How to Save a Life

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How to Save a Life Page 12

by Amber Nation

  “Oh, I almost forgot," Tessa retrieved one of the plastic sacks from the floor and pulled out a cake mix box and plopped it on the counter in front of me. “Look!"

  I looked at Toby and then back at Tessa. Was I missing something here?

  “Um yeah, it’s a cake mix." I started looking the other way, and then at my imaginary watch, I was thinking that it was almost time for me to be getting back to work.

  “No, silly. Its cupcake mix! When Emmalynne had her baby, I tried and tried to find cupcake mix so I could make some cupcakes while she was in the hospital. Everyone freaking looked at me like I was stupid because I didn’t realize that I needed cake mix. Well boom! Now what! I found cupcake mix!" She shouted as if she were super proud of herself. I didn’t know what to think.

  “Right! I’m so happy for you," I tried not to let my sarcasm show, but it was a lost cause.

  Toby grabbed me by my shoulder and gave me a half hug, “I like you, you need to hang with us sometime. Or better yet, I need to get the band together and put on a show at Emmy Lou’s. Say you’ll come if I do! It’s been so long since The Nation’s Capital has performed, I’m sure Mike is itching to play again."

  I faintly remembered Mike stating that he played drums for a band, but he never really talked about it much. It sounded like fun to me, seeing Mike beat on a drum kit with his sticks.

  There I went with my sexual innuendos. Oh boy.

  “Sure! I’d love to come!"

  Toby jumped up and down clapping his hands, “Oh, yay! I’ll get everything situated. Come along Tessa, let’s not keep Sheridan from her work anymore." He said it almost like chop chop. Wow, there were some fun characters around here.

  It was finally seven pm and I was done for the day. Mike had texted me earlier saying that he would be at the garage working on my car so I thought it would be nice to bring him a plate of meatloaf from The Diner that he loved so much.

  I walked out of The Diner and into the cool summer night air. It was dark enough to see the red neon lights illuminating in the night and the sky was clear enough to see every single star. It was breathtaking. I never really had the time to stop and look at the stars, there were an infinite amount and could be seen for miles. I wish life would always be this simple.

  The first thing I did was take down the pins that held up my hair, freeing it from the tight confines of the twist that it was styled in. I ran my fingers through it separating my now curly locks.

  Taking my time walking the couple minutes to the garage, I wondered what it would really be like if I was with Mike. He had been attentive and caring already, I just think he would end up stepping it up a notch. I really longed to feel his lips pressed against mine, I bet I would even see fireworks. Oh, but all the wishing and hoping in the world couldn’t change the ultimate outcome. Mike and I couldn’t be together plain and simple, it just wouldn’t work out. We both wanted different things in life.

  I walked into the brightly lit garage which heavily smelled of grease and hard work. Justin Timberlake’s newest single “Not A Bad Thing" was currently playing on the old boom box. I walked past my car, trailing my hand down it as I went to search for Mike. I didn’t have to look too hard, he was currently bent over under the hood of my Monte Carlo with a droplight hanging from the edge of the hood so it would be easier for him to see. He looked so sexy deep in thought with his old hat perched on top of his head.

  “Hey," I softly said. I didn’t want to startle him, he was so fixated on what he was working on that he hadn’t even heard me approach.

  He let out a brief sigh and pushed himself up off of the front of my car and started getting things ready so he could close the hood. “Hey Sheridan, I was getting ready to pack up for the night."

  “Well, I knew that you said that you’d be working here for a while so I brought you meatloaf from The Diner." I held up the white sack so he could see.

  He took the sack containing his to go box and sat it on top of the rolling toolbox that was stationed right next to him. He leaned against it and crossed his arms. “Thanks, what’s wrong?"

  I had no idea how he could tell anything was wrong, but I couldn’t really keep it from him since he knew about my past with Pate. I scooted myself to where I was sitting on the hood of my car, my legs dangling off the edge.

