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.
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.
I swallowed, wondering if it was such a good idea to bring that up. I wasn’t in the right mental place, wasn’t sure I could keep it light. Not after everything that had gone on with Jack this past year. For once, Erik and I were both untethered and I was unsure I could contain whatever had been brewing between us all these years.
And I needed to contain it, I was sure. “Um, I really can’t ditch my friends.” I giggled with a nervous flutter of my hand. “This is supposed to be a girls’ thing.”
Erik stared at me with an uncharacteristic solemnity. My lips parted as I searched for something else to fend him off. “You know, female solidarity? Men are a menace to society and all that?”
His forehead bunched up. I turned away from his unspoken question, leaning heavily on the rail, staring out at the blinking light of a ship on the horizon. Slurping down the last of my Rum Runner, a pain stabbed me between the eyes. I clutched a hand to my forehead and grimaced.
“Brain freeze,” I said.
He pulled my hand away, turning me towards him, and kissed the offending spot, sliding his hands around my waist. “What happened, Anne?”
His cheek brushed mine, and I had to tell myself to breathe. I shoved his hands off with an impatient gesture and stomped towards the door. I didn’t owe him any explanations and I didn’t want to have this conversation, at least not with him. Why was I suddenly so angry with Erik? Because I was terrified, I realized as I made my way through the crowd to the stage.
The band was finishing a song while Meredith and Sylvia danced around with Chuck, Brian, and a couple of guys I didn’t know. The crowd was thick, holding half-full cups in the air with happy drunk smiles on their faces. A few looked like they were seriously considering their lifestyle choices, but continued the dance, nonetheless.
A hand grabbed my arm and spun me around. “Hey, Annie, come on. It’s me. Don’t walk away.”
And just like that, I was fighting back tears. “Yeah.” I swiped at my eye with the back of my hand. “It’s you, Erik.”
He studied my face, nodded in a determined way, and pulled me towards the exit. “Hey! I said I’m staying,” I yelled just as the band finished with a flourish and the crowd howled their approval.
He ignored my outburst and continued dragging me between the crush of bodies. I struggled half-heartedly, but when the bouncer opened the door for us and the warm breeze hit me, I stopped resisting. We bounded down the steps to the boardwalk and straight across it to the beach. We weren’t the only ones walking hand in hand along the surf, but that was okay.
It gave me time to try to figure out what I was thinking. However, the honey whiskey, rum, and vodka were not about to allow anything sensible to surface. When we passed the last couple with their arms around each other, as if posing for a postcard, Erik slowed his pace.
“Look, Anne, I’ve been thinking a lot about what happened last summer and—“
“Stop, wait.” I halted, pulling on his hand. “I don’t know if I want to hear this right now. Not all fucked up and with you going away in a couple days.”
“Anne, please,” he pulled me into him and I instinctively jerked out of his grasp.
“Knock it off!” I smacked his face and stalked down the beach, shaking the sting out of my hand.
“Hey!” His hand clamped down on my shoulder and spun me around so fast my body slammed against his. Then he was kissing me, and God help me, I was kissing him back with the same frantic, needy energy. My head spun, the sand shifted under my feet, and we tumbled down, down into the surf.
End of Chapter 2.