He never saw the punch coming. The punch was followed by another and another. Then he was knocked to the ground and kicked in the side before the screaming crowd turned and walked away, disgusted, disappointed.
“Why didn’t he fight back?” He heard a voice ask.
“Because he’s a coward.” Another answered.
Converse black canvas high top Chucks appeared at his side. He tried to look up into the face that went with the shoes but the sun glared in his eyes.
He sat up. She squatted down next to him in a pale pink skirt with white lace and a hot pink tank top. He could see her clearly now. She had black curls surrounding a heart shaped face. He saw sadness in her sky blue eyes and her bright pink lips were pinched in a bow.
“Are you all right?” She asked.
“Yeah. This happens all the time.”
“Because I’m smaller than him. Because I get better grades them him.”
“You just let him hurt you. Why didn’t you try to run?”
“The crowd would’ve never let me out of the circle. They like a good fight, even if only one person is doing the fighting. They want to see the blood.” He wiped blood from his lip and then from his nose.
She handed him a tissue from a small packet she had in her small pink purse that hung from a silver chain from one shoulder, over her head and down to the other side of her waist. She brushed a stray strand of hair back from his forehead as he held the tissue to his nose.
“I’m an outcast too. My clothes are weird and I chew bubblegum.” She stood up and reached a hand down to him.
He took her hand and stood up. “You’re pretty.”
She smiled. “My name’s Mandy.”
“I’m Julius, another strike against me.”
“I like it.”
She leaned over and kissed his cheek. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Lila sat under an umbrella on the beach reading a book. A volleyball landed by her feet and rolled up beside her knee. She put her book down and reached for the volleyball. Just as she was about to give it a toss, she saw tan feet attached to muscular legs stop near her toes.
A guy with curly black hair and marine blue eyes peeked under her umbrella and squatted down. “Hi, I’m sorry if our volleyball disturbed you.” He smiled, flashing perfectly straight, white teeth and deep dimples. His arms and chest reminded her of the marble sculptures of Adonis, the Greek god, in some museum her mother had dragged her to a few years ago.
She still hadn’t said anything, and the gorgeous guy stretched out a hand toward her. “Could I please have our volleyball back?”
She shook her head to clear her brain. “I’m sorry. No, you’re volleyball didn’t disturb me.” She handed the volleyball to him and tried to put on her most charming smile.
“My name’s Lila, by the way, Lila Prescott.”
He smiled again. “Nice to meet you, Lila. I’m Blake Williams. See ya around.”
Then he was gone.
Lila sighed. If she’d really see Blake around, her summer might not be as bad as she had feared. Maybe she could have her own romance while her dad was busy chasing after bikini clad women who were way too young for him.
She hadn’t wanted to spend the summer with her dad again as he went through his midlife crisis acting like he was twenty-something again. But spending the summer at home with her mother wouldn’t have been much better. At least Dad didn’t try to tell her how to dress and wear her hair. Of course, he didn’t want to be seen with her either because he didn’t want his female prospects to know he was old enough to have a teenage daughter.
She hoped she’d see Blake again. He was hotter than the sand beneath her feet. Could he really take an interest in a girl who hid beneath layers of sunscreen and a beach umbrella to avoid turning into a lobster?
Parker watched her from across the room. While her friends were around her, she was chatting, animated and laughing. During the upbeat songs, they were on the dance floor in a group. As the tempo of the songs slowed, guys asked her friends to dance, leaving her alone. She either stood leaning against the wall or sat in a chair in a corner. She watched the couples with her arms crossed. She rubbed her arms with her hands.
He held his breath as he watched her rise and take a deep breath. She walked to the right side of the room and stopped in front of a young man. She spoke, the young man spoke and she turned away, her face flushed and downcast as she returned to a chair in the corner. No sooner had she sat down, then the young man she had spoken to entered the dance floor with another girl.
He released his breath. What was the problem? She wasn’t repulsive. Of course, she wasn’t what all of the magazines wanted guys to believe was “the perfect” girl either. But she was pretty.
When her friends returned, they spoke and she shook her head. This time she remained seated as her friends danced in a group.
When the next slow song began, he pulled himself away from the wall he had been leaning on and walked across the room. He stopped in front of her. When she looked up, he smiled and reached a hand toward her. “Would you like to dance?”
His heart lurched as she hesitated. “Are you sure?” Her eyes glimmered with unshed tears.
“I am quite sure.” He took her hand, led her to the dance floor and held her in his arms.
She stood along the wall with all of the other girls who didn’t stand out in the crowd and didn’t have the guts to ask a guy to dance.
What am I even doing here? Sure it’s fun to dance with a group of my friends when the music’s got a good beat, but it’s torture to stand along the wall feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed when couples are out there swaying. She headed to the door hoping some fresh air would do some good.
She returned and danced with her friends until the next slow song began. Then she joined most of her friends along the wall again.
Wait, is that guy coming toward me? She held her breath trying not to get her hopes up. He wouldn’t do much for her social standing. Everyone said he was the biggest nerd in school. Never mind that, he was drop dead gorgeous but he was too smart to be popular.
He stopped in front of her, cleared his throat and ran a hand through his black, black wavy hair. She couldn’t tear her gaze away from his deep, blue eyes.
“Uh, would you like to dance?”
She released the breath she’d been holding.
“I’d love to.”
He smiled, revealing a deep dimple in each cheek. He took her hand and led her to the dance floor where he took her in his arms and began to move to the music.
If this is a dream, I sure hope I don’t wake up.