Rewind to You
By: Laura Johnston
Sept 15th, 2014
WISH YOU WERE HERE
One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.
But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.
When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…
“Can you hear me?” someone asks. I feel a hand on my shoulder and another one cradling my head. I open my eyes, totally confused as the blurry outline of a figure bent over me comes into view. And the baseball cap.
“Hey, there you are,” whoever is holding me says, his voice lowering into a tone of relief. With a twinge in my heart, I realize it isn’t my dad. My balance stabilizes, my body grounded again in reality. Besides a pounding headache, I’m pain-free. My shin is fine.
“Ugh.” An ugly-sounding something stumbles from my lips as the nausea dissipates. I blink, remembering that I need to get home. I try to push myself into a sitting position, but before I can, he scoops me off the ground. Startled, I reach for his shoulders for balance. And oh my. Something about the muscles beneath my fingertips makes me draw back and then wish I hadn’t.
I open my mouth to assure him I can walk, but I glimpse his sharp jaw and strong chin, and the connection between my mind and my mouth floats away. My eyes travel over his lips and then to his eyes, and my heart freaks out. Skips a beat. The most impossibly blue eyes I’ve ever seen stare back into mine, and I lose not only my train of thought but all control of my gaping eyes as well.
One side of his mouth pulls into something of a grin, his face inches from mine. His eyes trace the outline of my forehead down to my chin and linger on my lips. Then his gaze meets mine again. He raises a brow. “Are you all right?”
“Y-y-yes.” My voice comes out like a frog’s croak. “Fine. Thanks.”
“Mm-hm.” Another attempt to steady my voice. I try to get my flirt on, flashing a smile as I assure him, “The ground can walk just fine.”
That puts a smile on his face.
“I mean, I can walk just fine. On the ground. You can set me down.” I bite my tongue before I do more damage.
“Right,” he says doubtfully. Something in the way he holds me, the brazen expression on his face as he looks into my eyes, tells me I should be careful.
“I’m good. I promise.”
He sets me down at last. Now that I’m out of his arms and can think straight, I finally get a rational look at him. Dark hair, only visible around the edge of his baseball cap. Thick hair. Total girl magnet. He’s at least six inches taller than my five foot seven. All right, even out of his arms, my heart rattles around so fast I fear another blackout, or whatever just happened.
He watches me as I wobble. “You gonna be okay?”
I nod, even though I feel like a ballerina who rolled off a stage.“Where did those, um, those—”
“Those losers?” he asks.
He smiles. “They bailed.”
No wonder. Another glance at his—ahem—intimidating physique, and I decide I don’t blame them. He’s hot, okay, hotter than any guy has a right to be. And unfortunately, it’s impossible for him not to know that. He’s one of those kind. He even looks amused, as though he’s reading my fascination from my face. Meanwhile, I can’t do anything but stare into his blue eyes, feeling like a dental patient after a heavy dose of laughing gas.
I run a hand through my hair, suddenly reminded of the bird poop in there. And the gum on my shoe. This keeps getting better.
Then I flinch when I spot a swarm of gnats by my head, and one flies into my eye.
“What the—” I mutter.
“You okay?” he asks. Again.
“Yeah,” I lie, bending over and blinking. And stepping right into the puddle of mud behind me. Sound advice to myself: Leave now!
Reminding myself I have a plan—buy Lucky Charms and head home—I let my one bug-free eye jump between this cute guy and the display of fireworks behind me, gearing up to leave. I always have a
plan, my life a programmed route from A to B. It’s safe, predictable. Maybe that’s why I haven’t budged.
“Thanks,” I say, and turn to leave for real this time, but not without sneaking one last glance at his gorgeous face. My stomach somersaults when I catch his eyes on me. Fixed on me. And not in a you-are-a-ditzy-klutz-who-won’t-make-it-off-of-River-Street-alive kind of way. Like, in a good way. His stare glues my feet to the ground, holding me near. Blood rushes to my cheeks and I smile, despite myself.
He extends a hand with an unbearably charming smile, probably
practiced. “I’m Austin.”
Laura Johnston lives in sunny Arizona with her husband and two children.
Growing up in Orem, Utah with five siblings, a few horses, peach trees, beehives and gardens, she developed an active imagination and always loved a good story. Laura enjoys running, playing tennis, sewing, dancing (reduced to dancing around the kitchen while cooking dinner these days), traveling, writing, writing and more writing, and above all, spending time with her husband and kids. REWIND TO YOU, her debut novel, was inspired by the loss of her father as a teenager.