Every Girl Does It

  I begin searching the table of contents frantically until I hear laughing next to me. “You're kidding, aren’t you?” I say in a panicked voice.

  “Oh yeah.” He peeks around the magazine. “You should have seen your face though. Priceless.”

  I roll my eyes and try to hide my smile as I look through the magazine.

  “Is that a smile I see on that pretty face?” he says, leaning in.

  Why is he torturing me?

  “No,” I fight to hide my smile and turn away from his tempting face

  “Oh good. I wouldn’t want you being happy or anything.” He pats my leg and then looks at his watch. “Time to go to the gate.”

  I follow him numbly. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for. This is where I finally see who this mystery woman is. This is….wait a second…

  “Hey, Bobby! Over here!”

  I look to see who Preston is talking to and see a kid–well, okay, he's probably around nineteen, a young —approaching us with some sort of crate. “Hey, brother. Long time no see.” They do some sort of ritualistic high five before looking at me.

  “Amanda, I’d like you to meet Bobby, or BJ for short.”

  BJ holds out his hand, and I take it. This isn’t the Bobby from my past. This is an entirely different person, and that means the text messages could have been from this Bobby.” I immediately feel sick again.

  BJ looks back to Preston. “Sorry, dude, when you called to talk to Ashlyn, I was in the process of getting patted down by some foreign guy in the airport. Get this; he made me take off my shirt? Who does that?”

  “Ah, so you’ve met Jorge,” I interrupt.

  “Yeah! That was his name. Hey, how’d you know?” BJ asks.

  “Oh, lucky guess.” I shrug.

  Preston looks at me and smiles, then says, “Amanda, meet Ashlyn.” He opens up the crate and pulls out the tiniest, and honestly, the cutest little lab I’ve ever seen in my entire life. She’s chocolate with deep brown eyes. I nearly squeal from joy at the size of this little thing's paw—wait.

  “Ashlyn?” I swallow hard.

  “Ashlyn,” he repeats positively pleased with himself.

  “Ashlyn, as in, Ashlyn is a dog?” I gasp. “As in, your ex-wife is a dog?” I ask, confused and half hoping it’s true. Then I won’t look stupid.

  “No. Ashlyn, as in, Ashlyn the firehouse dog I’ve been taking care of the past few months,” he says, lifting an eyebrow.

  “But I thought your wife was named Ashlyn!” I blurt, because I’m panicking.

  “Where would you get that idea?”

  “Yeah,” BJ interrupt. “Her name is Sara, and she doesn’t even live around here anymore. Seriously, dude, if she was still dating Bobby, I’d bring physical harm to that dude. Ugh. They deserve each other.”

  I’m listening to the conversation, but at the same time, I feel rather faint. This means the texts from Bobby were really from BJ, and Ashlyn was the puppy, and…oh wait, this also means the bet had to do with something else entirely.

  “You bet you’d marry me so you could get a dog?” I shriek as my fists tighten.

  “Um, no,” BJ interrupts again. “Actually, he bet he could marry you, so he could give you the dog as a present. Because, apparently, he thinks your cat, Mrs. Butterworth, is it?”

  I nod.

  “Yeah, your cat is like clinically depressed or something, because it has no hair. Which, if you ask me, is just weird. Anyway Preston here has been my mentor at the firehouse, and he gets annoyed with how many times I call him and make mistakes with the dog and with…other things. So, I told him that if he could get a girl as hot as you, I’d not only transfer to a different firehouse, but let him keep the dog. And well, he won. Because look at you. You look like you’re crazy in love, or maybe just crazy. I can’t tell. I blame my inability to commit.”

  He finishes his little rant, and I take a seat at the gate. Oh. My. Gosh.

  I’m going to kill Preston. I’m going to tell Mrs. Butterworth and Ashlyn to scratch his eyes out and feed them to the turtles in the pond by our hotel. I can't help but smile evilly as I fantasize about my revenge and look toward Preston, whose starting to look a little worried.

  “Don’t.” He holds up his finger, and then he takes off running.

  I jump up and chase him around the airport screaming, “I’m going to kill you!”

