Authors: Jean Haus
Tags: #teen romance, #sleeping handsome
Happily Ever After?
Copyright © 2012 by Jean
All right reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any
form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information
storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from
the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote
short excerpts in a review.
Before Zach I would have imagined my
senior prom totally different. The label on my dress and shoes
would have been important. The number of guys checking me out and
the jealous looks from other girls would have decided how well the
night was going. I would have shared snide comments and giggles
with my former best friend, Amanda, about ugly dresses and lanky
boys whose tuxedos didn’t fit. I have to admit my immature past is
somewhat embarrassing. Okay, maybe really embarrassing. Yet when
I’m with Zach, nothing matters but us.
Right now, we’re dancing and he’s
holding me so tight it’s kind of hard to breathe. I don’t care
about breathing. I’m always happy on cloud ten or eleven or twelve
or whatever number in his arms. As usual, he smells divine. Like
the woods after a long, clean rain. Ode la essence of Zach. Bottle
that puppy, make candles, air freshener, scratch and sniff
stickers, or anything. I’d be the number uno customer.
The slow, sweet song comes to an end
and I feel the warm brush of his lips against my temple. A
melancholy sigh escapes me. My fingers tighten on his shoulders.
“It’s moments like these when I don’t want to go.”
Paige,” he says with
exasperation and gently pushes me back by the shoulders. The
flashing lights above make shadows on his sculpted face and catch
the blue of his narrowed eyes.
My fingers grip the lapels of his tux.
The back of my hand crushes his boutonniere. “I know. I know. I
have to go. I want to go. I’m just going to miss you so
A fast song starts but he doesn’t
move. He stoops and presses his forehead to mine. “I thought we
weren’t going to talk about this tonight.”
I frown. “You’re right. I’m sorry,
just thinking aloud I suppose.”
My fellow students move around,
jostle, and bump into us.
He shakes his head and smiles
crookedly. I love his smile. “One day that thinking with your mouth
is going to get you in trouble.”
My frown curls into a grin. “It got me
you didn’t it?”
He lets out a laugh. “Well I don’t
count. To me you’re irresistible.” He grabs my hand and spins me
around in a circle. We clap like Spanish dancers around each other.
Laughing, we change course plug our noses and shimmy down like
sixty hippies. The end of the song gets finished with the running
man. We’d never win a dance competition. And we are such dorks
sometimes. I used to be terrified of being anything less than cool.
With Zach, I’m always just me. The real person he inspired me to
find deep within. Usually that person is upbeat but the present
moment is a bit bittersweet. We laugh and have fun and pretend I’m
not leaving for Finland for four weeks in two days.
The next song, another
slow one and the last of the evening, has Zach’s arms around me
again. I bury my face in his shirt and fight the urge to cry. What
a mental case I’ve become laughing one minute then on the verge of
tears the next. My fingers dig into the muscles of his back.
Get a grip, Paige
only four weeks. Twenty-eight days. 624 hours. 40,320 minutes. I
haven’t figured out the seconds yet. I’m sure while in Finland I
will. We’ve been going out for a little over three months. One
month is over a third of that time.
Pulled in from a goofy roll away from
him, I stifle a groan into his chest. I’ve suddenly become good at
math. Who knew?
I’ve been given the chance
of a lifetime. Though a minor role,
is a major film. I’ll be
working with several big actors. And the movie will be seen by
millions of people. This could be my break out role. Even if it
isn’t, I’m pretty sure it will lead to more jobs. A real career.
Something I thought would take years to build. But going on
location and leaving Zach has my insides twisting.
We haven’t been apart for more than a
week since our first date. And that week? It was when I went with
my family to visit my grandparents in Arizona. It’s not like I had
a choice because if I did, I wouldn’t have gone.
The song comes to an end and I lift my
head from his chest. Beyond his shoulder I catch a glimpse of
someone watching us with narrowed eyes. I rear back and Amanda
spins away. My heart beats as her glittery form slips through a
crowd of people. Ever since I threatened exposing her many ugly
secrets, she’s left me alone. The look I just caught in her eye—the
evil eye I remember—bodes more than revenge. It’s bodes
annihilation. I swallow the dry lump in my throat. Perhaps it’s a
good thing I’m leaving in two days.
Hey,” Zach says with a
palm to my cheek. He gently turns my head. “You okay?”
The worry in his eyes forces a smile
to my lips. “I’m good.” I grab his hand. “Let’s go.”
The concern doesn’t leave his handsome
face, but he allows me to pull him into the throng of departing
Hey Paige, you guys going
to Shane’s after party?” Ally Parker, one of my fellow drama geeks,
asks as we pass.
Not tonight. We have
other plans. Just us.” Usually I drag Zach to all my drama buddy’s
parties. With games and food and the occasional karaoke song,
they’re actually fun. So different than the parties I attended for
most of high school. With my departure looming, I just want some
alone time with Zach. “But tell everyone we said hi.”
Alright. You two have a
great night,” she says with a grin and a wink before taking off to
join her boyfriend waiting ahead.
Zach and I look at each other then
burst out laughing. Almost everyone we’ve talked to when hearing we
plan on being alone has gotten kind of weird. Like it’s obvious
we’re going to have sex because it’s prom. We’re not. We talk about
it. I’m beyond in love with him. I’m just not ready. We agreed to
take it slow and build our relationship on more than just the
physical. Boyfriend less for most of high school I’m not the most
experienced girl. Well, sometimes I feel ready. Like at the sight
of his muscled body dripping with pool water or when he kisses that
spot behind my ear as his fingertips create hot trails across my
skin. Um yeah, just thinking about that has me pulling him faster
through the throng of students.
