“Hey, Miss Starfish.”
Delaney turned at the familiar voice and saw the smiling stud with wavy brown hair striding toward her. Again, he wore dirty jeans, a plaid work shirt that was mostly clean, this time in green and yellow instead of blue and red, and heavy black boots, probably steel-toed. His walk was cocky but not overdone. Unintentional, she supposed. It didn’t look like he was faking it or trying too hard.
Why was he there? And why was he talking to her again after she’d been such an idiot the night before? Trying to decide whether to hurry away or figure out how to talk to him without sounding like a complete idiot, she felt her heart start to race and her face get warm. Stop it. He doesn’t matter. Telling herself he didn’t matter and he would go back to wherever he came from soon, she forced a deep slow breath to try to calm her heart as her feet stuck to the sand.
His pretty deep blue eyes peered into her boring hazel-ish eyes when he came up close, and Delany felt the heat in her face rise. She looked away. At the sand. Shells. Anything else. When he stopped in front of her, way too close, her head started to spin as it had the night before at the bar while she was forcing herself to look calm and speak somewhat intelligently.
“Are you often out here at night?”
It wasn’t night. It was evening. But she couldn’t answer him. She could hardly breathe. Somehow, she had to figure out how to answer in between remembering how rude she’d been the night before. Unintentionally. But it made her feel like an idiot. Why was he there?
“Okay, bad question. Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.”
“No. You didn’t.” Her voice came out stronger than she intended since she was trying hard not to let it shake. Sweat formed in her armpits. “I have to...” She looked over to where the others were gathering and hurried away.
Why hadn’t she told him what she was doing? Because he would have rolled his eyes like everyone did. She didn’t want him to look at her that way. Like it mattered what he thought. It didn’t. Why did she care? She didn’t. But her stomach twisted when he caught up.
“Have to?” He walked beside her, backward. “You’re doing all this saving fish stuff because you have to? Let me guess. Community service? What did you do?”
“What?” Delaney stopped.
“Did you cross their red tape?”
“You think I...” Too flustered to finish her thought, she rushed away. Maybe she should have told him he was right, it was community service. It would sound far more interesting than the truth. She would sound far less stuffy, less... But she couldn’t.
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