There was one last drop of chocolate milkshake in my cup, but no matter how I moved my straw, I just couldn’t reach it. I was pretty certain that the people sitting in the booth next to us were watching me, trying to decide what kind of mental disability I had, but that didn't matter to me. What mattered was that I had just chugged down the best milkshake of my entire life.
“Should we order you another one?” George asked me.
I looked up to see his dark brown eyes sparkling in amusement.
“No, thanks,” I replied, tossing my straw onto the table in defeat.
“I told you the food here was good,” Rachel said, scooping up another bite of baked salmon onto her fork. She shoved the food into her mouth and let out a satisfied moan.
Holden Grill was, as far as I knew, the only real restaurant in Holden. It was a building perched on stilts that stretched out over the beach, high enough from the sand so that people could walk below it. The inside of Holden Grill was painted blues and greens, all beach themed colors, and decorated with wooden chairs and tables painted white.
“So, Waverly, you never told us how long you’ll be in Holden,” Chloe prompted.
“Two months,” I told her.
“You’re here all summer?” George asked, his eyebrows raised and his voice muffled behind the chunk of lobster he was chewing.
“George, honey, don’t speak with your mouth full,” Chloe scolded.
He rolled his eyes, and I laughed.
“Yeah, I’m here all summer,” I nodded at George.
George swallowed the chunk of lobster in his mouth and furrowed his eyebrows in thought. He suddenly turned to Rachel and leaned forward, resting his arms on the table.
“Aren’t you busy with that project down in Marlin Bay? The mural down by the hospital?” he asked her.
“Yup,” Rachel replied with a grin, “I’ll be done with it in August.”
“So what is Waverly going to do all summer?” George asked.
“Well,” I explained, “Aunt Rachel got me a job at this little clothing store.”
“Samantha’s,” Rachel interjected before taking a sip of her ice water.
“Oh! I love Samantha’s!” Chloe gushed, brown eyes sparkling excitedly.
“When does she have work?” George asked quickly, probably hoping to keep the topic of conversation as far away from clothing and accessories as possible.
“Monday through Friday, give or take a day,” Rachel shrugged.
“Blake has the same schedule,” Chloe commented, flipping her platinum blonde hair over her shoulder and reaching forward to stab a scallop with her fork. Chloe ate slowly and gracefully, like a princess. George, on the other hand, ate more like a caveman.
“What does he do?” I asked curiously.
“He’s a lifeguard,” Chloe replied casually.
“Maybe Waverly and Blake could hang out on the weekends,” Rachel suggested.
If I had been drinking water, I would have spit it out.
“W-what?” I stuttered nervously.
Really? Rachel wanted me to hang out with Mr. Angry Eyes?
“Oh, don’t be silly,” Chloe told Rachel, “I’m sure Waverly will make her own friends soon enough. Blake’s girlfriend works at Samantha’s; she’s a nice girl. I’m sure Waverly would rather hang out with her and her friends.”
My hand involuntarily twitched in my lap.
It wasn’t because I was scared to meet these Holden girls. Which I totally was. They all knew each other, and they had inside jokes together. I, on the other hand, was the outsider. And to make matters worse, I was from Vermont. So I was bound to make a maple syrup joke, and no one would get it. But my hand twitched when Chloe had said Blake had a girlfriend, which meant that, for some reason, this bothered me.
So what? Big deal.
The guy had a girlfriend.
Why was my hand twitching?
“Is Blake still with her?” George asked, frowning, “I thought they broke up?”
“Oh no, sweetie. That was last week. They’re back together now,” Chloe informed him.
George still looked confused.
So Blake and his girlfriend were one of those couples. You know, the ones that break up and get back together an average of five times a day. I wasn’t very surprised, to be honest. Blake struck me as the type of guy who couldn’t hold down one girlfriend. He looked pretty athletic, which meant he was probably on some sort of sports team. And since he was on some sort of sports team, he probably had a ton of friends. And since he knew so many people, he was probably very popular. And since he was popular, he had to be a player. It was one of the major rules of the universe; popular boys are players.