Ticked Off

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"Oh, okay. Yes that's me." Holy shit who was this woman? She was absolutely perfect. The kind of girl that I'd normally be lovely too but deep down in my soul I'd hate on her for being everything that I wasn't. "Sorry to be pedantic but, ummm, that's kind of changed..."

She looked blankly at me for a moment before a look of remorse crossed her face, "Sorry. Of course. It's Stephing Out now right?" I offered her a grim nod and she turned back to Bro-hug Guy with a look of triumph and slapped him on his impressively muscled chest.

"Didn't I tell you Matt? I told you she was here in Huntington Beach! But no you wouldn't believe me." My god had perfect girl gone insane? Was she stalking me?

There was a mild flutter of panic in my belly until I remembered that I'd hit the beach early with Cathy and posted a few shots of the pier and some surfers.

"Jesus Val, calm down. Yes you told me that you thought she was here but fuck, I thought those Instagrammers you like just randomly threw up pictures whenever. Half the time I think they steal them." Matt replied rubbing his temple. He was no longer a sweetheart as far as I was concerned.

"Hey mate! I've never stolen a fucking photo in my life!" I didn't care if he was cute as a giant sized button, no way was he going to stand there and insult my work! Well okay, technically he could, but I didn't have to lie down and take it. I scowled at him.

Brian rubbed my arm and murmured in my ear, "Calm your jets Ace."

"Matthew!" Ho boy Bro-hug Guy, that was not the tone of voice you wanted to hear from your woman, "Apologise now! She's in half the photo's she posts. Of course they're not stolen!" Val reached out and pinched his nipple. Shit! That had to sting! I considered pointing out to her that I appeared in considerably less than half the photos I posted but the vulnerability of my own nipples made me decide against it.

Brian was shaking with laughter beside me although I noticed that the way he had crossed his arm across his chest to scratch his shoulder was a poorly disguised attempt to protect his assets. The other guys and girls present not in easy proximity to Val and her claws of death were hooting with laughter.

Matt cast Val a sideways glance and then turned his attention to me saying, "Sorry uh, Steph?" Those dimples and those perfect teeth! He was adorable in a Dennis the Menace kind of way, I didn't know whether to hug him or slap him.

Val beamed approvingly at him.

"It's all good," it would be churlish of me not to accept his apology.

"Matt!" Brian exclaimed with a long suffering look. "It's Tick! King's sister!" God I really wanted to kick him.

"Actually," I smiled clenching my teeth, "I prefer Steph."

"You're Tick?" Bloody bollocking Brian for starting on the whole Tick thing.

"Really, I prefer Steph." I glared at Brian who just smirked back at me. The bastard was loving it.

Matt burst into laughter and doubled over clutching his sides. Jeez, I didn't think my brother's nickname for me was that funny, especially if you didn't know how he came up with it. When Matt managed to get a hold of himself he straightened up and looked at the others who were kind of smiling along with him but looking confused about exactly why they were smiling.

"Shit Zacky, Johnny. Don't you remember Tick? She'd the one who told Brian that she didn't make out with guys who wore more make-up than she did. Holy shit his face! He thought he was such a fucking sex god!" Tears of laughter rolled down his face. "Fuck and then she spent the night calling King Maybelline. That was a fucking hilarious night." Brian's smirk turned into a grimace. Matt pulled me into a hug. "I'm so sorry about your brother Steph," he murmured softly into my ear, and I reconsidered my reconsidering of the sweetheart thing.

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