A tall, lanky boy, practically a man, meandered across the street. From behind dark sunglasses, the bathing beauty honed in on his unique swagger. She fought the urge to smirk when, in his usual thoughtless habit, he lifted the faded ball cap that perched on his head to swipe his dark colored hair away from his brow. A smile teased the corner of his lips sending her heart into spasms.
Her long, lean legs bounced anxiously, as they always did, against the peeling white paint of the rickety porch swing. Her long brown hair fluttered softly in the gentle breeze. She rocked back and forth, her feet planted on the wood slats of the stoop.
Alexis York’s eyes focused on the lean figure shadowed over her. She pushed her sunglasses down her nose and glared up at him. The sunlight shined around his body, making him look as if he were on fire.
Fitting, she thought, he’s practically a heavenly being after all.
“Yeah, I am. And you’re a great sunblock. So, get your scrawny ass out of my sunlight.”
Ryan Fisher gasped in mock offense. He turned to look at his backside, much like a cat would when chasing its own tail. “How dare you call this fine ass scrawny? I’ll have you know, I work impeccably hard to keep this ass in shape.”
She impatiently waved him away. “I hardly call sitting in front of the T.V. playing video games hard work. Now move it.”
Ryan and Alexis were the best of friends. They had basically known each other since birth. Their parents lived across the street from each other for as long as they could both remember. But things change. Life has a way of transforming and ripping people apart, and now, after sixteen years of watching the boy next door, she would be alone.
Only two years earlier she was happy, carefree, with the world at her feet. Now, she watched as movers carried boxes out of the only home she’d ever known, preparing her and her mother to move to a huge city, hundreds of miles away from everything that mattered to her, including Ryan.
Ryan laughed as he plopped down beside her. “Man, you’re grouchy when you don’t get your way.”
Alexis slightly turned her head to see the handsome young man gazing back at her. She loved and hated the smile he had on his face. It burned a hole into her memory, leaving an ache in her soul. She longed to tell her best friend that she harbored feelings for him, that she loved him beyond their cherished friendship, but she couldn’t bring herself to utter the words.
Things were different now. She was moving to New York. He was staying in Edenton. Even if she thought there was a chance he felt the same for her, which she knew he didn’t, she couldn’t bring herself to tell him. It was too late.
“I’m sleep deprived. Someone was throwing rocks at my window at two in the morning. Can you believe some psycho wanted me to get out of my warm, comfy bed to watch a moon turn red?”
Alexis stretched her legs to their full length. She linked her fingers behind her neck and cut her eyes at Ryan. Heat flooded his cheeks, turning them almost as red as that damned moon she sat on the roof of her house to look at with him hours earlier.
Ryan shrugged a shoulder. Alexis could hear him swallow and she reveled the way he squirmed under her scrutinous stare. “You didn’t have to watch with me.”
She reached out and smacked his knee. “You know better. Besides, it’s probably the last time we’ll ever get to do that.” Sorrow filled her tone.
Ryan lifted his sea green eyes, his bushy black brows pulled together. “Lex─”
A large man, carrying a television out of the house passed by, right as Alexis kicked her foot out toward Ryan, stopping him from saying anything that might break her heart. She and Ryan had already promised no goodbyes, and she could see the words forming behind those magnificent eyes.
“Ow!” Ryan reached down and rubbed his ankle. “What was that for?”
Alexis nodded toward the sweaty man, removing her belongings from her house. “That was my nice way of saying, ‘Shut your pie hole, Fisher!’ I don’t need someone tattling to my mom about us sneaking out of the house this morning. Geez!”
“You didn’t have to kick me!” he mewled.
“Oh, suck it up.”