On the Rocks

By: Alyssa Rose Ivy

A Mixology Novel



Chapter One


Carly





I’m all about ‘80s Flashback Fridays on radio stations as long as I don’t have to listen. I love music, but the ‘80s is one decade of tunes that needs to be buried—in a deep hole—and covered over. At least that’s how I felt as I sat in traffic while the sun beat down on me through the window.

My Camry is a great car. I love every little thing about it, except for its malfunctioning radio, and said radio’s impeccable timing of getting stuck on a station at the worst moment. That’s how I came to be singing along to Madonna’s Like a Virgin at the top of my lungs with the windows down as I drove into Corolla, North Carolina. I need to amend my earlier statement; there are a few redeemable songs from that decade.

I hadn’t actually told my brother that I was coming to stay with him. That kind of forewarning would have resulted in him trying to dissuade me from visiting. As cool as Colin was, he had a thing about privacy, especially now that he had a serious girlfriend. He’d been home from Paris less than a month, but I knew he was trying to convince Maddy, the girlfriend, to move in. From what I understood she was resisting. Maddy also happened to be one of my favorite people in the world, so I was trying to be Switzerland in the whole situation. Of course her moving in might make it more likely that they’d get married, which would mean I’d see her for the rest of my life. I guess in that way I was kind of biased.

After getting a few stares from pedestrians, I lowered the volume of both my voice and the radio. There was no reason to annoy the neighbors—even if they were mostly tourists.

I pulled into Colin’s driveway, taking in his gorgeous two story beach house. The place wasn’t actually his. His company owned it, but it was still pretty cool.

Nine o’clock at night seemed like a safe time to show up unannounced. It was late enough that even my workaholic brother should have been home, but it was early enough that I wouldn’t interrupt any activities he was having with Maddy. I’d done that before, and Colin was less than thrilled.

Maddy was there. I noticed her bicycle leaning against the garage. I was surprised Colin hadn’t brought it inside. He was very much into keeping the property visually appealing. I know I’m probably painting him in a negative light. I’m not trying to. He’s a great guy, a fantastic brother and all that, but he could be incredibly uptight about some things. Maddy seemed to chill him out and bring out all his good qualities. She needed to stick around. In my defense, I knew he was good for her too. I guess you could say they brought out the best in each other.

I popped the trunk and pulled out a couple of bags. I’d probably over packed, but I didn’t plan to leave for a while. Going home to my parents’ house was out of the question, and now that I had a college diploma, my on-campus apartment was no longer an option. I brought everything I didn’t want to leave in storage. I walked up the steps dragging an oversized duffel and a large rolling suitcase. By the time I reached the top stair I regretted the decision to drag them up myself. Colin could have lifted them and saved me the effort.

I took a deep breath and readied myself before knocking.

The door opened, and Maddy pulled me into a huge hug. “Carly!”

“Hey!” I shared her enthusiasm. I was probably even more excited to see her than I was to see my brother.

Maddy opened the door wider and picked up the duffel. I’d taken two steps into the entryway when Colin walked down the hall.

“Carly?” Wearing only jeans and with wet hair, Colin’s appearance made me doubt my timing analysis. But then again Maddy’s hair was completely dry. Maybe he’d just taken a post-work shower.

“Hey, brother.” I dropped the handle to my suitcase and hugged him before he could respond.

“Uh, why are you in my front hall with all of your belongings?” He looked around the entryway like the walls might provide him with an answer.

“You think this is all my stuff? You did live with me for fourteen years of your life.”

Maddy laughed. “Are you in town for awhile? When we saw you at graduation you said you were planning to stay around campus for the summer.”

“Yeah. Change of plans.” The staying around idea had sounded good until my friend who was supposed to be splitting the rent in an apartment went and got engaged. The trials of being a single twenty-something.

“So you’re here for a few days then?” Colin’s voice lilted a little. He was afraid of my answer.

“Maybe a week—or a month or something.”

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