  “My hand gave out on me this morning, dropping an entire plate of pancakes all over the floor. I was brought back into the kitchen with Pate hoping that he wouldn’t be mad, but knowing that he was fuming inside. Wanda and Archie had to calm me down. I was so embarrassed." I looked down to my hands where I was fiddling with my fingers, “When will it end? When will I finally not feel trapped by him?"

  I could feel the tears wanting to well up in my eyes again and I tried so hard to will them away.

  I felt Mike’s fingertips on my knees as he spread my legs apart so he could step in between them. I could feel my entire body hum at the anticipation of his gentle touches.

  He took a hand and placed it underneath my chin and raised my head which caused me to look up into his eyes. The tenderness that was gleaming in his eyes made my heart skip a beat. He took his free hand and gently brushed back the unruly tendrils of hair that wanted to hang in my face.

  “Sheridan, you have to give it time. You’ll get there, I promise. And I promise that you are undoubtedly safe with me, always. I would lay my life on the line before I ever even thought about letting anything happen to you."

  His words held so much conviction and determination that I just wished that things could be different. I wanted to just feel what it would be like to be with him.

  He placed his hands under my jaw and just stared into the depths of my eyes. And the next thing I knew, his full lips were pressed tightly to mine.

  My eyes were still wide open but seeing his tightly shut I wondered if I should close my eyes and give into my desires just this once? Pretend that things were different?

  I suddenly forgot that we weren’t able to be together and I just went with the flow of it all. I took the next initiative and swept my tongue along his bottom lip almost begging him for access. One of his hands left the side of my face and ended up gripping my hip and pulling me into him, making me feel the outline of his straining erection. At the same exact time, his tongue entered my awaiting mouth. Our tongues collided together dueling in an intense war. I turned his hat around on his head so it was on backwards and I wouldn’t have to worry about my head clashing with it. I grabbed ahold of his shirt tightly wanting nothing more than to be one with this man. This kiss was so intense, I was feeling it all the way down to my toes. He broke free from the kiss and started nipping and kissing his way down my jawline all the way to my collarbone. It was so euphoric and I could just see myself stripping free from my clothing and letting him have his wicked way with me right here on the hood of my car.

  But then reality came crashing down on me when I realized that we were in the open bay of Ray’s Auto Garage practically mauling one another.

  “Mike…" I tried to get his attention, but his focus was on my neck, it was so delicious that I almost hated to put an end to things. “Mike, we can’t do this." Kiss. Kiss. Nip. “Mike, stop!"

  He released his hold that he had on me so I was able to quickly jump down from my perch from atop of my car.

  “What’s wrong Sheridan?" His breathing was labored, “I thought you were enjoying it." He looked almost pained at my reaction.

  “I did. Believe me, I’m mentally kicking myself now for putting a stop to it, but we just can’t. There are just some things that you don’t know. Perhaps, if things were different then sure, but they aren’t. I’m sorry." I turned to where I could walk out of the shop and I stopped at the edge of the bay door and turned around to see his hands braced on the edge of the rolling tool box and his head hung. We had officially crossed the line into unchartered territory and I didn’t know if things could be fixed. “I’ll see you at home."

  It was now the beginning of August and th
e blistering heat was showing no signs of cooling down. It was the heart of summer and I was in a rut. A sexually frustrated rut.

  If I thought our kiss would’ve made things awkward between Mike and me; I really couldn’t have been more wrong. It didn’t turn him off of me, if anything it turned him on more.

  It had seemed as if I had opened up Pandora’s Box and Mike wasn’t backing down from his full on pursuit of me.

  He had apparently gotten a taste and wanted more. I wasn’t a very strong person as it was and I could almost bet that I would crack sooner than later. But in the end would it be worth it?

  Tonight was the night of The Nation’s Capital mini concert at Emmy Lou’s. Mike had to work at the garage today and then was going to head to the bar with Brock so they could get everything set up and perform a sound check.

  Toby and Tessa took me shopping and I picked out an amazing outfit to wear tonight. Toby was upset that he wasn’t able to stick around and apply my makeup, apparently he dubbed himself the official makeup artist of Brown County. He was freaking adorable.

