Read Next Summer Online

Authors: Hailey Abbott

Tags: #Juvenile Fiction, #Love & Romance, #Social Issues, #Friendship, #Dating & Sex

Next Summer

BOOK: Next Summer
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NEXT SUMMER

 

A SUMMER BOYS NOVEL

 

HAILEY ABBOTT

 

 

 

It only took one kiss for the hammock to start rocking—a little more violently than Beth Tuttle liked, making the moment feel more
roller coaster
than
romantic.

“I think the original hammock experience beat this one,” her boyfriend George said, slowly ending the kiss as he and Beth swung back and forth underneath the shade of the trees in Beth’s backyard. For the millionth time, Beth admired George’s eyes—brown and deep, and best of all, always laughing.

“You mean last summer?” Beth asked, planting a soft kiss on his nose. “Yeah, I guess our hammock in Pebble Beach is a little more comfortable for hook ups.”

Beth grinned as she untangled herself from George and swung her long legs out of the hammock. She stood up and stretched in the warm June sunshine. Scraping her blonde hair back from her face, she squinted across the yard to the garage
where her parents had begun piling up boxes in preparation for another summer in Maine. Beth couldn’t believe they were leaving for Pebble Beach in the morning. A whole year had passed since she and George had finally figured out they were meant for each other while cuddling in that
other
hammock. Beth sighed at the magical memory. If only George would be coming back to Pebble Beach
this
summer.

“Come on,” George said, climbing to his feet. “Let’s go inside.”

He looked down at her with that sly, sexy smile of his and slowly ran his hand down her arm. He took her hand and brought it up to his lips, his mouth gently grazing her skin. Beth felt her breath catch. That was all the encouragement she needed to follow George to Antarctica, the moon, or wherever he wanted to go.

They entered the kitchen, dodging all the summer provisions that were scattered around the room—a huge picnic basket and bags of groceries were strewn about the floor; Beth’s father’s boat shoes were lying on top of a mountain of sealed cardboard boxes; and a collection of battered tennis rackets cluttered up the countertop. Her mother had obviously been very busy, and Beth knew she needed to start bringing down her clothes and beach gear. But, right then, she had other, more important, things on her mind than packing.

“So you think painting is going to be more fun than the beach?” she asked George sourly, picking up one of the rackets. She ran her hand across the tight web of strings and pressed it against the pads of her fingers. There was a part of
her that wanted to beat George over the head with the racket—how could he possibly give up a summer with her to work a job that required him to breath in toxic fumes?

Beth knew that George knew her well enough to recognize her urge to smack some sense into him, which was probably why he took the makeshift weapon out of her grasp, reached over, and held her face between his hands. He kissed her softly, and then tilted his head away to hold her gaze. George always knew exactly how to distract her.

“This summer is about money, not fun,” he said with a sad smile, his curly hair flopping forward. “All the cash I’m going to make will lead to the ultimate Year of George in the fall. I can practically guarantee it.” Beth reached over and pushed his hair back so that she could get a better view of him. After tomorrow, she’d be without her boyfriend for almost three solid months.

“I thought it was supposed to be the summer of George and Beth,” she said, grinning up at him. “Now it’s the
fall
of
George
?”

“C’mon, you know the seasons of George revolve around you, Bethy,” George replied with a smirk. “Why do you think I signed up for this gig? I’d like, I don’t know, to get you something nice for a change.”

“You mean something that doesn’t come from the Dollar Tree?” Beth teased.

“Hey, a lot of good stuff comes from the Tree. Like that dashboard hula girl and the lemon-scented Jesus car freshener,” George replied defensively.

“Well, they’d be a lot more practical if I had a car.” Beth grinned, remembering her birthday presents.

“I’ve been trying to send your parents some hints. See how crafty I am?”

“If by crafty, you mean stupid,” Beth quipped.

“Ouch. I thought you loved the G-man,” George said as he clutched at his heart and made a sad face.

“What do you know about painting, anyway?” Beth whined, changing the subject. She hated the way she sounded—needy. She couldn’t help it. “You barely got through art class.” Not that slapping paint on dorms for the brainiacs at MIT was exactly art, Beth thought. But that was beside the point.

“I know it pays way more money than slaving away at the Mini Mart,” George replied. His sly smile was back. He took Beth’s hands in his and began backing up, leading her out of the kitchen. “I’ve worked at that place so long I’m like fifty seconds away from becoming that guy in
Clerks.

He drew Beth toward the stairs. As Beth followed him, she studied the back of his pale blue Old Navy T-shirt. Beth smiled when she thought about the hundreds of times she had taken that shirt off George over the course of the past twelve months. That blue shirt had landed on the floor of Beth’s room after soccer practice, before going to the movies, during their study sessions for history, and every other occasion in between. And, more often than not, George’s pants came off, too, Beth reflected, gazing appreciatively at his butt, lost somewhere beneath his baggy dark jeans. Beth loved nothing more than
fooling around with George, for hours on end. They had—as her cousin Ella might put it—“done everything but.”

Somehow, even after a year of dating, sex hadn’t happened yet.

Beth was pretty positive that she was ready. In fact, she and George had come seriously close too many times to count. But there was always either some sort of absurd interruption—like her dad knocking on the door at a totally wrong moment—or some kind of crazy obstacle. Both she and George became obsessed with The Moment, as they liked to call it. That one perfect moment, when the mood would feel just right, and they would both just
know.

