"I'm dying of starvation!" Kristen said and pretended to faint, falling backward onto the worn couch.
"Stop being so dramatic." I closed the front door of our little condo behind me. Most of the apartments had already been filled by the time I arrived at the beginning of summer, but I had found a room for rent above someone's garage. It was quaint, small, quiet, and so much better than living in an apartment with a bunch of other people. I wanted to get away from college life, not immerse myself in the same situation just on the opposite side of the country. Plus, my place was only a block from the beach. The only downside was that I couldn't afford it on my own.
I had texted a few of my friends from high school, hoping to reconnect. But I quickly realized that I had completely lost touch with all of them. One of them was engaged to some billionaire in the big city. The exact opposite of me. Broke. Single. I tossed my bag on the floor and kicked off my flip flops, ignoring the fact that I desperately needed to sweep. The only downside of living at the beach was all the sand. Everywhere. Every. Where.
Thankfully, Kristen had answered my ad where I basically talked about being a loser and begged for a roommate. She never even made fun of me for it. And she wasn't around all that often. She liked to party. I liked to read. She liked to run several miles in the morning. I liked to eat ice cream for breakfast. In my defense, she was training to be part of the summer games next year, representing the U.S. women’s volleyball team. So she was training to win a gold medal. And I was…well, still eating ice cream for breakfast.
But she was always here for dinner. Training left her famished. Which was great, because I loved trying out new recipes for more than just myself. Actually, she was the perfect roommate, and she was quickly becoming one of my best friends.
I thought about all the people I believed I had been friends with in Santa Monica. They had dropped me like a hot potato. And all the people I had originally left behind in Delaware? Gone. Not dead, but dead from my life I guess. Who was I kidding? Kristen wasn't becoming one of my best friends. She was my only friend.
“Feed me, you monster!” Kristen said.
I flopped down on the couch beside her and hit her with a throw pillow.
"Ow." She snatched it from me. "If you're not going to cook, do you want to go out for dinner? Drinks are on me."
This sounds like margarita night all over again. "No, I'll cook." I got up and tried to hide my wince. The spray that the lifeguard had used on my legs had initially helped. But it had quickly worn off.
"What took you so long at the beach today?" Kristen asked. "Usually you're back at 5:05. And by usually, I mean always."
I opened up the fridge. "Nothing."
She laughed. "You're lying."
"I'm not lying."
“You are. But it’s okay. A few drinks in and I’ll get the truth out of you. I made a pitcher of sangria!”
There was no way I was drinking with her tonight. Confessing that I was attracted to the lifeguard in the first place was bad enough. A confession about being turned on just from the lifeguard’s touch was too much information. I barely knew Kristen, even if she was my bestie.
I ignored the pitcher of sangria and pulled out some broccoli, garlic, eggs, and cheddar cheese. “How does a quiche sound?”
“Not as good as tacos.”
"You know, you could always feed yourself."
She stuck out her bottom lip. "But the food you make is always so amazing.”
“Quiche it is then. Trust me, you’ll like it. The secret ingredient to a great quiche is red pepper flakes. It’s got that kick that you like.”
“Mmm. Okay, I trust you, Chef Mila.”
I laughed and started chopping the broccoli.
Less than an hour later, we were sitting on the couch, balancing plates precariously on our laps.
“What do you want to watch?” Kristen asked as she channel surfed.
Honestly, I didn’t want to watch anything. I liked enjoying my food after I cooked it. But if we had a show on, Kristen was less likely to badger me about my lifeguard. “Want to watch the next season of Project Runway?”
“Yaasss!” She blew me a kiss, Tim Gunn style, and pulled it up on Hulu in two seconds flat. She had definitely already queued it up and was just waiting for my okay.
I smiled and took a bite of my masterpiece. We had been making our way through all the old seasons of Project Runway since we moved in together. We’d both never seen the show before and now we were totally hooked. Especially on Swatch. A Swatch sighting when the contestants were shopping for fabric was a jump-up-and-down moment. And I didn’t even like dogs. If I ever lost my mind and decided to get a pet, it would probably be a Swatch dog. But clearly it wasn’t meant to be, because I didn’t even know what type of dog he was.
I shifted on the couch to get more comfortable and grimaced. Geez, who knew jellyfish bites stung so freaking much? It felt like I was doing an unconventional materials challenge on the show and got burned by a hot glue gun.
