At last, we meet again my lovely readers. I apologize for the LONG delay! I hope you all are enjoying your summer or your first days of school.
Read. Devour. Enjoy.
Previously on Sun Kissed:
"Why? My best friend is here-she needs to drink with me," his eyes twinkled, sensing my will wavering.
"It's not that, I came here with-"
"What the HELL?" Ian's loud, voice broke through the festivities.
The crowd around us quieted and slowly pulled back. Ian and a sobered up Ryan stood at the other end of the hall where Peter and I were, Peter's hands still on my hips.
"I-uh," I could only stutter out as Ian and Ryan stared us down. There were a few onlookers, mainly due to Ian's loud exclamation, while others carried on after a pause. As both of them closed the gap between us, Peter takes a step back from me, his arms raised- a gesture of good faith, "Gentlemen! Fancy seeing you here!"
"What are you doing Peter?" Ryan's jaw visibly tightened, his hands balled into fists.
"Having fun Pope," Peter cheerfully clapped his hand on Ryan's shoulder, "You should try it sometime."
"What would a sheltered princess like you know about having fun?" Ian squinted at Peter's face, god he sounded really drunk. I nervously stood slightly behind Peter unsure of whether to intervene, the last time I did, I was this close to being in the middle of a fist fight.
"Eva-" Ryan held out his hand, a gesture meaning he wanted to me to head to him.
My feet didn't move. "What is this Ryan? You think you have every girl wrapped around your golden finger?" Peter sneered. I glanced at him, something about him was different, the air around him was more still, his jaw more pronounced. He looked uncharacteristically cruel. I was used to the Peter who joked around and was playful; seeing him like this was…unsettling.
Ryan's face darkened, "What are you talking about?"
"Going after New York here, while you already have a girl?" Peter smirked.
Peter needed to stop.
"I mean, I can see why you'd be interested in her," he gestured to me, I reddened at the attention I got from people, "Now that you've had a taste of the east coast, the laid back west isn't enough for you anymore? Had to get a piece of New York here to satiate your thirst?" I was mortified: now I was getting weird attention from other guys at the party. Peter's statement made me seem like I was some sort of prize for the taking. Was that what I was to him? A game? I remember suggesting the idea to him once and he laughed it off like it was a joke. I didn't realize how much it would hurt to find out that he was only 'friends' with me just to wave it in the Laguna Beach boys' faces. I fought to control the moisture in my eyes forming from anger. I would not cry, not over something as ridiculous as this. I bit my cheeks to keep a stone face.
"Does Summer know about your new crush?" Peter winked mockingly.
I didn't see Ryan's punch; it was much too fast. Peter's body suddenly crashed into the stairs as he took down a few students with him. Conveniently, one of Peter's friends happened to come down the stairs, a little tipsy, but he rushed to his friend's aid. That delayed fight was picking right where it had left off. By the time Daniel and Eli reached the commotion and pulled Ian and Ryan away from the Seaside guys, Ian's nose was broken, Peter had a bloody nose and a cut above his forehead.
"Come on man!" one of the college kids screamed, who I suspected who owned the place, "Take your shit somewhere else!"
Eli and Daniel dragged Ian and Ryan out of the house.
I glanced at Peter: his shoulders were relaxed again despite the crowd around him helping him up; he was once again the Peter I knew. He grinned when his eyes met mine- there was blood on his teeth. I think he wanted me to come over. Sure, his disarming demeanor was back, but it didn't matter: the cruel memory of him lingered. He had only confirmed what my conscious was telling me the entire time.
A new start.
When I made my decision and took a step to the door to follow the others I saw Peter's face fall.
I took one last glance at him and left to find the others.
"I AM GOING TO KILL THAT FUCKER!" Ian spit out blood out on the grass. I handed Ryan the water bottle that I held. He took it, took a gulp and spit out the water.
"Fuck dude," Daniel ran his hands through his hair, "What was that all about?" Eli jogged back with two more water bottles in hand.
"He was fucking groping Eva man," Ryan poured the water over his head, "You know what assholes like them do to girls."
I felt a chill fall upon my spine, was that what it looked like? I opened my mouth to contradict, but I felt my jaw audibly snap shut. I could see my sub-conscious shaking her head, urging me to keep silent. I didn't know what to do in this situation: This is good, she said, you are no longer going to be friends with Peter anyway. Just let it ride.
I glanced back at the house, there were no signs of Peter following us.
Eli's arm cocooned me into a warm embrace, "Are you alright?"
