After she left, I began the less than thrilling task of counting the sales for the first half of the day. I was halfway through the children’s tickets, when the fabric of Carter’s turtleneck itched me to the point of no return.

I pulled out my phone and called him.

“Hello?” he answered.

“Can you do me a favor?”

“I’ve already forgotten about last night.”

“That’s not what I’m talking about…But I’m glad we’re already on the same page with um...that. That thing which did not happen.”

He laughed. “What’s the favor, Ari?”

“Can you go to my house and get me some clothes and bring them to the marina?”

“Are you currently there naked?”

“No.” I rolled my eyes. “There’s a spare key under the flower pot on my front porch. Anything in my top right drawer—shorts, T-shirts, jeans, would be great. No tank tops, though. Do not get one of those.”

“Why no tank tops?” There was a smile in his voice. “I’m pretty sure that’d be a perfect thing for you to wear today, unless you’re trying to cover something up?”

Gasping, I hung up and returned to my spreadsheet. When I looked up again, I realized forty minutes had passed with no sign of Ashley, so I called her.

“Hey!” She answered on the first ring.

“Um hey…” I looked at my watch. “Um, do you plan on coming back before or after our shared hour is up? I would like a break, too, you know…”

“Oh! Time just completely passed me by! I’ll be back in exactly fifteen minutes!”

“That’ll only give me five for a break...”

“Were you really going to walk around the boardwalk in a turtleneck, though?” She actually sounded genuine, like the act of stealing my break was doing me a favor.

“Could you at least bring me some lunch then?”

“I can try…” she said. “But you should’ve told me when I first asked you if you wanted anything back because now it’s crowded out here, so—”

“Ugh!” I hung up. Moments like that made me question if working here for the boat pass was even worth it.

I browsed the menu of the pizza truck across from us and heard a knock at the door.

Maybe hanging up on her did some good, then. I thought. Maybe it made her come to her senses…

It didn’t. It was Carter.

“Hey…” I said, letting him inside.

“Hey.” He looked me up and down. “Interesting outfit.” He set a white box on the counter and handed me my clothes.

I couldn’t even get my mouth to say thank you right now. He was shirtless, dressed only in navy blue swim trunks that showed off his perfectly carved V and the small trail of hair that lined up with his zipper.

“Something wrong?” He took off his shades and I noticed that light beads of sweat were trickling down his chest.

“Nothing at all.” I turned away and slipped inside the restroom, putting on the better clothes, grateful that the shirt covered all of his bite marks. I pulled out another shirt he packed and saw that he’d even packed me a brush and makeup.

Taking extra time to put myself together, I finally slipped out ten minutes later, only to find him sitting in my seat.

“I don’t get a thank you?” He smiled.

“You don’t get anything,” I said. “If I could discuss the reason in question, you would know why…”

His blue eyes met mine and I shook my head, looking away from him. “What’s in the box?”

“Lunch.” He handed it to me. “I figured you probably didn’t eat yet. Will I get a thank you for that, maybe?”

“Thank you,” I said, flipping the lid open. It was a grilled chicken wrap and sea chips. “Ashley is stealing my break again…”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“I bet…Where did you disappear to this morning?”

“Nowhere. I just went for a walk on the beach.”

“Someone new you needed to break up with? How did she take it?”

“Funny.” He let out a low laugh. “I just needed to think.” He looked as if he wanted to say something else, but Ashley walked in.

“Well, hey there!” She exclaimed. “I rushed back so I could give you at least fifteen minutes of your break.”

I rolled my eyes and glared at her. “How very thoughtful of you.”

“I know.” She sat down, batting her eyes at Carter. “I’ll stay here while you go take your break…”

I grabbed my chicken wrap and headed toward the door, surprised that Carter followed me.

We walked toward the edge of the docks, not saying much of anything to each other. When I finished my wrap and noticed him staring at me, he smiled.

I awkwardly returned the smile and we spent a few minutes watching the seagulls fly above us.

“Thank you for bringing me clothes and lunch,” I said, starting to head back.

“You’re more than welcome. What are your plans after work?”

Avoiding you so I can think… “I’ll be hanging out with a friend.”

“Which friend?”

“You don’t know her.”

“I know all of your friends.” He looked into my eyes. “Which one?”

I glanced at the cake box charm on my wrist. “Betty.”