Authors: Rachel Van Dyken
Tags: #seaside, #rock star, #contemporary romance, #new adult
“Oh that’s alright.” She patted my arm. “You have plenty of time to settle down.”
“Right.” I offered her a smile.
Her eyebrows knit together. “You look famous.”
“I am famous.”
“Oh.” She nodded. “That’s nice.”
“Yeah.” I smiled for real this time. “It is.”
“Have I seen any of your movies?”
“I’m not sure.”
She seemed to think about this for a minute. “If I text my grandkids and say I sat next to you will they scream?”
I smirked. “How old are they?”
“Yeah.” I laughed. “Lots of high pitched screaming.”
“Can I have your autograph? Or do you get tired of people asking you that? I don’t mean to be a bother…”
I reached into my carry-on and pulled out two pictures, signing them with long fluid letters and then pulled out my phone and took a picture. “Give me your email and I’ll send this to you.”
“I can’t believe—” she dabbed her eyes, “You would do that, you don’t even know me.”
“Yeah I do.” I held out my hand. “Jamie Jaymeson.”
Holy shit. She was having a stroke.
I was about ready to yell for someone when she threw her bony arms around me and whispered in my ear, “I just loved you in that Romeo and Juliet remake — I can die happy now.” She squeezed me so tight I had trouble breathing.
“Er, thanks.” I pulled back and smiled.
“You’ll find your girl soon, Jamie. I just know it. A woman knows these things.”
“Yeah.” I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. “Thanks.”
Hell, I needed more to drink. The last thing I needed was a sweet grandma telling me she loved me and then telling me I was going to settle down soon. No way. Not gonna happen.
Because if I ever did settle down.
It wouldn’t be with anyone.
I grabbed the boxes from the donation center and carried them outside to my car. My dad’s church had recently decided to do a contest where each family donated clothing to the local Goodwill.
The family that won was given an overnight stay at the new resort in Canon Beach. I guess that was one way to get people to give, especially in this day and age. Last Christmas I had gone door to door to get donations for needy families, and was told at least ten times that the families wouldn’t be so needy if they got off their asses and worked for a living.
And I was only asking for a dollar donation.
Sometimes I hated people.
I was much happier being the silent one in the background. Give me a clipboard with a list of things to accomplish or a building to paint, but don’t make me deal with people who haughtily talked out of their asses for a living. My dad would kill me if he could hear my inner monologue. I’d just said ass like two times in the past five minutes.
Dehydration and irritation were both setting in.
The dehydration was due to the fact that nobody was helping me carry all five thousand boxes to my car on account of they were all at a cheer competition for my little sister. It was her first “away” competition, and not that our parents didn’t trust her, but she was sixteen and well… let’s just say the football team knew her well — too well if you asked me.
My irritation had been caused by an entirely different reason — I was still thinking about the devil, also known as Jamie Jaymeson, A-list actor and genuine jackass. See? There I go again. Maybe I should just write ass across my shirt. You know, really commit to the word for an entire day.
I snorted as I crammed another box into my car. If Jaymeson and his stupid accent were here, I’m sure I could throw around a lot more than
. I may even dive deep down in my black heart and use an F-bomb, consequently waking my grandmother from her grave of two years, and causing her to haunt me for the rest of my natural existence.
With a grunt, I picked up one more box and shoved it into the car, slamming the door behind it.
Forget my grandmother, visions of Jaymeson teased me; they haunted me, they seriously made me want to fly down to LA and burn down his house — with him inside.
It hadn’t been my first kiss.
But it had been my best — my favorite. Until the idiot, see I don’t have to say
all the time, decided to panic and act like a commitment-phobe freak.
What? It wasn’t like I expected him to propose to me! I’m eighteen! Eight-freaking-teen! I was just so shocked that he’d been shaking while giving me the kiss, that he’d been so tender in the process, that for a split second, I believed he could be a different person.
I saw a Jaymeson that I’m sure the world had never seen. He was awkward, afraid, scared, hilarious.
