by Abbi Glines
COMING DECEMBER 2ND
Eight Years Ago
“What the hell is going on down at the beach?” I muttered as we pulled up to the condo my grandfather had given me as a graduation present. My parents hadn’t been happy about it but my mother’s father had informed them that I needed my space from them. This was his gift to me. I’d moved out the next day. Having the freedom of my own place allowed me to get the hell out of my parents’ clutches. It offered a taste of what I could have.
“Looks like a bonfire,” Woods said, stating the obvious.
“And we weren’t invited?” Jace asked.
It’s not our crowd. We’re real close to the town limits. That part of the beach isn’t Rosemary Beach. My guess is they’re from Destin. Locals maybe,” Woods explained.
We got out of Woods’s truck as I grinned back at the other two. I was leaving soon and I wanted to spend as much time as I could with Jace and his friends before I left. I didn’t know when I’d be home again. I had my own friends too but I could visit them when I was on the road. None of them spent their summers here. I always did because I was close to the guys from boarding school. The one year I’d spent there with Jace, Woods, and Thad had been epic. The shit we got away with because of Woods’s daddy’s influence didn’t compare to whenever Rush Finlay came to visit Grant, we really got to have some fun. No one wanted to piss off a Rock God’s son.
“Let’s go find some trouble,” I suggested, and Woods laughed as Jace whooped and jumped down out of the truck.
“I bet there’re hotties in bikinis lookin’ for a good time in that crowd,” Thad piped up as he pulled his long blonde hair back in a pony tail.
“That’s what I’m thinking. I haven’t gotten any since I broke up with London,” I admitted.
“Damn, she’s fucking hot. I haven’t figured out why you stopped tapping that ass,” Thad said.
“She’s crazy,” Woods told him. He knew the stories. He’d heard them from Jace.
I nodded my head in agreement.
“I’m going to go grab that six-pack out of the fridge,” Jace said.
“I gotta use some mouthwash,” Woods said, following him up to my condo.
“I’ll meet y’all down there,” I told them. Thad followed the other two; I figured he was going after the mouthwash, too. They were all sixteen and I doubted any of them were getting any tonight, but I didn’t break it to them. This crowd was probably my age or older.
I stepped into the firelight and looked around. The bikinis were gonna make Thad really happy. Smiling, I walked over to stand on the outskirts of the party to watch from the shadows for a bit before seeing if this was anything I wanted to walk into.
A large piece of driftwood lay just up to the right, hidden in the shadows, and I could make out the silhouette of someone occupying it. I knew that piece of driftwood. I came out here often at night to sit and watch the waves.
Curious, I walked over to it. As I approached, the occupant of my seat turned to look up at me. The moonlight illuminated her perfectly, and I recognized the sweet face and big brown eyes watching me. Bethy.
I hadn’t seen her again since I took her to her Aunt Darla’s last weekend, yet I’d heard she kept finding the parties in town. At least this time she was alone and not fighting off a jerk.
“You always find the good parties?” I asked as I sat down beside her.
She didn’t respond at first and I wondered if she remembered me. “Tripp,” I reminded her. “I gave you a ride from Rush’s party last weekend.”
She smiled and ducked her head. “I know who you are,” she said softly but that husky tone in her voice gave me a little shiver. I had to remember this girl was too young for me.
“Good. Then I’m not that forgettable,” I joked.
She laughed and glanced back up at me. “I knew who you were last weekend.”
Interesting. But then she’d grown up at the club. I’d seen her many times myself.
“So, whose party is this?” I asked, looking out at the crowd before turning my gaze back to her.
She sighed. “People from school. Seniors, mostly. My friend got an invite from a senior guy she has a thing for. She didn’t want to come alone. So here I am.”
And she was sitting all alone in the dark. Not exactly safe.
“Where’s your friend now?” I asked.
“There in that American flag bikini with that guy who has his hand down her bottoms,” she said, pointing to the couple openly making out in front of everyone. “She doesn’t always make smart choices,” Bethy said with a frown as she looked away from her friend and back down at her hands clasped in her lap.
She was also wearing a swimsuit but she had a cover-up on. I could see the pink straps tied behind her neck. All she was showing off was her legs. Her really long legs.
“Why are you here?” she asked, looking back up at me.
I nodded my head back to the condos to the left of us. “I live there.”
She frowned. “I thought your parents’ place was on the other side of Rosemary Beach.”
She knew where my parents’ summer house was? That was surprising. I wondered what else she knew about me.
“I moved out after graduation,” I explained.
She sighed wistfully. “That must be nice.”
She had no idea. But then she didn’t know what I was about to run from. She didn’t have people trying to make life decisions for her. That was my hell to face.
Hoots and whistles stopped me from saying anything more. I glanced out at the crowd to see Bethy’s friend was topless and the guy she was there to see was sucking on her tits right there in front of everyone. The girl’s head was thrown back as she held his head to her chest.
“Oh god,” Bethy said beside me.
“Your friend is a bit of an exhibitionist,” I said, looking away from the action in front of me to Bethy, who was watching horrified.
“She’s lost her mind. I don’t know what’s gotten into her lately,” Bethy said, covering her eyes. “I do not want to see that.”
Laughing, I reached over and took her hands from her face. “Take a walk with me. Maybe they’ll be done with this when we get back. We can miss the actual public sex.”