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Sweet Heat at Bayside(5)

By:Addison Cole

"A week before the talent show, there was this … moment," Serena admitted.

"A take-me-baby moment." Emery waggled her brows.

"Emery, please … " Mira pleaded.

Serena sighed. "No. We were singing outside one night, just the two of  us, rehearsing for the duet. We were singing ‘You're the One That I  Want' from Grease, and I was foolishly crushing on him, like holding my  breath every time he looked at me. I saved for months to buy those fake  leather pants and heels so I could look like Olivia Newton-John in the  movie."

"It was painful to watch her lusting after my brother," Mira said with  an empathetic expression. "I love him, but teenage boys are just … "


"Horny jerks?" Emery suggested. "I've got three brothers. Trust me, I have heard it all."

"They're just unaware," Mira said diplomatically. "Drake was more  serious than most boys, but when it came to girls … " She shook her head.

"Luckily, that swoony, stupid crush didn't last long," Serena said. At  least not in a way anyone else could see. Secretly, it had taken far too  long before she could even imagine being with any other boy. She'd  faked moving on for Mira's sake, and eventually she had moved on. Mostly  anyway. But it hadn't been quick or easy. "You know that feeling when  your insides are churning and you can feel your blood heating up inside  your veins? In that moment, under the stars, I remember feeling like I  couldn't breathe or hold on to a single thought. Like my whole body was  on overdrive."

"I love that feeling," Emery said.

"Yeah, well, I've never felt it for anyone except him." Serena's  thoughts lingered on those memories. The excitement and nervousness that  had made her entire body tremble felt as real and present as the  hangers in her hand.

"Is that true?" Mira asked.

Serena realized everyone was looking at her like she'd just exposed her  deepest secret, and she mentally replayed what she'd said.  Shootshootshoot. "I meant I hadn't felt it for anyone except Drake until  then." She waved her hand as if she hadn't slipped up and revealed the  truth. "There have been plenty of men since that awful night."

"I can attest to that," Chloe said. "The girl was determined to get over her crush."

Serena gave herself kudos for pretending to move on so well.

"You go, girl," Emery said. "Don't let being ditched hold you back.  There are always more fish in the sea. But I still want to hear about  how he ditched you."

"It was that night, right after that crazy, breathtaking moment when we  both leaned in. I was sure he was going to kiss me. I saw it in his  eyes, could feel it in my bones. And then suddenly he pulled back  without kissing me. He looked almost mad, which was confusing as heck to  a ninth grader thinking I'd finally landed the guy I was crushing on.  Then he broke my heart. He told me he couldn't do the duet and that he  shouldn't have agreed to it."

"What a jerk move," Emery snapped. "Sorry, Mira. I love your brother,  but really? An almost kiss and then he backs out a week before the  event?"

"Right?" Chloe rolled her eyes. "When she finally told me why she was so  upset, I confronted him, and he said he'd overcommitted and the band  thought it would hurt their chances to win if he entered twice. I gave  him all my fury."

"You and me both." Mira laid another blouse over Serena's arm. "I gave  him a hard time on a daily basis even after the talent show. Serena was  devastated, and it was as infuriating as it was embarrassing that my  brother was the one who had hurt her."

"I never held it against you." Serena picked through another rack of  skirts to try to push those sad memories away. She chose a few styles,  loading them into her arms. "It was a long time ago."

"And he's amazing to you now, so clearly you guys have worked through it," Desiree said. "That's what matters most."

Sure, if by worked through it you mean never spoke of it again.

Desiree held up a black wrap dress with a red sash. "I know Vi doesn't  wear dresses, but don't you think she could pull this off for the  wedding? I know she won't wear anything that's not black."

"She'd probably use that sash to tie a man to her bed, so yeah," Emery said. "I think she'd wear it for that reason alone."

Serena's mind chased that tie right back to Drake, and she felt her  cheeks heat up. She dipped her head so the girls wouldn't notice.

