Every Girl Does It

  I wait and wait some more before he asks, "What?"

  I then proceed to explain to him my theory until I hear him rumbling with laughter. "So not where I was going with that, but good to know you have that particular insecurity," he answers, still laughing.

  I’m most likely red, why can't I ever stop talking? Why must I even speak. It would have been better for me to be mute.

  "You were saying..." I urge him along.

  "I was saying," he says, taking my cue. "That I love you. I can't imagine not being with you, even if you are bordering on insanity most days."

  "And those are the good days," I interrupt jokingly.

  "Sadly, I know," he says laughing. "But I also want you to know I’d never ask for forever if I didn’t do it the right way first, and since your dad is no longer here, I thought the only way to prove to you that I want to honor him first, was to do this."

  He pulls off my blind fold. Directly in front of me is a sandcastle. I can tell he used buckets because you can still see their indentations on the castle tops, but it's perfect. He's perfect. I start to cry, and he pulls me into his arms.

  "I think he would've liked me," Preston says, smiling, as I continue to cry. I nod my head in agreement, because the words won't come. "Anyway, I want to start a new tradition with you. We build sandcastles together now. Is that okay? I want to be the missing piece. Amanda,, I want you forever."

  I look at him dumbstruck. The guy was basically proposing, and he built me a sandcastle! I know, for some girls it’s a little cheesy, but for me…well, it's perfect. I don't even know how to respond. So in pure Amanda fashion, I tackle him, knocking him over in the process, and kiss him passionately with my wet tears. He answers my kisses with a few of his own before pulling me into a hug.

  "Forever," I say shyly.

  "Maybe," he answers smugly then laughs and tries to grab my hand. I glare at him as he starts to run away. I hold out my foot and see him trip while I suppress the snickering.. Aggravating man.

  Chapter Nineteen

  We walked back to the room hand in hand, me with a ridiculously huge grin on my face, and Preston with a smug grin of his own plastered all over his handsome face. All in all, it felt like a pretty great trip. I mean, we went to prison together, stole some celebrity identities…you know, the typical American vacation.

  I was just getting ready to lean into him and ask for a hug when one of the hotel security guards approached us. “Sir,” he nodded toward Preston. “Ma'am,” he tipped his head toward me. Oh no. This is where we go to federal prison for impersonating celebrities.

  “Do you happen to own a, um, hairless cat?” The man seemed amused by the description, making me want to punch him in the face, how dare he insult my cat!

  “Yes,” I say timidly, not wanting to jump to any conclusions.

  “Well, ma'am, the cat somehow escaped out of your room and is now in one of the nearby coconut trees. We tried to get her down, but none of us know her name. And well, we figured she was yours, since you’re the only guest we have who actually brought a pet from home to the Island. You see, we need to get the cat down, because it’s scaring the guests.”

  “Scaring the guests?” I laugh. “How is that possible?”

  The security guard shifts his feet and looks down while he answers, “Our cats have hair, ma'am.”

  “That’s not even a good excuse!” I seethe, looking to Preston for help, but I don’t know why I rely on him for anything right now. He seems like he’s about to double over in fits of laughter.

  “Fine,” I say loudly. “He’ll get her down.” I point to Preston and smile. “Won't you, sweetie?”

  Preston shoots daggers at me then smiles weakly at the security guard. “Where’d you say the cat was?”

  The security guard points back up to our hut then to the tree next to it. Sure enough, there’s a small spotlight on Mrs. Butterworth. She must be so scared!

  I run over to the tree while simultaneously tugging Preston's shirt. “Can’t you just shimmy up there?” I plead.

  “Shimmy?” He sounds doubtful. “You want me to shimmy up a coconut tree? How do you suggest I do that?”

  I look at him and throw my hands in the air. “You’re a fireman! You’re supposed to be able to shimmy!” I know it’s a lame accusation, but Mrs. Butterworth is suffering.

  “Didn’t know firemen shimmied, lady,” the security guard pipes in. I shot him a searing look. He steps away from me. “Good boy,” I want to say, but instead I look to Preston and start pouting.

