Read Lost To Me Online

Authors: Jamie Blair

Lost To Me (7 page)


He laughed and relaxed as I covered him with sand in the surf and moonlight. “I like you like this,” I said. “You can’t get away from me.”


He took my hands and put them on the sides of his face. I bent down and kissed him.


“I’m not going anywhere,” he said.


“But, I am.”


“Then I’ll follow.”


We lingered on the patio, kissing goodnight. I tried to get him to sneak upstairs with me, but he reminded me he was trying to behave himself.


Inside, I dripped up the stairs and was certain I got sand all over. I set my alarm to go off early, so I could sweep up before anyone saw the mess. After changing, I tossed my nightgown over the balcony railing to dry out.


I wondered if he was still there, sitting under my balcony in the sand. “Kolton?” I whispered, feeling foolish. There was no answer.


That night, it was almost impossible to get to sleep. I ached for him, in places that I knew he would like me to be aching in, while thinking of him. I swore, the next time he tried to touch me, I’d let him.




When I came downstairs for the second time the next morning—the first time was to clean up the sandy evidence of my sneaking out—Kolton sat at the kitchen table talking to my dad about sports.


“Hi,” I said, sounding breathless and surprised.


“Hey.” He stood up. “I wanted to know if you’d like to go to the aquarium today. Have you ever touched a stingray?”


“Yeah, like she’d touch a stingray,” Dad said, laughing behind the sports page.


.” I made a face behind his paper, and Kolton laughed. “Yeah, I’d like to go.”


“They have an IMAX there if you want to catch a movie.”


At least my dad would hear our plans and not ground me for being gone a long time. “A movie sounds great too.” I grabbed my purse off of the barstool. “Dad, I’ll be gone all day. Tell Mom not to freak. Kolton won’t kidnap me.”


My dad lowered his paper and looked from Kolton to me. “Are you sure? The kid’s here at the crack of dawn.” Then he laughed. “Have fun. Take your time. It’s vacation, right? I’ll keep the wolves at bay, don’t worry.”


I wondered about his word choice and his expression—the way he glanced toward the stairs and lifted his eyes to the ceiling, inhaling like he needed patience. I wondered if he and Mom had been arguing or something. “Thanks, Dad.” I kissed his cheek.


“Have fun, Baby.”


When we got down to the driveway to Kolton’s car, he laughed as he opened the car door for me. “Watch your head.”


“Shut up.” I grinned and punched him in the leg.


He laughed and shut the door.




The aquarium had two buildings with a nature trail between. The smaller building featured marsh animals and the larger housed the sea animals and an IMAX theatre.


We started with the marsh animals and I fell in love with the otters. There was stadium seating inside the viewing area. Kolton sat behind me and rubbed my shoulders.


“Don’t you ever work?” I asked, teasing.


“My mom just got me a second job actually.”


I turned around and stared at him, astonished. “She did? How will you go to school and work two jobs?”


“I don’t want to think about it. This week I have things I want to do with you, places I want to take you before you leave. That’s all I want to think about.”


I kissed his knee. He gathered my hair in a ponytail and played with it while we watched the otters spin and splash.


On the nature trail on our way to the large aquarium with the sea animals, I tugged his hand while I skipped across one of the wooden bridges.


“Come on,” I said, being silly, “skip with me.”


“I don’t know how to skip.” He brushed a bug out of his face.


“Of course you do. Everybody knows how to skip.”


“Not me.”


I stopped. “Kolton Seidel, are you telling me that you can surf, but not skip?”


He smiled. “That’s what I’m telling you, Lauren Kelling.”


“Want to learn?” I raised one eyebrow, challenging him.


“Boys don’t skip.” He put his arm around my neck, and gave me a noogie.


“Sure they do.” I squeezed out of his grasp.


“Not after the age of five.” He tucked my arm under his and led me down a side trail to a three-story tree fort on the bay. I climbed up after him, knowing I’d regret it.


At the top, my stomach lurched from the height. “I can’t get close to the railing. I’ll pass out.”


“You’re afraid of heights?”