  I notice that he starts to sprint. Smart man. I mean, I’m fast and he knows it. I try to catch up to him but have to stop suddenly when he jerks someone else's luggage between us to hinder my progress.

  “Now, Amanda,” he says, holding his hands out in front of him. “Let’s try and be reasonable. You never gave me a chance to explain. You just ran your mouth over and over again about what you thought was going on and never once asked me about it.” His hands were still out in front of him. I gave him a polite smile before grabbing my purse and smacking him over the head with it.

  “Um, guys,” BJ says, catching up to us. "Sorry to interrupt this bonding moment, but I gotta get on the next flight."

  “Wait,” I say, turning to him. “What do you mean, you’re getting on the next flight?”

  “Well,” he says, handing the crate over to Preston. “My parents own some property in Kona. And since they wouldn’t let the dog travel alone, it was either go visit them or fly directly back to Boise, so...” He shakes my hand forcefully. “It was a pleasure meeting you, and I’m sure I’ll see a lot more of you now that you and Preston are getting married.”

  I hear Preston snicker behind me before I give him another warning lunge with my bag. He backs off slowly and walks around to give BJ a high five.

  “Thanks, man. I owe you one.” Preston winks.

  “Actually,” BJ says. “It was totally worth it, seeing her chase you with her purse like that. Just wait until I tell the guys. We’ll see ya!” He waves and walks off, while I turn to glare at Preston again.

  “Anything you wanna ask me,” he says, and then it hits me. All the shrimp, the throwing up, the talking incessantly about how hot he is to his face, the blaming, the embarrassment... I look at him and my eyes widen in astonishment over all of the things I’ve said in his presence over the past day.

  “Oh, so it’s hitting you, is it?” He grabs my arm.

  “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I lie through my teeth.

  “Well, let me refresh your memory. My hotness, my awesomeness, you saying you’re not attracted to me anymore, the shrimp incident…Need I go on?” He’s beaming, and I’m ready to throw up again. That is, if I had anything in my stomach besides 7up.

  Suddenly, I feel two hands grab my arms and a low voice say, “Come with us, please, ma'am.”

  I mean, honestly, I don’t even look like Angelina right now. Oh my gosh. This is how my life is going to end. I’m going to get kidnapped in Maui!

  Preston’s face pales slightly as a man in a police uniform asks him the same. We’re escorted to the side of the building to a door which reads Security Office. You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding.

  “Ma'am,” the man in the uniform asks me. “Do you realize it’s a federal offense to make death threats in an international airport?” I look up at him and lock eyes on his nametag. Jorge. Seriously, what are the odds? And come on, it's not like I said bomb. I then proceed to explain just that to Jorge, who looks at me like I just confessed to having a bomb.

  Chapter Eighteen

  So, word to the wise, never say bomb. Ever. Not even as a slang word, because apparently, it's like a free ticket to jail. Which I found out the hard way, since I’m currently sitting behind the bars of a Maui airport holding cell, looking out and wondering if I’ll ever, in fact, see freedom. I mean, seriously. They didn’t go over what you could and couldn’t say on the stupid safety video on the plane. Oh sure, they tell you what to do if the plane crashes. Gee, thanks. But if the plane does, by some miracle, manage to stay in the air, you better be careful to say only kind words to other people, or else

  The office door opens, and I hear footsteps coming down the hall toward my cell. I strain against the bars in an effort to see who it is, until Preston appears with the smuggest of all smug grins on his face. Naturally, he didn’t get arrested. He was the one being threatened, and he had the foresight not to say bomb like I did. I mean, he’s not a complete idiot. Which I’m just now realizing as I see he hasn’t come to laugh at me, but to free me from my prison.

  He shakes his head and stuffs his hands in his pockets as he walks up to the bars and chuckles. “How you get yourself in situations like this, I’ll never understand.”

  “Wow. Stating the obvious. You shouldn’t have.”

  “Ha ha! I love it when you get so sentimental. It warms my heart.”

  “I’ll warm your heart,” I sneer.

  “I’m counting on it.”

  Okay, and now I’m blushing and looking away. Why is he torturing me?