Kristen turned the volume down. “Okay…seriously, spill it. Clearly you got rammed and for some reason have decided not to tell me and I’m hurt.” She put her hands over her heart to show her pain, almost dropping her quiche on the floor in the process.
“Rammed?” I was trying my best to focus on the show instead of her sad face.
“You know.” She made a rude gesture of putting her index finger through an “O” shape she’d made with her other hand. “Boned. Laid. Stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey. Hanky panky. Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am.”
I laughed. “Gross, stop it.” I slapped both her hands.
“I promise I didn’t get stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey.”
“So no anal…”
“That’s not what getting stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey means.”
“Of course it is. Because you ram the stuffing up the turkey’s ass for all that extra flavor.”
Gross. “I meant I didn’t have sex period.” The thought of sex made me picture Aiden naked, trying to get me out of his bedroom so he could continue cheating on me. God I hated men. “I told you, no boys for me this summer. I’m focusing on me.”
Kristen had the audacity to pause the show right in the middle of a Tim Gunn critique.
“Hey, I was watching that.”
“Mila, I know you were hurt.” She put her feet up on the couch so she could turn toward me. “But you can’t just shut yourself off from love. And when did you say Aiden lost his mind? During spring break? That was like…in March. It’s been three months.”
“Three months is not that much time! I thought he was going to propose!”
“And we both know you would have said no.”
“He was not your person. He was an egotistical asshole. You would have said no. And even if you didn’t, you would have changed your mind before you walked down the aisle and ruined your whole life. You’re smarter than that. And you shouldn’t let someone as stupid as Aiden ruin your whole summer. You’re a junior. It’s your last real summer break. You deserve to enjoy it.”
Her words made me tear up. She was right. Why was I still letting Aiden dictate my happiness? Yup, Kristen was definitely my best friend. Before I could thank her for what she said, she started talking again.
“And the best way to enjoy this summer is by drinking sangria with your main squeeze and watching reruns of Project Runway!” She got up and quickly poured me a glass of sangria. “But getting rammed by aforementioned hot lifeguard would really be the cherry on top. I’m sure he’d make you forget all about Aiden.”
I laughed and took the glass from her. She wasn’t wrong. But nothing was going to happen with me and the lifeguard.
“So if you didn’t do the dirty deed, what the hell happened? You can barely move without looking like you’re going to keel over.”
“Oh ouch. Did you get someone to pee on you? That’s really supposed to help.”
I laughed. At least I wasn’t the only one whose mind automatically went there. “Apparently there’s a spray for it. So no pee necessary.” Thank God.
“Nice.” She just stared at me instead of restarting our TV show.
“So how do you know about the spray? Did you look it up online? Or did someone give it to you?”
“A lifeguard sprayed me.”
We proceeded to have a staring contest for almost a minute before Kristen squealed.
“Hot lifeguard sprayed you with pee?!”
“That’s not what I said. It’s not pee spray. Just a normal jellyfish spray of some kind.”
“Not important.” She waved her hand through the air. “It was him?”
“Yeah, you know I always sit next to his stand.”
“So you met him. What did he say? What was he like? Did you get a good whiff of him? He probably smells amazing. Did you touch his abs?”
I laughed. “No, I didn’t sniff him or touch him.” Although, he had touched me. I shook away the thought. “He was just really professional.” Kind of. I remembered the feeling of him blowing on my ass and a chill ran down my spine. “And…nice.”
“Nice? That is literally the worst way to describe someone. That’s how you describe a stranger’s grandmother. Give me more than that.”
“He was really sweet. And he said he’d see me on Thursday. So I’m pretty sure he knows my schedule.”
“It’s not.” I took a huge gulp of my sangria. Was it? I wasn’t sure why I was even entertaining the idea. I was 100 percent not going to ever go on a date with my lifeguard. And even if I wanted to, which I didn’t, I was pretty sure he had a girlfriend.
“It is.” She lifted her glass in the air. “Here’s to hooking up with sexy lifeguards all summer.”
I wasn’t going to argue with her anymore. Instead, I clinked my glass with hers and un-paused the show. The only man I needed in my life was Swatch. He was probably a really good snuggler.
END OF CHAPTER 2
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