Since Christmas is such a romantic time of year (must be all that gift-giving), I've decided to introduce something new today. A while back I wrote a short romance story entitled 'Friends are Forever', which I will serialise here on the blog over the next few days. All characters are fictitious and if you know anyone by these names, tell 'em I said sorry! Hope you enjoy....
FRIENDS ARE FOREVER PT. 1
The telephone must have rung five times before it broke my concentration. Sighing in annoyance, I stopped typing on my laptop and reached over to pick up the receiver. My best friend Lucine Sobers was waiting impatiently on the other end of the line.
“Mandy, you will never believe who’s getting married in December!” she began breathlessly. “Steven Carmichael!”
I almost dropped the phone. “You’re joking! To whom?”
“Some local high society girl. He met her while he was working in New York.”
I leaned back in my chair and gripped the phone tightly. “Well, that’s good news. I wish them both the best of luck.”
Lucine snorted. “Please girl, who’re you trying to fool? This is me you’re talking to. I know how you feel about that man!”
I sighed. “What do you want me to do, Lou? It’s obvious he’s made his choice. What should I do, break up the wedding because he and I have a history? Actually, that says it right there. History, over and done with.”
Lucine sucked her teeth. “I doubt you two will ever be history, no matter what you say.”
She disconnected and I sat with the receiver in hand for a few seconds before replacing it. Steven’s getting married. Lord, I’ve lost him for good.
“Romey! I win again!” Steven Carmichael hooted triumphantly and four pairs of hands tossed down their cards in frustration.
“You’re a big thief, that’s what,” Damian Proverbs grumbled dejectedly and proceeded to shuffle the cards again.
I stretched my stiff back and gazed around at my companions, who were all seated on a blanket on the golden sands of Brandons Beach. My 13 year-old sister Angela was to my left, bobbing her head along to Edwin’s Crop Over hit Obadele on her portable radio. To my right was Lucine Sobers, my best friend since primary school. The daughter of our neighbourhood shopkeeper, Lucine was able to get a day off from her shop duties to spend the day with us at the beach.
Damian sat next to Lucine. Already at the age of 18 his face gave an indication of the attractive man he would grow up to become. His light-brown, fine boned features and hazel eyes were said to be a legacy from a Cuban grandfather. It was no secret in our group that Damian had a crush on me. I often felt it was because I was one of the few females immune to his charms.
Between Damian and Angela sat Steven, the object of my teenage affections. Dark-brown and attractive, Steven possessed a ready smile and a quick wit. Kind and generous, Steven had the ability to cheer up anyone around him. His only failing in my eyes was that he remained clueless to my feelings. We had been friends for most of our lives; his parents lived next door to my grandparents and we were the same age. My sister and I had been sent to live with my grandparents when our parents migrated to England to find employment. Over the years, my feelings for Steven had transformed from preteen indifference to outright infatuation.
“You all continue playing, I’m going for a swim. You coming, Mandy?” Steven enquired and I nodded, pulling on my swim cap.
“Have fun, we’ll be here,” Lucine grinned mischievously, and out of the corner of my eye I saw Damian frown. I ignored him and raced across the sand after Steven, who was already plunging into the ocean.
“Cheater! You had a head start!” I yelled and he grinned and waited for me to catch up. We swam out about 100 yards from the shore and hauled ourselves up into a blue and yellow Moses boat anchored in the bay.
“Whew, that was good,” Steven laughed. “You’re getting stronger every time.”
“You’re a good teacher,” I replied, punching him playfully on the arm. His skin felt warm, and I watched as droplets of seawater trickled down his wide, muscular chest and well-defined abs to disappear below his swim trunks. I swallowed hard and folded my arms across my bikini top to hide my body’s sudden reaction to touching him.
“What’s up, you cold?” Steven asked concernedly. Before I could respond, he wrapped his arm around my shoulders, pulling me closer to his warm body.
My breath caught in my throat and I grew tense. Sensing a shift, he turned to me, his face just a few inches from mine. Gathering my courage, I pulled his face to mine and kissed him softly on the lips.
Startled, Steven pulled away. “Wait, Mandy what’re you doing?”
“What does it look like?” I whispered and leaned in to kiss him again.
He placed his hands on my shoulders. “Look, Mandy, you’re one of my best friends. I don’t want to mess with our friendship by making it into something more!”
I flushed angrily and shook off his hands. “So you’re saying you don’t find me attractive?”
He rubbed his neatly shaved head in frustration. “Hell yeah, I do, I’m an 18 year old guy, I’m not made of stone.”
He continued as I started to protest. “But girlfriends come and go, friends are forever. Besides, I’m leaving for New York next month and I’ll be gone for three years. What’s the point of starting something now?”
I grudgingly agreed with his logic. He was always too smart for his own good. “I guess you have a point,” I grumbled.
Steven hugged me tightly and kissed the top of my head. “Don’t be mad at me Mandy, you know I’m right. When my studies are over, who knows? Besides, I don’t think you’ll be hard up for company the way Damian is always rushing you,” he chuckled.
I sucked my teeth and pulled away from his embrace. “If I wanted Damian I wouldn’t be here with you right now.”
I dove off the boat and swam towards the shore, leaving Steven to stare pensively after me.
Part 2 later today!