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SLOW DANCING ON PRICE'S PIER
by Lisa Dale

Genre: General Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Romance

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Garret had never liked English class—the poetry especially. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day, How do I love thee, let me count the… he didn’t care. 

Falling in love had not been part of the blueprint he was drawing of his future. He would graduate high school, get accepted to Notre Dame for soccer, then maybe—once he’d had plenty of time to date and rake in his social capital as a national soccer hero—he might think about falling in love. 

But during his senior year, lying on a single beach towel with Thea, their feet sloping toward the whispering surf and the stars clear and unusually bright above their heads, he was beginning to see that love had taken the plans he’d so carefully laid out and turned them into ash. 

He’d thought, growing up in the shadow of his parents’ relaxed companionship, that he would have more say in the logistics of falling in love. Lasting love meant easy love—love that took afternoon naps, love that exchanged sections of the newspaper over breakfast, love that ran errands to the car wash and the bank. 

But what he had with Thea was nothing like what his parents had—the way he felt about her was wild and greedy and intense. This was love that had him by the balls. Love that led him like a dog through the hours of his own life. This was love that tormented him, moment by moment, with the threat of crushing his heart into sand. 

He adjusted his legs beneath hers, denim sliding along denim. The surf whispered, and the moonlight caught the froth of the waves. The future was coming for them. Probably, their lives as adults would separate them. When Garret went away to college, he would leave Thea behind. He would be going to parties and meeting girls, and she would be here in Newport, making small talk with the regulars who came into her parents’ coffee shop. He would be staying up late at night to study or making midnight trips to the supermarket; she would be calling it quits at 9 pm because she had to wake at dawn.  

Some couples made it through the transition into adulthood. They went on to say they married their high school sweethearts. Those people were lucky. But not the norm. 

He wondered: If he and Thea were the real thing—were really in love—could they do it? Could they make it through whatever the years had in store? 

On the water, a boat moved slowly—one winking light against the darkness. 

“Thea?” 

She nestled closer without waking. 

Regardless of what love was or wasn’t, Thea had altered his plans. He closed his eyes, airplanes gliding silently along the black sky, the cooling earth pushing the breeze out to the sea. The moment was perfect. He wanted to wake Thea up, to say “You don’t want to miss this.” But then it occurred to him, she was this—everything that was beautiful about the moment. He guessed that’s what the poets were trying to say.