Where the Lake Meets the Shore

Where the lake meets the shore, there's a tree. Look up and that's where you will find me. I never thought though, that a stranger would find my place, but when he does, that's when everything changes.

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In the part of the park where nobody goes, that's where you will find 20 year old Katie Mason. As she enters her third year at NYU, she seems to have the perfect life, perfect friends, and an all around perfect world. Enter Michael Clark, the new transfer student from down south. Charming young Katie with his southern charm, she just can't help but be lured into his grasp. He might just be the one person she needs to open her up to the harsh reality of the perfect life she believes to have, and sends her entire world into the perfect tailspin.

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8. ~Chapter 7~

Bacon and coffee.

That's the smell I'm woken up to the next morning. Realizing I no longer have arms surrounding me, I turn to find that Michael has disappeared from the bed and I am alone. Suddenly my phone buzzes beside me. 

"Hello?" I mumble groggily into the phone, sitting up in bed.

"Oh my gosh, where are you Katie?" A voice shouts into the phone. Carly. "I stopped by your house this morning to drop off that book I borrowed from you and your mom said you weren't there, but since your car was in the driveway I asked where you were but she said she didn't know and that you ran off last night!" She says, speaking a mile a minute without even taking a breath. 

"Are you done?" I ask her. When I get a mumbled 'yes' in response I continue, "I'm at Michael's house" I say, waiting for the reaction.

She gasps loudly. "You're where?" she screeches. "Did you..?"

"No!" I cut her off. "Yes I ran off last night, but I found myself in some sketchy area of town and Michael kinda rescued me from some guys and brought me to his place for the night" I explain.

"But why did you leave home?" She asks, still talking really fast.

"I'll tell you later. Can I come over after breakfast? I kinda need some clothes" I ask her.

"Of course! I'll see you in a bit" She replies before quickly hanging up. 

"That girl, I swear" I mumble before slipping out of the bed and quickly throwing on my clothes from yesterday. Luckily after work I was able to change out of my uniform in the back of the cafe. 

As I walk closer and closer towards the kitchen, the heavenly smell of breakfast gets stronger. Walking into the small kitchen I find Michael standing over the stove cooking the most amazing-smelling breakfast. "You didn't mention that you could cook" I say to him, causing him to turn around and face me.

"You never asked" He replies, winking in my direction. "My mom taught me when I was growing up. She always said it's more polite to have breakfast made by the time overnight guests wake up," grinning, he continues. "Dad always said the ladies love a man who can cook. Coffee?" He finishes with the question

I laugh and nod before sitting at the table in the corner. "Your mom sounds like a smart lady" I say. "And your dad isn't 100% wrong"

"I didn't think he was" he says, handing me a mug of steaming coffee and putting a plate of bacon and eggs in front of me. He sits down across from me with his own plate before speaking again. "So, today's Friday, you still on for tonight or have you gotten sick of me already?" He asks.

I laugh at him again. "I'm definitely still on for tonight" I reply, taking a bite of the breakfast in front of me, which by the way, is just as amazing as it smells. "I need a ride to my friend's house after breakfast though"

"Will do!" He says, picking up his already-empty plate and carrying it to the sink. 

I finish my own food not long after and bring it to him as well. I hop up onto the counter and watch him start cleaning the dishes. "So," I begin to ask, sipping on another cup of coffee. "If you don't mind me asking, how did you find yourself in New York?" 

He glances up at me and smiles slightly. "I got sick of the southern lifestyle I guess" He says, smirking before continuing his story. "When my parents died three years ago I was sent to live with my aunt and started saving up to get as far away from there as possible"

"I can't even imagine that" I reply. "From what I've seen, it's beautiful in the south" I say, replaying the images of South Carolina I remember from my childhood.

"It's not all it's cracked up to be, sweetheart" He chuckles. "The people are too nice, almost to the point where you don't know if it's real or not" He explains as he continues with the dishes in the sink. "Up here, the people seem more real, like they're not afraid to hold back on what they think"

"I never thought of it that way" I say, finishing my coffee and putting the mug down.

"Most people don't" He says, winking at me. "Excuse me" he says politely, reaching around me to take my mug.  His sudden closeness makes my breathing hitch slightly in my throat. Instead of just taking the cup he pauses for a second before taking the cup in his hand. Katie, what's wrong with you?? What if he noticed? A little voice in my head shouts at me. The innocent 10-second interaction has me feeling my cheeks burn up slightly

A voice at the kitchen entrance alerts us to a new person entering the room. "Well, well, well, who's this lovely lady?" The man asks, looking between Michael and I. Michael glares at him and pulls back to begin washing the cup. "Did my little Mikey finally get himself laid?" He asks arrogantly, grinning at both me and Michael. This makes my face heat up in an even stronger blush.

