An attractive brunette with a sincere smile stepped out of the fancy car parked beside mine. Her focus was on me. I paused as she closed her car door and walked toward me. She wasn’t dressed like the female members our age that I’d seen while in the dining room. She was wearing a pair of faded well-worn skin-tight jeans that hung low on her hips and a tight Corona t-shirt. The red stiletto heels on her feet looked hard to walk in.
“You must be Della. You’re exactly like Tripp described you. I’m Bethy,” she said in a bubbly voice and stuck out her hand for me to shake.
I shook her hand, relieved that this was a friend of Tripp’s.
“Yes, I’m Della. It’s nice to meet you,” I replied. I wanted to make friends here. I didn’t like being a loner.
“I’m sorry I’ve not been in to welcome you sooner. Things have been a little crazy. Woods and Jace are best friends. You met Woods right?”
I only nodded.
“Well, Woods has been over at my place with Jace trying to decide what to do about… well, never mind. I’m probably not supposed to talk about his private life with other people. Besides, I doubt you care to hear me ramble. I actually came here for a reason,” she paused and flashed me a full smile again. “We’re having a little party over at Jace’s tonight. Next week kicks off Spring Break season. It runs from March first through the end of April. This place gets swarmed with people. I want you to come. No, I insist you come. There are people you need to meet. The more people you know the better. I just wish Blaire was here. She’s my best friend and you would love her. She and her fiancé are off dealing with family.” She sighed and put her hands on her hips. “So you coming?”
I had planned on going back to Tripp’s condo and taking a walk down the beach and maybe reading a book. But she was right. I needed to meet people.
“Sure. I’d love to. Where and what time?”
Bethy squealed and clapped her hands. “Yay, I’m so glad! Okay, go get changed if you want and come over to Jace’s at about eightish. Oh and he lives… you got a pen?” I reached into my purse and pulled out a receipt from the grocery store last night and a pen, then handed them to her.
She scribbled down the directions and handed them back to me.
“See you in a few!” she called out, then spun around and headed back to her car.
I watched her drive away before walking over to my car and getting in. I couldn’t get her comment about Woods “dealing with” something out of my head. She was right, she shouldn’t have been talking about his personal life but I was curious. Even though I shouldn’t be.
I had found the right place. Cars were parked everywhere. This was a little intimidating but then it was also another experience. I was on this trip for things like this. I parked my car and got out hoping that I had dressed appropriately. I had been torn between dressing to fit in with the members of the club I’d come in contact for the past two days or dressing to fit in with Bethy. I’d settled for somewhere in between. My blue jean skirt, black leather boots, and vintage Bob Marley tee shirt would hopefully work.
Before I could knock, the door swung open and Bethy was reaching out to grab my hand and pull me inside. “You’re here!”
I couldn’t reply because she started yelling at someone to stop eating salsa over the white rug. I let her pull me through the crowded house out onto the back porch. “Sorry, it’s so crazy. It’s not as bad out here,” she said, glancing back at me.
A couple of guys were sitting around a fire pit with beers in their hands. It looked like that was our destination.
“Boys, this is Della. Tripp’s friend.” She smiled at me then pointed to an attractive guy who reminded me so much of Tripp I wasn’t surprised when she said, “That’s Jace.” She then pointed to a guy with long blond curls and a mischievous grin. “That’s Thad.” He winked and I decided I liked him. He had that ‘just for fun’ look about him. “And this is Grant, who surprised us by showing up. We thought he was up north again.” Grant was by far the best looking out of the trio. His dark hair was tucked behind his ears and he had a twinkle in his eye. The sexy smirk he was sending my way was extremely tempting.
“Hello Della, why don’t you come share my seat? I’ll even let you sip from my beer,” Grant drawled.
I thought about saying no but then caught myself and flashed him a smile in return before walking over toward him. “You gonna scoot over or am I supposed to sit in your lap?” I asked hoping the teasing in my voice didn’t sound stupid.
Grant’s smirk grew into a full-blow grin. “Hell yeah, I want you to sit in my lap,” he replied.
I was trying to decide if Braden would think this was a bold, fun move or if I was coming off as a slut. I could never tell. She was always my gauge for what I should and shouldn’t do. Which was one reason she sent me off to figure out life all by myself.
I might as well go with it now. I’d already acted like a hussy. I stepped over his legs propped up on the iron rail that went around the outside of the fire pit and then took a seat in the stranger’s lap.
“He won’t be here long, baby. You might wanna come over here to this lap. I never leave this place,” Thad said from across the fire.
Grant’s arm wrapped around my waist and pulled me back against his chest. “You never know, Thad. I might have found a reason to stick around awhile.”