by Georgia Evans
Author Website: www.gaevans.com
Publisher: Author House
Amazon Buy Link - Paperback / Kindle
About the Book:
“Let’s go to Myrtle Beach together, Mel…”
It has been over four years since Devin Gage spoke those words to Melanie Bates—four years with barely a word passing between them. Of course it was just a high school student’s fantasy. So why was he at her house now—telling her it was time for them to go?
Friends since birth, Devin and Melanie set off on their dream vacation. Their first stop is to visit quirky Aunt Bert near the lovely town of Mount Airy, North Carolina, where they spend days visiting Andy Griffith’s Mayberry. When they reach Myrtle Beach, they get some long-awaited sightseeing in and meet new people. From the boy-crazy teenager with her heart set on Devin to the identical twins who could be Melanie’s Malibu Ken doll come to life, Dev and Mel see it all.
Along the way, the two of them reminisce about their past and catch up on the past four years. Nothing is off limits—except Devin’s rich and beautiful fiancée, Roxie Newcomb, and those pesky phone calls he keeps receiving. That’s alright though, because Melanie is determined to make as many special new memories as she can during their vacation, even at the risk of her own heartbreak. It seems somewhere along the way, her feelings for Devin have grown into something stronger than friendship.
Regardless, Mel knows that once Devin is married, Roxie will put a stop to his and Melanie’s relationship. This vacation is her last hope for making memories.
Many things had changed since I started saving that money, but I didn’t feel like I really had. Granted, I had grown older, but wasn’t any worse for the wear as far as I could tell. My eyes were still what my friends and family referred to as “denim blue”. I’d always thought they looked like Grandma Foley’s, my mom’s mother, which was fine with me since she had very pretty eyes. My hair was still long, falling almost to my waist. It was light brown (referred to as dishwater blonde by some people, but what do they know?), and so naturally curly I had always been accused of having it permed. As if I’d ever be able to sit still long enough for that ridiculously thick amount of hair to be wound around those curlers! When the stubborn tresses hung straight, it was because I had taken up my electric straightener and gone into battle with it, waging a war that usually lasted close to an hour. My hair and I were often not on speaking terms.
Unlike my sister Tami, who was tall, slim, and beautiful with her long black hair and contrasting light complexion, I had inherited Dad’s darker skin tone and my mom’s petite figure – almost. While we were both a size four from the waist down, I was two inches taller than my mom’s height of 5’2”, and had somehow managed to inherit a recessive gene resulting in an unusually large chest. If it weren’t for Mom’s sister, Bertha “Aunt Bert” Foley and her ample bosom, I would have serious concerns about adoption.
To explain what “Carolinas or Bust” was and how it began, there are a couple of people you need to know about – Devin and Roxie.
Devin Michael Gage was born on March 6th, exactly three months before me. (That makes my birthday June 6th for any of you mathematically challenged readers – you know who you are.) My parents, Rex and Judy, have lived next door to Jim and Brenda Gage since long before we were born, and they’ve always been good friends, doing things together like bowling, dining out, playing cards, and partaking in other forms of adult entertainment. (Not that kind of adult entertainment; get your mind out of the gutter.) Consequently, Devin and I grew up spending an inordinate amount of time together. It was fortunate that not only did we share many of the same interests, we genuinely liked each other. Before we knew about the boy-girl issues, we had already become best friends, and it just stuck.
I really can’t tell you if he was “cute” when we were kids because I didn’t think of Dev that way, but a girl would have to be blind not to notice he was h-o-t by the time we made it to our junior year of high school. He had collar length black hair that his mom was always trying to get him to cut, the darkest blue eyes I’ve ever seen, and had topped the height of six feet. Since he played baseball and basketball, he kept himself in shape if you know what I mean. Okay, the guy was ripped.
As strange as it sounds, he didn’t date. The girls at school were interested in him, and some had no trouble letting him know, but he just shrugged, grinned, and pretty much ignored their flirting. When he wasn’t playing ball or working for his brother, he was hanging out with me.
Of course, I didn’t date either. One of the boys in our class, Larry Benson, had told me none of them thought it would do any good to ask because since I was with Devin so much, they just assumed I was his girlfriend. Even though that wasn’t true, I didn’t set him straight because the truth was I’d rather have been watching paint dry on a barn with Dev than go out on a date with any other guy. We were best friends.
Roxie May Newcomb transferred to our school at the beginning of our senior year. She had bright orange hair, lime green eyes, and a wicked overbite –okay, I’m lying. She was beautiful. Her hair was the shade of auburn that women try to get from a bottle, but can never get quite right. Her eyes sparkled like emeralds and she had straight white teeth. While she shared my chest size, she had the 5’8” frame and rest of the figure it belonged on.
Did I mention she was rich? At least her family was. They owned a chain of fast-food restaurants called “Roxie’s”, of course, that were located throughout the country. Why they had settled in our little town was beyond me.
Barton City has an apparently fixed population of five-hundred. The sign hasn’t been changed as long as anybody I’ve asked can remember. The only reason we have our own school district is because there are so many farms and houses in the outlying rural area.
It surprised me when Roxie started sitting by me in classes, at assemblies, lunch, and even at ballgames. Then one day she called me her best friend. Of course if she and I were friends, then by extension she and Dev had to be friends too.
I was afraid things had forever changed in mid-December of our senior year. Roxie and Devin became a “couple”. After a couple of awkward days, Devin reverted to acting almost like nothing had changed between the three of us. And except for some limited PDA, it stayed that way – as long as Devin was around. When he wasn’t, Roxie was very unfriendly, responding only when I started a conversation, and even then speaking condescendingly to me. What really got my goat was when she talked about Devin as if he and I were mere acquaintances. I had to restrain myself from performing bodily harm to her more than once.
So, “Carolinas or Bust?” We were high school seniors when it began.
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