The dying fire, hot on the bare skin of my back, woke me in the morning. Late morning, maybe afternoon, I wasn't sure. I lay on Carter's broad chest, his arms wound around me. I was comfortable, and I didn't want to ruin the moment by getting up. All my fears about last night seemed silly now.
His fingers softly trailed down the contours of my spine, and I knew that he knew I was awake. I kept my eyes shut and tightened my arms around his neck, holding myself closer to him.
He didn't speak; his fingers moved up and down my back, barely touching it as he lightly traced patterns on my skin.
I would have been happy to lie here forever, to never disturb this moment, but my body had other ideas. I laughed at my impatient stomach. It seemed sort of prosaic to be hungry after all that had passed last night. Like being brought back down to earth from some great height.
"Finally, you're awake," Carter whispered as I lighlty kissed his neck.
"How long have you been awake?" I asked.
"Not very long. I've just been waiting for you to get up, because I'm starving," he said as he stretched his arms.
We reluctantly got up and pulled on some clothes. When we entered the kitchen, my jaw dropped. There was a huge spread on the table with every breakfast dish you could imagine.
"Eugenia's been here," Carter chuckled.
"She's still here," Eugenia said dryly when she emerged from the pantry.
"You're amazing," Carter said warmly as he pulled a bottle of water from the fridge.
"I know. I just thought you two would have worked up an appetite," she replied with a knowing look.
"Oh!" I gasped, blushingly bright red, while Carter spit water all over the counter.
That Monday was probably one of the best ever. I made a friend. I had friends already, but I think they were nice to me more out of obligation to Carter.
Anyway, I was standing at my locker and rummaging throught my bookbag, when I heard a locker slam right next to me.
"Hi! I'm your new locker buddy!" I heard an enthusiastic voice say.
Looking up, I saw a petite girl with a knockout body, clearly visible under her white V-neck sweater. She had small features and her brown hair was styled in a stylish pixie cut. I burned with envy at her naturally tan skin, which stood in sharp contrast to my pale complexion.
"Um, hi. I'm Matt Calhoun," I said, extending my hand.
"Nice to meet you, Matt. I'm Shea. Shea Barnett," she replied, ignoring my hand and wrpaaing me in a tight hug.
That was really strange, and uncomfortable, to be hugged by someone I didn't know. But at the same time, I liked her immediately. When she pulled away, the bell rang and she picked up her shoulder bag and turned to me.
"I'll see you at lunch!" she said with a wave.
I was intrigued by her, and I couldn't wait until lunch.
When the bell rang, I walked eagerly to the cafeteria. Scanning my eyes over the crowd, I spotted Shea.
"Hey," I said sheepishly as I sat by her.
"Hey! You found me." she said happily.
I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. It was a text from Carter, asking me why I wans't sitting mith him. I looked up and met his eyes, indicating that I was talking to someone and inviting him to come over. He declined withe a smile and turned back to his friends.
Shea saw our silent exchange and quickly commented on it.
"Who's that hottie?" she asked.
"My...um, boyfriend. But no one knows, so I'm trusting you to keep it a secret," i said with a serious look.
"I'll take it to my grave," she replied, making the "cross my heart, hope to die" gesture.
Over lunch, we got know each other. Her dad was a doctor, and her mom was a literature professor. They had just moved to Charleston from Atlanta, and I was her first acquaintance since she had moved.
"Well, I can tell now that we are going to be best friends," she said as she reached across the table and grabbed my hand.
"Me too," I replied warmy. I meant it, too. I had never instantly clicked with someone like that, other than Carter, of course.
The bell rang, and we went back to our lockers. I realized that we took the same classes, which pleased me immensely.
Our last class passed by quickly and we slowly made our way to the parking lot.
"I'll see you tomorrow. We need to hang out soon!" she said as she pecked my cheek.
"Ok. I'll call you," I replied as she climbed into her sleek white Mercedes and drove away.
I quickly walked over to Carter's car and saw that he was waiting on me.
"Who was that?" he asked curiously as we got into the car.
"My new friend Shea," I said with an involuntary smile.
"I want to meet her sometime," he said, with what I thought was a hint of jealousy.
"Ok. I think we are going to hang out sometime."
"Sounds fun," he said curtly.
I was taken aback at how he was acting. "Is something wrong?" I asked.
"What are you talking about?" he said.
"Don't play dumb with me. You're acting kind of rude," I snapped, my irritation rising.
Here it comes, I thought, our first fight.
"I just want us to spend time together. I don't want to have to share you," he said, his voice rising.
My temper was flaring. "First of all, don't raise your voice at me. Second, you don't own me, so don't talk about having to share me. I'm allowed to have friends. Saying that makes you sound crazy possessive."
"I'm not trying to sound possessive," he growled.
I sighed in exasperation. "Whatever. This is by far the dumbest argument I have ever been involved in, so can you just take me home?"
We drove to my house in silence. When we pulled into my driveway, I quickly got out.
"Bye," I muttered as I shut the car door.
I walked up the stpes and went inside without turning back.
I kept my phone by me all day, hoping that Carter would call and we would make up and be happy again. I knew that we were still in love, but it still made me nervous.
He never called, and I went to sleep with a gnawing feeling in my stomach. Everyhting wwas going to work out. Wasn't it?
To be continued........
Author's Note: This story is dedicated to my close friend Shea Malene Barnett, who recently passed away. I also want to thank you all for your positive feedback. Thanks!