“Life on the West Coast gets even hotter than the weather for Erika Reine Des Sorts.
Once a well-connected East Coast socialite, Erika is sent with her mother to finish her final year of school on the outskirts of Santa Barbara.
Leaving her “old money” lifestyle behind and starting over in the town where her mother grew up, Erika is rebuffed 21qby everyone she meets until she finds acceptance with an elite group with a special secret – and a gorgeous guy who will change her life forever.”
Not on Wattpad? Chapter II Transcript:
The coffee shop isn’t as dead as the library was but still, there aren’t many people here. A pretty blonde barista is waiting at the counter. I guess I’ll go with my usual order and see what happens.
“Welcome to Whole Latte Love where we give you every inch of our foam,” she says in a blase monotone that clearly indicates she’s sick of this low-rent Led Zeppelin joke.
I ignore the joke to spare her the humiliation of conversing about it with yet another new customer.
“I’ll take a large non-fat latte with caramel drizzle please.”
She gives me an odd look – maybe my order isn’t typical for Santa Barbarans? She takes my twenty and gives me my change. She stamps a loyalty card with a picture of Robert Plant from his navel to mid thigh showing off his signature tight rock-star pants. The card reads, “Keep it cooling baby – buy six hot and redeem for one iced.”
“First and last name?” while grabbing a sharpie to write on my cup.
“My full name for a latte order, really?”
“Really. What if the next customer has a similar name?” she looks at me expectantly.
I look around and there is no one else in line, no cars have pulled up.
“I’m your only customer.”
She stares back at me uncomfortably.
Finally I give up and relent. Here goes – it’s all going to get weird now.
“Erika Reine Des Sorts.|”
Her eyes dart away quickly and she writes my name on the cup with a shaky hand. She bumps into the counter behind her and knocks over a tower of cups, catching them before they hit the floor. She rushes off to make my drink. Another weirdo, I’m sure school is going to be really horrorshow good tomorrow.
By the time my drink is ready I’ve been stewing in my irritation. Completely unaware of my surroundings. I snatch the cup from the counter and quickly turn to exit the shop… and walk directly into the most impressive male chest I’ve ever seen.
His perfect chest is visible beneath a thin, tight cotton t-shirt. A white shirt – that now has a large brown stain on it with a side of caramel drizzle.
“Hey!” he exclaims, stepping back from where I collided with him.
“Oh my god, shit! I’m so sorry, let me help you.”
He pulls his shirt away from his body while I pointlessly dab at the latte with the coffee shop’s cheap napkins.
“God, I’m so sorry! I didn’t know you were behind me, I thought there wasn’t anyone else in line!”
Why does he look so amused? He thinks this is funny? I’m out a latte and I totally could have burned his… wow… perfect pecs…
He’s stopped trying to deal with the coffee mess now, and like a dance partner he moves me enough to pass by and re-orders my drink while placing an order for himself. The barista appears to know him and gives him a disapproving look which he ignores.
“Why are you buying me a drink when I bumped into you?”
“It’s the least I can do, I was standing way too close to you, I apologize.” he doesn’t seem embarrassed by his his revelation that he had apparently invaded my personal space.
“Since I wasn’t paying attention maybe you should define “way too close” for me so that I can judge for myself?”
“You have a cute little freckle shaped like a heart on your right shoulder and your shampoo smells like coconuts.”
He’s smug and I should find it creepy but this is the most positive attention I’ve had since I got here so I’m kind of enjoying it.
“That close.” Ok how did I not notice a guy leering behind me, I should have known someone was that close to me.
“You really don’t have to buy me a drink, er…”
“Morgan, you don’t have to buy me a new drink – honestly, I’m accident-prone and I’ve ruined your shirt.”
“I won’t take no for an answer,” he pauses and gestures that it’s my turn to cough up a name.
“I won’t take no for an answer Erika. So deal with it.” he says playfully.
I pick up my book bag and take it to the nearest table. Morgan slides into the seat across from me so I sit down.
“You’re new here Erika. I’ve never seen you before.” he says it like he’s found a delicious new treat and his golden brown eyes hold a palpable spark.
“I am, I just moved here from Massachusetts.”
“Massachusetts. How are you liking the West Coast?”
“I’m an East Coast girl, born and raised in Salem. I’m not used to ditching my clothes and dealing with heat like this.”
“If it’s any consolation, I personally thank you for ditching your clothes.” he teases.
Wow, he’s pushing all of my buttons but I don’t want him to see that he’s turning me on, I’ll look away and change the subject. Must – be – cool.
“I see you like it here that much.” he says.
He thinks I’m uncomfortable for other reasons, perfect!
“So far everyone I’ve encountered here seems to be a bit of an asshole to be honest.”
“People here can be hard to get to know but most of them are actually really kind.” Morgan looks serious now, he seems to actually care that I’ve had such a cold reception – interesting.
“Since you’re the first one I’ve met I’m not really buying that – but ok. By the way, I really am sorry for ruining your shirt – even if you were breathing down my neck like a creepy serial killer.”
“I’m not a creep I just appreciate exquisite things and I like to be close to them.”
I’ve barely noticed that he’s moved forward to be close enough to my face to kiss it – this guy must be some kind of player, he really knows how to pick up a girl.