I took a moment to collect myself before I smiled up at him, "Please, he didn't stand a chance. I was just about to fend him off before Ian and Ryan stole my thunder."
"Do you remember when you claimed to be a 'tough-cookie'? I believe you now," Eli grinned at me, his warm hazel eyes shining in the darkness. In contrast to Ian upchucking everything he ate in the last three hours, Eli looked in control. Daniel was just the same. Something told me that working in the bar greatly built up their tolerance.
I rolled my eyes, "That aside, I didn't think I would see you until the next morning boy? Thought I would have to grab a cab or something…Where are the college girls you were holding out for?"
"It was quick and clean," Eli winked.
"The beauty of college hook-ups Ev?" Daniel joked, still helping Ian vomit out the alcohol, "You don't have to stay the night."
"You are nasty perverts," I scolded, "I refuse to believe that any of you are capable of charming college girls—" A couple of bottleneck blondes were heading out arm in arm, they spotted Daniel, giggled and waved.
"Night ladies," Daniel winked and turned to me, "What were you saying Ev?"
I shook my head and laughed. We spend the rest of the night on the beach talking and laughing while Ian lay passed out on a random beach towel. Ryan and I chatted as if nothing happened earlier that night. Daniel explained to me the mechanics of having a proper hook up while Eli strummed on his guitar. I had made my choice. These were my guys. No more unnecessary drama. I spent the rest of the night trying to get over the little sting of regret.
"GET UP LADIES! THE SUN IS UP!" Stacey's authoritative voice awoke me from my slumber.
Three measly hours of sleep.
"Eva?" Summer's head peaked down at me, clearly seeing the dark circles under my eyes, "What are you doing on the couch?" I mumbled some lame excuse into my pillow. I could hear the steps of enthusiastic girls running down the stairs. The cabinets inside the kitchen squeaked and slammed as everyone prepared their breakfast. Right. Stacey had said seven o'clock sharp, regardless of nocturnal activities.
"Someone had a late night last night," some random girl sang, sadly, she was right.
"Eva!" Stacey's voice cracked like a whip, "What did I say?!"
I groaned, rolled off the couch and slogged to the bathroom. Why did I agree to do this again? That's right, I didn't. I was threatened for a friend I no longer had.
It was official: Stacey was a dictator.
I could tell I wasn't the only one thinking that as she marched us along a four mile beach run. In contrast to the whole team, Stacey ran backwards with a whistle in her mouth and screamed at us for the entire hour. I found a whole new level of respect for the girl; some girls looked like they were about to throw up by the time she had us stop and do sit ups.
Where it not for the random sprints across the city to avoid law enforcement, I might have been one of those girls. That didn't mean that this workout was no less tiring. The 'fun' we were supposed to be having ended up being a full on work out and a few bonding activities. By the time four o'clock rolled around, no one had the energy to move. I was passed out on the very couch they found me on in the morning. Of course, the older girls wouldn't leave me alone, not without all the details. The redhead, Cheryl sat down next to me, "You have such lovely hair Eva."
Ugh. Please leave me alone.
"Thanks," I mumbled into my pillow.
"I am so jealous," Stacey took the spot on the arm rest, I knew Summer was not far away, "We should all get our hair and nails done tonight. It would be a great idea for team bonding. Thanks for the inspiration Evs."
Evs? I think I needed keep a list of all the nicknames people came up with, nevertheless, I nodded against the couch pillow and said, "It was your great idea...Stace."
"Of course," Cheryl snapped her gum, "It would be understandable if you were going out again... with them." I found it odd that they were so interested in my relationship with the fantastic four. I thought these older women would have a no-younger boys dating policy, with the exception of Stacey and her strange relationship with Ian.
"So, where'd you and the boys run off to last night?" Stacey sat on the arm rest, twisting her hair.
"Nothing," I mumbled, "I met a few of their friends and we stopped by a place."
"Oh really? Do you mean the Pi Kappa house?"
I shrugged, I honestly didn't know or care.
"Because our friend was there," Stacey said, looking for the right response from me. She definitely was trying to push a specific button, "She told me that there was shit going down between our boys and some Seaside kids and you were right in the middle of it all."
I gave up and sat up, "Yeah, they were in a fight- Why are you asking me this Stacey? You know those boys and their rivalries- Look, they fought, Ian barfed and they left. Nothing much happened okay? If you're so concerned, you should just come next time." And freaking leave me alone.
They all looked taken back at my outburst, Summer was indeed there and had settled in the chair across from the couch, and Cheryl stood up like I had just pinched her, "Chill, we just want to know what's up."
