“What is with all this glittery stuff?” Evie’s frustration grew as she slapped at another rack of sparkly outfits.
“Duh. It’s nearly Christmas. Everything’s gonna have some kind of glitz happening.” Shana plopped on the couch and threw herself backward, draping her forearm over her face. “You’re killing me. It’s a good thing you’re my best friend, or I would’ve traded you in a long time ago.”
“Shut. Up.” Grabbing a scarf, Evie chucked it at her friend’s head. “You know you love me.”
A grin bloomed on her over-glossed lips. “I do, but that doesn’t mean you’re not being a brat right now. Why don’t we just go to the freaking swimsuit store? You know they’ll have something beachy.”
“Have you seen their prices?”
“Yeah, but it’s not like your family is hurting for cash. What does it matter?” She sat up and threw the scarf back on the rack. It hit the metal, paused for a second, and slowly slid to the floor.
Evie bent over to pick it up and hang it properly as she answered, “Ever wonder why we’re not destitute? My parents are super frugal.”
“You guys are the definition of yuppies.”
With a sigh, she shrugged and waved her hand. “Fine. Let’s go to the swimsuit store.”
They stopped off at the coffee shop for a couple of lattes on the way. One of the baristas took the girls’ orders, and they moved to the end of the counter to wait while he fixed their drinks.
“Girl, he was eying you hard,” Shana said.
Evie turned back to look at the guy again, and she couldn’t stop the quirk of her lip when she saw him glance up, turn red, and go back to what he was doing. He was cute in a boy-band kind of way. His blond hair curled at the ends and was just long enough to graze the tops of thick eyebrows over honey brown eyes. She turned away when he looked at her again, and she grinned at Shana.
“I told you so.”
“He’s fine as hell. If you don’t get his number, I’m going to.” Putting her hand on her hip, she pursed her lips and widened her eyes.
“No, you’re not, and neither am I. We have stuff to do.”
“You’re such a prude! I mean, when was the last time you actually went out on a date?”
That was a low blow, and Evie ducked her head with the verbal slap, her mind going to the dark place it always did when anyone said the word date. Sure, guys could be cute and charming, but that was usually until they got you alone. Her trust in anything male had been vaporized. Unable to hold back, her eyes got hot as the tears threatened.
“I’m sorry. That wasn’t me being a good friend.” Shana put her arms around Evie and squeezed. “I went too far.”
Tightness around her heart eased, and she relaxed into her friend’s embrace.
“Ladies, your lattes. One vanilla, and one caramel, as ordered.” Their barista put the cups on the counter and leaned forward, resting his weight on his forearms.
She released her grip on both her friend and the onslaught of pain from the memories, moving to pick up the cup with EVIE printed on the side in all caps. Just as she was about to turn away, he cleared his throat.
“Excuse me? Evie?”
When she lifted her gaze, her heart did a little flip even as the warning bells rang in her ears. “Yes?” It came out on a breath and was barely audible.
“Is there any way I could get your number, or could I give you mine? I think I’d like to get to know you.” When he smiled, his lips parted to reveal perfect teeth other than one on the right side that was a little higher than the others. Seeing an imperfection softened her a little, and she smiled. That made him human enough.
“I don’t have a p—”
“She doesn’t want your number because she’s got a boyfriend already. Now, take your pervy self back to work, and stop hitting on your customers.” Shana snatched her cup, grabbed Evie by the elbow, and pulled her toward the swimsuit store.
Stupid! How could you? What she was about to do hit her like a semi smashing into a smart car, and the coffee in her hand suddenly felt electric, like she needed to put it down before the heat consumed her. Her heart raced, sending blood through her body with such force, her ears rang.
“Breathe, Evie. I can see you going into that dark place. Just breathe.”
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