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Lovely Summer Nights - Chapter 7

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Sarah grabbed her purse and sunglasses, and left the house, no longer seeing Elijah in the kitchen. She got into her car and started the car, turning on the air conditioner. It was extremely hot in North Carolina, especially around this time of the year. She drove down Inlet Drive and across the bridge, keeping her eye open for the little shop. It went by the name of Seaweed Wonders. Sarah saw the shop, so she turned into the driving way and parked her car. There was no one in the parking lot, so she figured that she had chosen the perfect time to meet the owner … if she was there.

Sarah opened the door, and got amazed by all different things that she saw in the store. Everything seemed too unique. The walls were bright orange, reminding her of the beautiful sunset she had seen the night before. Little trinkets were placed atop of shelves; turtle and dolphin beanies, and other ocean related things. Then there was a glass counter which had a rack of things such as anklets, bracelets, necklaces with those fake mood rings that Sarah used to be completely fascinated by when she was young. The shop smelled of some Febreeze air freshener that Sarah liked a lot.

Sarah started looking around the shop, tucking her hair behind her ear until she heard the door open up. Her eyes shot up to find an old lady, somewhat, maybe in her mid-60s', standing in front of the door. The old lady pushed her glasses up to the bridge of her nose, blinking a few times. She smiled at Sarah and waddled over, grabbing things on her sides to keep her from falling. At a closer view, Sarah realized that this lady was frail, but something about her that made Sarah … happy. Her hair was gray at few places, but you could see that she dyed her hair brown as they got white. The lady, who Sarah figured was Ms. Johnston, wore no makeup, her hair clouded around her shoulders, and her eyes were dark brown. Sarah made note of the dark circles under her eyes …were they because she was much older, or simply because something had been keeping her up at night?

"Ms. Johnston?" Sarah approached the old lady as they both stopped in the middle of the shop.
"Who are you?" The old lady asked, adjusting her glasses.
"Sarah Lane. I’m going to help around the shop this summer." The old lady examined Sarah, looking her up and down a few times. She smiled genuinely and held her hand out towards Sarah.
"Well Sarah, it’s very nice to meet you. But why are you here today?"
"I just wanted to come meet you before I started working here." Ms. Johnston lightly smiled. The two stood in silence for a minute until Sarah realized she should be on her way out … she didn’t want to bother Ms. Johnston. Sarah waved goodbye and made her way out of the door, towards her car.

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Meredith hadn’t expected the drive to feel so long, but maybe that was because it was somewhat awkward. Occasionally though, Gabriel would crack a joke or two that would send Meredith laughing harder than anyone could ever imagine. It was as if the car lit up every so often.

"Okay, tie this around your eyes, I don’t want you to see anything." Gabriel pulled the car over to the side of a quiet back road and handed Meredith a blue, pattered bandana.

"Can I trust you?" She asked in the middle of a laugh as she took the piece of cloth out of Gabriel’s hand. He simply nodded, smiling at her. She stared at him for a brief moment, and then Meredith went to adjust the bandana over her eyes. Gabriel tied it underneath her high ponytail, letting his hand linger by the small part of her neck, until he pulled away and started the car again. Meredith fiddled around with the house keys in her hand, becoming impatient.

"Can you give me hints? Please?" Meredith nudged her elbow into Gabriel’s arm gently, pushing for a hint to tell her where they were headed.
"Nope." Gabriel retorted. But Meredith was persistent, as she began to guess on her own, eventually realizing that it was pointless, since she knew he wouldn’t say anything. Meredith sunk in her seat, resting her head against the window.

A few minutes passed until Gabriel slowed the car down to a smooth stop. Meredith popped up in her seat, taking off her seat belt.

"Someone’s excited," Gabriel chuckled, as he got out of the car, "I’ll help you out, hold on." Meredith turned her head towards the door and felt a rush of air as she noticed that Gabriel had opened the door. She shivered at the sudden touch of Gabriel’s hand on hers, pulling her out of the car slowly.
"If I trip and break my neck, it’s on you." Meredith enunciated every word deeply as her grip on Gabriel tightened.
"I need you to be extremely careful now." Gabriel slowed down his pace as he led Meredith further ahead. Meredith became shaky as she realized she was no longer on the ground.