  “Try calling her first,” he says obviously annoyed.

  “Fine.” I say. I call her name, but alas, she doesn’t come down. Then I remember the song I made up for her. It’s the only thing she’ll come out of hiding for. But I can’t possibly sing it in front of everyone. Not with Preston here, he’ll recognize the tune.

  I feel my face get hotas Preston eyes me suspiciously, then cup a hand over my mouth “Little kitty, little kitty, you are so pretty, pretty, little kitty, little kitty.” It's definitely working. Mrs. Butterworth is climbing down. “Why are you so pretty, pretty?” I continue, this time louder, until Mrs. Butterworth is securely in my arms.

  “I know that tune,” Preston says.

  “No, you don’t,” I argue and walk away towards our room.

  “Um, yeah, I do.”

  “You don’t!” I'm full on yelling now.

  Preston starts laughing so hard, I promise you he’s going to get a hernia, then falls over. “You made up words to your only choir solo ever? That goes to the tune of your first solo.”

  I want to shoot him. “How do you even know?” I exclaim, stomping my foot.

  “Um, I was there, remember?”

  I cringe at the thought, of course I remember, I remember everything. The crowd, the applause, the turning down of the school nerd. It was painfully vivid, and I did already apologize to him.

  “I don’t want you to apologize to me again. Seriously, it's fine. I was a nerd, I get it.” He’s matching my stride, and suddenly I don’t care about getting back to our room. I just want to hug him and tell him I’m sorry for yelling at him, but I don’t want to show weakness, so instead I let out a huge sigh.

  “You can make it up to me later,” he says without stopping. “Trust me, you will, too.” He winks and walks off, while I stop and analyze every word.

  “Where are you going?” I yell after him.

  He looks back and smirks. “Giving you some alone time with your cat. I’ll see you in the morning, okay?”

  I nod my head and walk to our room. It seems oddly lonely, as if a part of me is missing. Maybe I should marry Preston, and then I wouldn’t have to go back to a lonely room ever again.

  I put Mrs. Butterworth on the floor, and before I know it, fall asleep on the couch. The warm sun woke me. Well, that and the fact that Preston stood over me like a giant, grinning like an idiot.

  “What?” I grumble, angry that my mouth tasted just as gross as I felt after sleeping on the couch.

  “We’re leaving tomorrow,” he says happily.

  I glare at him. “Thank you for the obvious. Now leave, I have to get ready.” I point at the door, but he doesn’t move. “What?” I ask almost afraid to hear the answer.

  “I switched rooms for the night.” His tone sounds serious and low, making my brow furrow all the more.

  “Why would you do that?” I ask. No wonder I felt lonely all night. I was lonely because nobody was here.

  Preston licks his beautiful lips and smiles. “It's just not smart to be in the same room, that’s all. Now stop analyzing me and get ready. We’re spending our last day in paradise together.”

  I realize he brought the dog. I didn’t know what Mrs. Butterworth would do, but knowing her weird attraction to Preston, I could only imagine what would happen with the dog. Wonders never cease, I thought, as she curled up next to him and meowed. I need to find a better guard cat. This is bordering on ridiculous.

me five minutes,” I call out as I run into my bedroom. One look in the mirror tells me it’ll take more than five minutes. “Or twenty,” I yell again before stepping into the shower.

  Is it just me or do I hear him chuckling in the living room?

  I smile and get in the shower, promising myself that today will be different. No more Angelina, no more pretending, no more reading other people’s texts. I feel great as I mentally decide on which outfit to wear for Preston. Who knew he would grow up to be such a fantastic guy? It's my fault for doubting the male species. I think women tend to beleive men stop maturing at the age of sixteen, which in some cases is painfully true.

  I throw on some lip gloss and pull my hair into a tight pony tail. I’m not usually one for shorts, but today seems like a shorts and tank top day. I slide into my jean cut offs, which aren’t too short or too long, and take a glance at the mirror. I’m obviously tanner than when I arrived, which makes my eyes sparkle that much more. Or, I guess it could be love, too. I push the thought out of my mind the second I see my skin begin to turn an ugly red color.

