I was letting my mind wander while my dad and I carried some of the coolers filled with sodas, juice, water, and beer outside. It was too damned hot for my tastes, but at least it wasn’t raining. My dad jarred me out of my daydream when he spoke. “Blake should be home today, shouldn’t he?”
I nodded. “Yeah, his e-mail said he should be here sometime today, depending on how much traffic he hits.” I was still trying to decide whether or not that was a good thing.
Dad stretched after setting down the cooler. “Is he going to come to the party?” Every year for the Fourth of July, my parents threw a big neighborhood party. They went all out for it—fireworks, bonfires, barbequing, the works. We lived in a fairly high class neighborhood, so it gave most of the neighbors a chance to relax and basically just get drunk. Most of our family came to it as well. My brother and I got to see aunts, uncles, and cousins that we only saw a few times a year.
I shrugged, trying to act like it wasn’t a big deal. “I dunno, he might wanna spend his first day back with his parents.”
“I hope he comes, it wouldn’t be the same without him here,” Dad said as we went back inside for more things to bring out.
I was rolling around in the grass, wrestling with my younger cousins, when I spotted him. I stopped almost instantly, giving one cousin the chance to escape from my grasp. My heart was thundering in my chest. He’s here, I thought. I was about to yell out to him when I felt three bodies jump on me, squishing me against the freshly cut lawn.
After giving up and pronouncing my cousins the winners, I stood and dusted the dirt off my clothes. Blake Pruse was leaning against the wooden fence talking with my brother. Blake was my best friend—the best friend I had kissed last fall before he left for college.
As I watched them talk, I realized just how much Blake had actually changed over the past couple of years. The glasses people said made him look like Harry Potter were gone, replaced by contacts that showcased his brown eyes. His usually curly brown hair was cropped short, not much longer than a buzz cut. He was no longer the lanky teen I'd had a crush on while we were growing up. Now he was a tall, muscular college student—one that I was hopelessly in love with.
I glanced down at my clothing, making sure I looked presentable before walking over. I heard Blake’s laughter as I neared him. I was only a couple of feet away when he looked up and saw me. A grin spread on his face. “Hey, Cam!”
My brother turned and grinned at me too. “Hey, Cameron, look who finally came home.” My brother Devin was in the middle of flipping burgers—Dad had pronounced him old enough to be the grill master today. Which basically meant Dad was tired of doing it and wanted to spend the day drinking. Devin was even wearing one of those tacky barbeque aprons.
“’Bout time you came back here.” I walked over and hugged Blake. “How’s school out in Seattle?”
“Pretty good, but I really miss the nice Florida sun. And I missed all my friends.”
I grinned at him. “I missed you too.” Part of me wanted to run the other way, afraid he would bring up the kiss. The other part of me wanted to close the short distance between us and kiss him again.