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Arouse

Arouse


Description : Arouse
Olivia

He didn’t touch me. He could have—he had the perfect reason to—but he didn’t.

Instead he bent to collect my papers before the breeze could whisk them away. Instead he picked up my satchel from the sidewalk and asked if I was okay. Instead he stood between me and the busy street while I brushed the dirt from my palms and tried to swallow the knot of frustration stuck in my throat.

Instead he just waited. I had the strange thought that he would wait forever.

August 7

Adhesive sandcastles, flip-flops, and smiling suns cover the windows of the shops lining Avalon Street. The bed-and-breakfasts are filled with guests, and boats dot Mirror Lake like stars in the sky. University students crowd the coffeehouses, and both tourists and locals stroll through downtown with ice-cream cones or sodas in hand. Children, skin browned from the sun, scurry along the paths leading to the shore.

“Sorry, miss.” The shaggy-haired fellow at the outdoor drink stand gives me a smile of apology. “We’re out of lemonade.”

Of course they are.

I push a damp tendril of hair away from my forehead and look at the chalkboard menu again.

The sun has started to set, but it’s still roasting out. My pantyhose are shrink-wrapped to my body, and the elastic band is gouging my waist. My toes ache from being crammed into heels all day. And though I refuse to look, I’m quite certain there are sweat stains under the arms of my silk blouse.

“Okay. An iced tea, then.” I push two dollars at the guy and take the plastic cup, poking a straw into the hole. I don’t much like iced tea, but the cup is cold and wet, and the liquid feels good going down my dry throat.

I scan for an outdoor table, but they’re all filled with...
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