"Gabriel…" Meredith stopped where she was, holding onto Gabriel.
"Yeah?" He asked gently. Meredith could feel butterflies in her stomach. Something about everything she was doing made her happy. She was happy simply being in Gabriel’s presence alone.
"I … uh … can you … uh…" Meredith stuttered, unable to spit out what was going through her head. Gabriel let out a laugh, slowly scooping Meredith up off the ground.

"Did you want me to pick you up and take you instead?" That was exactly what Meredith wanted, except she was too afraid to ask. She nodded innocently, looking up at him, but still with her eyes covered with bandana. Gabriel steadied his pace, keeping in mind that he had Meredith in his arms.

Gabriel was glad that Meredith couldn’t see him, because he was smiling. Something about Meredith was electrifying. Gabriel couldn’t remember a time in which he felt as alive as he did being around Meredith. The fact that Meredith hadn’t bothered to even object to his surprise for her made him happy. Gabriel was always the type to do these things; but every girl he had dated in the past rejected him for all the qualities that Meredith found livening.

Meredith, on the other hand wished that Gabriel was the one with the blindfold on. She couldn’t help from smiling, which was the exact reason she kept her head down. Jason rarely ever did these things. He never surprised her like this. He never made jokes simply to make her laugh. His attention always seemed to be somewhere else when he was with her, and Meredith couldn’t stand it.

"I’m going to put you down now, okay?" Meredith nodded as she finally felt the ground beneath her feet. Gabriel positioned her to face a certain direction. He reached for the bandana that was tied underneath her ponytail and untied it. Meredith reached up and pulled the bandana off and opened her eyes.
Meredith took a step back, bumping into Gabriel. He didn’t know what to say, or whether to say anything at all.

"Gabriel … this is amazing." Meredith looked across the water. She felt like she could see absolutely everything. The sun was still high in the sky, beaming rays down, stretching as far back as she could see. The waves weren’t as strong as they were against the shore, they simply rolled up and lapped against the water. Meredith realized that she was standing on top of a cliff, but as she stepped close to the edge, she noticed how much higher up she was than she thought. Meredith swallowed hard and took another step back, feeling Gabriel; but Gabriel moved away. Meredith wanted him to hold her. She wanted to feel his arms around her for some reason … She felt stupid now. Why had she wanted this so badly? She barely knew him. Meredith wasn’t in the mood to confuse herself, she wanted to enjoy what Gabriel had planned for her.

"I’m going to go get the food and stuff from the car." Gabriel gestured, as Meredith nodded. She looked back out at the ocean and felt a rush of excitement. She had the opportunity to spend the entire summer on the beach. She had the entire summer to get to know Gabriel as well. Her mind went back to Sarah though, wondering what she was doing at this time.

Gabriel came back with the blanket and picnic basket. Meredith smiled at him as he spread out the blanket and lounged down across it. He patted next to him, looking right at Meredith. At this point, Meredith blushed. She looked down at her feet as she walked towards the blanket and soon settled herself down next to him.

"I’m hungry." Meredith reached over for the picnic basket and opened it up. She pulled out peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, a large bag of potato chips, cookies, and bottles of water. Meredith loved eating peanut butter & jelly sandwiches with potato chips, but she didn’t exactly like sharing that with others; it embarrassed her.

"I decided to pack something basic and save the more extravagant for another date." Gabriel looked up flirtatiously.
"Date? Does that mean this is a date too, then?" Meredith asked as she popped open the bag of potato chips.
"I was hoping so." He waited for some response from Meredith. She thought to herself for a second, remembering that she didn’t want it to be a date … but that was before Gabriel went out of his way and did all of this. She knew exactly what she was getting herself into, so she smirked and nodded.
"Of course, it’s a date Gabriel." His smile towards her slowly grew and Meredith began to feel a sense of full happiness radiating through her, and she figured nothing could be better than this moment with Gabriel.

