I heard a scream downstairs, one I knew came from Breanna. I ran down and barely avoided tripping over myself. “I’m here; what happened?” I yelled.
Breanna covered her mouth and tried to breathe but her rhythm was off. Mom came into the living room and looked at us both, wondering what was going on with her.
Breanna opened the front door, pulling it open as far as it could swing. I gasped as Jake walked through the door, dropping his bags. “I’m home!”
Mom hurried to hug him, not giving us a chance to welcome him.
Once they pulled apart, Breanna took her turn and hugged him as tight as a bear could hug. It was so good to see my brother come home. It was just the timing I needed.
When they ended the long embrace, Jake turned to face me. “Milli.”
“Jakey.” I smiled a bit.
He chuckled. “I told you to not call me that.”
“I think it suits you.” I puffed out my chest.
Jake came over and wrapped his arms around me. “I missed you.”
“I missed you, too.” I buried my head in his chest, taking in the familiar warmth. I hadn’t seen him since last year, during the holidays. It had been too long.
“I can’t believe you’re so close to the end of high school. You’re the baby of the family. This is it.” Jake looked at me.
I laughed a little. “Of course. I’m so close. I can’t wait to be done with school.”
Breanna nodded from behind Jake. “She’s putting up with this boy who’s very attractive. And I’m not sure why she hates him so much. He’s very nice to be around.”
“That’s because you only see the side he lets you see.” I narrowed my eyes at her.
Jake looked at me. “You have a crush?”
“No.” I crossed my arms. “He’s got the eyes. And he has a great smile. However, this isn’t a crush. I very much hate being around him. I have to tutor him. He’s everywhere. He made a rude joke about my period and he even offered me a job at Playboy.” I scoffed.
Jake choked on air. “What? Uh... You turned that down, right?”
I lifted my eyes to meet his, smirking. This was a cute little game. “Who says I did? I’m about to turn eighteen. Ezra saw the potential in me. Clearly, I have the body for it.” I gestured my hands down my body.
Mom stepped in, ruining my whole plan. “Yes, she turned it down. She’s a smart girl. Now, come on.” She led Jake to the kitchen for a snack.
“You forgot to mention the part where you’re making Ezra fall in love with you.” Breanna put all her weight on one leg with her arms folded across her chest. Her eyes were glued on our brother.
The food Mom put out for him looking delicious. “I also forgot to mention how I’m falling for Ezra.”
Breanna covered her mouth. She ran to me and pushed me into the hallway. “Whoa, whoa. You said what?”
I rubbed my face, trying to wipe away the words that I said. It wasn’t working. “I’m in big trouble, aren’t I?”
She nodded and patted my back. “You are in big trouble.”
“I’m going to lose this. I’m going to lose.” I threw my arms up. “I’m like a drowning fish.”
“Fish can’t drown,” Breanna pointed out.
“I still feel like I’m drowning when I can’t. That’s my entire point. I’m falling for Ezra Ramirez. This is Ezra, Breanna. He’s supposed to be the boy that annoys me. Now here we are, falling for the wrong person. Oh shit...” I covered my mouth. “I’m not only falling for Ezra, but I’m also falling for someone who’s bad for me. He’s not a good match. He likes naked bodies and I am not about that.” I shook my head a lot. “This wasn’t supposed to happen.” I ran my fingers through my hair.
She sighed. “What are you going on about now?”
I leaned against the wall, putting my head against it. “We had a whole talk about our future and how we aren’t changing our paths when we are and since we’re soulmates, I can’t seem to stop it. I can’t change my path.”
“Hey, fish, you can’t drown. You’ll live.” Breanna smiled and left the hallway.
I grumbled and walked to the kitchen.
Jake was scarfing down the food as usual. Was I surprised? No. He had always been a big eater.
“Want some?” he asked. Shaking my head, I grabbed something else instead. It was much more refreshing to eat something that hadn’t been touched by my brother’s grubby hands.
“What shall we do to celebrate my great return?” Jake twirled, throwing another cracker in his mouth.
Breanna grabbed a cracker and ate it. “What is there to do? Amelia already went to the Santa Monica Pier with Kayleigh.”
“You went without me?” Jake dropped his jaw, his food still in his mouth.
I covered my eyes, shaking my head. “Close your mouth. You’re disgusting. You weren’t here. I didn’t know when you were coming back.”
Jake put his hands flat against the countertop. “We must do something fun. I didn’t come home to be bored out of my mind.”
I looked over at Breanna. “That’s your choice. You must know.”
“I’d suggest Disneyland or Universal but we can’t afford it.” She tapped her chin.
“Why don’t we go walk downtown and go to the movies? Or we can eat out? Or just walk around and look at things?” I suggested.
Mom put her arms around Jake and I. “You three are nearly broke. Good luck going anywhere without money. I am not lending you a penny.”
I grumbled. “Fine.”
“So we can’t do anything that involves money which rules out literally everything. We are going to die here.” Breanna sat on the couch and sighed.
Jake looked out of the window. “I mean, there is one thing that is free. The beach.”