"No" Michael says, irritation at the question clear in his voice. "Katie, this is my roommate, Drew" He says, introducing me to the man. His frame is bulkier than Michael's, but they have similar facial features. Probably related in some way.

"Ohh, so this is the Katie who has my cousin's mind in a loop. You're hotter than I imagined" He says, taking my hand and placing a sloppy kiss on the back of it. "The pleasure is all mine, babe"

I pull my hand back in disgust. "It's nice to meet you, Drew" I say politely.

"I guess Mikey here failed to mention the fact that I'm his much more attractive older cousin" He smirks at me and Michael as he drops down onto a chair at the table. More attractive? I think not. "Shame on you, Mikey" He teases.

"Don't you have somewhere to be, Drew?" Michael rolls his eyes and turns towards his cousin.

"Oh come on cuz, you know I kid" Drew chuckles and stands up, moving to the fridge and grabbing a case of beer. "I'm meeting the boys at Damon's house, don't wait up tonight" He says, walking back towards the entrance. Just as he's leaving he comes up close beside me and whispers in my ear, "But, if my cousin here refuses to make his move, call me up. I know how to make a lady feel real good" He says and kisses my cheek in the same sloppy way he did with my hand earlier. Before I can respond he walks out of the kitchen, leaving me with my jaw hanging.

"What a pig" is all I say, looking at Michael, who looks just as shocked as I feel.

"That's Drew" He says, rolling his eyes. "So, how about we get you to your friend's house?" He asks me, smiling. 

"Trying to get rid of me so soon?" I ask cheekily. 

"Not at all, sweetheart" He laughs. "But the sooner I get you there, the more time I have to plan something amazing for tonight"

"Okay, I'll take that answer" I say and hop down from the countertop. Not noticing the puddle of water below me I slip and fall right into Michael, who grabs me to keep me from hitting the floor.

"I suggest you wrap yourself in bubble wrap tonight too, Miss Clumsy" He winks at me, pulling me to my feet but only slightly loosening his grip.

"Maybe you're right" I laugh, also not moving away from him.

After what feels like an eternity he finally speaks. "I really want to kiss you right now" He blurts out shockingly. YES! YES! The little voice in my head shouts.

This makes me pull back from his grip around me. "I really think we only just met a week ago" I joke, winking at him. You idiot. The voice mutters.

He chuckles. "I'll get you sometime, Katie" He jokes back at me. "Let's get you to your friend before she keeps trying to call"

 

Michael

"So how's that lovely lady you've been telling me all about?" The voice on the other side of the phone asks me. After I dropped Katie off at Carly's house, my phone rang with my Aunt on the other end

"Great, I think!" I reply through the receiver. "I'm seeing her again tonight" I say, figuring it may be best that I not tell my aunt about Katie sleeping over last night, even given my reasons. "I think I'm going to ask her to be my girlfriend tonight"

"Oh, Mike that's amazing, darling!" She cheers on the other end. "I've been praying that you would find a nice girl to be with" She states calmly.

"Thank you Auntie" I say, grinning slightly. My Aunt is a sweet lady, she's always praying for good things to come to her loved ones. It's admirable, she always seems much happier after she's prayed or gone to church.

"How long have you known her again?" She asks me.

"Just over a week" I reply, flinching at her gasp of shock.

"A week?" She exclaims. "Now Michael, how could you possibly know you like a girl after only knowing her for a week?"

I smile even though I know she can't see me. "I don't know how.. I guess it just happens"

She lets out a sigh. "Well, I trust your judgement, I did, after all care for you for three years" she states, making me chuckle a bit. "Be careful though, and make sure not to come on too strong!"

"I won't, I'll keep things simple" I say. "There's a really beautiful lookout that looks over the city that I'm going to take her to after dinner" I explain, remembering the view I saw yesterday while driving along the outskirts of the city. "I'll ask her there"

"That sounds lovely!" My aunt exclaims. 

As she says this I hear muffled voices in the background. "Is that uncle Dawson?" I ask her.

"Yes! And Isabelle" She says, referring to my young, 16-year-old cousin. "He was taking her shopping for a new dress"

"She roped Uncle Dawson into taking her shopping?" I laugh. My uncle is an old grouch who hates doing anything that requires walking into a shopping mall. My little cousin has had him wrapped around her finger since she was born, though.

"Yes, he promised her a day with him to do whatever she wishes with him, since he's out of the house so much working" She explains. "He loves it, but he also loves to complain!" She laughs.

I laugh. "Yep, that sounds like him"

I can hear my aunt being called away from the phone by Isabelle trying to show off her new dress. "Oh honey, I have to go now! Your cousin wants to do a little fashion show for me"

"That's fine Auntie, give Belle a big hug for me" I respond, smiling. "I miss you guys"

"We all miss you too!" She replies. "Come down to visit us soon. I also want to hear about how things go with your lady friend tonight"

"I'll tell you, don't worry, I love you" I respond.