  So I was getting ready on my own and Tessa was going to swing by on her way to Emmy Lou’s and pick me up.

  I was freshly showered and pulled on my new ultra skinny jean capris. Seriously these things made my ass look fabulous and they looked like they were painted on, they were so snug. I was so excited to wear my silver beaded V-neck silk tank top that I found on sale. Such an amazing score for such a beautiful top. It was a racer back tank which meant the straps of my bra would’ve looked extremely tacky, so I had to go strapless. But once I slid the silkiness of my top over my head and let it fall into place on my body, I knew that I would’ve paid wholesale price for it.

  I paired the outfit with turquoise sequined sandals and matching turquoise drop earrings and bracelet. I had mastered the art of French braiding my hair at a young age since I have always had long hair, so I tweaked it a little so it wrapped around my head so it was gathered up off of my neck.

  I applied minimal eye shadow but made sure I went heavy on the mascara. And the last thing to perfect the outfit was my fire engine red lipstick. I had never been able to own red lipstick and it was one thing that I had longed for, so on my way out of town when I escaped Pate that was one of the first things that I stopped to purchase. With the color of my skin and the dark black of my hair, I think it paired together nicely.

  And I was done.

  I looked in the mirror to appraise my look. The outfit was a little more than casual but didn’t scream over the top, it was perfection.

  No sooner did I gather everything in my turquoise clutch the doorbell rang indicating that Tessa had arrived.

  I walked past Sadie Belle and rubbed her head, “You be good and guard the house while we are gone."

  I opened the front door and stepped outside closing and locking up behind me.

  I turned around to see Tessa staring deadpan at me. I scoffed and said, “What?" as I dropped my keys into my clutch.

  “Nothing, you just looking fucking hot!"

  I gave her a weird look and shook my head, “Whatever, let’s go." And I started making my way towards Tessa’s car.

  “No, I’m serious. I think I just got my first lady boner. You are on fi-ya!"

  I stopped dead in my tracks and whipped my head around to face Tessa, “Back the truck up! Did you just say that you got a lady boner? What the fuck is a lady boner?"

  “Oh, never mind. Come on already," she waved off the complete conversation as if we were discussing the weather and walked on past me to her car. Yikes, I knew Mike said that she said some pretty wonky things, but that was borderline absurd.

  When we arrived at Emmy Lou’s, I didn’t really know what to expect as I had never really been into a bar. Not that Pate would’ve let me, but I also never really had the desire to.

  I followed Tessa in through the sea of people, trying to get a glimpse of everything as I moved. I didn’t think so many people would be here, but it was beyond crowded.

  She walked straight up to the bar which was located in the back part of the building, wedging herself in between two people, and slammed her hand down on the counter. “Grady!" she yelled trying to get his attention. A guy who I assumed was Grady approached her from behind the counter, he was wearing a black button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. I had seen him in The Diner a few times before, but I never knew who he was.

  He seemed less than thrilled to be walking towards Tessa, “What can I get ya Tess?"

  “I would like hmm," she put her finger to her chin and started lightly tapping. I think it was just to irritate Grady, and from the way he narrowed his eyes towards her I would have to say that it was indeed working.

  “Come on Tessa, we are slammed tonight, Uncle Mac agreed to work for you but ultimately you are here, I could put you to work."

  “Ok, ok. Sheesh don’t get your panties all in a bunch. I’ll have a bottle of Bud. Sheridan this is Grady, he is my best friend Emmalynne’s fiancé. Grady this is Sheridan, she works at The Diner," she cupped her hand to her face and leaned forward a bit and began whispering something to Grady. Unfortunately for her it was still loud enough for me to hear. “She’s with Mike."

  His eyes widened as he stood up to his full height, “Nice to meet you Sheridan, I believe I’ve seen you at The Diner a few times."

  “Nice to meet you as well, and again for the record I’m not with Mike." There was a tremor in my voice and if I were Grady I wouldn’t believe the conviction of my words. “I’ll just have a Diet Coke, please."