  “Ready!” I yell, pushing open my bedroom doors.

  Preston is sitting on the couch with the dog, and Mrs. Butterworth in his lap as if he’s Dr. Doolittle. I smile and cross my arms. “You ready?”

  He takes in my outfit and scowls.

  “What?” I say backing into the room again.

  “No, you look great.” He looks down. Is he embarrassed? “It’s just that–” He puts his fingers over his mouth giving the appearance that he is trying to keep from talking. “It’s not fair.”

  “What's not fair?” I ask, totally lost; yet still doubting my outfit, because his look is sending me red flags.

  “You look so cute and…well...” He pushes the dog and cat off and takes two long strides toward me.

  “Well, what?” Seriously, I’m dying with anticipation.

  “I’m going to ruin it.”

  “What? Ruin what? What are you talking about?”

  He smiles mischievously, then tightens his grip around my waist and pulls me into his arms. He brushes his lips against my mouth, and I feel like attacking him. Back down, girl, I tell myself as I struggle to keep my hands firmly placed by my sides.

  “We're going to the sand dunes. You're going to get dirty,” he whispers into my ear. It tickles my senses, making me want to agree with whatever he says.

  I laugh weakly. “Oh, I’m sure I’ll be fine. I mean, how dirty could a person get?”

  Chapter Twenty

  How dirty indeed, I say to myself and yet again taste sand in my mouth. Sand is in places I didn’t know sand could access, yet I am having the time of my life watching my soon-to-be husband (I know, I caved), drive like a madman down sandy dunes.

  He looks like a little boy who just discovered a sandbox for the first time. I’ll admit this is fun, minus the sand in every crevice of my body. I get back in my dune buggy and drive as fast as I can in his direction. He laughs as he aims his buggy toward mine then veers off at the last second. Note to self, when you're hot and sweaty, don’t go to the sand dunes. Preston doesn’t even look of American descent anymore.

  Luckily, we packed food and water and decided to lay down on a blanket for a short picnic. I yawned loudly before taking a long swig of the cool liquid. “We should head back,” I say, only my voice sounds slightly cracked from the dry air.

  “Probably,” he says smiling, only he doesn’t seem present. Something must be bothering him.

  “Are you okay?” I ask, trying to play the sweet, understanding girlfriend role. I even lean over and start caressing his hand.

  He pulls it back instantly and looks down. “I have to tell you something.”

  I’m frozen. I can’t breathe; I can’t move. Something’s wrong. My eyes widen as I wait for him to spill it all. Maybe this is a big joke. Maybe he is getting his revenge, maybe—

  “—I’ve always wanted to kiss Princess Leah.”

  Not what I was expecting. I stare at him and am sorely tempted to punch him in the face, but he’s acting serious, so I feel like I need to somehow tell him it’s okay to have weird fantasies.

  “Um, okay, that’s, well, good for you,” I say, patting his hand and looking away. Everything in me screams Laugh. Laugh at him. But I can’t do it, not again. It would feel like the choir concert, only this time it would really hurt him.


  Oh no. He’s talking again.

  “Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to be Luke Skywalker, to have a light saber that glows, you know?”

  Oh my gosh, he has tears in his eyes. He’s getting teary-eyed over Star Wars. I knew this was too good to be true. He’s still a nerd. Only this time, I love him. God, if you’re listening, you're cruel. This is a mean joke. I may deserve it, but I don’t like it.

  He’s now full on sobbing. Or at least it looks like it, because his head is moving and his hands are covering his face.

  “There, there,” I whisper as I pat his back with the only ounce of sympathy I can muster. “It’ll be okay.”

  “No, it won’t!” He yells through sobs. “I won’t ever get a chance to be Luke Skywalker, and I didn’t even know my father!” He’s full on yelling. “Curse you, George Lucas!” His fist to the sky.

  My eyes are so wide right now that I swear people can see the whites of them from the mainland. My mouth is also hanging open in a frightfully unattractive way, and I’m stunned into silence. Just as I was about to say, “You’re crazy,” he turns to me.