  “You know,” he says. “It’s only fair I keep you in here a little bit longer after all the hitting and threatening. Plus, you aren’t so good at listening when you’re busy chasing me.”

  The man had a point, not that I was admitting anything in my current position.

  “So, I’ve decided on a compromise.”

  “How kind of you, good sir,” I say in my British accent that sounds more like Australian.

  “Give me five minutes, and then I’ll free you. You can either get on a plane and never see me again, or…If you like what you hear, you can stay a few more days with me before we go back to Boise.”

  It didn’t sound too bad. I mean, I can listen for five minutes if it indicates freedom. All I truly want to do is break through these metal bars superman style, but I’m pretty sure any effort to escape is frowned upon in these cases. So I'll resign myself to the only choice I actually have.

  “Deal.” I sit by the nearest wall and cross my legs. The metal bench might have been a good way to escape, minus the fact it’s literally chained to the wall.

  “Good,” he says, then he starts to pace in front of my cell. Wow. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d hear come out of my own mouth. Awesome.

  “Clock's ticking, buddy,” I say impatiently. Immediately I realize the irony and hope he didn't catch it. No such luck.

  “Oh, pardon me. Do you have somewhere you need to be?” he asks, mocking me.

  “Fine, sorry,” I mutter.

  “Even though you’ve insulted me gravely, tried to maim and sometimes kill me, I find that I’ve fallen for you.” He looks up to meet my eyes with an intense gaze of his own, which sends my heart fluttering like it did during our first kiss. “You’re aggravating, insulting, brave, hilarious, menacing, and well, a little insane.”

  “Point taken.”

  “But,” he says holding up his finger. “You’re adventurous, loving, outgoing, caring, and hilarious. I mean, you’re in jail and all, because you threatened to kill me for lying to you. Talk about keeping a guy accountable. I think about the adventures we’ve had over the past four days, and I can’t imagine having a normal day ever again as long as I know you.”

  I’m trying to decide if he’s insulting me or complimenting me. Either way, the fluttering is back, and all I want to do is kiss him. I want to kiss him because nobody has ever made me so angry and so happy all at once. The feelings are intoxicating, choking out any previous desire to maim him.

  “So…” He looks so adorable and innocent. “Angelina,” he laughs. “What do you think?”

  Darn, I thought for sure he was going to propose. But then again, it would be awkward telling all my church friends my future husband and I got engaged in a Maui prison. Then again those who know me well would just be like, “Oh right, okay. That makes sense.”

  “I think…I want to stay,” I find myself saying, and I actually mean it. I want to stay and I want to be with him forever. Only he already knows I’m in love with him on account of my incessant blabbing earlier this week when I thought he was leaving me. Perfect. How romantic of me.

  "Great!" he says, clapping his hands together. "I was hoping you'd say that."

  Oh my gosh. He loves me so much. I could tell by the way he was hoping I’d stay. I mean, come on—

  "It would have been super expensive to reschedule our plane tickets for today," he says, interrupting my thoughts.

  "Wow, you’re the epitome of romance," I snarl at him, not realizing I have no room to talk, considering I somehow got myself arrested. But let’s review, it really wasn't my fault. Just saying.

  "Amanda, you’re going to have to improve your attitude if you want me to spring you from this place," he teases, motioning for the officer to unlock the doors.

  "Oh, um, I'm sorry, are you threatening me?" I ask, smiling innocently on the outside but sweating on the inside. You know, if that was like...possible.

  "Pretty sure if I threaten you, I’ll somehow offend you again, leaving you no choice but to take it further. Because, let’s face it, that’s just what you do. And somehow I feel we would, yet again, find ourselves in a prison, or getting kicked off a plane, or out of the country," he says, looking up as if that was inevitable if he chooses a life with me.

  "Yeah, I get it," I snap, cutting him off and sticking my tongue out at him again.

