Read Torn Online

Authors: C.J. Fallowfield

Torn (3 page)

“There you are, all good,” I
confirmed as I reluctantly stepped back.

“Thanks. So, you need your bike

“Yeah, but I can see you’re only an
auto repair shop. Can you recommend somewhere in walking distance to take it to?”
I asked, turning to pack up the first-aid kit as I tried to memorize his
handsome face, to keep it etched in my brain for later.

“We do bikes too. If you can hang
around awhile, it won’t take me long.”

“Thanks.” I gave him my best
smile and watched the tip of his tongue dampen his lower lip as he slowly
dragged it from one side to the other. “Actually, I’m kinda thirsty and hungry.
Could I leave it with you while I go and get something?”

“Sure,” he shrugged, both of us
reaching for the handle of the first-aid kit at the same time. Our fingers
brushed, and I quickly pulled mine away with another soft gasp. He gave me a
full-on smile, showing a set of nice, even white teeth and that solitary dimple
on one side. I swear it was even cuter than if he’d had two. “Best place to eat
in town, if you’re not looking for fancy cuisine, is right across the street,
Joelle’s Diner. Why don’t you head on over there? I can recommend the grilled
cheese, curly fries, and peach milkshake. I’ll come over to let you know when
your bike’s ready, you can pay me then.”

“Thanks,” I stated sincerely.
Instead of cursing my flat tire, now I was rejoicing I’d had one. Not only had I
met a gorgeous guy, but I had a potential new hangout spot right across the
street from where he worked. I had sudden visions of all the money I was going
to spend by sitting in their window, if he was the view I’d have. I bit my
lower lip as I turned and tried to walk as sexily as possible, swaying my
backside in my little shorts as I headed back out into the sunshine.

“Hey, beautiful. What’s your name?”
he called.

“Sky, Sky Torres,” I replied,
casting one last look over my shoulder at him to see he was grinning, his head
cocked to one side. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think he was flirting with
me. I reprimanded myself as I looked up and down the street to see nothing was
coming in either direction. A girl like me, shy and bookish, had no chance with
a guy like him. But it sure was going to be fun imagining.

I skipped across the street to
find he hadn’t been lying about Joelle’s being right opposite, and it seemed I
wasn’t the only one with ideas of parking my ass in the window to admire the
view. There were four girls already sitting in the red and white striped leather
booth, their heads craned as they watched me approaching. I pushed open the
white wooden-framed glass door, the bell above tinkling to signal my entry, to
be confronted by a typically tourist, fifties-style American diner. It had whole
sections of the front of classic cars up on the wall, their headlights fully
functional, and the chrome and paintwork as immaculate as that Impala had been.
Leather car bench seats made up the booths, separated by melamine and chrome
rectangular tables. A long shiny chrome counter separated the diners from the wait
staff and chefs working behind, and the jukebox was playing, lit up with pink
and purple dancing lights. The place was pretty full already, mainly with kids
around my age. I headed up to the counter and grabbed the last remaining cream
leather stool, the chrome base of which was screwed down to the black and white
checkered floor.

“G’day, what can I get ya’?” an
older waitress, with a name badge saying “Rosie” asked in a distinctly southern
drawl. She smiled warmly at me as she grabbed a pen from behind her ear and
lifted her notepad from her red and white checkered apron.

“Grilled cheese, curly fries, and
a peach milkshake, please,” I replied.

“Good choice,” she confirmed with
a nod of approval. “Won’t be long, doll.”

I smiled my thanks, then pulled
my phone out of my pocket and sent Mom a text to let her know I’d arrived
safely, was having some lunch, and would head back later. There was no point
telling her about my flat. She’d only panic and insist on Pops driving down in
his pick-up truck, and he was busy enough as it was, wanting to get the house
ship-shape and all evidence of the move gone before he started his new job on
Monday. I tapped out another text to my best friend, Liam.

Hey, whatcha doin’? I’ve just
biked into town to check out their main street, it’s no Union Square, but as
small places go, it’s quite cute. Just met THE hottest guy I’ve ever seen, so
maybe the move wasn’t such a bad thing after all!

His reply was almost
instantaneous, just like I’d hoped it would be. I was missing him terribly.

