Authors: Jessie Evans
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Contemporary, #Romance, #Contemporary Fiction
A Summerville Short Story
(Always a Bridesmaid #4)
By Jessie Evans
A bad case of the love bug...
John O'Grady has been making a reputation for himself as a player since returning to Summerville. The former geek turned sexy tattoo artist has been loving the single life, bringing home a new girl every weekend. That is, until he meets Kitty, and catches a bad case of the love bug. Too bad Kitty seems to be immune to his infamous charm...
Kitty Nance is convinced she's cursed. It's been over a year since she's made it past date three with a guy, and she's begun to think she'll never meet Mr. Right Now, let alone Mr. Right. John O'Grady seems like a great guy, but she's not going to risk her heart until he's proved he's ready for more than a fling.
John agrees to three tests, and the couple set out on a day of adventure to see if they're mismatched or meant to be.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Copyright© 2013 Jessie D. Evans
This book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the author. This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously. Cover image by solominviktor for Shutterstock. Cover design by Bootstrap Cover Designs. Editing by Edited Ever After.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction: Lucky Charms c. General Mills, LLC. Home Movies c. Soup2Nuts Inc. Nylon Magazine c. Nylon Holding Inc. PlayStation c. Kabushiki Kaisha Sony Computer Entertainment. Assassin’s Creed c. Ubisoft Entertainment Corporation. Heavy Rain c. Quantic Dream Corporation. Twinkies c. Hostess Brand
Other Novels by Jessie Evans
Betting on You
Wild For You
Dedicated to all the misfits.
Table of Contents
John collapsed into the overstuffed chair in his room with a tortured groan. Outside his bedroom door, his roommate was probably making out with his beautiful new girlfriend. Inside John’s room, there was only pain and woe.
Lots and lots of woe.
His body ached all over, his head felt like it was about to split in two, and his stomach snarled angrily beneath his ribs. He’d skipped his midnight bowl of cereal last night and his tummy wasn’t pleased. But he hadn’t felt like snacking when he got home from the bar. Being abandoned mid-date by the first girl in the past six months to make him break his “no more than two dates” rule had ruined his appetite. He didn’t know if he’d ever hunger for midnight Lucky Charms again.
That was it, Kitty Nance was a disease, and he’d clearly contracted a bad case.
The best thing he could do for himself would be to settle in for a
cartoon marathon, eat popcorn until his stomach was full of buttery goodness, and let his mind soften until he forgot the infectious girl’s name.
Instead, he picked up his phone and texted Melody, Nick’s new girl and best friend to the traitorous Kitty:
Any word? Have you convinced her that I am awesome and deserve second chance/explanation/apology/reconciliatory stroking of my sweet, curly head?
After only a moment, Melody texted back:
Why are you texting me? Nick and I are in the living room.
John sighed as his thumbs jabbed:
Am too overwrought for face-to-face contact. Any chance you and Nick would make me some popcorn and set it by my door?
Melody texted back a smiley face and—
No way. You should get dressed and come get it yourself. Nick and I are headed for a walk before we go out to dinner. (Seriously. Get dressed. It’s three o’clock and you don’t want to come out here in your pajamas. You really, really don’t. I promise.)
John grunted then called out, “I will come out there in my pajamas if I want to, Melody. You’re not my mom!”
“Thank goodness,” Melody called back. “Now get dressed and make something of yourself, John. And eat some veggies with that popcorn. Popcorn for supper isn’t a healthy choice.”
“Yes, Mom!” John called out, the ghost of a smile stretching his face as he heard Nick and Melody laugh on the other side of the door.
But the smile faded quickly. By the time he heard the door to the apartment shut behind Nick and his lady, John was deep in the pit of woe once more.
He glanced down at his plaid pajama pants and bright yellow t-shirt that featured a clown puking a rainbow into a toilet, deciding it was the perfect outfit for his present state of mind. Maybe he would wear it tomorrow, too. Maybe he would wear it to work at the tattoo shop and start building his reputation as the local whack-job. Being a womanizer and bringing a new girl home every weekend wasn’t making him happy, so there was no harm in trying something new. And at least being the Summerville resident weirdo would be fun.