  The guard shakes his head, then opens the gate. "I'm free, I'm free!" I yell throwing my hands into the air. The problem with flailing like that is I wasn't totally aware of the close proximity of the guard. So, naturally, I knocked him square in the face. His nose only bled for like five seconds, but it’s enough for Preston to shoot me a pensive if-you-get-yourself-thrown-back into-jail-I’m-not-getting-you-out glare. I apologize several times before Preston has to physically lift me off the floor and carry me out. Again, so romantic. I punch him while he’s carrying me, but it’s no use. The man is solid, and I’m a pesky little girl fighting her way through pounds of muscle.

  "Oh, wow, did you tucker out already?" He teases as he puts me down on my feet.

  "I'm not a child," I say loudly enough for a little boy and his mom to stare, then walk away fast. The mother also had her hands over the kid’s eyes. Please, like I’m more indecent than TV.

  I lift my hand in protest, getting ready to argue my point to the hovering mother, when Preston puts his hand over my mouth.


  "But," I argue.


  "But," I say again. I mean, come on, at least let me explain myself.

  Instead, he gives me one of Kristin’s famous glares. I roll my eyes and grab his hand. "Where are we off to? The hotel? The beach? Food? OOOO let’s get food!" I yell rather loudly. Apparently being locked up in a prison makes you want to yell. I wonder if this is how people feel when they spend the night in jail, like their whole lives have a renwed purpose. Well, actually, I don’t have any new visions of the future. I just find prison makes my stomach feel empty.

  Preston, still staring at me, smiles widely before answering, "I think it's best we go to the hotel to get you cleaned up, and possibly have a late, late, late dinner, considering it’s around nine already."

  "Oh, wow. It is late. Weird. I thought I’d been in there a whole day," I say dramatically shaking my head.

  "Please, Amanda. It was like ten minutes, and it was only that long because I had to explain to them exactly why you were making death threats toward me."

  I nodded my head in understanding, but couldn't hold back the laughter.

  "Most interesting vacation ever?" I ask meeting his green eyes in amusement.

  "Definitely," he says, stopping in the middle of the street.

  "What are you doing?" I ask.

  "Kissing you."

  Before I know it, he’s pushing my hair behind my ear and leaning down to my lips. I close my eyes just as he gently touches them with his own, then wrap my hands around his neck. I’m just getting used to the way it feels when he pushes me away and continues walking. A sinking feeling develops in the pit of my stomac
h. I can’t help it. I mean, most of the kisses we’ve shared had been in anger, frustration, or just plain passion. This was a good kiss, but it was our first honest kiss, and I feel like I somehow messed it up. We hold hands all the way back to the hut. I watch him pour me some POG juice and take a giant sip before slipping into my room to freshen up. I come back from the bathroom and notice a note on my bed. Meet me here. It was the beach; he wanted me to meet him at the beach?

  I start sweating as I realize what this could mean. He's either leaving me, proposing, or playing a trick on me? Which one is it? I quickly get ready then run down to the beach, forgetting my room card in the process. I skip down to where he’s pointing and am stopped by Preston himself. He smiles and blindfolds me, then carries me—yes, carries me to the sand, and puts me on a blanket. Let’s face it, he’s romantic. I’m smiling so big, if there were bugs in the air, they’d be stuck in my teeth. I mean, I’m elated. I wait for him to take off my blindfold, but instead of taking it off, he leans in close. I can tell because I feel his breath on my face. My heart suddenly starts fluttering, as I feel his lips touch mine. Wait, how is this fair? I’m blindfolded. Well, actually it does kind of make sense. I mean, people close their eyes when they kiss. Then a thought hits me. What if I’m the freaky girl who opens her eyes when she kisses, and he can't stand it, so he had to blindfold me! Oh my gosh, that’s why! I immediately panic, making my kissing worse, considering I can't catch my breath. Only he takes it as an invitation to kiss me harder, making me more nervous, and well, that’s when I make some sort of whimpering noise as if he’s biting me. He stops and laughs, then begins talking.

  "I love you... so much. I want to be the one." He stops talking then takes my hands in his. His hands feel a little clammy like he’s nervous. My stomach does somersaults while I wait for him to say more. "But–” He just said but. This is it. Is he already breaking up with me? I can’t be that bad. I can change.

  "I won’t open my eyes anymore," I blurt out before thinking, and then silence.

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