Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Teasing at the Carnival...

So peeps, it's official! I am concentrating on my contemporary romance LOVE IN A TIME OF POPULARITY...well, for now anyway :)

A little story info: Austin and Dallas Lawrence have just moved to town and Jenna is already crushing on Austin (who is super nice, super cool, and did we mention super hot?), but it's in Dallas (the not so cute, painfully shy nerd) that she finds a kindred spirit.

Enjoy!

Dallas and I both shrugged and then grinned at each other. “So, where to first?” I asked Austin.

He looked around for a moment and then took off, leaving Dallas and me no choice but to follow or be left behind. After weaving his way through the crowd, he stopped so suddenly, I plowed right into him, but being the brick wall that he was, I bounced off him, stumbling back a few feet.

Skinny arms that were much stronger than I’d imagined they’d be caught me before I landed on my butt. “Whoa, there,” he murmured in my ear. He gripped me under my armpits and yanked. When I was upright, his hands loosened and slid away, his fingers lightly grazing the sides of my breasts. An innocent enough touch, but I still couldn’t ignore the tingles his fingers left behind or the splash of color that sprang up to my cheeks.

“Sorry,” he mumbled. “Didn’t mean to, you know, touch you there.” His own face was so red it was almost purple, relieving some of my own embarrassment.

Swiping a hand over my face in an attempt to scrub away the crimson riding my cheeks, I shook my head and blew out a heavy breath. I glanced around, finding that Austin had stopped between the bumper cars and the tea cups to count out tickets.

“Tea Cups?” I asked. “Well, I guess you can’t get much littler than that. Do you know I haven’t been on them since Cindy was like five? And, they used to be my favorite ride.” I started walking toward them, more excited to ride them than I was willing to admit aloud.

“Uh, Jenna?” Dallas said, his voice a little unsure.

“Hmm?” I wheeled around just in time to catch the sidelong glance he gave his brother.

“What?”

“Well,” he shifted from one foot to the other. “I think Austin meant the bumper cars.”

“Oh…okay.” I turned toward the other ride, trying to conceal my disappointment, but I knew they both caught my longing glance at the brightly colored cups that were twirling around amid shrieks and laughter.

“No, no, we can go on the tea cups.” Austin cut in. He pulled in a deep breath and then started toward the line.

“Are you sure? I mean, we can do bumper cars first.” I told him, but my heart wasn’t in it, and I’m pretty sure both he and his brother knew it.

“Nah, let’s do this.” He shot a significant look at Dallas before turning a bright smile on me. “It’ll be fun. Then? The Ferris wheel.”

Well, how could I argue with that?

The line was short and full of small children with their parents. We were the only ones without kids in tow. “Jenna? Is that you?”

I turned to find Mrs. Mickelson bouncing her eleven month old son on her hip while Chad, her rough and rowdy six-year-old literally ran circles around her. “Oh, hey. Is Mr. Mickelson working tonight?” I asked sympathetically. Not waiting for an answer, I squatted down, reached out, and snagged hold of Chad before he could make another go-round of his mother.

“I’m a little scared, Chad,” I said when I had his full attention. “Do you think you could hold my hand through this ride?”

He giggled and looked up, up, up at Austin and Dallas. “Who are you?” He demanded. “And why are you making Miss Jenna go on a ride that scares her?”

“Chad Aaron!” His mother exclaimed.

Dallas’ face darkened even more while Austin threw back his head and laughed heartily. “Well, kid,” Austin said between guffaws. “My brother and I are just big meanies, aren’t we, Dallas?”

He just nodded along and mumbled something under his breath. I almost felt bad for him. Being as painfully shy as he was must be so hard.

Just then the current ride stopped, and the line started moving. “So, what do you say, Chad?” I asked, hopefully.

He looked over at his mother and then jerked his head up and down vigorously. “You wait over there Mom.” He told her, pointing toward the sidelines where other parents were lined up watching their kids get seated. Then, he grabbed my hand and dragged me forward. “I’ll protect you, Miss Jenna. Don’t you worry.”

We handed our tickets over and then Chad led us to a bright blue cup with yellow flowers on it.

We all settled in, Chad beside me with Austin and Dallas across from us.

“You know what my favorite part is?” Chad asked Austin.

He shook his head, a small, tight smile compressing his lips. “What?”

“The twirling in the middle!” He cried gleefully, pointing at the wheel between us. “We can make the cup go as fast as we want even before the ride starts.”

“Uh…I don’t think that’s such a good idea, kid.” Austin tried to dissuade him. “I mean, we don’t want anyone to get sick now do we? Especially not Miss Jenna.”

Chad looked over at me for all of a second and then turned an evil grin on Austin. “Course we do! ‘Sides, Miss Jenna loves this ride. She told me so herself.” He reached for the wheel and tugged. “Come on! Let’s go!”

A jubilant laugh tumbled from my lips. I lifted my shoulders in a small shrug for Austin’s benefit and then reached out as well. Dallas did the same, but Austin kept his hands folded in his lap.

Round and round we went. Faster and faster and faster. Chad’s joyful shrieks filled the air, and the world outside our cup was little more than a blur even before the ride began. Things got even more jumbled when the ride whirred to life, and loud gasping laughter was ripped from my throat. Rich, deep bellows joined with mine and I wondered from which of the brothers the melodious sound was coming.

The ride was over all too soon. Still, it took a moment for my vision to right itself, but when it did, my gaze locked with Austin’s. Whiter than any corpse I’d seen on television, he looked about an inch away from meeting his maker. He groaned loudly and shoved at Dallas until he was able to stumble his way out of the cup and off the ride.

“He…uh…he gets motion sickness sometimes.” Dallas explained.

I shot him an incredulous look. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“That was fun, Miss Jenna!” Chad crowed, tugging on my arm. “Can we go again?”

“Uh, I’m going to go check on Austin.” Before I could respond, Dallas turned on his heel and hurried away.

With Chad pulling me in the other direction, I let him drag me back to his mother where they tag-teamed me into riding the tea cups yet again, the bumper cars, the swings, and then going through the fun house. By the time, he’d worn himself down, Dallas and Austin were nowhere in sight, and I still had an hour before the agreed upon eleven o’clock meet.

So much for my fantasies of having a very date-like night out with Austin. I’d be lucky if he ever wanted to see me again. Really, it about summed up my life perfectly. At least, I didn’t beat up his brother again.