He’d kissed me like I was his, and I hated that every second of the day a part of me wished it were true.
With a sigh, I walked over to the driver’s side of my car and heard a loud honking. I jerked back against my door and swore out loud as a truck sped by and flipped me off.
Great, so thinking of Jaymeson wasn’t just driving me slowly insane, it was going to get me killed.
I needed to find a boyfriend.
And get a life.
I’d promised my parents I would take a semester off and start school at Oregon State in the spring.
Yeah, I should have never made that promise. I was already in hell. And
, hell isn’t a bad word because it’s an actual place; I tell my dad this on a daily basis.
I turned the key in my red Camry and slowly pulled out of the parking lot. I drove like a snail toward Goodwill, and it had nothing to do with the fact that I was a terrible driver. It did, however, have everything to do with the fact that my parents were going to be gone for an entire week, only to come home for the weekend and leave again for my sister’s next cheerleading competition in Seattle. They were going to stay an extra week and vacation, then drive her back in time for school to start.
Leaving me alone.
I started singing, “All by myself…” at the top of my lungs then stopped. You know you’ve hit a low point when your own singing grates on your nerves.
My friends had all abandoned me for college — it was September, where else would they be?
And I had a week to look forward to movies and silence.
But I couldn’t watch movies because they made me think of him, and I couldn’t go to the beach because that’s where the kiss had taken place — meaning, I was stuck with staring at the wall or reading books.
Books became my boyfriend.
Me and Mr. Darcy were basically married now — I mean, I spoke to him out loud on a daily basis, minus the English accent, because, you’ve guessed it! Jaymeson had an English accent. And no, for your information, it doesn’t sound ridiculous on him, it sounds sexy, deep, grating.
“Damn it!” I slammed the steering wheel with my hand, accidently hitting the horn as a sweet old lady made her way slowly across the street with a cane.
I mouthed ‘sorry.’
And received another finger.
How nice, the sweet old lady knows how to flip people off.
I fought the urge to return the gesture — but figured it was probably a bad idea considering a bumper sticker from my dad’s church had found it’s way onto my car.
Every time I took it off.
He replaced it.
Resistance was futile.
Hah! Star Trek! I pumped my fist into the air and then swallowed. “Holy crap, I need a life.”
Starting now. I pulled into the parking lot and vowed… the next few months would be different. I’d take chances, take risks, live on the wild side, and for the love of God, I would NOT think of Jamie Jaymeson, or his eyes, or his smile, or his…
He was dead to me.
“Dead, you hear me!” I slammed my fist into the horn again, this time on purpose, forgetting that my window was open.
A guy from Goodwill walked over and grimaced. “Remind me to never piss you off.”
“Sorry.” I felt my cheeks blush. “I… um, I’m here to deliver donations from Seaside Christian Fellowship?”
way’ta go, Pris.
He licked his lips and let out a chuckle. “Of course you are.”
And my blush deepened.
“I’ll get the boxes out, you just sit tight. Seems like it’s been a rough day for you.”
“Try rough summer,” I mumbled under my breath.
I squinted as the sun blinded me. “Is that your last name?”
“First.” He smiled again, this time revealing a deep-set dimple on his left cheek. The sun was shining in my eyes, so really all I could see was teeth, nice white teeth with a big white smile.
Like a movie star.
“Hey, are you okay?” He reached for my door just as I pushed it open, and — you guessed it — knocked him flat on his ass.
“Oh, my gosh!” I rushed to his side and grabbed his arm. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to… I mean, I wasn’t…” Words died. And then when I opened my mouth to spout more words, smart ones, that sounded… smart and stuff, I gawked.
He was beautiful. I let out a little gasp — swear it wasn’t on purpose — and gave him a small smile and tried again. “I really am sorry.”
He grinned again; dirty blond hair fell in disarray across his face as he grabbed my hand, lifting himself off the ground. “It’s alright, you can knock me on my ass anytime.”
Embarrassed, I looked down at my shoe, the most uninteresting white sneaker in the world and said nothing.