“I’m sorry. I wouldn’t have brought you up here if I knew.” He held me against him. “Don’t be afraid.” His fingers traced the side of my face. His lips lightly touched mine. When he pulled away he squeezed my hands. “I like you a lot, Lauren. More than a lot.” He kissed me, parting my lips, his tongue making me dizzy. The kiss was soft, sexy, and full of promise. “I’m glad I found you again. It feels like we were never apart, like my best friend’s back.” He kissed me again before letting go and walking over to the railing.


I relaxed a little and looked out onto the water. It was calm and still. In the distance, a tour boat hummed along. It was before noon and the sun blasted against the flat surface, reflecting up into the clear sky. “It’s pretty. Wish I had my camera.”


“Beautiful,” Kolton agreed. He’d turned the binoculars bolted to the railing toward me. “The most gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen.”


I covered my face. “Stop. I’m not a bug or something.”


He came back over to me, laughing. “Ready to go back down, my little ladybug?” He took my hands and kissed my cheek, right on my ugly splotch.


We finished the nature trail and entered the welcoming, air-conditioned aquarium. Down the dark mazes, we found tanks filled with smaller sea creatures, like shrimp, crab and lobsters. The next hallway led to sea turtles, swimming with graceful strokes of their fins.


I watched the largest cut its way through the middle of the tank and dive right in front of us. My hand pressed against the cold glass wall, wishing to touch the smooth underside of the big turtle. Kolton’s hand caressed my back as we stood there, like statues, watching.


Next to the sea turtle exhibit, baby sea turtles floated in smaller tanks. A couple of them were only a week old, and another was four weeks old.


“Oh,” I gushed over them. “Look how little. They’re so sweet.”


Kolton laced his fingers with mine and leaned in to get a better look. His wide-eyed, wonder made my heart beat fast. “They’re smaller than my hand.” He held his hand in front of the tank.


His expression changed when he caught me watching him. “Do you like babies?” he asked.


“Of course. When they don’t cry all night.” I shook my head thinking of Oriann.


“I know. They’re amazing, aren’t they? Tiny little people.” He turned his eyes to the turtles again. “Think you’ll have one someday?”


I may have imagined it, but I thought he squeezed my hand, quickly, lightly, but I swore I felt it.


“Probably more than one,” I said, shy and embarrassed. My hand started to sweat, but he didn’t drop it.


It had only been a few days, and he was talking about babies? I was crazy for reading into his words. Guys weren’t like that. They weren’t that sensitive. But, the look in his eyes argued against me.


“I’m going to have enough to have my own basketball team.” He laughed. “They can beat the crap out of Kyle’s kids on the court.”


I laughed and hugged him. “Take me to the sharks.”


“Right this way, Ladybug.” I smiled at my new nickname.


I could’ve watched the sharks patrol their tank for the rest of the day. Their constant rotation around the edges of the glass put me in a trance. Everything about sharks screamed predator. From their rows of razor sharp teeth, to their darting, wicked eyes, you know what’s in their head. They didn’t try to hide it.














Stingrays were smooth and soft like Lauren’s skin. I dipped my hand in the water and waited for the pack to circle back around the tank. They flapped up the side, wanting to be touched. My fingers glided over the back of one of the largest.


I watched as Lauren dipped her fingers a few inches into the water, hesitant and cautious. When a stingray went by, she twisted her lips and bit her cheek, lowering her hand further into the tank. Her face lit up at the thrill of contact with the silky skin, but she yanked her hand back to her chest just the same.


I laughed, my hand still in the water. “You’re such a girl.”


“Hey, I touched it, didn’t I?” She reached toward me and wiped her wet hand on my shirt.


“Hey!” I grabbed her wrist.


She tried to get her wrist from me, but I held tight. We play wrestled for a minute. I cheated and tickled her.


“Stop!” she begged through her giggles.


“Okay, I’ll stop, but you have to see a movie with me now.” My fingers linked with hers.


“You have this all planned out, don’t you?” Her face was flushed from all the laughing.


I winked and guided her toward the theatre.


We stood in line at the IMAX with about ten thousand other people. The show was some underwater wildlife thing that I really wasn’t too interested in seeing, but I’d watch ants move dirt if it meant spending time with Lauren.


