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   Chapter 16 Attention, Lovers

Cuddle Application By Anna Rae Characters: 18524

Updated: 2018-01-10 14:37


"Kiss me, and you will see how important I am."

~Sylvia Plath

~~~

Every year since I'd met the Creevy's, Memorial Day was spent at their cottage on Wayne's Lake. They invited Lina and I, our families, and whoever else Senator Creevy needed to woo to his side. We'd go boating, tubing, and swimming. We'd lay out and tan, play volleyball on the beach, or search surrounding cottages for cute boys.

Memorial Day reminded me of the hotdogs we cooked on the grill and the fireworks Cora's dad would launch into the sky. It was Cora's favorite holiday, because as long as the cottage was filled with people her dad had to impress, he stayed nice. For a few days, it was like she had an actual father.

This year, however, Senator Creevy and his wife had to attend a conference out of state. Cora wasn't going to let that ruin her weekend, though, and asked if she could have a few friends up at the cottage to celebrate alone.

Her father said no, naturally.

So Cora told me to throw some things in a bag and get in the car - we were going to do it anyway.

And I was really looking forward to going, even if it was against the Master of the House's wishes. The emotional breakdown from the week before had been quite draining, and I'd spent as much time with my family as possible in the days after. We went to Molly's favorite restaurant, I took her to see "Cars 3, " and we went out for way too much ice cream. And although I was happy for some family time, especially after realizing that my brother was leaving in less than a month, a weekend at Cora's cottage wasn't something I was going to turn down.

I was ready for a relaxing couple of days, laying out in my bikini, drama free.

?♀??

My duffel bag swings against my legs as I lug it down the stairs and into the living room of my house. Cora and Lina look up when I come into view, each giving me wide grins. Cora's already wearing her bikini, a cherry red triangle top with matching bottoms, with a see-through, knit coverup dress overtop. Lina's wearing a flowery, flowy sundress and a big floppy hat.

I look down at my running shorts and "Happy Camper" t-shirt and grimace.

"I hope you brought your sexiest bikini, girlfriend, " Lina hoots, throwing on a pair of sunglasses, "because that milkshake's gonna bring all the boys tonight!"

I roll my eyes and laugh. I loved camping. Ever since I was little I'd gone on trips with my dad and brother, sleeping in a tent in the woods, the chirping of crickets and buzzing of mosquitos lulling me to sleep. Cora and Lina despised that sort of camping, and much preferred staying in Cora's three story cottage with king sized beds and stocked refrigerator.

I packed t-shirts and leggings and they dressed like they were competing in a fashion show.

"Let's get the show on the road!" Cora says, throwing her hands up. "Scott and Brandon are waiting in their car to follow us up there."

Scott was Lina's two-year boyfriend, but Brandon was a name I didn't recognize.

When Lina saw my confusion, she commented, "Brandon is Cora's new lover boy."

I frown. "Cora, you didn't tell me you were seeing someone."

She gives me a slow smile. "You were busy."

I try not to be hurt by the statement. I didn't think I'd been that busy. Oliver certainly wasn't taking up that much time in my life that I could've been ignoring my friends... right?

Or had I been inadvertently distancing myself from Cora and Lina, too distracted by a boy of my own?

"Sorry, " I just say, forcing a smile onto my face. "So tell me about him. When did you meet?"

Cora stares at me for a second, hands fiddling with the lace of her dress, before her lips turn up in a slow smile. "I saw him at the beach, looking like a flawless Roman sculpture - like the ones I saw on that family trip to Italy last year. And I swear to god his abs were glistening -"

"She's got it bad, " Lina smirks. We both laugh.

It's nice to see Cora happy, I think.

"Well, " Cora says, "shall we get a move on?"

I hike the handle of my bag onto my shoulder and head towards the door. "I'll call you when I get there, mom!" I yell behind me as I follow my friends outside.

"I love you, " she calls from the kitchen.

I yell it back and close the door, running to where my friends are already seated in the car. I hop in and we drive.

Later, we're on the highway, zipping past town after town, trees dancing past us as we fly down the road. I lower the window from my spot in the back seat, sticking my head out to feel the wind on my face.

