Like a Memory(9)

By: Abbi Glines

“It was hard to leave,” I responded. “Difficult on mom and dad. But now I’ve done it, I feel great. Exactly like I thought it would.”

Damon leaned against the counter and winked at me. This was his normal thing. He liked to flirt, tease and annoy. I ignored him, but of course he continued. “Now that you’re free of Cage ‘scary ass’ York hovering over you, we can finally go on that date. Remember, you promised me one.”

I rolled my eyes. I’d never promised Damon a date and I never would.

“That was in your dreams dickhead. Last night’s tug and pump,” Jude filthily shot back at him.

He held up his can of beer. “You’re drinking my beer so your underage ass better watch what the fuck you say.”

Jude didn’t look worried in the least. He sat on a stool, tipped the can, emptying half its contents.

“If everyone is drinking, who’s driving?” I asked realizing I sounded like my mother. Exactly like my mother.

“Walking to my parents,” Micah said. He then sat on the sofa across from me. His parents lived on the beach. It was only a short distance away. “You know your dad owned one of these condos way back in the day. Dad said it was the one above this one.” He told me then pointed at the ceiling.

Of course, I already knew that. Eli’s parents had both lived with my dad back then. That was how they met. My dad and Eli’s mom, Willow, were best friends growing up. A lot like us. Eli’s dad, Marcus, had become dad’s roommate and fell in love with Willow.

“Yeah, we know,” Eli responded, walking to the fridge for the wine. He knew as well as I did no one was leaving anytime soon. As for myself, I was happy about that. This was what I’d missed. Living a life where friends came over and brought beer. They’d stay too late and we’d laugh and talk about things we’d never say in front of parents.

The doorbell rang. Eli looked towards it. “Who else is coming?” he asked. Eli knew that Micah knew the answer.

“I’d say that’s probably Saffron and Holland or possibly Crimson and Larissa.”

“My sister? Shit.” Eli muttered.

Crimson was the eldest of his two younger sisters and Larissa was his aunt, though only twenty-five years old.

Saffron and Holland Corbin were twins and although there was no blood relation they were still family. We were all family. A lot of kids that had been raised together in this small town.

The door swung open before Eli could touch it. “Let the party begin! I’ve arrived!” Saffron announced herself as she walked in the room hoisting two cheap bottles of wine. She was nineteen and had bought them. No telling how she did that. Larissa wouldn’t buy them for her.

“God help us all,” Jude mumbled.

I just smiled. This was it. What I’d been missing all this time.

Nate Finlay

I MADE UP an excuse to stay away from the shop and not complete Octavia’s “to do” list. My excuse would run the rest of the week. To compensate for my betrayal, I unpacked her things at the new house Octavia had purchased. It was beachfront property and massive. More house than she needed, even with me visiting, because she had no friends in the area. No reason to entertain. Octavia required luxury and apparently, this was it. She wouldn’t be your typical small business owner that struggled to make ends meet.

By Friday night I was ready to have a drink and relax. I had to face the shop again. While Bliss York wasn’t there. I’d work Saturday and Sunday to get it done. But tonight, I was going out. There was a club in town that played live music, a place where locals went. I wasn’t in the mood for the touristy shit, which was most of this town.

Octavia hadn’t called to check on things. She knew I would handle anything that came up and that should make me happy. Instead, it greatly annoyed me. Didn’t women normally text or call their fiancés? Wasn’t that fucking normal procedure? When did I become so needy?

I grabbed the keys to my truck and headed out the door. I should fucking be thrilled she wasn’t clingy. Matter of fact it was one of the things that initially attracted me to her. Suddenly that was an issue?

No it wasn’t. I needed a whiskey.

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