"Oh! And tell your cousin Drew to call us please! We haven't heard from him in weeks and are getting worried" She says. "I don't know what that boy was thinking when he moved to that city and forgot to keep in touch with his own mother. I oughta strangle him next time he's down here" She grumbles into the phone, making me laugh.

"I'll tell him, but if it's any consolation, I saw him this morning and he's still the same old Drew" I say, trying to calm her down even a little bit.

"That makes me feel a little better" She sighs. "Still, tell him to call me or I'll be up there to choke him before he can say 'grits'" 

I laugh again. "I'll be sure to let him know, Auntie" I say to her. "I'll talk to you later, I love you"

"I love you too, baby" She says, her voice back to it's normal level of sweetness. "Good luck tonight, Michael, we're all rooting for you!" She says before hanging up the phone.

I put my phone down in my lap and look at the time; 1:30pm, less than five hours before I need to pick Katie back up for our date. That gives me plenty of time to get prepared for what I want to do. Hopefully it does work in my favor.

 

Katie

Six hours after being dropped off at Carly's, I'm back with Michael. We'd just eaten a wonderful dinner at one of his favorite Italian places, which thankfully wasn't overly pricey.

"So where are we going now?" I ask him, buckling up my seat belt as he starts the car again.

"It's a secret" He says, smiling mischievously. "But I need you to cover your eyes" He says, handing me a black eye mask.

I take it from him and wrap the elastic around the back of my head to cover your eyes. "You're not kidnapping me, are you?" I giggle.

"Of course not, sweetheart" He laughs back at me. "Besides, a pretty thing like you going missing would be noticed far too easily"

I laugh and look into the darkness ahead of me. "Can you at least give me a hint?" I ask curiously.

"Nope" He says, a playful tone to his voice. I smile and decide to wait. After what seems like forever in silence, I feel the car stop and turn off. "Wait here" He says and opens his door to get out. He opens my own door and I feel arms wrap around me to pull me out of my seat and place my feet on the ground. "Walk with me" He says and pulls me forward. "Okay, now uncover your eyes" He says.

I obey him and take off the eye mask and am dazzled by what I see. Only a few feet in front of where we stand is a steep dropoff, and below is the most incredible view of the city I have ever seen. All of New York city glows in front of me, with lights shining from every corner of the landscape. "Oh my gosh, it's beautiful!" I gasp and turn to look at Michael, who stands there smiling behind me. "How did you find this place?"

"I was driving around last night to pass time while Drew had one of his girls over, that's why I was coming home when I found you, and I came across this view and couldn't help but stop" He explains. "But that's not even the best part" He smiles. "Wait here" He says and runs around the back of the car, returning with a blanket. He lays it down in the grass before turning back to me. "Lay down on the blanket, and face away from the city lights, then look up"

I obey his instructions and lay down and he lays down next to me, our shoulders just slightly touching. I look up and all I see are stars shining above my head. "Wow" Is all I can say. "How have I never seen this before?" I ask, turning my head to face him.

"The city lights drown it all out" He explains. "This is one thing I miss about living in the country, the view" He says, turning to look back at me. Suddenly he reaches out and strokes my face. "I never thought in a million years, though, that I'd ever meet a girl with eyes more beautiful than these stars" He mumbles, making me blush and making my heart race a mile a minute. Before I can even state a reply, he's leaning in, and I'm not stopping him. And then he kisses me. My body instantly reacts to him and my arms wrap around his neck to deepen the kiss. Much to my disappointment, he pulls back from me, breathless. "Good God" He groans under his breath.

"What's wrong? Did I do something wrong?" I ask him with a panicked voice, sitting upright on my knees.

He quickly jolts up after me. "No, sweetheart, absolutely not" He says and pulls my body close to his, only leaving a small gap between us. "That was better than I imagined" He says, stroking my flushed cheek. I smile and look back into his eyes to see them glinting faintly in the moonlight as he continues to speak. "Katie, I really like you a lot. I know we just met like, a week ago, but you're so special to me"

"Michael-" I begin in a soft whisper, my heart still racing.

He cuts me off. "Let me finish please" He says softly and smiles. "I don't think I remember another girl who made me feel as good as you do.. Would you open up to me enough to be my girlfriend?" He asks.

I smile widely at his sweet profession. "Yes, of course I will" I say. He smiles brightly and gives me the tightest bear hug imaginable. We pull back and I once again look into his joy-filled eyes.

This time it's my turn to be unable to stop myself. So I kiss him again and again, on our blanket under the stars.

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