The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration.
~ Pearl S. Buck ~

“You see? I told you they were together. I so called that.”

“Shut up, man.”

“Nu-uh, you owe me thirty bucks.”

“I do not owe you thirty bucks! He hasn’t confirmed anything yet.”

I moaned, the annoying voices entering my brain and irritably interrupting my much-needed sleep. I furrowed deeper into the heat surrounding me, sighing in content.

“They slept here, man. Do you think they . . . You know . . . On the lifeguard stand?”

“Ew! That’s disgusting, dude! This is Parker we’re talking about, now.”

I yawned, reluctantly prying my eyes open. My groggy mind slowly started registering things. The two lifeguards from before when I had passed out on the beach were standing below me, with shit-eating grins on their faces. I was snuggled up against something immensely warm and comfortable, and only when I shifted and looked to my side did I realize it was Parker.

Oh, jeez, I thought, registering then I was leaning against his chest and his arm was wrapped around me, a towel covering us both. We had fallen asleep. That’s embarrassing.

Yet, despite my humiliation, I couldn’t bring myself to move.

“Are you guys coming down any time soon?”

I felt Parker’s breathing become uneven as he awoke, and a deep growl rumbled low in his chest. “What the hell do you morons want?”

I smirked. Parker was amusing when he first woke up.

The lifeguard with shaggy blonde hair stared at Parker’s sleeping form. “We would love for our second-in-command to stop screwing a girl and be productive by telling us what to do.”

At this Parker’s eyes snapped open and he leapt off the stand, grabbing the younger boy by the front of his shirt. The lifeguard looked a bit scared. “Don’t you dare talk like that around her,” he spat viciously, and even I grew a little bit wary of his murderous disposition.

“Sorry,” the blonde apologized, clearly wishing the ground would swallow him up and take him away, anywhere but in the line of Parker’s fire. “I thought you said you didn’t have a girlfriend?”

“I don’t,” he mumbled as I jumped off the station, feeling goosebumps cover my flesh since Parker had dragged my towel down with him.

The blonde’s eyes raked my form, and I made a mental note to never wear a bikini ever again. “Is that so?” he murmured, stepping closer. He wrapped an arm around my waist and lowered his mouth to my ear. “In that case, I’m Randy.”

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