Sky Torres, you’ve been there
less than three full days
How can you have
found a guy already? The Sky I knew wasn’t exactly forward when it came to

Relax, I haven’t changed. I
don’t even know his name, some random guy I met in an auto repair shop when I
got a flat. But he sure is a babe. Not my usual clean-cut type either. Tattoos
and, are you sitting down for this, a nipple piercing!

Ermmm, do you have a usual
type? I’ve never even known you to go on a date, let alone find a guy cute. And
how exactly have you already seen his nipples?! Are you sure you didn’t move to
Roswell, and my sweet and innocent virginal friend has been abducted and
replaced by a horny alien?

So funny. He’s a shirtless
mechanic. Who knew all that grease and grime could be so damn sexy? What you up

Just chillin’ on the Xbox, I
miss you already :-(

I miss you too. Call you

Sure thing, home all night :-)

I sent him a thumbs-up and a red
lips emoji, then tucked my phone away with a sigh. I hoped Liam wasn’t going to
hole himself up again now that I’d left. We’d met when I transferred to my last
high school and I’d spotted him immediately. Being gay and a computer geek
hadn’t exactly made him popular with the in-crowd, and as I wasn’t either,
being the new girl and all, we’d sort of drifted together. We’d bonded over our
love of gaming and our similar sense of humor. I’d coaxed him out of his shell
a bit, made him leave the safety of his room to enjoy the many experiences such
a diverse city had offered us, and in return he’d brought out a little of the
sex kitten in me. I knew I was attractive, everyone called me pretty, but I
hadn’t had a clue how to embrace that and lose the tomboy image I’d perfected to
be a little more girly. Liam was so into fashion that he’d soon started
teaching me how to embrace my feminine side. We’d been really good for each

I’d been totally devastated when
Mom and Pops had sat me down last year and told me that they were considering
moving to Nevada. Pops was an Information Technology specialist, highly
regarded in his field and constantly headhunted. It meant that we’d spent our
lives moving, never settling in one city for long. Because of that, I didn’t
make friends easily, especially not girls. They always seemed to have cliques that
I was never welcomed into. Maybe that was why I’d turned into such a tomboy.
Plus I was an only child, with no older sister to show me the ropes. My parents
moving wasn’t necessarily the end of my dreams, but I wanted to go to college
or university somewhere that was within commuting distance. I’d planned to stay
home until I graduated, maybe get a part-time job and save up as much money as
I could instead of squandering it all on student accommodation. I’d had my
heart set on submitting applications to either San Francisco University or the
University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where Liam wanted to go, too.
Seeing as how Liam and I were so close, I’d been hoping we’d have another four
years together.

So when they’d broke the news of
the possible move, I’d applied to my preferred choices back in California, and
reluctantly to NSC, which was out in Henderson, on the outskirts of Boulder
City, just in case we did move, which of course we’d ended up doing when Pops got
the job at the Hoover Dam. Luckily I’d been accepted to NSC. Disappointingly
for me, I’d also been accepted at my original choices. It was like the universe
was saying “Hey, look at the life you wanted and could have had.” NSC was a four-year
public college which offered a Bachelor of Public Administration in Law Enforcement.
I had my heart set on becoming a crime analyst with the police force,
statistics and data had always fascinated me. I could have done a two-year
course before applying to the police force back home, but here at NSC, it was a
four-year degree. On the bright side, because I was forcing myself to try and
focus on positive and helpful thoughts instead of wallowing in self-pity, a
four-year degree should stand me in better stead when I graduated and applied
for a position. The major negative was saying goodbye to Liam. I was missing
him like crazy already and we’d only moved a few days ago. Thank God I’d been
born in the era of technology and blessed with the wonders of FaceTime. That
and the fact that I had the rest of the summer break to explore and prepare for
my college experience.

Rosie interrupted my thoughts
when she pushed my milkshake to me with a smile, then dipped her head as she
leaned in, folding her arms in front of her on the counter.

