32, 33, 34… I counted the number of push-ups I was doing, as my workout playlist blasted through my stereo speakers. I loved working out, so on weekends when my parents weren't home, I would turn up the music and the whole house would be my personal gym. 41, 42, 43…
Suddenly, my counting was interrupted by the familiar ring tone from my cell phone. Ari.
"Hello?" I answered, slightly out of breath.
"Addie!" She shouted so loud that I almost dropped the phone. "You have to see this! Come to my house right now!"
"Ari, I'm all sweaty and gross right now. How important is this surprise?"
"Very, very important! Tell you what – don't change out of your workout clothes. We'll go to the gym right after I show you this."
I raised my eyebrows in disbelief. "Seriously? You hate exercising. Wow this must be really important, huh?"
"It is! Now, hurry! Be here within 10 minutes, okay?" Before I could answer, she cheered. "Yay! Great! See you soon, Ad. Bye!" And with that, she hung up and left me staring at the phone in confusion. I shrugged and grabbed my gym bag, heading to my car.
This better be a good surprise.
"You can't be serious," I said to Ari, who was crouched down next to me by her bedroom window.
"Dead serious," she responded with a straight face.
"Let me get this straight – You called me over to spy on your neighbor, while he mowed his lawn."
"My extremely hot neighbor." She pointed out.
"So, we are spying on him," I confirmed.
"Addie, just look at him! He's shirtless." She peered over the windowsill dreamingly.
"Ari, you have a boyfriend." I reminded her.
"So? Nate has a girlfriend. You don't see him complaining."
"That hot, shirtless god over there." She looked out the window again, pulling out her binoculars to get a better look at her neighbor's well-defined abs.
"Does he know that you spy on him every time he mows the lawn?"
She waved me off and said, "I'm sure he wouldn't mind."
"I bet his girlfriend would mind." I suggested, as I sat on her bed and texted my mom, letting her know that I was heading to the gym with Ari.
"Nah, I don't think so." She said, looking back at me for a quick second before looking out the window again. "I ran into her at the grocery store once. She's really cool." She gasped and yelled to her neighbor, who obviously couldn't hear her. "No, don't go back inside! You probably missed a patch of grass somewhere! Go check it again! Come back, Nate!" Suddenly, she quickly fell on the floor, panic written all over her face. "Shit, he almost saw me. That was a close one."
"You're seriously creeping me out right now." I stood up and fixed my shirt. "Ready to go to the gym?"
She pouted, clearly forgotten about her bargain with me. "Fine. A deal is a deal. Give me a few minutes to get ready." I nodded, as she picked out a few options of workout clothes.
I sat in her kitchen, drinking a cup of coffee as I waited for Ari to get ready for the gym. Who in the world takes forty minutes to change into a t-shirt and shorts?
"ADDIE!" Ari shrieked from behind me. Startled, I spilled coffee all over my t-shirt. "Help me!"
I turned around to see Ari in workout clothes, with her hair and makeup nicely done. "Ari, why are you wearing makeup and curling your hair? We're just going to the gym." I pointed out.
"What if there are cute guys at the gym?" She offered, leading me to her bathroom and handing me her curling iron. "Can you help me curl the remaining straight strands? I can't see the back of my head."
I sighed and gave in. "Sure." I quickly curled her hair and finished within three minutes. "Alright, let's go."
"Wow, that was fast!" She pointed to her door and theatrically sang, "To the gym!"
The gym was packed with middle-aged men who were trying to get their bodies back into shape, and the football team from school. Since I had a sports bra underneath, I took off my coffee stained t-shirt, and a middle-aged man immediately whistled at me.
"She's only sixteen, you pedophile!" Ari yelled, which caused some heads to turn our way. I laughed at Ari's outburst. She may be crazy sometimes, but she was always looking out for you.
"Hey," I said to Ari, as she fixed her lipstick in her compact mirror. "I'm going to head to the weights."
"Okay, have fun! Let me know if you meet any cute guys!" She waved, as I laughed and walked away.
As I reached for a ten-pound dumbbell, 'an older than middle-aged' man with more gray hairs than I could count, walked up to me and said, "What's a pretty girl like you doing here at the gym all by herself?"
Before I could say anything, a deep voice from behind me answered, "How about you get lost?"
The man scoffed and angrily spat, "Is that any way to talk to someone who's older than you, kid?"
"Oh, I'm sorry. What I meant to say was – How about you get lost, sir?" I laughed at his retort, and the man angrily glared at me, before walking away.
I turned around to thank the person who helped me, and was greeted with gorgeous ocean, blue eyes. His eyes weren't as amazing as Tyler's golden- Hazel eyes, but they were still a sight to see. He was pretty tall, with dirty blonde hair and a cute smile. He looked to be around my age, or maybe a year older. "Hey," he said. "You okay?"
I nodded and answered, "Yeah, thanks."
He flashed me a perfect smile and offered me his hand, as he introduced himself. "I'm Wal."
Wal. Why does that name sound so familiar?
Then suddenly, realization hit me. "Did you give me a letter last week?" I asked, hoping that I didn't sound too straightforward.
He chuckled and nervously scratched the back of his neck. "Guilty. So I take it as you wouldn't want to go out with me?"
I gave him a soft smile and shook my head. "I'm sorry, I'm not really looking for a relationship right now."
Plus, I think I have a crush Tyler already, I thought to myself.
I wasn't exactly sure if it was considered a crush or not, but every time I saw Tyler, a little bit of the past would come rushing back to me. Every time his name was mentioned, I would smile uncontrollably. But, why? Did I really have a crush on him, or was it a reminder of the past?
"Could we be friends then?" Wal asked, snapping me out of my train of thought.
"Sure," I agreed. "I'd like that."
Hi, Seashells! So on my previous chapters, I asked if you guys could help me think of any creative nicknames for my readers. But sadly, I did not receive as many entries as I hoped I would. So, I picked my favorite out of the options I got from you guys, and "Seashells" was my absolute favorite. I was going to spell it like "seaCHELLES," but I didn't like the way it looked, so I just decided on the original spelling. What do you guys think of your nickname? Is it cute, fun, should I keep it? Or would you guys rather be called "readers" instead?
Special thanks to those who reviewed my last chapter – AndreaAutumn, Nadezzhda, & ChristinaLahey. You guys are amazing, and always inspire me to keep on writing. Keep on reading! xoxo, Chelly