It almost feels like I'm back on Oliver's motorcycle.

"Skylar!" Cora yells over the wind rushing into the car from the open window.

"What?" I yell back, finger pressing down the button to close the window. It slides shut, silencing the wind.

"Park went on a date last weekend, " Cora says.

Something inside of me feels tight. My brows lace themselves together, my expression confused, along with another emotion I try not to name.

"He what?" I ask quickly, before straightening my face, fingers attached to the hem of my shirt, pulling. "I mean, who was the lucky gal?"

Cora smirks, fingers tapping on the steering wheel. "I know. Who would've thought the day would come when dear old Parky would move on?"

"Move on?" I ask. A thread comes loose from the fabric of my tshirt.

Lina laughs. "Please, Skylar. He's been in love with you since you met, you've just been too stubborn to admit it."

I frown. "He is not in love with me, " I start to say, but the car r

hy'd you take her out?" I ask. I'm not sure why I care so much, but suddenly the details seem important. "What'd you do?"

He gives me a side stare. "Why do you care?" His tone isn't hostile, simply inquiring. I look away. "You've never cared about any of my other dates before."

I'm silent. I shrug, because it's all I can manage. The truth is I don't know why I care. I could pretend that my questions were mere small talk, but that would be lying to both of us. For some reason, I care. I care who he took out, what they did. Was she nice? Pretty? Did they kiss as the night came to a close?

"You're my friend, Park, " I say bluntly. "I'm interested in your life is all."

He manages a smile. "Well I won't be seeing her again, if it means anything to you." I can't help but notice the wave of relief that floods my chest. "She was boring, only talked about her sick poodle."

I laugh and plop down so my head is on a pillow and I'm on my side, facing Park. Our bodies are inches away, close enough that I feel his body heat. "Thanks for driving the boat today, " I say.

He nods, lips pursed in thought. I study his face, the way his nose slopes, the peaks and valleys of his mouth. Anyone staring wouldn't be able to doubt Park's beauty. It wasn't simply a handsome face, it was a beautiful one, smooth and defined.

His eyes flit towards me and catch my stare. His eyes sparkle.

Suddenly he whispers, so softly I barely hear. "At the beach, that day, " he starts, his lips barely moving. My eyes fixate on them, absorbing every word. "Why did you turn away?"

I'm transported back to that day. I don't need reminding to conjure up the memory. I can still feel the breeze in my hair, the sand underfoot. He means the kiss at the edge of the lake. The kiss that didn't happen because I turned away.

Why did I turn away? He asks.

"I don't know, " I whisper.

Because I don't.

"Would you turn away again?" He asks, face soft, nearly emotionless except for a longing look in his eyes.

I blink. His eyes pull me in. I break contact and find I'm staring at his lips. "I don't know, " I answer again.

And softly, oh so softly, he leans in. My eyes flutter closed, automatically. It's as light as a feather dancing on my lips, our kiss. It lasts a moment, just a peck. Park delivers to me his heart in that moment, but a peck is all he allows himself. It's like falling into a bed of satin; like a deep sigh at the end of a long day. It's short, but sweet. Unexpected, but not unwanted. Time slows down and after, I'm left blinking through a haze.

Park disappears from the room before I can even process what happened. I lay alone on the giant bedspread, chest rising softly, fingers to my lips.

My emotions are a tangled web that I don't have time to sort through. I pick at the pieces in my head, trying to decide what I'm feeling.

Still lost in thought, I startle when a figure appears in the doorway, colorful and loud.

"Skylar!" Cora sings loudly. "I brought you a surprise!"

I sit up on the bed, confused and disoriented. My best friend's face is alive with excitement. I wonder for a moment how she would respond to me kissing her brother just minutes before her arrival.

I throw away the thought. Perhaps no one would find out.

Cora claps, bringing my attention back to her. Although I try to focus, my lips practically buzz with the memory of Park. "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, " Cora says in a deep, faux announcer voice. "Please address your attention to the doorway as I proudly present-" she reaches outside, grabs, pulls, and another figure appears "- Oliver Manning!"

My heart lurches while my stomach drops.

Shit.

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