“What are you doing on Saturday?” Caden asked Sidney when Sid picked up the phone.
“Uh, not sure. Why? What do you have planned?” Sidney returned.
“It’s the cultural fair. What do you think I have planned?” Caden retorted.
Every summer Cole Harbour held a cultural fair in downtown. The streets were closed off and booths were set up from different countries around the world. They displayed artifacts, notes on some history, and traditional food. That’s what his friends went for. They paid the one time cover, ate all the food they could, and drank all the traditional beer/booze at each booth.
“I forgot that was this weekend. Count me in,” Sidney replied.
“Good, that’s what I like to hear. Are you going to invite Misty?” he asked. Sidney thought for a minute.
“Yeah, if you guys don’t mind. She wanted to dive into Cole Harbour culture.”
“We don’t mind. We really liked her,” Caden told him.
“Yeah, she’s a great girl. Not too many girls can fit in and give it right back to you guys when they first meet you.” Caden laughed.
“I think she’s the first. She’s not bad to look at either. Did you see that body when she stripped down to her bikini on the boat?”
“Caden, come on,” Sidney warned.
Of course, he had noticed. He’d have to be blind not to notice how hot Misty was. It helped that she was obviously a natural beauty. Now that he thought about it, he’d only seen her with makeup on once, when they’d gone to dinner. Even then, she hadn’t even come close to going overboard like most girls did. He liked that she was comfortable in public without any on.
Come to think of it, he’d never even seen her with her hair down. It was always pulled back out of her face and didn’t look like she messed with it a whole lot. Most girls he knew spent an hour on their hair alone and it still looked like they’d rolled out of bed.
Her body was something else. He wasn’t surprised when he heard that she played four sports in school and enjoyed working out. It was obvious the minute he saw her standing there in just a bathing suit. He doubted there was an ounce of fat on her. She was muscular without being over the top. It had been hard not to stare at her when she moved, watching the muscles work when she did. Even so, she was still a bit curvy. He’d noticed that too.
The thing about her that he’d noticed first and that he couldn’t help but notice every time he saw her though were her eyes. Everything about her was dark. She had dark, almost black hair and dark skin, but her eyes were far from it. They were the brightest blue eyes he’d ever seen. It was such a change from the rest of her that he doubted anyone would miss them. Even as bright as they were, they got even brighter when she laughed, which she seemed to do all the time.
“Sorry, man, didn’t realize you’d called dibs on her,” Caden apologized, interrupting his thoughts.
“No one’s calling dibs on her. She just got out of a long term relationship,” Sidney told him.
“Guy was a jerk?” Caden asked.
“Sounds like it. Why?”
“Because anyone that would let her go has to be a jerk. Who in their right mind would break up with her?” Sidney rolled his eyes even though Caden couldn’t see him do it. “Anyway, it’s obvious you have a thing for her.” Sidney almost choked on the sip of water he’d just taken.
“Excuse me?” he asked.
“Yeah, I mean Sid the Kid doesn’t bring random girls to dinner and then invite them to see where he lives and hang out with his friends. Actually, you’ve never done that.” He groaned.
“I don’t like her. I was just being nice because she’s new to the area and she’s here by herself,” he said defending himself.
“Yeah, okay, sure. That said by the guy who’s wary of every person he meets because he thinks they’re just trying to cash in on him in some way. Face it man, you like her,” Caden scoffed.
“I do not! I just told you she ended a long term relationship recently and isn’t looking for anyone,” Sidney argued.
“If you don’t like her, why do you care if she’s looking for someone or not? Anyway, haven’t you ever heard of being the rebound guy? Great sex, no strings attached.”
“Alright, I’m hanging up now. I’ll see you Saturday.” He could hear Caden laughing as he hung up the phone. He scrolled through his contacts until he found Misty’s number. Then he hit send and waited for her to pick up.
I heard my phone ringing from inside the house. I threw the tennis ball across the backyard for Bauer to chase before running the other direction and into the kitchen. I made it to my phone just before my voicemail picked up.
“Hello?” I answered breathlessly without looking at the caller ID. I hadn’t had time.
“Is this a bad time?” Sidney’s voice asked through the receiver. I laughed.
“No, I was just outside with Bauer and had left my phone inside. I ran to it to get it in time,” I explained.
“Ah, I see. He’s not traumatized after the other day with my friends, is he?” Sidney asked. I laughed again.
“Nah, he’s good. So what’s up?” I figured Sidney hadn’t called to check on Bauer.
“Well, this Saturday there’s a cultural fair in downtown. They shut down all the roads and set up booths from different countries. It’s a one time cover for all the food and drinks you want along with some pretty cool displays and music. I was just wondering if you wanted to join me and the guys,” he offered.
“That sounds great. What time should I show up?”