The barista interrupts by calling Morgan to come and get his order. He breaks our intense energy lock and gets up to fetch our drinks. I’d better get up and get out of here, I’ve got to get the car back to mom so that she can make it to her meeting with the realtor.
Morgan walks back and hands me a fresh latte, then sets his on the table and hands me a sharpie that he must have borrowed from the barista.
“Go ahead, my canvas awaits your digits.” he holds out his forearm. “I promise to give you my most impressive tour of the school tomorrow.”
“How do you know I’m going to your school?”
“We’ve only got one school Massachusetts.”
He smells delicious. I ignore his arm, lift his shirt and boldly write my number backwards across his abs so he will be able to see it in the mirror. Touching him is just as delicious as smelling him.
I give him back the sharpie and head towards the door, but before I open it I turn back to look at his ruined shirt and I shake my head.
“Thank you for the latte.”
“See you tomorrow Erika – now that I’ve got your number I’ll find you.”
Does he mean that he’s going to hack some gps system and literally find me? I’m being paranoid.
“See you tomorrow Morgan.”
Slowest. Drive. Ever.
It took twice the time than usual to get home because I was stuck behind someone who drove really slow. Mom left to see the realtor and has yoga class after that so it’s the perfect quiet time for getting lost in one of the cool books I found today.
Time will fly by and when she gets home she’ll come see me.
How long have I been reading? According to my cell phone, it’s been two and a half hours.
“How did it go today at the library? You got home so close to when I had to leave that we didn’t have a chance to catch up.” Mom leans against the door frame with one arm, she looks exhausted from her day cleaning out the attic.
“Mom I can’t believe you grew up here, you’re nothing like these people. The only friendly person I’ve met so far walked out of a coffee shop covered in my latte today.”
“What are you talking about Erika? You spilled coffee on someone?”
“Yes. He goes to my school, I walked into him and lost my drink all over his white shirt.”
“Ah I see.” She nods. “You know, accidents happen sweetie, but I think I understand what the real problem here. You’re nervous about school tomorrow and now you think you’ve embarrassed yourself in front of someone you will see at school. I get it.”
“Well it’s a legitimate concern isn’t it?”
“You should be excited for your final year. I know that I can’t wait to see my girl graduate!”
“Mom I miss my friends, I miss home – I miss layers. I enjoy layering clothes Mom, I feel naked here and despite the shedding of multiple items of clothing I’m still all sweaty and hot.”
“Erika, eventually you’re going to find a way to deal with that and you’ll love it here, I promise.”
“Why do I feel like you’re hiding something behind that sales pitch?”
“I’m not hiding anything. You’re my daughter, you belong here just as much as you belong back home – because you are a part of me, this was once my home and I am of this place.”
“I guess I have to take your word for it and wait and see – but I don’t have to like it.”
She tugs on my elbow and tries to get me to soften up but I’m keeping my arms crossed. I know she hates crossed arms so let her suffer the irritation.
“Alright, it’s late. Get some rest babe, I’ll drop you off in the morning.” She sighs as she gets up to leave the room.
She stops at the door and turns back, “It might be nice to get to know a bit more about my family don’t you think? I know you have questions about your grandparents.” she pauses but my interest is captured and now she has my full attention.
“Anyway, I will try to give you some of the answers you are looking for while we are here but you’ve got to let me do it my way. Goodnight.”
“Ok mom, I’ll try patience. Night.”
She closes the door and I get up to draw the curtains to my window.
I wonder what’s going on across the street, it looks like I can see a guy digging a hole in the yard. But it’s the middle of the night – who digs a hole in the middle of the night? I’ve got binoculars, I want a closer look.
“Ok neighbour, are you digging something up – or burying something?”
It is definitely a man. Suddenly he turns his face towards my window – almost as if he knows I’m here. I duck down quickly and crouch below the window.
“What the heck is he doing out there. He almost looked like…”
Wow my heart is racing, it’s like a raging thunderstorm in my chest. Despite my fear, I’ve got to know what’s going on.
The man is gone now and there is nobody outside. I can’t see what the ground looks like because of the darkness. Shit! I’m not going to be able to sleep now, I’ve got to go down and look for myself. I’ve always been an adventurer and a bit of a detective.
I’m definitely not getting dressed to do this, I’ll just toss a sweater over my pajamas and wear my Uggs.
The neighbour’s lawn is perfect, no sign of a disturbance. The night is cool, but it reminds me of home in early fall and it’s nice. I’ve scoured the ground and there really is no trace of anyone messing with the spot – was I imagining the entire thing? I mean, I thought it looked like…
What the hell was that! It sounded like someone (or something) growling my name from the darkness in my yard across the street.
Just what I need right now, a psychotic break. Before I go back – towards the sound of danger – I’m going to turn around and – walk right into the same chest I did before – right down to the t-shirt (though this one is free of the big brown coffee stain).
“Massachusetts what are you doing here?” he says with surprise.
“Morgan? What are you doing here!”
The growling starts again, this time it sounds angry.
I feel light-headed, I think I’m going to fall over. I can feel something pushing me towards him, and I know that I’m going to fall right into his arms.
Suddenly I feel pain in the back of my head, everything fades to black as I feel Morgan’s strong arms reach around to save me from falling.