After Jordyn showed Alice all her favorite shopping places in San Diego, they hopped in the Malibu and got on the freeway headed to Moon Bay Beach.
It had been entirely too long since she’d seen the Welcome sign to Moon Bay Beach.
Alice stared longingly out the window as they travelled down the main strip of Moon Bay Beach, a wide street that ran parallel to the ocean. They could see glimpses of the beach between the houses as they drove.
Nearly there, Jordyn thought excitedly. Her board shorts and bikini were in the backseat, and her surfboard was at Shay’s where she left it. She couldn’t wait to get in the water.
“I can see your reluctance to moving to Pennsylvania, now,” said Alice. “I can’t believe you actually used to live here.”
Jordyn didn’t reply, but she was starting to feel the same way. It was strange how foreign her home seemed to her now. She’d gotten so used to the trees, the country roads and the lack of coastal life in Pennsylvania, in only two short months. She didn’t live here anymore, and oddly enough, it felt almost as if she didn’t belong anymore. That thought was pretty heartbreaking.
“What’s first?” Alice asked, not bothering to turn from the window where she was still snapping pictures at everything she saw.
“We’re going to my friend, Shay’s house to get my surfboards, then we’re going down to the beach,” said Jordyn said as she spotted a familiar street. “But first, I want you to see something.”
She clicked the signal on and turned onto a side street, ending in a cul-de-sac, right in front of her old house.
“Where are we?” Alice asked, unhooking her seatbelt as Jordyn parked by the curb. She followed Jordyn in getting out of the car.
Jordyn yanked her sunglasses off, and walked toward the mailbox, to the For Sale sign sitting in the front yard. She walked over, placing her hand on the sign. “This is my house.”
Alice’s eyes widened. “Wow. This is where you lived? The beach is right in your backyard!”
Jordyn smiled. “Yeah, it is.” She couldn’t help but feel emotional looking up at her empty house.
“Wow. I can understand how this place was hard to leave.”
Jordyn looked down and sighed. A big ‘Sold’ was blazoned over the For Sale sign. “Someone bought it.”
Alice gave a crooked, sympathetic smile. “Well, hey. If it makes a difference, I’m really glad you moved to Cedarwood. It was boring there before you.”
Jordyn had to laugh. “It’s still boring. What are you talking about?”
“Excuse me, Miss Cole Anderson, but how could you be bored?”
Jordyn shrugged with a sheepish grin. “I guess I’m not that bored anymore.”
And suddenly, a shrill, high-pitched scream erupted through the neighborhood. Jordyn turned to see none other than Shay Shapiro running full speed down the sidewalk.
“Jordyn!” she screamed again.
“Shay!” Jordyn shouted back. She didn’t care that the neighborhood was probably all looking out their windows right about now to see what all this fuss was. It had been two months since she’d seen her best friend outside of their Skype sessions and she was excited.
They met each other with a tight hug.
“Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you’re home!” Shay said.
“Me, neither,” Jordyn said. “How’d you know I was out here?”
“I didn’t. You said you were on your way to my house, then I look out the window and there you are!”
Jordyn furrowed her eyebrows. “Who’s window are looking out?”
Shay didn’t live in this neighborhood. She lived two streets over. Seeing Jordyn and Alice from there was impossible.
“Oh, uhm—” Shay didn’t answer, just pointed to another house on the cul-de-sac.
Jordyn raised her eyebrows. She was pointing at Holly Daniels’ house. “Shannon.”
“She’s really not that awful,” Shay said. “She’s nice when you get to know her. And hey, don’t judge me. You left me!”
Jordyn sighed. “You’re right.” Then she hugged her friend again. Letting go, she realized Alice was still standing awkwardly behind her. “Oh! Shay, this is my new friend, Alice. From Cedarwood. Alice, this is Shannon Shapiro, but we call her Shay. She’d my very best friend since were eight.”
“Nice to meet you,” Alice said sweetly.
“Same,” Shay replied. Jordyn noted a hint of jealousy as Shay’s gaze lingered a little longer on Alice. But she couldn’t be mad. She had taken to hanging with Holly Daniels after all. “So, uhm. Four days, huh?”
Jordyn nodded. “Yeah, we leave first thing Monday morning.”
Shay sighed, nodding, then a smile spread across her face. “Well, then, we better make the best of every second we have together. What’s first?”
“Alice, I promise. These are the best burgers you’re going to eat in your life! They don’t make them like this in Pennsylvania.”
Jordyn laughed as she squirted ketchup on her burger. At least Shay had warmed up to Alice.
