Absinthe Of The Heart (Sins Of The Heart #1)(6)

By: Monica James

Not wanting Kayla to clue onto her panic, she smiled. “Hi.” Bobby licked his full bottom lip, and the sight shot a surge through Delores.

She knew Kayla was about three seconds from uncovering her secret, so without a second thought, when she saw Ralphie in a Hawaiian shirt a few feet away, she excused herself quickly and ran to his side.

The move was completely chicken shit, but she’d rather that than lose her best friend over a boy. “Hi, Ralphie!” she shouted, a little too loudly.

Ralphie jolted, not expecting the company, but smiled when he saw Delores. “Hey, Dee. You here alone?” He stood on his tippy-toes, no doubt hunting the crowd for Kayla.

“No, Kayla is here. She’s talking to Bobby.” Delores pointed at where Kayla was inching closer and closer to Bobby, who seemed to be combing the crowd, uninterested in her blatant attempts to seduce him.

“Oh.” The disappointment was clear on Ralphie’s face, and Delores couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. She knew the feeling all too well.

“Wanna get a drink?” Ralphie nodded, appearing thankful they both could drown their sorrows in a bottle of beer.

Twenty minutes later, they were sitting poolside, watching their fellow classmates’ unsuccessful attempts at hooking up. It seemed with the alcohol flowing freely, everyone’s guards were down, and before the night was through, Delores had a feeling a lot of V-cards might be checked at the door.

The view from up here was beautiful. There was nothing like seeing the City of Angels from this high up. The bright lights extended as far as the eye could see, and Delores couldn’t help but feel blessed she was able to witness such a sight. If it weren’t for her mother’s sacrifice and her father and grandmother’s deaths, then she couldn’t help but wonder where she would be. Everything did happen for a reason. She pondered on the reason why she helped Kayla on that first day of school. Would it amount to something life changing? She rather thought it already had.

“Hey, are you all right?” Ralphie asked, breaking Delores’s trance.

Shaking her head, she discreetly wiped away her tears. “Yes, fine. I think I’m a little buzzed from the beer.”

Ralphie nodded, stealing a peek into Delores’s almost empty red cup. “Hey, you’re out. I’ll grab us a couple more.”

Delores knew she should have said no, as she was already wasted, but numbing the pain seemed the only way to deal with what Kayla was probably doing with Bobby right now.

Once Ralphie was gone, Kayla’s familiar scent of raspberry and cream caught the warm breeze, and Delores turned to her left, surprised to see her friend. “What are you doing here? I thought you’d be shacked up with Bobby.” She wiggled her eyebrows, hoping Kayla didn’t see through her façade.

Kayla swayed. She was obviously buzzed too. “He said he was going upstairs. He’ll be back down in a minute. I really like him, Dee, and I think he likes me too.”

Delores swallowed past the lump in her throat. “Of course, he likes you. What’s not to like?”

Kayla grinned, clapping her hands in excitement. “How’s Ralphie?” she teased, her voice dripping with innuendo.

“He’s fine. He’s just gone to get us a drink.”

“I’m sure he has,” she mocked, cackling loudly when Delores rolled her eyes.

“Ooh, Dee, tonight is perfect. You. Me. We’re invincible. Promise me we will name our kids after the places we visit when we’re older and traveling the world together.” She slipped her arm around her friend, drawing her to her side.

Delores’s stomach turned at the mention of kids, as she knew what had to happen for that to come about. But quashing down the urge to puke, she nodded. “Deal. I think I’ll name my daughter…Holland.”

“Holland?” Kayla questioned with a laugh.

“Yes, I want to visit where my Grandma Alene lived. She’s the reason why I’m even here. It seems fitting I name my future child after her.”

Her explanation appeased Kayla, and Kayla pondered what she’d be naming her future offspring. “Okay then…I’ll name my son London.”

Now it was Delores’s turn to laugh. “Why London?”

Kayla cocked a hand to her hip, feigning horror that Delores didn’t know why. “Um, hello, fashion capital of the world.”

Both girls burst into laughter, everything falling into place.

“Okay, it’s settled then.” Delores raised her near empty cup to salute Kayla’s bottle of Budweiser. “To Holland Brooks…”

“And to London Sinclair,” Kayla concluded as they clinked drinks. “It goes without saying they’re betrothed the moment they’re born. They have no say in the matter because it’ll officially make us a family.”