Outside, the door creaks as he opens
the passenger side of his car for me. Though old and dented, he
refuses to drive mine—an almost new shiny convertible. And I could
care less. I love his car. It reminds me of him with its hula girl
stuck to the dashboard, the ever-present pile of library books
piled in the backseat, and the mounds of notebooks everywhere
filled with his writing.
Zach drives to our favorite place, one
of those spots looking out over the twinkling city from above,
while I pull off my heels and slip into a pair of flip-flops. After
pulling onto a dusty road, we park feet from the ledge. Zach sheds
his jacket and tie then spreads a blanket on the hood. I find the
list of music I made especially for tonight and set my iPhone next
to a wiper. We open two glass bottled Cokes and crawl on the car.
Lying back on the windshield, Zach wraps an arm around me and pulls
me to him. He lifts his Coke. “Shall we make a date in four weeks?
Resisting the melancholy that tries to
overwhelm me, I clink my bottle with his. “I can’t
We both take a sip. A slow love song
plays as we gaze at the lights below. The breeze in the air ruffles
the sheer gauze of my dress. He catches a piece of the skirt and
rubs it between his fingers. “Your mom went picture crazy at your
house then traffic almost had us late for dinner.” He leans away a
bit and his eyes lock on mine. “I never got to tell you how
beautiful you look tonight.”
I can’t help a smile. Though Zach’s
told me many times he thinks I’m beautiful, a warm glow fills me at
his words. “Thank you,” I say, snuggling closer to him. “I must
admit I looked better with your gorgeous self on my arm.” Zach in a
tux was beyond hot. A young 007 couldn’t compete with his dark
hair, striking eyes, and tall form.
His chest rumbles with laughter. “Oh,
I don’t know about that. More than half the guys there were wishing
I wasn’t on your arm.”
Whatever.” I roll my eyes
and take a sip of soda. Other guys are meaningless to me. Though
our coming separation weighs heavily on my mind, I find something
else to talk about. I don’t want to be a bummer. Especially
tonight. “Have you made a decision about becoming a full time
He shakes his head. “ Drake’s still
looking for another roommate, but if we don’t find one soon, I may
not have a choice.”
My lip curls. “Well that
His shirt creases against the skin of
my cheek as he shrugs. “I’ll do what it takes.”
I let out a long sigh and rub the cool
glass of my drink against my forehead. These last few months have
been so happy and carefree. Now he has moved out of his parent’s
house and I’m off to another country. This growing up stuff is
really what stinks. Me with my career. Him with school and work.
Everything in our lives is pulling us apart.
Zach sets his Coke down with a clank
then reaches for mine. Another clank on the hood sounds over the
music. He tilts my chin up with a knuckle. Those blue eyes catch
mine. “Distance, time, responsibility…none of those things will
keep us apart, Paige.” His gaze travels over my face. “We’re meant
to be together. Since you kissed me awake, I’ve never been more
sure of anything.”
My smile is weak. My sigh
Shaking his head, he sits up straight,
puts a hand over his chest, and looks over the valley. His profile
is tight and serious. “Our love is like pliable super glue,” he
says in deep voice similar to a movie announcer. “It can stretch
between us, blow in the wind, even suspend from a cliff, but it
will never break, never tear, and will always stay together.” A
giggle escapes me at his cheesy writer crap and even worse acting.
He frowns down at me. His hand tightens on the front of his shirt.
“Woe is me. I wax poetically and she laughs.”
My fingers tangle in his silky, dark
hair. “Good thing you’re planning on be a novelist. I’m not sure
you’d make it as a poet.”
He chuckles. “Oh ye of little faith.
As my muse one day, I’ll astound you with an ode to
With a light tug on his hair, I pull
him closer. “Just kiss me, Shakespeare.”
Your wish is my command.”
Both of his hands cup my face and his mouth covers mine. As always,
his kiss has my head swimming.
Soon our legs are wrapped together and
we’re scooting down the hood. Lying on our sides with the soft
blanket and hard metal underneath us, we kiss again. His mouth
moves over mine. His fingers caress the bare skin of my shoulders.
My hands tug on his shirt until the bunched muscles of his back are
under my palms. The kiss deepens. The tangle of our legs
The kiss turns frantic before Zach
pulls away, drops his head on my shoulder, and groans into my neck.
“Four fucking weeks without you.”
I jerk back to look at him but he
holds me tight. “I knew it. I knew you were as tore up about this
as me,” I say into his hair.
Of course I am.” He lets
out a deep exhale that warms my skin. “Shit Paige, I won’t be able
to kiss or touch you for almost thirty days.”
And I thought I was the only one
counting. “Maybe—maybe I shouldn’t go.”
He groans into my neck again before
drawing back to look at me. “Are you kidding me? This is your big
chance. You just finished your exams and graduated early. They’re
expecting you. You’ll ruin your professional reputation before it’s
even made if you don’t go.”
With a long sigh, he sits up and pulls
me between his legs. My back rests against his chest. We face the
twinkling lights again. He rests his chin on my shoulder and his
arms wrap around me. “You’re going.” He kisses behind my ear in the
spot that always brings a little shudder. Knowing it, he grins
against my skin as my body trembles. “Being apart is going to suck,
but I’m not holding you back.”