We faced each other in line. Her arms were covered with goose bumps, so I ran my hands up and down them. Honestly, I was having a great time, but would’ve rather been spending some alone time, close to her.


Inside the theatre, most of the seats were already taken, but we claimed a spot at the end of the last row.


“I’ll be right back,” I said. “M&Ms or Skittles?”


“M&Ms please, with peanuts.”


I made my way down the steps in the aisle and out of the theater. The line at the concession stand was a mile long. I folded my arms and stood patiently until a shriek to my right had me turning to see what was going on.


A little boy was throwing a fit outside of the gift shop, yelling about wanting some rubber snake. That’s when my eyes locked on the jewelry counter. I had to get Lauren something to remember this day by, something to remember


About fifteen minutes later, the movie had already started when I snuck up the aisle with our drinks, candy and popcorn, to where Lauren waited—probably thinking I’d left her. Hopefully, she’d know there was no chance of that, ever.


I reached our aisle and froze. She sat at the end, looking amazingly goofy in 3D glasses. I stifled a laugh and committed the image to memory.


“You really are my little bug now,” I whispered and slid by her. “Sorry it took so long, there was a huge line.” I handed her a giant box of peanut M&Ms and a large Diet Coke. Then, put my glasses on and probably looked like an idiot. But she smiled and took my hand.


Halfway through the movie, I put my arm around her. She leaned into me. My hand came to a rest under her arm, and I caressed her side with my thumb. A few times, my thumb slid over the side of her breast, and she held her breath, only exhaling when my thumb slid back down her side. I swore I could feel her blood pumping and rushing under my hand. She fluttered nervously, like a tiny bird, but never moved away.


When the movie ended, we had to walk all the way back down the nature trail and through the other building with the otters, to get to my car. By the time we pulled out of the parking lot, it was late afternoon.


It was time for part two of my plan for the day. “Let’s go to my house. Kyle had a doctor’s appointment in Richmond. He and my mom won’t be back until later. We can hang out, and I have something to show you.”


Knowing my house would be empty sent a nervous thrill through her that I felt holding her hand. I saw it on her face, and in her eyes - a mixed cocktail of equal parts anxiety and eager anticipation. “Okay,” she stammered.


I parked on the cement slab under the hoop and went around to open her door. Unable to wait one second longer to touch her, I pressed her against the car and kissed her with needful, hungry lips.


Her hands pulled me to her, pressed against my lower back, then slid into the back pockets of my shorts. On fire, my lips slid to her ear and down her neck.


Before it got entirely too heated for her, I stopped and wrapped my arms around her. “I’ve been dying to do that all day.” I felt laughter in my chest as I squeezed her. God, she made me happy.


“Me too.” She stood on tip toe and kissed me again.


I took her hand and pulled her toward the house. “Come on. All you’ve had to eat today are M&Ms. You have to be starving.”


“Ravenous,” she said, smiling.


I’d made sure the house was immaculate, cleaning in the early hours of the morning. None of the everyday clutter, which piles up, sat on the table or countertops. The floors had vacuum lines in the carpet, and I’d placed fresh flowers in a vase on the table.


I watched her as she took it all in. It looked a lot different than the last time she’d been there. “I cleaned up for you. I hoped you’d come over again if my crazy family was gone.”


Her eyes turned to pity, and I hated it. “Kolton, I would’ve come over again if they were here. It’s fine. I understand.”


I turned my eyes to the countertop, embarrassed. Beside me, she reached up and ran her fingers through my hair.


“I like it better this way,” I said. “It can be normal.” Nobody would have a raging fit while she was there this time. Nobody would flit around the house and make her feel unwelcome. This time it was only the two of us, and I could make it perfect.


She bent a little and peeked under my hung head. Then, came up under my face and placed her lips very gently against mine. I didn’t move.  I let her kiss me over and over before I slowly took her into my arms. Our lips parted, and the kiss deepened. She was all I’d ever need.


“I don’t know where you came from, but you’re an answer to several hundred prayers.” I held her tight against me, one hand on the back of her head, the other around her waist.




While the spaghetti was boiling, I gave Lauren a tour of the house. In my room, I followed her eyes as they roamed to my double bed with the blue blanket, to my desk with the flashing red light on the PC, finally resting on the little black ball of fur that crawled out from the closet.


