Some call me a party girl. People see me as happy, full of life, with absolutely no cares in the world. They see what I want them to see. But no one knows me - really knows me. Not even Noah Reese. Mr. Perfect is always watching me, most likely judging every single imperfect thing I do. But, if Noah wants to keep an eye on me, that’s just fine. I definitely don’t mind. I just hope he doesn’t have any plans to save me from my new-found life of self-destruction because in order to save me, he will have to see me…
And I’m never going to let that happen.
Perfect. That’s me. That’s the only acceptable way to be, according to my father. Perfect grades. Perfect manners. Perfect athlete. Perfect SAT scores. Perfect college. And recently, I was accepted into the perfect med school. My future has already been mapped out for me and there’s nothing that can change that. Not even Tatum O’Connell. That girl is out of control, yet for some reason, I can’t seem to keep my distance from her. I watch her closely, hoping that one day she’ll let me in, but watching her lead her life down the dangerous path she’s on right now isn’t easy…
I have a feeling I’m about to find myself swept away by the hurricane that is Tatum O’Connell.
“Two fleeting souls,
Too slowly drawn,
Impatient fate calls.
The jolting collide intertwines their lives
And splinters their walls.”“Catalyst” – Noah Reese
Mending Hearts Series Reading Order
Running on Empty #1
Running in Place #2
Coming Late October 2013
Still laughing and not paying attention, I round the corner, only to run straight into a completely different kind of trouble. A brown-headed, blue-eyed, whirlwind kind of trouble. A trouble that looks unbelievably hot in a tight-ass, short black dress. A trouble wearing the highest black heels I’ve ever seen, heels that make her legs look unbelievable and should be outlawed judging by the bulge forming inside my dark Diesels. Damn. She’s also a trouble that I’ve formed a decent friendship with over the last few weeks, so any mental images I have of her doing certain things to me wearing those heels have got to go.
“Hey!” she says laughing as she flips her hair off her shoulders. My eyes immediately land on her pouty lips, the clear shine reflecting off of them as she smiles. “What are you doing here?”
I clear my throat and tear my gaze from her mouth. “Getting my check, you?”
She looks me up and down as she nods her head. “Me too,” she says clearing her own throat. “Where are you going, looking all spiffy?”
I chuckle because only she would say spiffy. “I’m taking Piper to that new club, Parallel. Where are you going looking all spiffy?”
She claps her hands together excitedly before taking my hand. “We’re going there too! Yay!”
I’m still surprised every time she touches me. It’s such a drastic change from the first day at the duplexes. As I think about the last month or so - all the times that we laughed together at something ridiculous that she said, or the fact that she insists on bumping hips with me every single time a song comes on the radio that she likes while singing at the top of her lungs, even the times she lightly brushes her hand across my arm while she’s speaking – there’s a level of comfort and ease about our friendship. Reason five hundred why I need to curb my inappropriate thoughts about this one.
I smile to myself as she tugs me harder. “Where are you taking me?”
“To the employee bathroom!”
Well, that did absolutely nothing to fend off dirty thoughts.
She giggles. Obviously, she’s already started drinking. Great. Well, at least we’ll be at the same place so I can make sure Dickhead the Douchebag takes care of her.
“Because, I’m gonna fix your hair. It looks too…perfect. It needs to be messy – sexy, like you.” She stops dead in her tracks. “Um…I mean, as sexy as you look now.” She exhales, frustrated. “Sexily dressed, that’s what I mean.” She bites her bottom lip nervously as she mentally tries to hook her words and reel them back in. I just laugh because she looks so damn cute.
“So, you think I’m sexy?”
Saying nothing else, she rolls her eyes and pulls me in the direction of the bathroom. Once we arrive, she flips on the light and points at the toilet for me to take a seat. Turning on the faucet, she sets her purse on the counter and pulls out a travel size hairspray. After digging around for a little while longer, she turns towards me.
“Well, I guess this will have to do.” She tilts her head to the left and then scrunches her mouth to the same side, deep in thought. Nodding to herself, she leans over and wets her fingers in the sink before stepping in between my legs.
She breathes in deeply before placing her fingers in my hair. Slowly, she distributes the water throughout, often leaning back to the faucet to get more. Her cool hands work from the sides of my head toward the top, where her fingers interlace to form a spiky section down the center. Then she bends at the waist, placing her face so close to mine, her breaths hit my mouth. I know I can’t have her, but damn if I don’t want to take some piece of her with me. So greedily, I take in her air with every breath she releases. Her eyes still focused on my hair, I watch her mouth. Still breathing with her, I lick my lips, the movement distracting her so that she brings her blue eyes to mine. In silence, we stare, only the shared breaths between us are heard.
Taking her hand out of my hair, she places it on the side of my face and gently strokes my cheek with her thumb as we hold each other’s eyes. Before long, I watch a soft saddened half-smile appear on her lips. “Much better,” she says with one last soothing run of her thumb before she backs away. Reaching for the hair spray, she tweaks the top of my hair, pulling random pieces in different directions before spraying them. I fight the urge to put my hands around her waist and pull her into me. To hold her. To have her.
Instead, I sit with my hands on my knees, wanting what I can’t have.
After a couple of more sprays, she steps back. “All done. You’re good to go. To the bar. With Piper,” she says, the pitch of her voice getting higher with each incomplete sentence spoken. There’s no mistaking the heartache radiating between the both of us. It’s so thick I could slice it with a knife.
L.B. Simmons is a graduate of Texas A&M University and holds a degree in Biomedical Science. She has been a practicing Chemist for the last 11 years. She lives with her husband and three daughters in Texas and writes every chance she gets.