“You make surfboards?”
He nodded. “It’s a hobby, but someday I hope to have my own surf and board shop.”
“Wow, that’s incredible.”
“You like to surf?” he asked. I could see the passion for the sport in his eyes. I wanted to say yes so badly.
“Never been,” I admitted.
“You live in Myrtle Beach and you’ve never surfed?” He gaped.
“I only moved here a couple years ago for college.”
“Where you from originally?”
“There’s beaches around there.” He scoffed.
I shrugged. Surfing wasn’t something I ever thought about doing. Until now.
“Of course, maybe it’s better you haven’t tried. You’d probably drown.”
Ignoring his jest, I slid the business card in the back pocket of my cutoffs. “Guess I’ll see you tomorrow night.”
“Don’t you want to know what you owe me?”
I braced myself for some wild proposition. “Yeah. What?”
“Come surfing with me.”
That wasn’t what I expected to hear. “Surfing?”
“Didn’t you just say I would probably drown?”
His teeth flashed white in the dark with his quick grin. “You’re not gonna drown. I’ll be with you.”
“What if I take you down with me?”
“You’re not going to go down at all.” He paused. “I got you.”
Inwardly, I groaned. He said the magic words. “Okay, I’ll go.”
“I go every morning. Tomorrow?”
I gaped. “What time?”
“Usually around six.”
“As in a.m.?” I raised an eyebrow.
“I take it you aren’t a morning person?”
“Not at all.”
“You owe me.”
I sighed. “Fine. But I can’t tomorrow. It’s already after three. I’ll drown us both if I only get two hours of sleep.”
“Day after tomorrow…” He tilted his head and flashed a crooked grin.
“Yeah, okay. But I have to work at ten. Will that be long enough?”
He seemed a little surprised. “You have another job?”
I nodded. “Yeah, this is my second job.” I really needed the money.
“What do you do during the day?”
I blushed. “I run the snow cone cart over at Broadway at the Beach. It’s just a summer job.”
“What’s your favorite flavor?”
“Original,” he noted.
“How about you?”
“A classic,” I said as he moved closer, once again taking over my personal space.
“What can I say?” he murmured. “Classics never go out of style.”
The way he stepped closer, staring at my lips, I thought he was going to kiss me again. A tremor of delicious anticipation moved through me as I waited to see if this kiss would be anything like the last.
But he didn’t kiss me.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Harlow.”
My eyes snapped open as he turned and walked back to his car.
I let out a shaky breath. I waited until he backed away before putting my car into drive and pulling out.
It took the entire drive home for my heart rate to return to normal.
I stopped for coffee on the way to work the next morning. Even at nine thirty in the morning, the temperatures were climbing, so I ordered an iced latte to go. Today was going to be ridiculously hot and I was going to swelter. Whatever possessed me to take a job that required me to be outside all day was beyond me. Oh, wait. I did know. It was the same reason I got a job as a stripper. I needed money.
I turned the AC on in my car as high as it would go and enjoyed the icy feeling on the surface of my skin because the minute I stepped outside again, I would do nothing but sweat the entire day.
Oh well. Between the sweating and the dancing, I was going to be in great shape by the end of the summer.
I parked my car and headed into the tiny snow cone headquarters—the little office off the shops where the snow cone carts and supplies were stored. I used my key to unlock the door and go inside to get what I needed for the day.
I worked quickly, stocking the cart with ice and flavorings. I made sure I had cash in the register and enough change to get me started. I tucked the folded umbrella beneath my arm, set my coffee, which was already sweating and turning watery, on top of the cart, and then headed to my spot near the water.
Broadway at the Beach is one of Myrtle Beach’s main tourist attractions. It is sort of like an outdoor mall where people can shop, eat, and have a great time. It sits around a lake of sorts that is home to huge orange koi (that people can feed for a quarter) and ducks and birds of all kinds. People can also rent paddle boats and take captained boat rides.
There’s also a mini golf place where a dragon pokes his head out of his lair every thirty minutes and blows out smoke and puts on a little show for people to watch. It’s cute, but hearing it over and over all day stopped being cute for me a long time ago.
On the far end of Broadway lies Ripley’s Aquarium. It’s one of my favorite places to go. Even when it’s packed with people (which is practically always). I always felt isolated and calm. All the water, the way the fish swam buoyantly through the water was very soothing to me after a very long day in the sun and crowds. Oh, and the massive air-conditioning inside helped too.
There is a wooden bridge on each end of Broadway, both connecting each side of the shops together. And it was on one of the ends of these bridges that I parked my cart.
I did so quickly and put up the umbrella so I could dive beneath it and at least be in the shade. My Snow Cone Heaven T-shirt was already sticking to my skin and I rolled up the sleeves to my shoulders to allow more air to move around me. Then I tied the excess length of the shirt into a knot at my back.
Once the cart was ready, I sat down in my chair in the shade and sipped my coffee, people watching as the crowd began to grow.
I doled out a lot of snow cones that morning because the heat was so brutal. As I hid beneath the umbrella, I heard my cell ring from the back pocket of my white shorts.
I smiled. “Hey, Roxie.” I knew it had to be her because who else would call me Violet?
“You ready for tonight?”
Umm, actually I wasn’t. I was trying not to think about the fact I would be stripping every hour on the hour tonight. “Not really,” I confessed.