, handsome man with a fake bake comes in flashing an ultra-bright smile. He’s completely buffed out. His muscles balloon from his shirt, and I can practically make out the curves from under his coat, and hey… It’s the same guy from the pictures.
“Is that you?” I marvel pointing at the testament to all things steroid.
“That’s me.” He gives a chuckle while reading over my chart. “Precautionary.” He nods. “Usually girls wait until they’ve had many sexual encounters under their belt before wising up and taking it upon themselves to get on the pill.” He looks up and blinks a smile. “They’re not smart like you.” A goth-looking nursing assistant pops into the room and gives a little sneer. “We can start now,” he says, motioning for me to lie down. “Go ahead and slide to the end of the table, put your feet in the stirrups.”
“What? Where’s the doctor?” I cinch up my legs until my knees meld together.
His features smooth out. “I’m the doctor, Kendall.” He taps his nametag, which proudly boasts, Dr. Gaines.
“I want another one!” I sit up in a panic. “I usually have a woman.” I’ve only had a woman gynecologist. In fact, I didn’t even know it was legal not to. What the hell kind of health care practices do they have in Massachusetts anyway?
“I’m the only one on staff today,” he says with a peaceable smile.
Shit! What have I done to Molly? Hopefully, she ran screaming and didn’t let some body builder parading around as a doctor “examine” her. God, Cruise is going to hate me after this and most likely have me arrested.
“We’re really busy today.” He gives a little wink. “I promise to be gentle.”
A wink? Really? Is that what they teach male doctors in med school? Or maybe it was the wrestling ring. He snaps on a pair of rubber gloves, and I slip my feet into the frozen stirrups, dying to get this over with.
Think of Cruise, I tell myself. Think how amazing it will be to finally have his one-balle
I let out a string of involuntary giggles no thanks to Molly and the exceptional bullshit she tried feeding me. Forget Cruise, I’m going to kill Molly for planting such phenomenal crap in my mind. Of course, she was lying. Right?
Afterward, I get dressed, and Sally from The Nightmare Before I Lose My Virginity leads me to a room down the hall.
“We’re briefing all the first-timers,” she gravels it out like a threat. This will take about twenty seconds.”
The small office is crammed with six other girls, and holy shit—one of them happens to be Molly.
I speed on over.
“I thought you said this was a refill,” I hiss.
“I never said those words. I said, I ‘ran out.’” She pinches a smile, and her dark brows peak in a malevolent manner.
“Ran out of what?”
“Patience.” She spits it in my face.
I take in a breath, shaking at the thought of being tricked into getting her on the pill of all things.
“Patience? I’ve run out of exactly that.” I warn her.
We sit through a quick debriefing, but I’m so hopped up on my newfound insanity I don’t hear a word they say. Afterward, I practically drag her out into the blizzard-like conditions, so I can drill her a new one in peace.
“What the hell was that about?” I ask as she makes her way to the passenger’s side of the car.
I unlock it, and we get in.
She dusts the snow off her sleeves before answering. “Look, I owe you one. Okay?” She shakes her head as though I should be grateful for her divisive services.
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