With a put upon sigh, John leveraged himself from his chair and shuffled toward the kitchen. This popcorn binge wasn’t going to happen by itself. It was time for him to put in the work.
The second he opened the door, he realized that ignoring Melody’s suggestion to get dressed had been a serious mistake. He also realized that Melody March was not the sweet, girl-next-door that she appeared to be. She was evil, and he intended to tell her so at the first opportunity…assuming he lived through this next encounter with her misery-plague-bearing best friend.
“Hi, John,” Kitty said, springing up from the couch, wiping her hands on her red and white polka dot dress.
He’d never seen Kitty in a dress—she was a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, one of the many things he liked about her—and the sight threw him a little. The dress was old-fashioned looking, like something from World War II, and emphasized her tiny waist and perfectly rounded hips.
Her glossy brown hair was curled until it bounced around her shoulders, and she was wearing makeup for the first time in their acquaintance—heavy eyeliner and bright red lipstick that made it impossible to keep from staring at her mouth. Her lovely mouth with those lips that had kissed him until he had forgotten his own name around nine o’clock last night, only to leave the bar with a meathead in a Bronco’s football jersey fifteen minutes later.
“What are you doing here?” John asked, running a self-conscious hand through his wild hair. He hadn’t even bothered trying to tame his reddish-brown curls today, or shave the stubble covering most of his face.
“I came to apologize,” Kitty said, shifting from one foot to the other. She was wearing high-heels, too—another first.
Curiouser, and curiouser…
“Melody said you were upset about last night,” Kitty continued, a slight tremble in her voice. “I wanted you to know that I’m sorry for leaving with someone else.”
“Yeah, that was kind of rotten.” John frowned, but kept his voice light. “Why would you do something like that to a nice guy like me?”
Kitty shrugged and her hands flopped at her sides with an awkwardness John found strangely endearing. “It’s a long, stupid story, but basically I think I’m…cursed.”
John lifted an eyebrow. “Cursed?”
She bit her lip. “Yeah. I never make it past the third date with a man. Like, almost never.”
“That’s weird.” John shuffled into the kitchen, propping his hands on the back of one of the kitchen chairs, feeling less self-conscious with his pajama pants partially hidden from Kitty’s view. “So you have—what? Like a phobia of fourth dates, or something?”
don’t,” Kitty said. “The guys I date do. They always end it after the third date. So this time I decided…”
“Ah, I see,” John said, as understanding dawned. “So this time you decided to be the breaker-upper.”
Kitty nodded, her shame clear on her face. “I’m sorry. It was a lousy thing to do to you, especially after we’d been having such a great time hanging out.”
“It was lousy,” John said. “But I can understand. Dating sucks.”
“It does suck,” she agreed. “But being lonely sucks more.”
John grunted and crossed his arms, thinking about what she’d said. He’d never considered himself a lonely guy—he had lots of friends, and whenever he wanted a female companion, he was sufficiently charming that he had no trouble securing one for the night—but now that he really considered the idea of loneliness…
Well, maybe he
lonely. Maybe what he’d assumed was “getting resettled in his hometown” blues was really a longing for a connection with someone special, someone who would be down with his John-ness in every way.
Maybe someone like Kitty…
He already knew they had lots in common—they shared a love of adult cartoons, micro-brews, old cars, and never ran out of things to talk about—and the attraction was definitely there. He’d never kissed a girl who brought out his aggressive, hungry side the way Kitty did. She kissed like she did everything else, with total confidence and an air of “if you don’t like how I roll, you can kiss my ass,” that John found incredibly appealing.
For the first time since he’d figured out the secret to bringing home a different girl every weekend, John felt like maybe he didn’t want to be that guy anymore.
“So…you want to start over?” he asked, wishing he had on real clothes and was looking less rolled-out-of-bed-ish, but figuring he should strike while the iron was hot and the girl feeling guilty. “I could get dressed and we could go grab dinner or something.”
Kitty shook her head. “No dinner. I have something better in mind.” She took a deep breath and let it out with an audibly nervous huff. “I’m going to give you a test.”
“A test,” John repeated, skeptically. “I hope there won’t be math involved. Nick does the books for our shop; I’m just in charge of looking cute and being artistic. Occasionally I also restock the fridge with half-and-half and soda.”