I had about a week to kill before Mom and Daddy made me go out and find a job. Now that I had a car and a license, I had gas and insurance to pay for. Birthday gifts of cash from Jason, Gran, Aunt Sandy and Uncle Victor gave me a cushion, but I knew I would have to find something that paid by then end of the month.
I packed up my tote bag with a few bottles of partially frozen water, my I-pod, my book, a towel, my shimmery sesame oil, and a couple of snack sized bags of chips. I tied on my black bikini and pulled on some cutoffs. I was looking forward to some down time on the beach. I love my friends, but sometimes a girl just needs to be alone. I tossed the bag into the passenger seat and drove to the lake.
Since I left the house so early, the beach was almost empty when I got there. I found a prime spot of sand towards the edge, where it was easier to avoid running rugrats and flying sand. I slid on my headphones after pulling my hair off my back into a messy bun. I laid on my stomach and started reading Atonement. I loved the movie and couldn’t wait to read the library scene.
After about an hour, I went to the water to cool off and returned to my towel. I put my book back in my bag and put my headphones back on as I switched to laying on my back. The morning sun felt so good. As the water evaporated from my skin, I started to feel itchy, so I slathered myself with my shimmery oil. I loved the sesame oil because it didn’t make me smell like a tropical cocktail. I laid back down and ignored everything except the mix of hair metal, pop, and ninety’s alternative flowing into my ears.
I spent the next couple of hours browning myself, flipping from back to front in regular intervals to make sure I roasted evenly. I really did love the summer and everything that came with it.
Pam wanted to pick up one of her friends and go back to the lake. I figured a down day could be what I needed. I didn’t feel like calling the guys; God knew I would see enough of them in a couple of weeks when football practice started.
We stuffed towels, snacks, and sunblock into a duffel bag and took off. It was a perfect afternoon to spend by the water: a cloudless blue sky with a light breeze. I stopped by Miriam’s house and added her stuff to the bag before she climbed into the back seat with Pam.
We pulled into the rapidly filling parking lot. I had expected it to be less crowded. Then I realized it was the night of the beach party. The park department held monthly community parties at the beach every month between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Pam and Miriam scampered off to get a spot in the sand away from me. I went straight to the water to cool off. When I came back on the sand to get my towel and dry off, I saw possibly the most perfect sight I had ever seen and froze.
She fucking shimmered under the sun. Sookie was laying on her back, so still I would have thought she was asleep until her hand started groping in her bag, bringing out a dripping bottle of water. After she sat up and drank about half the bottle, she pulled off her headphones and sunglasses, tossing them on her towel as she stood. She took down her hair and fell in waves down her back. She bounced down the sand tot he water, wading in. Once she was waist deep, she sank her whole body under.
I took the opportunity to roll out my towel next to hers. We were alone. Well, as alone as we could be on a public beach. But none of out nosy ass friends were around to interrupt. I sat and watched the shore, waiting for her exit.
The should be a fucking law. Girls with bodies like hers shouldn’t be allowed to wear clothes. Ever. Or, to keep the male population from becoming walking sundials, bring burkas over to America just for them. It was almost criminal how good she looked walking out of the water dripping wet in that little black bikini. She stumbled and her eyes widened in surprise to see me next to her spot.
“Happy belated birthday, Sookie,” I said with a grin.
“Thanks, Eric,” she replied, her tone and expression asking what the fuck was I doing there.
“This looked like a good spot to get away from the crowd gathering for the party,” I explained.
“Fuck,” she muttered, looking around. “I forgot about those damn parties. It’s gonna be crowded as hell tonight.”
I followed her gaze. “It doesn’t start ’til sundown. You’re good for a few more hours.”
She sighed looking a the growing crowd on the sand. “What are you doing here?”
I smiled again. “Same as everyone else. Enjoying the sun and the water.”
She rolled her eyes. “Not here, the beach. Here, next to my towel.” She sat down and looked out at the water.
“Honestly?” I asked and was treated to another eye roll.
“No, tell me a lie. Yeah, honestly.”
“Honestly, I have no fucking idea. I haven’t been able to get you out of my head since the party.”
“The same party that was almost three months ago? The same party that you left me half naked in the woods after you freaked out about my virginity? I just want to make sure I’m not forgetting some party I may have sleep walked to, or something.. You’ve been thinking about me since then?”
I looked her in the eyes. Although her tone was calm, her eyes were sparking flames. She was pissed. I would work with pissed. Anger was a passionate emotion. She noticed me looking and put her sunglasses back on. “What was it about the party that got little ole me lodged in your head?”
I ran my fingers through my hair. I was so not used to this. “You’re not like anyone I’ve ever met before, Sookie. I don’t understand you. You’re smart as hell and do geeky things like theater and the paper, then you go out and party and get high. You’re funny as shit, but in a wicked way that I wouldn’t expect. You’re smokin’ hot, but didn’t show it off until…” I trailed off, not sure how I wanted to finish that statement.
“Until you almost fucked me on a towel in the woods? You’re right. I was sick of being invisible. I wanted to have some fun while I was stuck in this town. Just because I don’t show off everything like your friends in the skank brigade doesn’t mean shit. And watch the insults. You may think that the paper and theater are ‘geeky’, but I respect the people who participate in those activities a whole lot more then a bunch of gorilla guys running into each other and hitting each other over a little ball.”