"Nothing happened," I said firmly, at this point, Stacy could rat me out if she wanted to, Peter and I were no longer friends, "It was just a regular drinking night."
I heard a familiar honk of a jeep. Thank god. I got up and strode out to the porch. It was Eli and his Ray Bans, but there was no sign of the others in the car though. I hopped down the porch and ran to him, I really needed to get away from those girls, "What's up?"
"Geez, you look awful," Eli grinned, he waved to Stacey and Summer who had followed me. I heard some giggles in the floors above- the freshman were admiring the view: it was not every day they got to see a Hayes twin. Two days in a row was too much for their poor little hearts.
"Thanks Eli," I kicked my leg up onto the chair and hopped into the passenger side, "You just saved me from an interrogation- Please take me far away from this place."
"You got it boss. Got your swimsuit?" when I nodded, he gave a final wave and pulled out of the drive way. I glanced at Stacey's face was we drove away, she almost looked...angry. Like no one had ever defied her like me before. Too bad, I thought as we cruised down the neighborhood, I was wondering when she would show her true colors.
We met the others at a little cafe right off the coast. Daniel was bright and cheery as usual, but it seemed Ian had too much to drink; he had his head down and half empty coffee in front of him.
"Hey Eva," Ryan greeted cheerfully and extended his arm. I hesitated for brief second before running to hug him. He wore the same cologne from last night- No. Bad Eva.
"Recovering?" I pulled back and grinned.
"Better than him," he nodded towards Ian who flipped us off.
"Can't hang," I shook my head.
"Shut up fuckers," Ian cursed into his arm.
"Poor baby," Eli grabbed the back of Ian's head.
"What have you guys been up to today?" I stretched my tired muscles.
"Surfed a little in the morning," Eli grinned and gestured towards Ian, "While this fool passed out on a beach chair. Daniel swears he saw you girls jogging by on the beach while we were out there."
"Could have been," I shoved my sunglasses on my face, "Those cheerleaders are tyrants Eli. I swear, you saved me when you came-"
"HEY YA'LL!" a shiny blue BMW pulled up between Eli's jeep and Ian's mustang. I counted three heads in the convertible, three perfectly placed hair and done up faces. It was Stacey, Summer of course and the red-head, Cheryl who was always in the tow.
I couldn't contain my grimace; after I ditched them at the house, I was looking forward to a cheerleader free day. The boys seemed to be thinking the same thing. Eli was polite as usual, but he never enjoyed the company of younger women. Daniel was always friendly and flirtatious too all girls. Ryan gave Summer an awkward kiss hello; I couldn't tell if they had made up or not. Ian, who was usually the most receptive, just looked like he was in pain. Stacey flounced over, sat on Ian's lap and cradled his head to her chest.
"Evaa," Stacey pouted from Ian's lap, "You didn't wait up!"
"Sorry Stacey," I tried to sound apologetic, "I didn't realize you were hanging out with us today."
"We've been neglecting these boys for too long," Stacey kissed Ian, who looked he was about to die, on the cheek.
Cheryl sat on the armrest of Daniel's chair and crossed her legs, "So what are we doing today?" I love how they just invited themselves. Actually, I had no idea what we were doing today. With these boys, it could be anything, maybe even a strip club. I gave Eli a worried look, he smirked at my expression. "Uh," Eli exchanged glances with the other boys, Ryan shrugged at him, and "You guys might not like it."
"Why?" Stacey looked taken back, "Because we're girls? Please Elijah, when did you become so sexist?"
Uh hello, last time I checked, I was a girl too.
"I'm not Stace," Eli downed the rest of his drink, "We're going cliff jumping and then the caves."
"Cliff jumping! Really?" my face brightened immediately, and Stacey's face soured simultaneously. Much better than a strip club.
Cheryl touched her perfectly curled red locks, "Are you serious? Couldn't we skip the jump and just hike to the caves?"
"You have to jump to get to the caves Cher," Daniel touched her back and laughed at her expression, "You guys don't have to go you know. We know you guys had a tough work out- you could stay at the beach and lounge? Right Ev?"
"If you're implying that I can't keep up with a couple of baboons, you have another thing coming," I smirked, heights didn't bother me.
"Whoa," Ryan laughed, holding Summer's hand who sat in the chair next to him, "Look out Hayes, got a little daredevil who is just as crazy as you."
"Challenge accepted," Daniel smirked.
I winked at him.
"But-" Cheryl began.