"Oh my gosh." Chloe gave Serena a deadpan look. "You're still thinking about Drake tying you up, aren't you?"

Serena cringed.

"What?" Mira's eyes widened.

"He made a comment the other day. Obviously I never should have told Chloe about it." Serena glared at Chloe. "Way to go, sis."

"Wait. Is there more to you two than you're letting on?" Mira asked.

"Secret tryst," Emery said in a singsong voice.

"No!" Serena insisted. "What is wrong with everyone this week? We were  joking! I said something about him chaining me down in the office so I  wouldn't leave, and he said he didn't have to chain women down." She  lowered her voice and said, "He ties them down, but only when they ask."         



Laughter burst from Emery's lips, which made them all crack up.

"Oh, no, no, no," Mira said, taking a step backward. "I can't even … "

"Seriously? Drake has a dark side?" Desiree asked. She was the most  proper of them all, and yet, according to her delicious breakfasts, she  had an amazing sex life.

Chloe whispered, "I wonder if he has a red room."

"Stop!" Mira said with a laugh. "He's my brother. If he has a red room, I  don't want to know about it." She turned to Serena and asked, "Does he  have a red room?"

"No! I don't know!" Serena said. "But it is surprising, right? I can't stop thinking about it."

"I knew it," Chloe said. "You're still into him, aren't you? You never  blush, and you're blushing like you're back in high school."

"That's called surprise, not interest." Serena headed for the dressing  room with all four of them on her heels. "So, none of you knew he was  into that?"

"No, but a little sexy bondage isn't red-room dark. I can see him doing  that." Emery lowered her voice and said, "Dean and I explore, and it's  amazing."

"Okay, first of all," Mira said, "Dean is like a brother to me, and I  try to stay as far from my brothers' sex lives as possible. Can we  please change the subject? It's bad enough that the breakfast table is  like a banner announcing the quality of Des and Rick's bedroom antics."

Emery sidled up to Serena and said, "I think you should sleep with him  before you go to Boston," in a rushed whisper. "See if he ties you up  and report back."

"Ohmygosh." Serena pushed through the dressing-room curtain, trying to  ignore her suggestion-and wondering what it would be like to sleep with  Drake.

DRAKE SAT ON the dunes with Dean and Rick, shooting the breeze while the  girls were out shopping. He took a swig of his beer, turning toward the  wind whipping up from the bay as the salty air washed over his skin.  The sense of peace it usually brought was one of his favorite things  about living on the water. But tonight it failed to settle the chaos  wreaking havoc in his head. He pulled out his cell phone, reading  Serena's text from earlier for a second time. She'd been trying on  outfits for her new job and texting him selfies taken in the  dressing-room mirror, asking if they made her look frumpy or if they  were too sexy for her new job. Didn't she know she could never look  frumpy, and even if she did, she'd still be the most beautiful woman  he'd ever seen? And as far as too sexy went, heck yes. Everything she  wore was too sexy if he wasn't there to keep guys away, but he'd never  tell her that. Instead he'd responded with, You look great.

"Serena again?" Rick asked.

"She's nervous about her new job." Drake was worried about her moving,  too, and not just because he'd miss everything about her. She'd always  dreamed of living in a big city, but he had a feeling she was in for a  surprise. She'd gone to college at University of Massachusetts in  Dartmouth, which was more of a small town than a big city. Interviewing  in Boston was a lot different from living there.

Rick plucked a piece of dune grass and said, "The grass is always greener, right?"

Drake had never seen the allure of big cities. They'd grown up in  Hyannis and had lost their father in Cape waters during a freak storm  when they were teenagers. While Rick had moved to Washington, DC, to try  to escape the painful memories, Drake had traveled enough for his music  stores to know that the Cape was where he belonged. This was where his  roots were, and if he had it his way, he'd remain there until the day  he'd be buried at sea, just like his father.