Authors: Kimberly Montague
Tags: #General Fiction
Outside the Line
A Love Story at 190mph
This book is a work of fiction. All names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are fictional or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is completely coincidental and unintentional.
Racing Outside the Line
All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2010 by Kimberly Montague
This book may not be reproduced or used in any manner without written permission from the author.
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To Mom and Ted for reading and re-reading. Without your support and encouragement I’d accomplish nothing.
1 All Grown Up
I stood in front of my full-length mirror and stared at an image I hardly recognized. I wondered what Seth would think of my appearance. Would he be overwhelmed by the sight of me looking so grown up in my prom gown? What would he say? Would he fall madly in love with me? Yeah, right.
I nearly jumped out of my skin, and the dress that was my second skin, when I heard a knock on the door. It could only be Seth, since my older brother, Desmond, and my legal guardian, Wyatt, who was also Seth’s father, were at some big meeting with a potential sponsor for Seth. Wyatt ran the business end of Seth’s racing team, while Desmond helped out here and there as he finished his last year of college to obtain a degree in Public Relations.
“Are you done getting beautiful, yet?” asked the voice behind the door. I wondered how to answer the question. Beautiful to him? Not likely with supermodels throwing themselves at him. Beautiful to Josh? Perhaps. Josh claimed to see the beauty beyond the rough façade. Beautiful to me? That tied too closely to whether Seth thought I was beautiful. Just plain beautiful in general? Well, maybe I could go for that. After all, I knew I wasn’t ugly, no deformities here.
“Would you settle for decent?” was my final choice of responses. “You can come in.” As he entered the room, I watched him, intent on seeing his reaction. For once in my life, I wasn’t disappointed by his response. His jaw dropped and his hazel eyes got larger as they travelled down my body to take in my appearance. I had spent so much time trying to perfect my look for this evening. It took me forever to perfectly curl my hair, which I had carefully pulled up in front, allowing my chestnut locks to fall down my back. I had read every beauty magazine I could to determine the correct smoky makeup to bring out the sky blue of my eyes. Desmond had taken me shopping where I had found a shimmering, deep-green gown that was cut low enough to make my brother put up a massive fight over allowing me to wear it. I topped off the ensemble with a pair of slinky, black high-heels that I spent a week teaching myself to walk in.
Why did I work so hard on this? Well, it certainly wasn’t for my boyfriend. He’s a nice guy, don't get me wrong, but he is really just a good friend that ended up being a means to an end in terms of socializing at school. Perhaps it was out of nostalgia over this being the last big event of my high school career, but if I’m being honest with myself, I have to admit to absolutely hating my high school years. I struggled, not too successfully, through recovering from the loss of my mother in my freshman year. Then, I lost my father at the beginning of my senior year, so I guess you could say high school would never hold happy memories for me. So, why was I trying so hard this one single night? Seth would be my answer. It was always about Seth despite how “off limits” my brother made him or how out of my league his dreamy, four-years-older-than-me, famously handsome self had always been. I was blatantly, embarrassingly in love with the man.
After all the work I had put into gaining some kind of reaction from him, I was expecting a comment at least—some sort of statement perhaps—something that said I looked good, or even just okay. He said nothing. He opened his mouth a few times like he was going to say something, but nothing came out. Clearly, nothing I could do would turn me into the type of woman he would be interested in. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore.
“Would you stop doing your best impression of a fish, and say something? You’re making me really self-conscious.”
“I’m just… I mean you’re… I… I’m… just… shocked.” Always charismatic, it was definitely the first time I had ever heard him struggle for words, and his wide-eyed, just saw a ghost expression reinforced his stuttered statement. I looked away from him and straightened my dress for no other reason than to keep my hands busy. When I raised my hand to needlessly fluff my curls, I noticed it was shaking.
I shouldn’t be so upset, but I was expecting some sort of positive statement from him. It was times like this that the overwhelming loss I felt at the death of both of my parents seemed to burn like a forest fire within me. If my mom were here, she would have been able to say the right thing. She would have told me how great I looked, or she would have helped me fix whatever it was that Seth was seeing wrong with me. It hurt down to my bones that he wasn’t impressed. I tried to hold it together and not let him see what I was feeling, but he walked closer to me and took my shaking hand.
“I’m sorry… I just… I hadn’t realized… You’re beyond beautiful. I just can’t believe I didn’t see it sooner. Forgive my shock?” He placed his hand on my cheek. Years of fantasizing about him touching me sent my imagination flying up into la la land. I wanted to record this moment into my memory, so I could replay it over and over again. As I leaned into his hand, I noticed it was shaking as much as mine had been. “You look… amazing.” Only inches from my face, he was staring deeply into my eyes. I could feel his warm breath hit my skin, and my heart began beating uncontrollably fast. His hazel eyes were much greener and deeper than usual, and they seemed to burn into me. His focus shifted to my lips, and I could have sworn that he was thinking about kissing me. It wasn’t until he began to tilt his head closer to mine that I knew I had judged correctly, and my heart stopped beating altogether. Of course, that is the precise moment that my stupid boyfriend rang the damn doorbell. I jumped a mile and would have fallen backwards due to my high heels, but Seth put his arm around my waist holding me close to him. I laid my head against his chest and breathed in the scent of detergent that clung to his bright white t-shirt, coupled with the indescribable scent of Seth himself. He kissed the top of my head and pulled back.