“Hey!” a voice said from the door. “Is that the church donation?”
I put a hand over my forehead and squinted. It was Nat’s friend Evan; he was a few years older than me and had just gotten married while the whole AD2 gang was in town for the big celebration of Alec and Nat. Which is also how I met Jaymeson, lucky me.
And pushing that memory away, again, for the fiftieth time that afternoon.
“Yup.” Smith chuckled. “We’ve got everything under control.”
“Okay!” Evan yelled and ran back into the center.
“Boss?” I crossed my arms.
“Worse.” Smith grinned. “Brother.”
“Older?” I asked calmly while my insides were pleading. If he was older than Evan there was no hope. Evan was twenty-one.
“Who’s asking?” He licked his lips and took a step toward me; his height dwarfed my own five-foot-two frame.
“Never mind.” I tucked my hair behind my ear. “So, these boxes.” I opened the passenger door and began pulling them out.
We worked together in silence, and within minutes I was free of the donations and able to leave.
“Thanks again!” I forced a smile and got into my car, turning it on, and quickly putting it in reverse, but suddenly Smith was hanging inside my window, and I had nowhere to go. Nothing to do but stare at his perfect lips.
“Older,” he whispered. “Much older.”
I knew it. Oh well. “So you’re like a creepy old man then?”
“Whoa there!” he laughed. “I’m only twenty-three. Let’s not start getting crazy.”
Jaymeson’s twenty-third birthday had been last month.
Would I never be free of him?
“Nice.” I nodded politely. “But I gotta run.”
“Suit, yourself, beautiful.” Smith winked. “But next time, I’ll put on my running shoes, so don’t think you’ll be getting away from me as fast.”
“I’ll just drive!” I yelled out my window as he stepped back.
His eyes seemed to say ‘we’ll see,’ as I watched him from my mirror.
Sweating, I gripped the steering wheel and made my way toward my parents’ modest house just outside of town. He was the type of friend I most certainly did not need.
Which was why I was probably going to go back.
And I’d probably be on a bike.
So he could catch me.
So I could get a damn kiss that erased the memory of Jaymeson for good.
So I could be free of that damn movie star once and for all.
Nobody was around to hear my sigh. Not one bloody soul. Probably because my luggage was the last to make its way down the chute and onto the carousel. For a minute I’d thought they’d lost it.
I’d actually smiled at the idea, then I’d at least get to call Peter and bitch about the fact that Seaside was like a third world country — even though technically I was in Portland, and it was a buzzing metropolis. Though I had to admit, Portland people? A bit off.
With a grunt I grabbed my two bags and slowly made my way outside to the taxis. I’d given up hope that a car would be waiting for me, that would be too easy. Not to mention too kind and I was pretty sure that my name was at the top of Peter’s shit list in shiny bright colors.
Peter didn’t do things that way — he didn’t believe celebrities should be treated any different than anyone else. It was why when his agency offered to pick me up — I couldn’t sign fast enough. I’d never felt normal, and having an agency that liked me to feel that way? It was nice.
Until they started acting like parents.
I kicked the ground with my shoe and put on my sunglasses as I scanned the row of taxis.
In hindsight, I should have paid for someone to drop off my Audi. After Nat and Alec’s wedding, I hadn’t had time to drive it back to California before my movie started shooting, so I left it. At least I’d have some wheels to get around in.
I lifted my hand.
No cars moved.
I waved a bit.
Okay, so maybe this was a time I wanted to be treated like a celebrity. I cleared my throat and whistled.
Slowly, like a turtle waking up inside its damn shell and realizing it had a job to do, a car pulled to the curb. The man, looking high as an effing kite, waltzed around the car and grinned.
Like I said… Portland.
You’d never know weed was legal in California, mainly because where I was from; it was all about the harder drugs. But Oregon? Yeah, seriously, just walk downtown, weed shops everywhere.
“Hey man, this all you got?” He reached for my bags, missed twice, and then with a loud grunt hauled them into the trunk of the car.