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Ashleigh browsed through the store, flicking her fingers through the small bikinis on the racks. Cameron trailed behind her, watching her look for a bathing suit.

"That Meredith girl seems cool, doesn’t she?" Cameron asked, as he pretended to be interested in shopping. He offered to come after she slyly mentioned it was bikini shopping. Cameron hoped that she would try one on.
"That Meredith girl, has quite a character." Ashleigh rolled her big blue eyes, remembering her confrontation earlier with Meredith.
"Why do ya' say that?" Cameron chirped, focusing his attention towards two giggling brunettes that stood by the door. Ashleigh turned around and snapped her fingers on his face, startling him.

"Just see for yourself. I’m sure she’ll confront you for something stupid too." Cameron didn’t actually care much for what Ashleigh had to say about Meredith. As a matter of fact, Cameron didn’t care much for what Ashleigh had to say, period. She always rambled on about pointless things, and she always found someone to trash on or something to gossip about, and even though Cameron hadn’t known her too long, this was one of the realizations that he made.

"Uh huh.." Cameron muttered, as Ashleigh picked up a few bathing suits and took them to the cash register. There was a lady, maybe in her 40s', working behind the counter. She took the prices of each bathing suit while Ashleigh pulled out her wallet. Cameron’s eyes widened very large when he saw how much money Ashleigh carried. Cameron noted at least five 20 dollar bills, and next to that were a select amount of credit cards.

"Your total’s 125.66. Cash or credit?" Cameron’s jaw dropped. How could Ashleigh consider spending so much money on 4 skimpy bathing suits? There wasn’t even enough fabric to consider calling them bathing suits … which Cameron didn’t completely mind, but the price was still mind-boggling.
"Credit." Ashleigh answered politely as she swiped her card. She accepted the amount, and with that, they both left the store and headed towards the car.

Cameron got into the driver’s seat as Ashleigh hopped in next to him, throwing her bags at the back.
"You should really consider getting a new car, because this is just not your scene." Ashleigh ran her long nail across the dashboard.
"So then what is my scene?" Cameron murmured as he pulled out of the parking lot with one hand on the wheel and one on the back of Ashleigh’s seat.
"I’m still figuring it out, but it’s definitely not this." Ashleigh had no idea what she was talking about. Cameron had always been the guy he was now. He didn’t show interest for more fancy things in life. He was the typical country boy, and Ashleigh was nothing like him.
"So, what do you wanna do next?" Cameron headed out onto the main road towards the house. Ashleigh shrugged, replying.

"Doesn’t matter to me." Cameron rolled his eyes and sighed. Ashleigh fiddled with the house key as Cameron pulled onto their road. He got out of the car and Ashleigh tossed him the key.
"So, you can’t get my bag for me?" Cameron paused in his step, his fingers tightening around the car keys. Cameron turned around and opened the door, pulling out the bags. He realized that growing up he had always been taught to act like a gentlemen, and helping a woman with her bags or whatever it was, was nice of him. But for some reason, Cameron figured Ashleigh could’ve gotten it for herself.

Cameron shut the door and followed Ashleigh up the stairs, and through the front door. Ashleigh took the bag gently out of Cameron’s hand and looked up at him.

"Thank you." She smiled at him, causing Cameron to melt on the inside. Her smile was by far the most perfect thing he had seen, and not because of how good her teeth were. Cameron nodded and headed towards his bedroom and laid down on the bed. He heard music playing, and poked his head up, trying to hear where it had been coming from … but it could’ve only come from Ashleigh’s room, considering the fact that no one else had been home. Cameron got up off his bed and opened the door. He saw Ashleigh sitting on the couch, watching some movie. Cameron shuffled his feet to get her attention, and her head shot up.

"God you scared me!" Ashleigh shouted, pausing the movie. Cameron laughed, and walked towards the couch.
"Do you mind if I join you?" She looked down at the remote and then back up at Cameron and shrugged.
"Not exactly." Cameron made his way over to the couch and sat at a comfortably far distance from Ashleigh, and the two settled into their seats, and watched into the rest of the afternoon.
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Published: 12/9/2013
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