Frayed Page 48

She collapses into the seat of her car but pulls me down for one last kiss. ’’Ben . . .’’

I pause and look at her.

’’It really will be worth the wait. I promise.’’

I shake my head and stand there as she puts her car in DRIVE. Then something occurs to me and I chase after her, pounding on the door.

She stops and opens her window. ’’Are you crazy?’’

’’No, I just wanted to tell you, don\ let the past dictate the future, okay? We\ll work it out. I promise.’’

A mix of motions drifts across her face but none I can nail. She nods and closes her window and I watch as she drives away. With a grin I wouldn\ want her to see in the mirror, I think how much I like the way she kisses me, the way her lips taste, how much I love touching her everywhere. Then when her car disappears around the bend, I take off toward the cold water of the ocean to ease the pain of my throbbing cock.

•••

The sun is just beginning to set once I decide to pack up and head out, so it\s not too blinding. Blondie\s is just a few feet away. My feet kick up little bits of sand as I walk down the familiar beach with my board tucked under my arm and think what a big day tomorrow is for me. November first marks the day the announcement of both takeovers will be made, but more important, shares of Plan B will be available to the public. It\s a huge financial risk as well as an excellent opportunity for me.

’’Hey, man,’’ I greet Noel.

He beams. ’’Hey, Benny boy. How was it out there?’’

’’F*king amazing. I haven\ spent the whole day out on her in months.’’

He smiles, baring his yellowing teeth and pride at the same time.

’’I didn\ expect to still see you in here this late. Faith isn\ going to be happy if you miss dinner.’’ I wink at him.

’’F*k, what time is it?’’ he says, looking at his watch.

I shrug as I lean my board against the wall. ’’The sun\s just about down, so it must be close to your dinnertime.’’

’’F*k. Come home with me. Have dinner with us. Then Faith can\ be pissed off at me for being late,’’ he begs.

’’Can\ tonight. Sorry, you\ e on your own.’’

’’Damn, boy, way to make a grown man beg.’’

I just shake my head.

He opens the avocado green fridge and pulls out two cold ones. He tosses me one and I catch it but shake my head no and place the can on the counter.

’’Don\ be a f**king pansy ass.’’ But Noel says it with a grin.

’’I\ll give you pansy ass,’’ I tell him as I grab a long board hanging on the wall. I skateboarded all the time as a kid, so I have no doubt my agility will prevail. I give this bad boy a spin around the shop worth my time. I move fast. Of course the adrenaline coursing through my body certainly helps. When I stop, I flip the end and push it his way. ’’Your turn.’’

His hands go up surrender-style, as he shakes his head no, then strides over to lock the front door.

’’Come on,’’ I coax. ’’Who\s being the pansy ass now? I thought the coolest thing about long boards is that you could even sell them to dudes\ grandmas.’’

We both laugh again but this time at the sales spiel he gives the kids in his shop who come to work for him. I know it well. I spent so many hours here as a teenager. As he closes the place down, I pull my shirt from my bag and slide into it, tugging my jeans over my board shorts before slipping into my boots, not bothering to tie them. ’’Thanks for letting me leave my shit here. I still haven\ had a rack put on my new car yet.’’

’’So you keep saying. And I\ll keep saying anytime, you know that. And, Ben, Faith would really love to see you.’’

I nod. ’’I\ll call you next week. I might just come and bring a guest.’’

’’Oh yeah? You decided to chase some lucky girl?’’ he asks.

’’You know what, Noel, I did.’’

He slaps his hand on my shoulder. ’’That\s the way, boy.’’

We both walk out the back door together and as he hops in his truck he yells, ’’Don\ forget to call me.’’

I wave good-bye. ’’I won\ .’’

•••

The shiny black paint of my BMW touring bike is gleaming off the reflection of the streetlights. Its low silhouette and sleek shape are all that remain in the parking lot at this time of night. I can\ stifle my smile when I see her green helmet with sparkles enameled in it strapped on its back. As I hop on I catch sight of where her car was parked earlier and remember what it felt like to touch her again, but for some reason it felt different this time even better if that\s possible. The next few hours can\ fly by fast enough. I pull my phone from my pocket and scroll through my short list of contacts until I find her name then I send her a quick text.

I\ll pick you up. I don\ want you driving back here tonight so late.

I\m more than capable of driving in the dark and I didn\ invite you over.

I\ll be there at eleven.

I said I didn\ invite you over.

I said I\d be there at eleven.

Fine. But don\ come in.

I stare at my screen and shake my head. I\ll be patient and wait until she\s ready to tell her family, but not for too long. Of course I understand her hesitation. I\m done with secrets and hiding things. I\ve had enough of that shit to last a lifetime.

With the handlebars beneath my palms, I grip tight as the wind whips all around me and the dark sky meets the horizon before me. My intent when I took today off from work was that it would be a day of reflection. It\s Halloween, which officially marks one year to the day that my downward spiral into oblivion began, which eventually resulted in me hitting rock bottom hard. I was lost for many long months, but I\ve since found myself . . . becoming a better person.


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