Even with me in heels, he had to slouch a little to look me in the eye as he opened his mouth to say something. He hesitated, and his furrowed brow gave the impression that he was trying to make a decision. He glanced back down at my lips again before he closed his eyes. I could feel him take a deep breath, feel his arm tighten around my waist ever-so-slightly before he shook his head infinitesimally and let go of me entirely. His eyes opened again, but the heat that had appeared behind them a moment before was gone, left with just a bit of sadness as he said dispassionately, "Time to go, Cinderella."
The moment would have been perfect if I hadn’t been completely aware that I was leaving Prince Charming, not walking downstairs to him. I guess I had enough wishes granted for one evening, though, I mean he
almost kissed me. That sudden realization had me grinning like a giggly teenager instead of the sarcastic, depressed, even emo teenager that I was. Seth put my arm through his and escorted me downstairs.
Josh’s reaction was, not surprisingly, immediate and flattering. He looked me up and down and said, "You look hot!" I was happy to see Seth’s jaw clench and his eyes narrow as Josh took my hand and asked me if I was ready.
I forced myself to let go of Seth’s arm and move to Josh’s side, turning to look up into Seth’s face. "You have your cell phone, right?" There was definitely a somewhat panicked edge to his voice. I nodded, and Josh began to pull me away, but the worried look in Seth’s eyes held my feet in place. "Did you leave Josh’s cell number on the fridge?" I nodded again, "you’ll be home by 2.a.m. and you’ll call if you’re late," he paused as I smiled and nodded again before he turned to Josh. "
," his jaw clenched again. It sounded like a cuss word spoken through his gritted teeth, "will NOT get drunk, you WILL take care of her, and you will NOT take your eyes off her." I was surprised by this overprotective side I hadn’t seen before, too surprised in that moment to be pleased about it, so I was left watching as Seth stared daggers into Josh.
Josh looked easily away from Seth, clearly not noticing the threat behind Seth’s words as he smiled seductively at me, "I wouldn’t want to even if I could." Seth’s eyes narrowed even more in response. I had to wonder where this had come from. Was Seth really jealous? Before I could delude myself further, I thought it best to get going. "B-bye Seth," I managed to stumble and turned to focus on walking carefully in my high heels.
The limo was nice, the prom was beautiful, the decorations were amazing, the food was delicious, the dancing was fun, and Josh was as sweet as he could be while maintaining his sarcastic sense of humor. It was a great evening… until the after party. Josh told me that he had a surprise for me, but that he didn’t want me to feel pressured, it was just an after-party option. We went to the hotel I knew our friends Anna, Jacob, Alex, and Mairi were hosting their after-party at and went upstairs. Josh pulled out a key, which surprised me, since it wasn’t his party. When we entered the room it was dark and quiet. I could hear soft music playing in the background and the entire room was lit with LED candles. It was beautiful, it was sweet, it was all wrong.
He took both of my hands in his, and I could feel his sweaty palms making his nervousness palpable. "If you want to," Josh began tentatively as he held my hand, "we can stay here and enjoy each other’s company, or if you would be more comfortable, we can go to the after-party. It’s completely up to you." His blue eyes sparkled in the dim light, and while he held his usual confident smile, I noticed him holding his breath in anticipation of my response. I seriously didn’t know what to say. I wanted to
to stay with him, wanted it to be
that I was always thinking of, but it just wasn’t, and I couldn’t lead him on anymore. There were only two weeks left to graduation. We had finals and graduation practice—there wouldn’t be time to talk to him like this again. I had to tell him. I had to be honest with him. I owed him that.
"No," he interrupted, "I know what you’re going to say. It was stupid, I know, but I thought you might want to experience this with someone you knew
about you and would take care of you."
"You’re right… I
." At that word, I saw his face fall, and I couldn’t look him in the eye anymore. I focused on his hands as I tried my best not to hurt him, although I knew that was impossible at this point. "My life would be so much simpler if I did. I mean, I want it to be
that I want, but…." I couldn’t say it out loud to someone else, it sounded so incredibly stupid. I mean, Seth was a celebrity, a completely gorgeous twenty-one year-old race car driver. He had millions of female fans throwing themselves at him every week; why would he be interested in me?
I was relieved when he finished the sentence for me, "You want Seth." He let out a very sad sigh, and I could hear the pain in his voice—the pain I had caused. I wondered what he must be thinking of me, to have turned him down, to have opted for some guy who considers himself my brother, but I quickly decided I didn’t want to know the answer to that question.
I tried to apologize, to tell him that I knew I was an idiot for feeling the way I did, but I barely got my mouth open before he began pulling me towards the door. "Come on, beautiful, let’s go get you a drink. The after-party is just upstairs." He smiled. It was a fake smile not reaching his eyes at all, which still held the disappointment and sadness he was feeling. It made me hate myself even more. How simple life would be if we could simply
our feelings instead of being controlled
When we got to the party, Josh got me a drink that was ridiculously strong. Of course, it went straight to my head. With the strength of my new friend Jack Daniels, I pushed Josh away and encouraged him to enjoy himself instead of worrying about me.
Twenty minutes into the after party, I gave up trying to look as if I was having fun. I went out onto the balcony and called Seth to come pick me up. "Worried" would be an understatement for his reaction when I called, but thankfully, he refrained from interrogating me and said he would be there as quickly as he could.
The more difficult part of leaving was telling Josh that I decided to go home with Seth instead of him. It did
go well, but I pushed through it and made my way out of there.