"We're going," Stacey, who had been watching my exchange with the boys closely, said in finality.
"Whoooooo!" Daniel screamed as we peered down the cliff, "Let's GO!"
"Oh my god!" Cheryl shivered behind Daniel, "THIS IS CRAZY!" I could see what she meant, we were at least six stories high and were jumping straight into the ocean. Yes the water was blue and there was no signs rocks, but looks can be deceiving. My adventurous sub-conscious was ready to run and jump right then. I mean, after leaping over rooftops like some vigilante, what was a few stories? Summer however was not feeling the same.
"Babe," she whined.
"You chose to come," Ryan chastised her, already stripping off his shirt, I tried to move away to give them some privacy. I took off my shirt, revealing my second swimsuit, packed my belongings in my purse and threw it into Eli's jeep so that I would ride back with him instead in Stacey's vehicle. The ride here was filled with the most awkward small talk I had ever mustered up in my life and I've talked with ghosts about their dead dogs. There was little else that Cheryl knew about besides the Bachelor and the E! Network.
"Couldn't we just wait in the car?" Summer stepped closer and touched his bare chest, "We could...do something while they explored the caves?"
Anyone else smell desperation?
"I'd rather jump off a cliff," Ryan said coldly.
"Shall we?" Eli said to me while he gestured to the cliff.
"Nuh-uh!" Daniel shook his head, "Newbies jump alone!"
"Another west-coast initiation?" I put my hands on my hips doubtfully.
"You'll be great, just watch me-WHOA!" Ian pushed Daniel before he could finish. The rest of us ran to the edge to watch him twist over and curl into a cannonball and land safely into the water. I looked for signs of blood- looks like there were no rocks at the bottom. Daniel surfaced with a yell and flipped Ian off before swimming to the shore.
"AHAHAHAHA!" Eli roared.
I clapped appreciatively.
"You're next New York!" Ian was beginning to look like his old self again, Stacey stood slightly behind him, her arms crossed and her mouth twisted in a grimace. Geez, if she didn't want to come she shouldn't have. Ian started to move toward me, I jumped out of his reach, "WHOA! I think I got it!" He smirked.
I turned around and faced the ocean...It was just like scaling a building, except downwards. I closed my eyes and jumped.
I felt the cold water soon after. I surfaced with the widest grin on my face. "That was sick New York!" Daniel yelled from the rocks, I was smiling so wide a wave of salt water got into my mouth. I swam over to him where he gave me a standing ovation. Daniel pointed at me with both of his hands, "Duude, the way you worked in that flip, while keeping your legs straight? Props Eva. Respect." I admit, it was much better than my attempt at surfing.
"I don't know man," I chuckled as I wrung out my hair, "That cannonball was pretty epic too. That splash was like twenty feet."
"Surface area, I assure you," Daniel chuckle, "Look out-"
"NOOOOO!" Cheryl screamed as she flailed and hit the water. I winced at the painful sound of her hitting the water. I swear her bikini flipped up as she landed in the water, I squeezed my eyes shut before I could see the five thousand dollar boob job. Even Daniel could only stand there for a moment and laugh before he jumped in to pull her out. She sputtered and whined about her hair, I didn't see what the problem was, her forty dollar water proof mascara was clearly working.
"That was so scary!" she clung to Daniel, I rolled my eyes, she could do woman kind a favor and stop acting like stereotypical princess.
Eli whooped and spun into the water after Cheryl. I offered my arm when he swam over to me, he took it gratefully before pulling me back into that water.
"You are an asshole Elijah Hayes," I coughed as he chuckled and spun me around in the ocean water-my numb body was now adjusted to the cold Pacific temperature-we stayed in the water to watch as Ian jumped in with Stacey in his arms. It cramped Ian's style a little, but hey, whatever works. I still couldn't help but roll my eyes at the sight, "I apologize on behalf of the womankind. Not all of us are delicate creatures," I whispered to Eli.
"No one can be as crazy as you Ev," he laughed as he boost me back onto the rocks and climbed up after me.
"Where's Ryan and Summer?" Eli asked Ian.
"Don't know dude," Ian helped Stacey up on the rocks, who immediately pulled out a mirror-from-god-knows-where to check her face. Right on cue, Ryan jumped, our claps quickly faded out when we saw that he was alone.
"Where's Summer?" Daniel asked as he swam up to us.
"Give her a minute," Ryan grumbled.