  “No alcohol? What the?" Tessa seemed flabbergasted by the fact that I didn’t want a drink. I could totally see her telling me that it was “Un-American."

  “I don’t drink," I turned to glance back at Grady. “Just a Diet Coke, please."

  “You got it," he gave me a wink before he turned to get mine and Tessa’s drinks.

  I perched my elbow on the edge of the countertop and looked around at the space. There were tables lined on the side of the walls so there would be plenty of room to stand around and dance in the middle. The stage was located in the very front and it looked pretty generic with a black curtain running across to shield the crowd from what was happening on stage at the present time.

  Grady came back with Tessa’s bottle of beer and my Diet Coke in a glass mason jar. I took it from his hand, “Thank you. Um, you wouldn’t perhaps have a piano backstage would you?"

  He placed a hand on his hip and it looked like he was deep in thought, “You know what, there is an old piano back there but who knows how long it’s sat there unused. I’m sure it would need to be tuned."

  My lips curved into a bright smile, the thought of being able to play on an actual piano again. My keyboard was amazing and towards the top of the line but it didn’t even compare to the eighty-eight keys of an actual piano.

  “Would it be alright if I took a look at it sometime?"

  “That would be fine by me, you play?" Grady responded as he grabbed the white towel out of his back pocket and began wiping off the condensation from the bar countertop.

  “Something like that." I didn’t really have it in me to explain my situation to him or to anyone else at the time. Mike knew, and for now that was enough.

  The curtains on the stage swept back, the house lights turned down, and a spotlight appeared on Toby.

  Tessa yanked at my arm, “Come on, let’s move a little closer."

  We winded our way through the bar bypassing numerous people she knew as she hooped and hollered at each and every one of them. Finding a free spot directly in the center just being a few feet from the bottom of the stage, I had the perfect view of all of the members.

  It was slightly comical seeing Charlie out of his Sheriff’s uniform and decked out in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Brock was standing just across from him with his guitar slung over his shoulder as well. Toby being the front man was standing, well in the front. Tonight he was donning some black skinny jea
ns which appeared to be tighter than mine, I really felt sorry for his boys as I had absolutely no idea how they were breathing. And a black fitted tee with a yellow leather bomber jacket with the sleeves pushed up to his elbows. I would ask him how he was keeping from sweating, but I could just imagine him saying, “It’s all in the name of fashion, doll."

  My gaze then traveled to the man sitting behind the drum kit. The man who seemed to occupy my thoughts at all times of the day. Mike was wearing a pair of cargo khaki shorts and a button down plaid shirt that was rolled up exposing those amazing forearms. He actually wasn’t wearing his hat which surprised me because I hadn’t ever really seen him out of it. Of course, he didn’t wear it when he was working as a paramedic but by the time he came home, his hat was back in its rightful place atop of his head. His dark hair had a messy look going on and it would’ve been about the exact length which would have made it perfect for me to run my fingers through.

  And he was currently staring at me.

  Our eyes connected and it was as if the rest of the world diminished and we were the only two people left. I know you hear about that in movies and romance novels, but it was true. I couldn’t see the massive amounts of people circled around me, including Tessa who was dancing around like a mad woman.

  I had no idea that Toby was even speaking until Tessa shoved me with her shoulder and it released me from my daydream session with Mike.

  “Not with Mike my ass. Y’all were practically eye fucking each other. You can keep denying it, but that boy has got it bad for you."

  I looked back towards Mike to see that his eyes were still trained on me. Then they started playing their first song.

  By the time their last song rolled around Tessa and I had been dancing to their music, they were absolutely fantastic and Toby had a voice that would make the actual singers of the covers cry from embarrassment. Oh and Mike hadn’t taken his eyes off of me, not one single time.

  They began their last song for the night and Tessa instantly perked up looking behind her for someone in the bar. “Oh, Emmalynne will be so pissed that she isn’t here. They are covering her favorite bands newest single “Sleeping With A Friend" by Neon Trees."


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