So far, The Moment hadn’t happened.

When they reached her bedroom, George immediately shut the door and wrapped Beth in his arms. They fell across her bed together. Beth curled herself around his body as he kissed his way up from her shoulders to her mouth. When their lips met, Beth heard herself moan just a little bit. She loved the taste of him (red licorice—George was obsessed with Twizzlers) and the feel of his body against hers (like a warm flannel blanket in the middle of winter—no matter what the season). Beth rolled over so she was on top of him. George ran his fingers through her hair and then brought his mouth to hers for another succulent, sweet kiss.

In minutes, they were in full make-out mode, and Beth was relishing the feel of George’s hands traveling down the length of her body.
Why not now?
Beth wondered suddenly. They’d
put off having sex for so long. Too long, maybe.
Why not give us something to remember, since we’ll be apart all summer?

Beth rotated her hips against George’s. George loved this maneuver so much that he had given it a name: The Gyration Sensation. She wiggled a little bit more and heard George groan.

“Shhhhh. My mom is in the basement, not in a soundproof booth.”

“I’m sorry. You know what that move does to me,” George sighed, rolling Beth over so she was on her back. She felt dizzy and her body tingled wherever he touched her. But now that she had brought up her mom, she couldn’t help feeling all too aware of her parents’ presence in the house. Which was so the opposite of sexy.

And did she really want to sleep with George
now
? Who wanted to lose her virginity and
then
be alone all summer? The thought suddenly depressed Beth. One time with George would not be enough. If they had sex now, she’d want to keep doing it with him all summer long.

So Beth slowed down the action by shifting to her side and curling into a fetal position. This was a move that happened more often than The Gyration Sensation, so it should also have had a name, but Beth was glad that George was too sweet to ever tease her about it. His usual response was to cuddle up right behind her. And he did just that. George sighed against her ear as his arms hugged her waist.

“Good call, Bethy,” he said, nuzzling her neck. “I have to say, the fact that your mom is doing laundry downstairs isn’t much of a turn-on.”

Beth let out a hefty exhale. George
was
the world’s best boyfriend. He’d never think to pressure her about sex.

“This summer is going to suck,” Beth whispered.

Without having to see his face, Beth knew that George was wearing a guilty expression. It was the same one he’d been wearing ever since he’d told her about his summer plans.

“Well, it will,” Beth persisted. “I was bummed when I found out Jamie wasn’t coming to Maine, because of the Amherst writing program. But your not being there is plenty worse.”

“Ella and Kelsi will be there,” George said. “And the rest of your entire family…”

“It’s not the same,” Beth cut in. She hated it when he was reasonable. “It’s supposed to be
all
the cousins. Jamie, Ella, Kelsi, and me. The four Tuttle girls. It’s a tradition, and Jamie’s breaking it. And you’re like an honorary Tuttle cousin, so you’re breaking tradition, too.” She pouted.

“Okay, please don’t refer to me as your cousin again, because that’s just creepy and gross,” George chuckled. “As for breaking tradition, I’m just trying to start a new one. You know, where I get to spend money on us without having to ask my parents to dip into my college fund.”

“Don’t you get it? I don’t care about any of that,” Beth said. “I just want to be with you.”

George repositioned himself so that he was lying down in front of Beth and looking directly into her eyes.

“God, I’m going to miss you,” Beth said.

He leaned in and kissed her again. His lips were warm and
so right, so
George.
Beth didn’t want to be without him, even if it was just for the summer. Because, for her, being without George was the same as forgetting how to laugh. It was that unimaginable.

But Beth also couldn’t believe how clingy she was being. When had this happened? When did she morph from an independent, smart-mouthed jock into this girl who couldn’t operate unless she was connected to George at the hip? Was she scared? Did she have, in the back of her mind, the slightest of doubts? George might have seemed cool about their not having sex yet. But maybe if George had a few months away from her, he’d have hours upon hours to think about what their relationship was missing.

Before Beth could get lost in that trail of worries, George calmed her by pulling her across his chest and planting small kisses from her temple and across her cheek to her mouth.

“I’m going to miss you, too,” he murmured. “Which is why I promise I’ll make it up there, even if it’s only for a day.”

“When?” Beth said, threading her arms around his neck.

“As soon as humanly possible,” he replied. “Really. I know I put on a good act, but I’m a mess without you, Bethy.”

Beth grinned, and then ran her hands through George’s curly hair, making it frizz out. “You’re a mess, period.”

“Oh, so that’s how you want to be, huh?” George asked mischievously, suddenly kneeling on the bed. He posed as if he were about to attempt a complicated wrestling move.

Beth tensed up but couldn’t help giggling. “Take it easy,
George. You don’t want me to break your painting hand now, do you?”

“The threats only fuel the fire!” George boomed. Then he dove in for a tickle of massive proportions.

Beth squirmed around and shrieked like a little girl as George’s fingers worked the backs of her knees and her ribs. “Stop! Stop!” she cried. But she really didn’t want him to stop. She wanted to soak up all of George’s energy and put it in a bottle so that she could ration it out over the next few months. Even though the room was filled with their laughter, Beth knew that once she set foot on Pebble Beach without George by her side, she would have to remind herself how to smile.

BOOK: Next Summer
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