“Your sexiness is distracting me,” he growls into my ear, and kisses the sensitive skin behind it, sending shivers through me. “Are you cold?”
He chuckles and hugs me tight before releasing me to pull the picnic basket to our side. “I brought dessert.”
“What did you bring? Please say chocolate. Raisinets would be good.”
He raises an eyebrow quizzically.
“We’re at the movies. Candy? Popcorn?”
He smirks. “First date,” he reminds me with a smile, his dimple winking down at me.
“What did you bring?”
“Strawberries,” he replies with a straight face. “Covered in chocolate.”
“God bless you,” I say as he holds one up to my lips. I bite through the hard milk chocolate and sweet, juicy berry, and Josh’s eyes greedily watch my mouth. Suddenly I forget about the movie and the dozens of people sitting around us as I take another bite of the delicious treat.
“My turn,” I whisper, and reach into the basket for another strawberry and offer it to his mouth. His eyes shine with mischief as he takes a bite and then bends down to kiss me, the chocolate and the juice from the berry on his lips. I lick them clean and he kisses me firmly.
“I’m about to make a scene,” he whispers, making me chuckle.
I pull away from him and munch on chocolate strawberries as he pours me a glass of sweet white wine.
“Red Solo cups are so romantic,” I giggle softly.
“I can’t pour it into wineglasses.” He shakes his head, a wide grin on his face. “Alcohol is prohibited in this park.” He places his finger over his lips, warning me to keep our secret between us, and then takes a sip of my wine before handing it to me.
“You’re not having any?” I take a drink.
“I’m driving us home.”
“Not for a while.”
“That remains to be seen.” He runs the backs of his knuckles down my cheek. “I’m having a very hard time keeping my hands off you.”
Just like that, it’s as if the wind were knocked out of me. He says the sweetest things.
The first movie ends and the crowd stirs, people standing and stretching, gathering blankets and bags of snacks. Kids whine about having to go home to bed. Some parents let their little ones simply sleep on the blankets on the ground while they stay for the second show.
“I’m gonna go use the restroom.” I stand and raise my hands over my head, stretching up on my toes. “I’ll be back.”
A line wraps around the small brown-brick restroom building, but it seems to be moving fairly quickly. I move to the back of the line and notice a group of women about five people ahead of me.
If there had been “mean girls” in my high school, it would have been two of those three girls. Sunny Lawson and Lauren Cunningham were classmates of Jillian’s and mine, and they were horrible. Both from wealthy families, they were pretty and popular and incredibly snobby. I frown, remembering. Actually, that’s not true. Lauren was always just quiet. She was never cruel, she just hung out with girls who were.
I wonder why?
The third woman, Misty Maddox, is newer to town. I believe she’s only been here for a couple of years, but, boy, does she ever fit in well with that group. I’ve never met a cattier woman.
“. . . Cara Donovan.”
My ears immediately perk up at the sound of my name.
“He’s not interested in Cara.” Misty smirks.
“Didn’t you see them sitting together?” Sunny asks. “He looked interested to me.”
Oh, trust me, he’s interested.
“Why would he be interested in that fat bitch? Trust me, he just feels sorry for her because the tree fell on her house. You know how he is, always saving someone from something.” Misty shakes her head condescendingly.
“Stop that,” Lauren interrupts. “Cara’s a nice person.”
“I didn’t say she wasn’t,” Misty agrees. “But she’s so not his type. He’s a ten and she’s a three on a good day.”
“At least she’s straightened her hair.” Sunny giggles. “Remember her hair, Lo? Oh, God, what a mess!”
“Tell me about her hair!” Misty is smiling giddily and I just want to throw up. I’m mortified. I want to run away, but I can’t make my feet move. They still haven’t seen me, and the people in front of me haven’t noticed me standing here either.
“She had this horrible, curly frizzy hair.” Sunny gasps for breath from laughing so hard. “It was all over the place.”
“I think it looks nice now.” Lauren is scowling at both women. “You two are ridiculous. This isn’t high school.”
“Oh, loosen up, Lo.” Misty waves Lauren off dismissively. “It’s all in fun. And trust me, girls—Cara Donovan is no threat.”
“You’re right,” I call out, to the surprise of everyone around me.
The three women turn, eyes wide and mouths open. Lauren and Sunny both blush, but Misty quickly recovers and narrows her eyes viciously at me.
I can’t stay quiet one moment longer. “There’s no threat because Josh has chosen to be with me. I guess he’s just not into catty bitches.” I prop my hands on my hips and tilt my head to the side. My heart is racing with adrenaline. “It’s good to see Lauren has grown up. When are you two going to join her?”
Before either Misty or Sunny can respond, Lauren grabs both their arms and yanks them into the restroom.
“Those girls always were trouble.”
I spin around to see Mrs. Baker, my eighth-grade math teacher, standing behind me, her eyes narrowed and hands planted on her ample hips. She always was a force to be reckoned with, and retirement hasn’t changed that.
“It doesn’t matter,” I murmur.
“It does too matter. I don’t like that new girl one bit. If she were in my classroom, I’d make her life a living hell.”
I smirk and silently agree. Maybe Misty needs a scared-straight field trip.
The line moves, and before long all three girls leave, walking quickly, not glancing my way.
By the time I walk back toward Josh, I can’t help but feel just a little twinge of doubt because, at the end of the day, what if Misty was right? What if Josh just feels the need to swoop in and save me?
The part that pisses me off the most is that she’s made me doubt why he’s attracted to me, despite the fact that Josh himself has never given me a reason to doubt him.