A shriek filled the hair before a body fell from the cliff, even with her face filled with fear and her hair all soaked, Summer looked like an angel. Even without Ryan helping her, she gracefully climbed up on the rocks with the rest of us. She glanced at Ryan with a worried look as he proceeded to look the other way.
Trouble in paradise again.
"The caves?" Eli suggested as he gently guided me around the cliff, he muttered in my ear, "Don't let other people ruin today."
"Not everyone can be as easygoing as you Eli," I rolled my eyes. It seemed like Summer was trying to reconcile with Ryan and he was having none of it. Cheryl was still trying to tame out her hair, which I soon discovered was not naturally straight, but had curls which rivaled that of a poodle. Luckily for her, we had to swim again to reach the cave. When we resurfaced, we found ourselves in a cave with only one opening- through the water. It was pretty cool, being inside the base of a cliff. The walls were etched with various carvings with people commemorating their achievements. I was getting a kick out of it and ran around like a little child. I really wished I brought my camera.
"Hey Ev!" Daniel yelled from the far end of the cave, "Over here!"
When I reached them, Eli handed me a rock as Daniel boosted me up on his shoulder, "We have to document your first time here."
"Wait, is this it?" I grinned, "My final initiation?"
"Something like that," Eli laughed and pat my leg.
Daniel adjusted me, "Of course it is! You are now officially a Californian baby!"
I already knew what I was going to write.
Here to stay. New York, 2013
Daniel and Eli nodded with approval, but they didn't let me down.
"Uh, Guys-" I said, but I was too scared to scramble down.
Daniel took off before I could say anymore and fell back into the water hole while yelling, "TIME FOR YOUR BAPTISM!"
It seemed to be the trend these days. They were lucky I didn't wear the same amount of make-up as Stacey, I mean, M.A.C. did not design mascara to last this long. The evidence was on Cheryl's raccoon face. Summer and Stacey were helping her fix her face and tame her hair.
"Aww Little Eva tricked again," Ian teased, he stood over us, hands on his hips.
"I'm all wet!" I shook my hair at Eli and splashed water at him.
"That's what she said," Ian chortled.
"Real funny jerk! Help me up-" I extended my hand.
"No way mama," he shook his head, "I'm not falling for that-WHOA!" Ryan shoved him in from behind, Ian resurfaced next to Daniel, "Fuck you Ryan!"
"Revenge fucker!" Daniel swore and jumped in.
The five us began to laugh so hard and broke out into an all-out water fight.
I was celebrating my west coast initiation.
"Aww leave it Cher!" Daniel swam on his back, "It's going to get ruined again anyway!"
"While you five are goofing off, some of us are having real problems here Hayes!" Stacey scolded.
"Again, I apologize," I said low enough so that only the four of them could hear. The five of us stayed in the water, I hung against the wall while watching the boy engage in various water wrestling. Ryan swam up next to me and leaned against the wall I was hanging on, "I'm surprised you joined the team. You don't seem like the typical...cheerleader."
"What? The cheer team?" I scoffed, "I was forced."
Did I say that out loud?
"Forced?" Ryan's eyebrows raised.
"By my mother," I quickly recovered before revealing the Seaside secret, "She was kind of one in high school, you know family tradition thing. I was hoping that Laguna Beach's girls would surprise me and defy all stereotypes. But..."
"But Laguna Beach does not disappoint in terms of superficiality," Ryan chuckled.
"I mean..." my voice trailed off as we both looked at Ian who was trying to give Daniel a water wedgie, he screamed "SUCK MY DICK BITCH!" over and over again.
We burst out laughing at the same time.
"Ryan? Can I talk to you?" Summer's voice interrupted our laughing fit, we looked up to see her standing above us.
Ryan sighed as he jumped out of the water, "See you later Ev." I watched as they went over to the empty corner. Ryan stood tall with his arms crossed as Summer talked to him anxiously. These two...they had been at it all afternoon. Summer was just as stubborn as Ryan was.
Daniel's hand grabbed my foot and pulled me towards him in the water, he hugged me playfully, "Not good to peep Ev!"
"What are you talking about Hayes?" I blushed.
"You might not want to watch this-" Daniel winced as a slap echoed throughout the cave.
Summer's eyes were filled with tears as she held her hand. Ryan was rooted in the same spot, his arms crossed, the red mark on his cheek even visible from afar.
I'm am SO SORRY for the delayed update. I had the worst case of writers block in the world and then school work basically took over my life. To be honest, if it wasn't for a few lovely readers I probably would have left this open ended for a while. Thank you for staying interested in this story! Review!
Until next time!