I rubbed my eyes. “He’s right. It costs nothing to swim in a free body of water. Let’s get ready and go.” I ran upstairs and picked out a swimsuit. I put a shirt and shorts on over it. I put my sandals on and put a towel over my shoulder. I hurried downstairs. “Where’s Breanna?”
“Getting ready?” Jake lifted an eyebrow.
I shook my head. “Damnit. She takes a million years. Breanna, we are going to the beach, not a beauty contest!” I yelled up the stairs. Facing Jake, I put my hands on my hips. “I don’t know why she does this. Who wears makeup to go swimming?”
“The same person who showers before swimming.” He pointed up the stairs as we heard the shower start.
My groans filled the living room. “We are never getting out of here.”
After waiting for what seemed like an hour, Breanna finished and ran down the stairs. “I made my swimsuit.” She showed us her light pink bikini top and matching high-waisted bottoms.
“Great, let’s go!” I grabbed her wrist.
She sighed and put her dress on over it. “Whatever.”
The three of us drove in Breanna’s car to the beach, which was just as crowded as usual. I walked down the sand and put my towel down. “The water will be cold for you but I’ve already gotten used to it.” I dropped my shorts and pulled off my shirt. I used my toes to push off my sandals. I ran into the water and screamed. “It’s cold!”
Breanna and Jake laughed, not missing a beat.
I shook my head. I would never win with these two. I was always going to be the baby.
“Mel!” a voice called. There was only one person who called me that.
Ezra jogged over and smiled, blocking my view. “Fancy seeing you here.”
“What do you want, Edward Cullen?” I crossed my arms. “I’m here to enjoy my day. I don’t need you ruining it.”
Breanna hurried to my side. “Ezra, hi.” She smiled. Ew, what was she doing?
“Ah, yes, Breanna. Nice seeing you again.” He shook her hand but she pulled him into a hug.
“We are closer than that by now,” she said.
Jake came over to us and eyed Ezra. I didn’t blame him. Ezra was a threat to him. He had won the hearts of Breanna and I. Well, almost. It was hard not to want to be in his arms, especially when he was not wearing a shirt.
Breanna pulled away and cleared her throat. “So, Ezra, how goes it?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “Same as you. I’m here to enjoy the beach. Who’s this? Is this your brother?” He turned his attention towards Jake.
Jake put out his hand and shook it. “Jake. You must be Ezra?”
Ezra smiled, lifting his shoulders and hands. “The one and only.”
I hit his harm. “Plenty of Ezra’s exist. You’re not so special.”
He leaned closer, whispering, “But I am special to you, am I not, Amor?”
A blush rose to my cheeks. He couldn’t have known I was falling for him. “I’m special to you; I know that much.”
He pulled me into the water. “Have some fun.”
“I was having fun before you showed up.” I rolled my eyes. “Be careful. Jake is the oldest of us and he won’t stand for your pervertedness. I won’t stand for it either.”
He chuckled. “He seems to be handling it well.” He pointed to Jake, who was standing next to Breanna and watching us. He wasn’t even giving Ezra a death stare. He was just watching as if Ezra was Kayleigh.
“Ignore him.” I pushed Ezra into the water.
He went down and sat up, looking at me. “I see how you want to play.” He used his foot to trip me and I fell into the water, on top of him. Here we were again. I couldn’t believe he would do this. I knew I was going to win this bet with no issues.
“You can’t seem to get enough of me.” I smirked at him. “Is Ezra...possibly in love?”
He scoffed. “I could say the same about you.” He pushed me off and into the water. I sat up, in the sand. He stood up. “Every woman wants me. Even your sister can’t keep her hands off.”
I looked at Breanna. “She’s just crazy. I do not want you. I want you to leave me alone. I would never be sad if you disappeared from my life.”
“I beg to differ.” He leaned down. I begged to differ, too. I knew my words were lies. I would miss his jokes and stupid remarks. I just couldn’t let him know this. He didn’t deserve the upper hand.
I stood up and crossed my arms. “And you will beg, beg for me to kiss you but it will never come.”
“Aw, so cute. You dream of kissing me.” He booped my nose.
The waves rolled against our ankles while neither of us said anything else on that subject. I had no comeback to what he had said. I hated it when this happened. Eventually, it would come to me long after this was over. That was how it worked every single time.
Jake and Breanna joined us both. I was happier they were here so Ezra had to cool his jets.
“Ezra, how is it working for Playboy?” Jake asked.
Ezra looked at him. “It’s cool. Did you want me to get you a job?”
Jake laughed. “No. I’m good, thanks.” He walked into the water some more.
I glanced at Breanna and shook my head. No. No, this couldn’t be happening. This was ridiculous. Everyone in my life liked Ezra more than I did. How could he be such a likable person? This didn’t make any sense. He was the most obnoxious person ever.
“Mel, come on!” Ezra waved me in deeper. Breanna and Jake were already swimming with him.
On the bright side, our soulmated hearts wouldn’t suffer any damage since everyone in my life already accepted him.