“Seems like you got yourself a
couple of admirers.” She raised her eyebrows as she tilted her head to the
right. I carefully looked over my left shoulder to see two boys staring at me.
Both of them quickly looked away, the brown-haired one on the left going beet
red to be caught ogling me. Was this town full of hotties? He was super cute,
with dark mocha hair and the second set of gorgeous green eyes I’d seen today.
The other was a redhead, without the good looks of his friend, but he had a
friendly face. “That’s Josh Hudson on the left. You could do a hell of a lot
worse, sweet kid. He’s got an older brother, Nate. Now him you want to steer
clear of, broken many a heart in this here town. Got himself a real reputation
as a ladies’ man, but with looks like that …” Rosie trailed off for a moment
and sighed before starting again. “That redhead’s Billy Hudson, Josh and Nate’s
cousin, and what he lacks for in looks, he makes up for in personality. He can
laugh the panties off a nun, that one.”

“Do you normally give dating
advice to strangers?” I asked as I looked back at her and dragged my shake
toward me, eagerly sucking on the straw. I was parched and this sure was a good
recommendation. It was delicious.

“I do to out-of-towners,
especially pretty ones like you. You don’t want no trouble if you’re just
passin’ through.” She straightened up and folded her arms across her ample chest
as I rummaged for the piece of paper I’d tucked into my back pocket this

“Well, keep the advice coming, because
I’m not passing through. I’ve just moved here with my parents. I’m attending
NSC in the fall and I have no idea where the bus stop is for …” I unfolded the
piece of paper and ironed it flat with the side of my hand. “The Henderson Connector?”

“Welcome to Boulder City then,
doll. Where y’all live?”

“Ermmm, Woodacre Drive,” I
replied, after a moment’s hesitation to try and recall my new address.

“That’d be the swanky part of
town,” she nodded, obviously impressed. It was a pretty lovely house, with amazing
views out over Lake Mead. “Driving?”

“No, bicycle.”

“You’d probably find it quicker to
go to stop G, it’s on Nevada Way and Elm. I’m sure one of those Hudson boys
would be delighted to show ya’.” She chuckled, then turned around as someone
from the kitchen area yelled, “Order up, Rosie.” She spun back around and placed
my food in front of me, gave me a wink, and scurried off to serve someone else.

I bit into my sandwich and looked
back over my shoulder, wanting to see if Josh was as cute as I’d thought. Both
boys were staring at me again, and this time the one called Billy gave me a
cheeky wink and a wave, while Josh choked on his soda. I giggled and focused on
eating my meal, I was really famished. Cute as Josh was though, there was no
contest when you compared him to my sexy mechanic, even with those similar green
eyes. I’d just polished off my meal and shake, thinking how good the
recommendation had been, and ordered myself a diet Coke, when I heard the
chatter of the girls in the window getting louder, one of them squealing with

“He’s coming, he’s coming. Do I
look ok?”

“He’s not going to be looking at
you, Janice. He’s already been there, and you know Nate, he never stays with
anyone for long or does a repeat visit,” scoffed another.

“Well, you should know, Heather.
Did you even make it to second base before he ditched you for me?” the first
voice asked snarkily.

“Get lost, Janice. Just because
you couldn’t keep hold of him, there’s no need to be a bitch.”

“Well, he hasn’t tried it on with
me, so I guess I’m next,” sang another voice. I rolled my eyes. Were these four
“friends” seriously in competition for the same guy, let alone prepared to go
there after one or more of them already had?

“You’re probably the only legal girl
under thirty in town that he hasn’t been with,” retorted another in an annoyingly
squeaky voice. “I heard he even went with Diane Jones’s stepmother, and I bet she’s
pushing forty!”

I sipped on my drink and looked
over at them all preening themselves, giggling while they did, their gazes
trained on the window. I followed their eye-line and nearly spluttered my drink
all over the countertop to see my repair guy strutting across the street, his
hands deep in the pockets of some clean black jeans, a white t-shirt straining
to keep his muscular body contained. There wasn’t one hint of grease or grime
anywhere on his face or arms, and his dark hair looked damp, as if he’d just
showered. Just like the girls in the window, I sat with my mouth ajar as he
headed to the door and swung it open. A high-pitched cacophony of giggling
girly voices crying “Hi, Nate!” emanated from the window booth, but he ignored
them, his green eyes searching and locking immediately on mine. A lazy smile
played on his lips as my heart sank. My sexy mechanic was none other than Nate
Hudson, the guy I’d just been warned about, the one all of those girls were
currently fawning over. Damn it! I should have known it was too good to be

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