You have been thoroughly warned.
If you are squeamish about colorful language, don't like sex scenes, and honest dialogue makes your hair curl, walk away now. Do not read this.
If you have just found this story, you'll want to start from Installment 1.
I'll be posting installments every day until the end. I don't know how many days that will be because I am still writing this story. You can read it or not, share it or not, like it or not. It's up to you. Unlike me, you have a choice. I can't not write it.
As You Were
Copyright © 2013 by Melissa Lummis
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the above author of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.
Continued from Installment 2...
Continued from Installment 2...
Besides the fact that Erik was a dog.
Once, when my boyfriend was a jerk and wouldn’t take me to the senior prom because he thought it was a waste of money, Erik offered to take me. And because Erik had recently broken up with Gena, the possibility tortured me. Hooo, boy, was there a ruckus when my boyfriend found out. It had all been in jest, I insisted to him, but not really. I knew Erik meant it, and I would have gladly gone with him. Except for the possibility of losing my best friend. Except for the fact I didn’t think Erik was capable of a relationship.
“Tomorrow?” I stepped into him and he enveloped me with both arms. My hands rested on his hard stomach.
He shook his head. “Day after tomorrow. Me and some buddies are having our last hurrah before we ship out.”
“How long will you be gone?” Our bare legs brushed against each other as he leaned against the light pole, pulling me into him.
He dipped his head down and whispered. “Seven months.”
I shivered, closing my eyes at the sensation of his breath in my ear.
“Anne! What the hell, woman? We thought we lost you.”
My eyes popped open and I stepped away from Erik like I’d been caught doing something I shouldn’t. Old habits died hard, I supposed, but he didn’t let go of me.
“Over here,” Sylvia yelled above the boardwalk ruckus.
I shielded my eyes from the bright light above my head and waved back when I saw her on the other side of the boards by the Krimms Brothers frozen custard place.
“We’re going to go see John’s band play at the Brass Balls,” she yelled as she weaved through the crowd, closely followed by Meredith, Chuck, and his shadow.
I kept forgetting his name. He wasn’t a part of our old college gang, and I wasn’t paying much attention when Chuck introduced him. I was busy glaring at Meredith who was playing all innocent. I knew she had a thing for the Chuck back in college, but I’d been very clear about not wanting to deal with him this week. I glanced back at Erik and he waggled his eyebrows at me.
“I’d love to check out the band.” He hopped down off the wall as Sylvia reached us and held up his arms for me.
I grinned down at him. “Really?”
My stupid little heart pitter-pattered as I leaned on his thick shoulders and those big hands gripped my waist. I didn’t remember him being this ripped last time I saw him. Must have been all that basic training, or whatever Air Force guys did. He grinned back and nodded as he set me on my flip-flopped feet. He didn’t let go of me, either.
Instead, he turned towards my friends, sliding both arms around me and giving me a little side hug action. I hoped the headiness in my lopsided grin wasn’t too obvious. Sylvia narrowed her eyes at me. I wrinkled my nose and she rolled her eyes, sighing. I guess it was obvious.
“Hi, I’m Erik Ladd.” His deep voice somehow got inside me and I blew out a slow breath trying to ease the sudden pressure in my chest.
Meredith’s smile was practically gleeful as her eyes lit up with recognition. “Hi, I’m Meredith,” she said as she held out her hand. “I’ve heard so much about you.” Erik kept one arm around my waist as he shook Meredith’s hand.
“All good, I hope.” He winked at me and I just stood there with a stupid grin on my face.
“And this is Sylvia and Chuck,” I hurried to introduce the rest of my friends before Meredith could say anything else.
Erik released me completely at that point and held a hand out to Chuck, taking a step towards him. Chuck scowled at him for a moment, but took his hand. He grimaced slightly as Erik gave it a hearty squeeze and what’s-his-name stepped up with an attitude, his chest puffed up. I watched it all go down with eager anticipation. I suddenly had my old ally on my side against the forces of skanky evil.
“Brian.” He stuck his hand out like he was Chuck’s second or something, which I suppose in some weird way, he was.
Erik shook his hand and I covered up a giggle with a throat-clearing. Erik’s eyes danced with some wicked thought I could only guess at, and I slapped his arm. He was famous back home for calling folks out on their behavior, and I didn’t want a scene right there and then. Maybe later. Erik adopted a mock-serious face, took a wide stance and clasped his hands behind his cargo shorts. Sylvia crossed her arms over her chest and inclined her head.
I smiled back, hoping she would forgive me ahead of time for whatever would end up happening tonight. She’d made a big announcement when we’d first arrived at the beach house about this being a “girls” weekend to recuperate from what she called male tyranny. Handing out wine glasses with our names painted on them, she’d poured us our first drink and made a toast to female solidarity. She’d cursed Jack and her ex-boyfriend to a painful death and erectile dysfunction, and then asked Meredith if there were any men in her life that needed damning.
“So, Uncle John’s band?” Erik gestured south along the boardwalk and everyone looked at each other for confirmation.
Meredith giggled. “It's our friend John’s band.” Meredith sidled up to Chuck, who didn’t even glance at her. She sighed as she twisted a strand of her wavy black hair around two fingers. Not for the first time, I wished she’d either make her move or get over it, already.
“How do you know Anne?” Chuck maneuvered to my left, making Meredith dodge the oncoming traffic to stay abreast of him as we wandered toward the bar.
“We went to high school together,” I said, giving Chuck my best what-the-fuck-is-wrong-with-you glare.