Set up: Angels only bumped into Sarah at school a few awkward times. This is a backyard party after a school Friday night football game. Surprised she’s even there, he takes advantage to finally get to talk to her a little longer.
He walked around behind her, and moved in closer. She smelled heavenly, a soft delicate fragrance. Not overpowering, like some of the girls he’d hugged earlier.
He wanted to put his arm around her waist, and pull her up against him. Instead, he leaned over and talked in her ear. “Hey, you made it.”
She spun around, nearly losing her drink. Her expression went immediately from startled to pleased. “Yeah, they cancelled.”
Angel couldn’t get over how amazing she looked. If he gazed at her all night, it wouldn’t be long enough. “I almost didn’t recognize you with your hair down,” His eyes took it all in.
She nodded. “Yeah, it’s too long, especially when I’m running. It gets all over my face.”
Angel wanted it all over his face. “It’s beautiful though, you should wear it like that at school.”
She hesitated for a second. “Thank you.” He noticed she avoided his eyes again.
He didn’t want to, but he decided it would be better to change the subject before she got uncomfortable and made an exit. He had no intentions of letting her run away again. Not this time. He glanced at her cup. “What are you drinking?”
She smiled timidly. “Wine.”
She laughed. “Why does everybody say it like that?”
Her smile somehow had a calming effect on him. “Out of a cup though? You can’t drink it straight out of the bottle?”
“It’s not a cooler.” Her expression challenged him. “It’s the good stuff.”
She turned to her friend, and then glanced into her cup. It was almost empty. “As a matter of fact,” she said, “I need more.”
She bent over to a medium sized ice chest and pulled out a small jug of wine.
“Nooo,” Angel put his hand over his mouth in disbelief. “Oh, you’re sick. You come to a party with a jug of wine in an ice chest?”
She laughed even more now. Her friend laughed with her. Sarah caressed the jug lovingly. “How else am I supposed to keep my little Precious cold?”
Her demeanor was refreshing, especially since she had seemed so apprehensive at school. Maybe it was the wine. Whatever it was, he loved it. He watched as she poured the wine in her cup, noticing how little she poured in before stopping. She put the jug back in the ice chest and pointed at her friend. “She brings one too.”
Her friend opened her mouth wide, as if Sarah had just snitched on her. Angel raised his eyebrows in exaggerated disbelief. “You too? But you’re drinking beer, you don‘t need an ice chest.”
Her friend smiled and tapped her bottle. “I can’t drink beer unless it’s ice cold.”
“By the way, Angel, this is my cousin, Valerie,” Sarah said.
Angel nodded. “Yeah, I know Valerie.”
He saw Valerie’s eyes widened slightly in surprise.
“Sure,” he acknowledged her surprise. Glad that Sarah had said her name. That, he would’ve never remembered.
“So, why don’t you just put your drinks in the same ice chest?”
Valerie rolled her eyes at Sarah. “Sarah doesn’t like her Precious to be disturbed.”
“She’s very fragile,” Sarah held her cup close to her.
Angel nodded, and then put his hand up. “It’s a she? Okay, well, now that makes sense.”
Sarah smiled, as she took another quick sip of her wine. Valerie got pulled away by another girl.
Angel took his last swig of beer and threw the empty bottle in a trash can near by.
“Are you out?” Sarah asked.
“Yeah, that was my last one.”
“Well, here,” Sarah bent over to Valerie’s ice chest. She giggled pretending to be sneaky, “let’s steal one of Valerie’s.”
Angel turned to see if Valerie was watching. “No, it’s cool. I don’t wanna take her beer.”
Sarah shook her head. “She’s not gonna finish all this. She never does, and then we’re gonna end up throwing it out later tonight.”
“Throw out beer? Are you nuts?”
“Well, we can’t take it home, my aunt would kill us.”
“Oh, well, in that case, let me help the cause,” He held out his hand.
Her finger brushed his hand as she passed him the bottle. That’s all it took to ignite him. His hand trembled, as he took a swig of his beer. He watched her the whole time. Her eyes were so big, her lashes so dark and heavy; everything seemed to slow down when she blinked. His insides smoldered and he gulped his beer hard.
“So, are you here alone?” She asked.
He looked around. He had to; if he stared at her any longer he was afraid he’d freak her out.
“Nah, my friends are here somewhere, we just got split up.” He turned back to her. “How ‘bout you? Is it just you and Valerie tonight?”
She sipped on her wine again. “Yeah, well, I came here with just Val, but we’re supposed to meet up with friends later.”
Angel took another swig of his beer and looked around casually, “Guys?”
“No. Some of her girlfriends; they’re not here yet though. That’s why I’m here. I really don’t like these kinds of parties, but none of her friends could get here until later, so she talked me into coming with her.”
Angel smiled, gazing in her eyes. “I’ll have to thank her later for that. So, where do you like to go?”
She held his gaze for a moment and then smiled, making Angel’s legs weak. “I love the beach,” She sighed. “I just moved out here a few months ago, from Arizona, so the beach is new to me. I could spend every night there watching the sunset. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the sunsets in Arizona are just as beautiful. It’s just the newness of the cool salty air, and watching while listening to wave’s crash, and the birds…quack?”
Angel was puzzled. “Quack?”
She burst into laughter. “Squawk? You know what I mean!”
“God, you were doing so well,” he teased, pretending to gaze out into the sky. “I mean, I could almost hear the waves crashing and everything.”
Sarah continued to laugh. Angel wondered if she was getting tipsy but he continued to tease her. He loved hearing her laugh. “I mean peep would’ve been closer, but quack? Really?”
Sarah’s hand was over her mouth, but there was no muffling her laughter. “I got the point across, didn’t I?”
“I’m just saying. The wind was blowing in my hair and everything, look.” He pretended to hold his hair down.
“Stop!” she squealed.
He couldn’t help laughing with her. It was such a cute laugh and so contagious. She was refreshing. It wasn’t just that she was enjoying his jokes, but that she didn’t mind laughing at herself. So many other girls would’ve been too busy trying to be seductive. She didn’t even have to try. He could tell being seductive was the last thing on her mind.
She wiped the corners of her eyes. She’d literally laughed that hard. “Is my mascara all messed up?” She opened her eyes wide.
He stepped forward to get a better look. Her makeup had smeared slightly on the bottom corner of her right eye. “Hold still,” he moved closer to her.
He wiped the bottom of her eye very slowly and gently with his pinky. He was so close to her face, he could smell the wine on her breath. She held her cup right in front of her, and he felt her tense up when his body touched her hand. He examined her other eye.
“Your eyes are amazing,” he said without moving back.
She held his gaze for just a second, and then backed up slightly. “Thanks.”