The three of them had spent the day on the beach, Jordyn catching her long-overdue waves, and both she and Shay trying, unsuccessfully, to teach Alice how to surf, and now they were taking a break for some lunch at Surf N’ Turf.
Even though she was missing Cole, Jordyn could easily peg this for an amazing day. Reunited with her best friend, her closest Cedarwood friend in tow. Not to mention she was home.
Alice took a bite of the famous Surf N’ Turf burger, her eyebrows raising. “Oh my gosh. This is amazing. Jordyn, can we take this place back to Cedarwood?”
Jordyn laughed. “Sorry. It doesn’t franchise.”
“Mm, this is so good!” Alice said.
“Enough about burgers,” Shay said, pushing her plate to the side. “I’ve been hearing an awful lot about this Cole guy. But not enough. So spill.”
Jordyn sighed. “He’s great.”
Shay rolled her eyes. “Yeah, that’s definitely not enough. How long have you guys been a thing?”
“Since the middle of September,” Jordyn said.
Shay grinned. “So. Have you, you know. Consummated the relationship? I hope not. Not because I don’t want you doing that sort of thing, because I’d be proud. But I’d also be pissed if you finally swiped your V-card and I didn’t hear about it.”
“Well, I wanted to tell you in person, not on the phone.”
Shay gasped. “Holy shit. You did! You swiped it, you dirty tramp! When?!”
“Homecoming,” Jordyn said. “He took me to his uncle’s cabin in the mountains. It was amazing.”
“Homecoming?” Shay asked. “That’s not a cliché at all.”
“Cedarwood is a cliché,” Jordyn said. Then looked at Alice. “No offense.”
Alice was so engulfed in her burger, she wasn’t even paying attention to the conversation. “Huh? Oh, no. None taken.”
Jordyn smiled, then glancing passed her friend, she saw another familiar face. Apparently Ryan still worked here at Surf N’ Turf.
Looking at him now, thinking about what she had waiting for her in Cedarwood, she wondered what it was about him that turned her on to start with. Tall and lanky, he didn’t have a muscle anywhere. He wore his hat cocked to the side in that pimp way over his shaggy surfer hair, an oversized diamond stud in his left ear, and his board shorts slightly saggy. How did she find this player look attractive before? Cole in his fitted jeans, his boots; all that was far sexier than Ryan. And she was reminded of that every time Ryan bent over to flirt with hot, bikini-clad customer.
“How was it?”
Jordyn’s attention was pulled back to Shay. “Huh?”
“The ‘event.’ How was it?”
“Better after the third time,” Jordyn said with a smirk.
Shay squealed. “Oh my gosh!”
Jordyn laughed, looking up. “So, what’s with him? Who’s his latest?”
Shay turned around, glancing at Ryan, and shrugged. “I don’t know. He’s been single. He flirts with everyone. Rumor has it he slept with Miranda Mott, and he and Holly were hooking up for a while. Basketball starts next month, so you know someone will be on his arm.”
Jordyn nodded. “I can’t believe for a while I wanted it to be me.”
Alice turned up her nose. “You like that guy?”
Jordyn nodded. “Yep. Ryan. He’s the hottie at my old school.”
“Wow. You sure moved up in the world, didn’t you?”
Shay raised her eyebrows. “So, then what’s your Cole look like, Jordyn?”
“Pretty much every girl at Cedarwood High is jealous of her because of him,” Alice explained.
Jordyn pulled her phone out and showed Shay her wallpaper. It was of her and Cole at homecoming, just after crowning him king.
“He’s a hottie!” Shay practically exploded. “Ooh. And I love your dress.”
“I did, too,” Jordyn said, putting her phone back in her pocket.
Shay raised her eyebrows in question so Jordyn explained.
When she was done, Shay shook her head. “I would have laid her out.”
“You would have waited until she was gone and then started yelling out all the things you should have said when she was standing there,” Jordyn said, citing her friend like a book.
Alice looked between the two of them, smiling. “I’m the same way. Don’t feel bad, Shannon.”
“Hey,” Shay said, her index finger pointing. “It’s Shay. If you’re Jordyn’s friend, you’re my friend.”
Jordyn grinned, dipping a fry in ketchup. Her trip really couldn’t go any better.
“Oh my gosh! Jordyn is that you?”
Jordyn closed her eyes and sighed at the voice. Like nails on a chalkboard.
She looked at Shay, who gave a tight smile, then she turned around with the fakest smile she could manage, and faced none other than Holly Daniels.
Well, at least now she knew it couldn’t go much worse.