  “That...” he says with his voice back to normal, “was for turning me down for prom.” He puts his hands behind his head and leans back onto the blanket. “Revenge is sooooo sweet.”

  I’m staggered to mere speechlessness. I can’t say anything. Nothing could make this moment of his revenge any sweeter, I already fell for it. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. I thought he was being serious, that he had snapped. No, instead he was playing me for an absolute fool. And to that there's only one way to respond.

  I take out my water bottle and pour it over his head before making a run for it back to my buggy. I feel him hot on my heels and leap towards the buggy before he tackles me into the sand.

  “I can’t believe you actually fell for that,” he said, breathless.

  I struggle to get free from his grasp, then give up, feeling the sand is, yet again, in places it shouldn’t be. “How was I supposed to know?” I yell. “Get off of me!” I'm laughing, but it's an angry I’m-going-to-get-you-back laugh.

  “I hate that you honestly think I’m that obsessed with Star Wars.” He looks absolutely astonished at my behavior.

  I stick my tongue out and grimace as his sandy hands grasp it. “I’m not letting go unless you make me a promise.”

  I shake my head no, but whimper as his grip tightens.

  “Promise you’ll say yes.”

  My eyes are now watering, so what choice do I have? I nod my head yes and bite him when he releases my hand.

  Luckily, down where we had parked our rental car, there were showers, so we were able to get at least a pound of sand out of our clothes and other unmentionable places.

  I was the first back to the car and squashed down into the seat. Preston soon followed but decided against full clothing. His abs were in full view of my face, making me suddenly feel light headed in the heat.

  “Shouldn’t you put on clothes or something?” My shaky voice betrays me yet again as he notices the emotion that runs thick in my vocal strain. I feel defenseless against his physical beauty. It’s not rational, but then again, nobody’s ever tagged me as being a rational person.

  He puts on his aviator sunglasses, making my heart leap that much more and smiles. “I want to get a good tan.”

  Never mind that we aren’t in a convertible. He just likes making people suffer. It’s working, I say to myself as I buckle my seatbelt.

  Chapter Twenty-one

  The rest of the day was a blur, before
I knew it we were flying back to the mainland. We were greeted by a smiling Kristin and Brad. Apparently, the kids were fine and asked them for presents the second they got to the hospital.

  "Guess what?" Kristin says practically flying out of the car. I suddenly remember how much I miss her energy when she isn’t around.

  "What?" Preston asks trying to act just as excited. Gotta love a guy who plays along even when he knows it’ll be a huge let down.

  "I just heard that Brad and Angelina are visiting Boise this week! Isn't that amazing?" She looks at both of us not understanding the expression on my face at all.

  "Oh wow, you don't say?" I make eye contact with Preston, but he just smiles back as if to say, “Ha, Ha. Joke's on you”.

  "Anyway, I just thought it was cool. You guys ready?" Kristin asks, grabbing one of our bags.

  We follow her for a few minutes before I turn to Preston and ask, "What’s the plan?"

  He winks and smiles, "Oh, just a quiet dinner downtown. Nothing huge."

  I nod my head.

  "Oh," he interjects quickly. "And your Angelina dress for the evening is already picked out. I went for black again. Hope you don't mind."

  I rolled my eyes and smiled. "Challenge accepted," I find myself saying as I grab his hand and head for the car.


  “Get back here!” Preston yells loudly into my ear.

  I’m now deaf, I think cheerfully to myself. He’s trying to catch Ashlyn as she runs around the firehouse for the tenth time. Unfortunately, she has the engagement ring tucked away in a box on her.

  Preston thought it would be romantic to propose for real rather than constantly telling me I was going to marry him. Plus, I did threaten him within an inch of his life that if he didn’t do a real proposal, I would find the tape of our high school choir performance where he tried to ask me out for the first time.

  Needless to say, this is why I’m waiting patiently at the fire house for Preston to chase around his dog. The same dog I mistook for his wife. Sometimes when I think about the whole fiasco, I contemplate medicine for insanity. I mean what was I thinking? I got all of that from a few text messages.

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