That Summer.

Iris Goldmen didn't do what the town accused her of, but who will believe her so close to the court date?
When Dexter comes into her life with his excited friends and band, she can't help but begin to let them in after a summer of shutting people out.
With a little bit of help, she can, hopefully, clear her name and help rebuild what was broken in her small town.

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1. Chapter 1

Chapter one.

There must have been over a hundred people on the beach for the bonfire and fireworks. It was mostly teenagers that were crowded around the keg someone decided to bring; which caused a domino effect of people turning up with more alcohol, and soon it turned into a real party. Nothing says teenage party like drunken girls and groping guys.  

The few adults that had been on the beach before us soon left when someone cranked the volume up on the music, making the sand almost thump along with the bass. I couldn’t blame them for leaving really.

A few college guys were dotted around, mostly here for the fireworks or because their sibling dragged them along so they could attend. By the bored expression on their faces, you could tell this wasn’t their sort of party. They wanted to leave at the same time as the adults, probably had something better planned before they got roped into this teen party.

Josh Wickon stood next to me as I gazed out at the sea, a soft smile on my face as I did so.

“Want something to eat or drink?” Josh asked after a few beats of silence, his fingers squeezing mine lightly. “I can get us something if you want.”

“I’m fine, thank you,” I said, looking up at him. “You can go get something if you want; I’ll be fine on my own for a bit.”

After reassuring him I’d be fine for the third time, he walked over to his friends and got a beer with them from the small table someone had set up, making sure they anchored it down with sand so it wouldn’t blow over, though I doubted it would happen since there wasn’t any wind.

As the waves crashed against the shore I walked along the beach, slowly putting more and more space between me and the other party goers.

It wasn’t that I hated parties, I just couldn’t stand the few girls that always turned up in barely any clothing, determined to get drunk, thinking it would impress the guys here.

After I walked a reasonable distance I sat down on the cool sand and watched a crab scurry along before disappearing into the water. I slipped my shoes off and let my toes sink into the sand, causing a smile to spread across my lips. My favourite thing about the beach was doing exactly this and it made me remember how my mom always said that if I did that, the sand would take forever to get out, and even though she was right, I always did it. It was one of the little things I enjoyed too much to stop.

Time passed by slowly – my indication being that the stereo system someone set up had only changed three songs – and I started to wonder whether the boy sitting on the rocks just a bit away from me was asleep. His still figure was facing towards the beach party but he didn’t look like he was a part of it. How could someone possibly fall asleep with this loud music?

“Hey, you.”

“Here I am,” I said, looking up at Josh’s dark silhouette. “Started to wonder where you got to.”

“Oh, Tess started talking to me,” he told me as he dropped down onto the sand.

I nodded and wondered what Tess wanted with Josh. Though she was my best friend, I was still wary. I could never be fully sure with that girl whether thins were true or not.

“Do you ever think about the future?”

Caught off guard by the question, I just looked at him. He was laying flat on his back, arms behind his head and his eyes were closed. The picture of ease, even though he asked a question that can come with a heavy weight of answers.

“Sometimes,” I finally admitted after a moment of hesitation. “Why do you ask?”

“Do you think of... our future?” he asked, though this time he opened his eyes and looked directly at me. I felt like a deer caught in headlights as I looked back at him.

“Do you?” I asked instead.

“I have,” he said, his head bobbing up and down. “I’ve thought about us after school.”

“Including college?” I bit my lip when he linked our fingers and squeezed lightly.

”Yes,” he said simply, smiling.

“Oh.” I blinked. “What sort of things?”

“Just the normal stuff. A house, kids-“

“Kids?” I was pretty sure my mouth was hanging open. He was thinking of kids?

“Well, yeah,” he said, frowning. “That’s what you think about when you want to spend your life with someone, right?”

“It sounds like you want to get married,” I pointed out, my mouth suddenly going dry. “This isn’t going to be a proposal, right?”

“Do you want it to be?” he asked, his beautiful brown eyes meeting mine.

Did I want him to propose?

“Maybe after school is done,” I said finally, turning back to the sea.

 

Sometime later – during the loud playing of a Beyoncé song and girls singing along in the wrong key – we joined the party and Josh convinced me to drink a cup of beer.

“Just one?” he’d pleaded, his lip in full pout mode. Within seconds I had caved and agreed to have a cup of beer.

So here I stood with my plastic cup of beer, listening to Andrew – Josh’s best friend and football teammate – complain about an unfair tackle during a game he saw last night with his brother.

After ten minutes I excused myself, while trying to sound apologetic, and walked over to a group of girls I knew from my art class. Though we rarely talked, I did need to get away from all that football talk. I didn’t understand any of it and I doubted I could keep up my fake interested expression for much longer.

“Hey, Iris,” Marcy said when I approached them. “How’s it going?”

“It’s good,” I said, smiling at her. “Enjoying the party?” 

“Yeah. Tess is looking for you, by the way.”

“Did she say why?” I asked, already looking around for her. She wasn’t the easiest girl to track down, even if she was looking for you at the same time.

Marcy shook her head then sipped her drink. “Malcolm is over there, he should know where she is. He always does.”

“Okay, thanks for letting me know. See you later, girls.”

“Bye,” they chorused as I walked towards Malcolm.

“Hey,” he greeted when he noticed me – which took a moment since his tall height and broad chest sometimes made him forget to look down at us smaller people.

“Apparently I’m being sought out by Tess?”

Malcolm nodded. “She was looking for you. Don’t know where she is now though.” He sipped his drink and looked around, probably searching for his girlfriend.

Looking up at him from my five foot six frame I nodded and noticed the slightly glazed expression he had on. He didn’t wait long to start his drinking, that was for sure.

“Actually,” he said, grabbing my wrist before I could turn away. “Want to see something cool?”

“Uh, sure?” I answered uncertainly. What could he possibly want with me? We only ever spoke when Tess was around, and sometimes we barely did that.

“Follow me,” he said, but I didn’t have to follow behind him since he still had a hold on my wrist and was tugging me along like I was a rag doll. 

The thing I should have done in that moment was walk away, I should have listened to my gut when it told me something bad was about to happen. Why didn’t I walk away like my mind was telling me to?

How right my gut instinct was about something bad going to happen. 

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