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 4...
Continued in Installment 6...
Continued from Installment 4...
The bouncer studied my I.D., glancing from my face to the card in his hands a couple times before nodding and handing it back to me. He barely glanced at Erik’s military I.D., but gave him a big smile and a manly pat on the shoulder as he held the door open for us.
“That baby-face of yours is going to get you in trouble,” Erik whispered in my ear.
“What?” I yelled over the blaring music and buzz of conversation and laughter.
Erik shook his head as if to say “forget it” and waved down the bartender. I hung back from the crushing bar crowd, fingering my lip.
“What do you want?” Erik shouted in my ear.
“Rum Runner,” I yelled back.
He winked and turned back to the bar.
“You ought to watch out for that one.” Sylvia squeezed my elbow as she sidled up to me. “Shipping out and all.”
I smiled at her. “Erik and I are buds—“
“From way back. Yeah. I know. And you’ve had a thing for him the entire time, and I doubt he’s oblivious to that fact.”
“What?” I yelled at her, cupping my ear with my hand.
“You heard me.”
I grinned as she squeezed passed me to get the bartender’s attention. Erik put an arm around her and tugged her up to the bar. They exchanged some words I couldn’t hear, and I didn’t like the way my jaw clenched at the sight of them. It was ridiculous to react that way, but who said a woman’s libido was logical? It certainly hadn’t been last year when I’d last seen Eric. I’d felt the exact same way when he’d kissed Gena in front of me.
They were exes, but not enemies. They’d managed to build a friendship out of the ruins of their high school relationship. Those seven months of going steady had been tumultuous, just the way they both liked their relationships, as it turned out. Erik dated—if you could really call it that—a string of drama queens after he and Gena exploded apart.
I’d listened to endless tales of his conquests, not without some heartache on my part. And Gena cried on the other shoulder about her string of bad-boy breakups. I argued that you really couldn’t call any of them breakups as it appeared none of them had ever stopped seeing other people. Of course, they didn’t bother telling Gena that. And Erik never bothered telling his buxom beauties that he wasn’t interested in monogamy.
“Here you go,” Erik yelled over the commotion.
He handed me a sixteen-ounce plastic cup of frosty goodness and I sipped at the straw as we both turned to take in the bar scene. Erik slugged back a beer, then hung his arms over the brass rail, bobbing his head to the music, a cover of Add It Up.
He leaned into me, his breath warm in my ear. I shivered. “I need a cigarette. Want to step out on the deck?”
I nodded, but wrinkled my nose in disgust. “You still smoke?”
Before I could turn around, Sylvia was there with a handful of shots. “Here.”
The alcohol was layered red on the bottom, blue in the middle and clear on top. “I don’t think I should be mixing a Fourth of July with a Rum Runner, Sylvie.”
“Oh, shut up and drink.” She handed one to Erik. “Here’s to the boys in blue…or green…or whatever.”
She tipped the plastic shot glass at Erik, who inclined his head with a sexy smile, and then knocked it back. I shrugged and followed suit. Mixing clear alcohol with dark never worked out well for me, but considering how much I’d been drinking since arriving at the beach, I was bound to pay the price sooner or later. I coughed a little, covering my mouth with the back of my hand, shot glass still grasped in my fingers.
“Hey, starting without us?” Chuck stumbled into me.
I rolled my eyes and turned away from him into Sylvie. “We’ll be right back. Erik wants to step out on the deck.”
Sylvia regarded me with one of her signature raised eyebrows but nodded. Her slow wink was her way of telling me she got it. I wasn’t sure what she thought she “got”, but I was going with it. Erik tucked my shot cup inside his, and then weaved his fingers between mine. Jabbing his head towards the patio doors, he dragged me after him.
Outside was better with the beach breeze ruffling my hair. Goosebumps rose on my chest and arms, not because it was cold but because the alcohol was kicking in. I felt like the deck was shifting under me, as if we were on a boat on the ocean. I took another noisy sip through the extra-wide straw as we made our way to the railing.
“I’m not sure you can smoke out here, anymore. The health Nazis have really come down hard.”
Erik grinned as he lit up, then leaned his hands on the rail, a double plume of smoke shooting out his nostrils. “I quit a while ago.”
I stared at him, waiting for the punch line, but none came. “Um, really?” I grabbed for the cigarette and he let me take a drag off it.
I immediately hacked my head off, forgetting that it had been years since I’d actually inhaled. My lungs burned and convulsed in indignant spasms, ejecting the offending substance. Erik pounded on my back, laughing at me the entire time.
“You should stick to gum.” He snagged the cancer stick, took one more drag, then stubbed it out on the deck.
Looking around, he nabbed an aluminum ashtray off the table next to us. The guy he leaned over arched his neck, straining to see who the jerk was. Erik grinned his way out of a confrontation, waving at the guy with the stubbed out cigarette. The guy’s face screwed up for a minute, considering, then his features relaxed, grinning back.
Erik saluted him, then turned back to me. “You want to get out of here? Go for a walk or something. I can’t hear myself think.”
“I thought you wanted to listen to the band.” I nibbled on my straw, taking occasional sips, my vision swaying in a rum-induced haze.
“I’d rather go someplace we can talk.” A shadow passed over his eyes, making me think of the last time we’d seen each other. “I don’t like the way we left things.”
Continued in Installment 6...