“You’re keeping him!” She scooped the kitten up in her arms and stuck her nose in his fur.


“I’ve been calling him Tiny. That’s Jake.” I pointed to a cage by my closet.


“That’s a lizard!”


“Come pet him,” I said, opening the cage.


“Uh, I think I’m good just looking.” She held the kitten closer, like Jake might dart out and eat it.


I smiled at the look of disgust on her face. “He doesn’t bite.”


“Maybe next time.”


Relief washed over me. “Next time.”


She waited in the hallway as I washed my hands in the bathroom after holding Jake. “I always wonder what it would be like to be Jake.” I pumped a second squirt of liquid soap into my palm and started lathering. “He just sits in there all day, every day. But, he seems okay with it. He gets fed and doesn’t have anything to worry about. Sometimes I wish life could be like that.” I looked over at her. “What do you think? Life would be good as a lizard?”


She shrugged and twisted her lips. “Sounds boring. Plus, there are people, I’m not saying me, who are a little afraid of lizards.”


I laughed. “You’re afraid of Jake? It’s just because of how he looks. He really is sweet. You can’t hold the fact that he’s ugly against him. You wouldn’t know anything about that.”


I shut the water off and grabbed a towel. When I turned, she had her hand pressed to her cheek. “Please don’t.” I leaned in, clasped her hand in mine, and kissed her birthmark. “I don’t even see it when I look at you. Do you know that? I just see your amazing dark brown eyes and your smile that melts my insides.” I kissed her and lingered for a few minutes, wanting to memorize the taste and feel of her.


We parted but stared at one another for a minute. I wanted to tell her that I loved her. The words pressed against my lips, edged on my tongue, but I fought them back. It was too soon.


“Dinner’s almost ready.” I tugged her back into the kitchen.


She picked up a knife and helped me slice tomato and cucumber for our salads. I turned on the stereo and bumped her with my hip. She bumped me back, but she looked lost in thought. She looked upset. “You’re being really quiet. Is something wrong? Did I do something?”


She blinked, coming back from wherever she’d gone inside her head, and smiled. “Nothing’s wrong. I’m just being stupid.”


I took her face in my hands, making her look at me. “Something’s wrong. Tell me.”


“I was just thinking about something my dad said earlier. Or more the way he said it.” She shrugged. “It’s dumb. I just got the impression he and my mom were fighting about something.”


“Oh.” I blew out a deep breath, unsure what to say. My parents fought nonstop when they were together. The only tone my father ever used with my mom was snide and sarcastic when he wasn’t yelling at the top of his lungs. “I’m sure everything’s fine.”


There were times when I thought the rest of the world was more civilized—more evolved—than my family. This was one of those times when I was certain it was true.


“My sister came last night and told us her husband moved out. He’s living with some woman he cheated on her with.”


Her chin dropped. She wouldn’t look at me, like she was ashamed of this black mark on her family. “Lauren, that sucks. I’m sorry.” She should never hurt like this. I would never hurt her like this. I’d do anything to make her happy. That’s all I wanted. Lauren happy. “Are you okay?”


She took a deep, shaky breath and smiled. “Yeah. I’m okay. I never liked him anyway.”


I hugged her for a minute before turning her toward the table. “Okay, then. Time to eat.”


She sat and fanned her face with her hand. “Kind of hot in here.”


“Yeah. I’ll crank up the A.C.” As long as I remembered to turn it back to seventy-two before Mom came home.


I made up two plates of spaghetti and took them to the table. “Remember Lady And The Tramp?” I asked. “That Disney movie about the dogs.”




“Let’s try something.” I put one end of a strand of spaghetti in my mouth, and offered her the other end.


She giggled and put her end in her mouth. We slurped a little too fast and bumped noses.


After a second and third attempt, we were laughing hysterically, and our faces were covered in sauce.


“I don’t know how those stupid dogs did that,” I said, wiping her face with a napkin.


“They do wonders with animation.”


“Smart ass.”


“Me?” She laughed. “Give me your plate.” She stood up and started collecting dishes.


I glanced out the window. “Leave them. I’ll get them later. It’s just getting dark enough to show you, come on.”




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