Sidney told me what time they usually went. We chatted for a few more minutes before hanging up. I smiled as I hung up, glad to have something to do and a few new friends to do it with. I’d enjoyed hanging out with Sid’s friends. I definitely got along better with guys than girls and being the only girl in a group certainly didn’t bother me. I heard a loud bark and realized I’d left Bauer outside.
“Oh, Bauer! I’m sorry!” I called as I went back over to the door.
He was standing there with the tennis ball in his mouth, wagging his tail. I opened the door to let him in, but instead he turned and bolted the other direction. Obviously he wasn’t done chasing the ball. I followed him outside and obliged.
Two days later I woke up, took Bauer for a walk, and then got ready for the fair. When I was finished I walked downtown enjoying the weather as I did. As I got closer I could hear the buzz and smell the different foods. This was definitely the type of thing I loved to do and I got excited the closer I got.
I was a little earlier than Sidney had said to meet him, so I paid my cover and wandered around a bit, just checking everything out. I grabbed a brat with some sauerkraut as I walked past the German section and ate as I meandered along. Just as I was finishing, I spotted Walker ahead of me.
“Walker!” I called, jogging over to him. He turned around towards me.
“Misty, hey!” he greeted with a smile and a hug.
“So this is pretty cool, huh?” I asked looking around me.
“Yeah, we come every year. The food’s awesome and the alcohol’s flowing,” he said. I laughed along with him.
“I already sampled a brat. It was delicious. I figured I’d pass on the beer until it settled in my stomach though.”
“Walker?” I heard a female voice ask. I turned to see a pretty blonde standing there with her arms crossed over her chest and a glare directed straight at me.
“Zara, this is Misty. Misty, this is my girlfriend Zara,” he introduced hurriedly, probably trying to avoid pissing her off. The minute Zara heard my name, her gaze softened and a smile replaced the frown.
“Oh, Misty! You’re the girl Sid’s been talking about. It’s nice to meet you,” she said extending her hand. He'd been talking about me?
“You too. Walker’s talked a bit about you as well,” I told her as I shook her hand.
“Yeah, I bet,” she said with an eye roll and an elbow to Walker’s side. “Sorry about the bitchy attitude when I first came over. I saw the hug and thought some girl was trying to move in on him.”
“No apologies necessary.” As soon as I’d said that I heard a yell and turned to see Caden and Wesley barreling towards me, Sidney following behind. Before I had a chance to react I found myself flung into the air.
“Would you put her down guys?” I heard Sidney say. I laughed as I felt my feet touch the ground again.
“Was that too much?” Wesley asked.
The group laughed and we made our way through the fair. I had just as much fun at the fair as I did on the boat. I enjoyed being around Sidney’s friends more and more. Zara was also really sweet. I knew that we were going to get along really well this summer. At some point Walker and Zara made their way over to see her parents and Caden and Wesley went to refill their beers, leaving Sidney and I alone.
“Are you having a good time?” he asked.
“An amazing time. This is exactly the kind of thing I like to do.”
Just as I finished my sentence I caught my toe on something. I began to plunge forward, face first towards the ground. I closed my eyes and braced myself for the painful impact when I felt two arms grab me at the waist. I opened my eyes to see that there was only about a foot between my face and the pavement.
“Are you okay?” Sidney asked, pulling me up to face him. I just laughed.
“I think I’ve had enough beer for the day,” I joked. He laughed too. I heard a few people applauding and laughing so I turned and gave a bow. “Thank you! I’ll be here all day!” I called out.
“Why don’t we go sit down?” Sidney asked with a chuckle. I agreed and followed him over to a table.
“So, I feel like the last few times we’ve hung out it’s been all about me. I think it’s time to put the spotlight on you. Tell me about yourself.”
“Wow, put me on the spot,” he said with a laugh. “Where do you want me to start?”
“Let’s start with your family. What are they like?” I asked.
“There’s my mom, Trina, and my dad, Troy. They’re still happily married. I have a younger sister, Taylor. She’s about eight years younger than I am. Then there’s Sam, my dog.”
“You have a dog?” I asked. He nodded. “How the hell haven’t you brought that up or why haven’t I seen it?”
“I guess I just never thought to bring her up. She’s at the vet right now. She had surgery to remove a non-cancerous tumor,” he responded.
“Bauer and Sam will have to have a play date. Bauer loves other dogs.” Sidney nodded.
He continued to tell me about his family. It was clear from the way he was talking that they were a close knit group, which was nice. That’s the same way my family was, and I couldn’t imagine it being any other way.
As it started to get dark the fair began to wind down. We all said our goodbyes and I headed home with a promise from Sidney that we’d set up that play date soon. I got home and collapsed in bed, exhausted from the day. As I drifted off to sleep I thought about how lucky I was that I’d fallen in with a pretty great group of people.