Damn, bitter much? She still wasn’t looking at me. She sighed and continued, finally turning her head towards me.
“I don’t know what you’re wanting from me, Eric. Frankly, it’s been kind of creepy seeing you everywhere I go.” My eyes widened and she smirked. “You think a gigantic blond tree of a boy like you can blend in? Just because I don’t acknowledge you doesn’t mean I don’t see you. It’s a small town without a lot of places to go. It’s inevitable that there are going to be times that we’re at the same place at the same time, but it’s too often to be coincidence anymore.”
I wasn’t going to deny the obvious. “You’re right. I may not have been consciously been seeking you out every time, but sometimes I have. I don’t know.” I continued running my fingers through my hair, a quirk of mine whenever I’m tense. “Look, I thought something pretty serious happened at that party and you didn’t react like any other girl I’ve known.”
She laughed. She. Fucking. Laughed. “Serious? Northman, if making out is ‘serious’, than your reputation is more hype than I thought. You almost closed the deal, but then you freaked out on me.”
I know my jaw was on the ground.
Why the hell was he sitting next to my towel staring at me? Why was he suddenly everywhere? I had seen him and his douchy friends at the marina when Tara and I dropped off the Sea-doos and later that same day I saw him at the fair. He stood out. At his height, a good 3 inches over the “mortals” walking the fairground, he didn’t have a chance of blending in. But then, it was opening night. It could have been coincidence. Lots of people were there.
But this was no chance. He was right next to my little secluded spot. He wished me happy birthday. Weird, but okay. He had overheard Tara at the marina. And how could I forget about the beach party? No wonder the beach was filling up. They were fun, but not what I was in the mood for.
I asked him what he was doing and he said that he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about me. Huh. Not at all what I expected from Casanova Northman. Didn’t he go through girls like Kleenex? And he had been thinking of me for almost three months?
Then I got it. I confused him. I was a geek that he wanted. And I didn’t want him back. It was hurting his ego. But something serious happened at that fucking party? Nothing at that party was serious and I had to laugh. The look on his face when I told him that he hadn’t closed the deal was priceless. Had he thought we had? Was that why he was suddenly everywhere and expecting me to be all clingy over him?
“Sookie, what the hell?”
“I’m sorry,” I sputtered, trying to control my laughter. “But seriously? Was that what the legions of Eric Northman groupies are hung up on? No offense, Romeo, but my socks were decidedly not rocked.”
I really didn’t mean to offend him, but by the look on his face, he obviously was. I was just so stunned that he thought that whole party make-out session was more than it was.
“Sookie, I freaked because you were a virgin. I wasn’t trying. I didn’t want to hurt you.”
“And I remained a virgin. The deal was left unsealed. And I wasn’t hurt. I wanted to have some fun and thought you did too. Why else would I have gone off with you. I knew what was going on. I wasn’t that stoned. I had full mental capacity. You were the one with the problem,” I said, trying to remain reasonable about his overblown reaction.
“Unsealed? I was inside you. You can’t argue that.”
“And I won’t. But you pulled out and had a hissy fit before you you were all the way in. Therefore, deal unsealed.” I really couldn’t believe we were debating my now lost virginity on the fucking beach. Why was it such a big deal for him?
He stalked off down the beach and talked to Pam and one of her friends. Pam looked up and towards me. I smiled at her. I got a little wave before she returned her attention to her brother. He made a call on his cell phone and appeared to be arguing with someone by the expression on his face. And Pam was walking toward me with a grim expression.
Really? It was “nothing”? I was over this shit. I walked over to Pam and Miriam. “Pam, Sookie and I need to talk for awhile. What time does Mom get off today?”
Pam looked over and gave Sookie a wave. I had forgotten that they knew each other. “I don’t know, I think around five. Why?”
“I’m going to call and see if she can pick you guys up. Let me call her and I’ll let you know.”
“Wait, how do you know Sookie?”
“None of your business, brat,” I said affectionately as I pulled my phone out of the bag. I called Mom’s cell, since I never knew where she’d be at the hospital.
“Son,” she answered, sounding exhausted, “how can I help you this beautiful afternoon.”
“Mom, can you come by the beach when you get off and pick up Pam and Miriam?”
“Damnit, Eric. Why’d you take them if you weren’t prepared to take them home?”
“Things came up. I need to stay here and talk to someone.”
“Some girl. It’s always some girl. No. I’m to tired to drive across the county to the damn lake and picked them up and drive back home. You obligated yourself as chauffeur when you so nicely volunteered to take them. Your drove them there, you can drive them home.”
“Mom, please. I really need to talk to this girl.”
“Final answer, Eric. N. O. I have to go. No arguing. See you guys at home.”
And my own mother hung up on me. Damn it.
Pam sat down next to me on her brother’s towel and looked me straight in the eye. “Did you fuck my brother?”
“Yeah, seriously. I normally can’t stand the series of skanks he brings around, but I thought you were different. Was I wrong?”
“No, no where near wrong. I can say with certainty and honesty that I have never fucked your brother.” What? She said it first.
“Then will you do it and get him over this whole little puppy dog thing he has for you? Nothing gets Eric over a girl faster then getting on top of one. I want my brother back and seeing him over here being all sappy with you made me a little sick.”
“What? He’s all kinds of twisted up over you and I want him back to normal.”
“Why is he ‘twisted up’ over me?”
“Cuz he wants you and can’t get you. Even I can see that.”