And now, for the teaser!
“Do you remember your Sweet Sixteen?”
"Hmm…big party. I wore a god-awful pink prom dress with floppy armbands and a pair of silver sandals that were a size too small because I thought they were cuter than the right-sized pair. Yeah, I remember that night.”
Nate grinned from across the table. “What you probably don’t remember is that I was sweating like a one of the three hundred Spartans before that last charge.” The waiter brought the wine and filled their glasses. Nate sniffed, and then tasted and nodded his head. Lily followed suit.
“Why were you nervous? It was a birthday party.”
“A party in the Hollywood Hills where everyone who was anyone showed because of your parents’ connections. I stuck close to you and Chase that night because I was certain everyone at that party knew I was a scholarship kid from the edge of the Malibu district.”
The waiter placed a platter with shrimp and cocktail sauce in the middle of the table, and then faded away again. Lily was mesmerized by Nate’s story. What she remembered about that night was dancing with Nate to Alicia Keys. The last song of the night. She’d wanted it to go on forever.
“You asked the band to play Alicia Keys, because you knew it was my favorite song.” She didn’t tell him she’d sung that song to him, in her mind, about a million times before that night.
He shrugged and sipped the wine. “I’m just saying, I know what it’s like to feel under that microscope. If you don’t show them you’re uncomfortable, they won’t know.”
Lily bit into a shrimp. “I know, in my head, that what they write doesn’t matter. But it still bothers me.”
“Because you’re a nice girl, Lil.”
“I’ll get over it.” She pushed her maudlin thoughts about reporters away, determined to keep things light. “You know what I remember about that party?”
She chuckled. She’d gotten a car from her parents, a keepsake snow globe from Kat, and bunch of presents she couldn’t name. And Nate had given her a book of poetry. She had no idea how he’d gotten the money to buy it, but the leather-bound edition was still one of her favorite belongings. “I remember convincing Chase that Tara Spencer was head over heels in love with him. And you and I watched while he worked up the nerve to ask her to dance—”
“And at the last minute Bailey Yeardley beat him to the punch and took her home.”
“We were awful.”
“He got over it when Tara dropped Bailey five seconds later and he took her to the homecoming dance.”
Nate reached across the table, taking her hand in his. “That was a fun night.”
Lily tipped her glass toward him, feeling the heat from his palm racing through her veins. “This is a fun night.”
Fire lit in her belly when his eyes went dark. He squeezed her hand.
She felt the shift, felt the world her knew tilt off its axis. She wanted more, so much more than to relive a few old memories. Than to have a few extraordinary nights with Nate.
She wanted everything. Lily swallowed, opened her mouth to speak but no words came so she finished the glass of wine.
“What do you say we make this an appetizer-only dinner and go home?” Lily pushed the plate away and intentionally kept her voice light. “I’m suddenly not very hungry .”
Nate signaled for the check.
He wanted to go home, and while home for Nate meant something different than it meant for Lily, she would take the small crumb and hold onto it as tightly as she could.
For now, she had Nate. For now had to be enough.
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