Where Sea Meets Sky(4)

By: Karina Halle



I laugh. “Really? Why? You a fan of Anne of Green Gables?”

In the dark, it’s hard to tell if she’s blushing. “Actually, yes.”

“That’s cute.”

“Shut up.” But she’s smiling and brushing her hair off her shoulder. “Anyway, work was hard to find there. I guess all the summer jobs were filled, so after a while I had to move on. Went to Nova Scotia, Quebec, Toronto.” I scrunch my nose at the last city and she rolls her eyes. “Yeah, yeah, you guys with your rivalry. Then I went down into the States for a few months. Boston, New York. Flew to New Orleans, drove through the Southwest, then onto California. Disneyland.” Her eyes light up at that one. “San Francisco. Took a backpacker bus up the Oregon coast, spent some time in Seattle, and now I’m here, flying out tomorrow.”

“And you did all of this by yourself?” I ask incredulously.

She purses her lips and nods. “Yeah. Why not?”

“You sound a lot like my sister,” I say.

She frowns. “That’s not exactly what you want to hear from someone you find attractive.”

I stare at her for a few beats, making sure I heard that right. I try not to grin, but I can’t help it.

“Attractive?” I repeat.

“Oh, I’ve gone and given you a big ego, haven’t I?”

“Sweetheart, I already had a big ego,” I admit, still smiling. “And I don’t mean I think you’re just like my sister, Vera. It’s just that she went overseas to Europe last year—Spain, actually—by herself and now she’s living there. It’s just . . .” I try and think of the word, “brave, that’s all. Everyone else I know goes and travels in groups and pairs.”

She shrugs. “People can be a pain in the ass.”

I nod. “True. But I think it takes some sort of courage to go overseas alone. Don’t you get lonely?”

For a moment, I swear she looks lonely. Then it’s gone and her expression is blasé. “Not really. I like my own company and I meet heaps of people this way, people I probably wouldn’t have met if I were traveling with someone. Sometimes you . . . wish certain people were around, and sometimes you wish you could share a moment or two with someone else, but fuck, that’s what Instagram is for.”

I raise my beer at her. “Well, let me just tell you that I think you’re a pretty awesome woman, Gemma.”

She raises her brow and her bottle at the same time. “Woman? Not chick, not girl?”

“You’re all woman to me, as far as I can see,” I say.

She clinks her bottle against mine. “It’s the tits, isn’t it?”

My eyes drift over her. “It’s a lot of things.” The truth is, I’m torn between wanting to tear her clothes off and fuck her senseless or wanting to sit somewhere quiet and talk to her the whole night. It’s a curious war I’m fighting, but I’d be happy with either victory.

“So, you,” she says, turning around so she’s leaning back on her elbows, one boot kicked up onto the other, “tell me about Josh. All I know is you have a sister called Vera who lives in Spain, you watch Futurama and Game of Thrones, and you have a big ego and a nice dick.”

I choke on my beer and quickly wipe my mouth. “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Who told you about the dick?”

She takes a polite sip of her drink, her eyes playful. “You did earlier. You said it was a Canadian thing.”

“Right,” I say, quickly recovering. “Well, that’s where the ego comes from.”

“Uh-huh,” she says. “And what do you do? You know, work-wise?”

My smile falters. This part is where I kind of suck at life. A big dick can only get you so far. “Oh, I just kinda work. Jobs.”

“Oh, jobs,” she says. “I’ve heard of those.”

I sigh inwardly. “I’m a line cook at a restaurant.”

She cocks her head. “Oh, so you want to be a chef?”

“Not really,” I say, but what I mean to say is not at all. “It’s just something that pays the bills.” The minute I say that, it’s like I’m lying, because while I do pay rent, I pay it to my mother and it’s nowhere near as much as what most people pay. The dirty truth is, I live at home and there’s no woman alive who finds that sexy.

“So then what do you like to do, if that’s not it?”

Here’s the thing. On the surface, Joshua Miles is a charmer. I’m tall, have a good body, nice tats, and a dick that I know how to use. I can be shameless but funny enough, which usually works to my advantage with the ladies. But aside from the fact that I work as a line cook and I live at home, I’m also an aspiring artist. A graphic artist. I mean, my dream job is to either work for a place like Marvel or DC illustrating their comic books and graphic novels, or to just create my own one day. But the moment you tell a girl that you like to draw comic books, they look at you like you just took a shit in front of them.

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