Falling for my Neighbor

By: Lila Younger

Harvey looks up.

“I think I know how to fix it, but I’m going to need a few minutes to move the data around first so it’s saved in a safe place. Then I can try some solutions.”

“You can do whatever you want if you can get that thing fixed,” mom tells him.

“You got it Diane,” he says, tucking the laptop under his massive arm. “I’ll be right back.”

The bell above the door dings again, and a homely woman steps into the store. She’s wearing a man’s shirt and elastic banded mom jeans. My mom turns around, and gets that look in her eye that always means she’s about to trap someone else in a conversation.

“Sarah!” my mom says. “How are you doing? Are you all settled into your new home?”

The two of them start to chat and I drift away, absentmindedly looking at the display. I’m not surprised at all that it’s one of mom’s clients. It always is.

Towards the front of the store are the digital cameras, and I stop in front of the one I really want. A Nikon D5600. Great for people who really want to get into photography, but with it’s $800 price tag, it’s not something I’ll be getting anytime soon. Still, a girl can dream.

I stand in front of the camera for a few more moments, then I wrench myself away. There’s only so long I can torture myself over what I can’t have after all. I look out the front window instead and suck in my breath.

It’s John coming up the sidewalk. I immediately step back from the window and pray he doesn’t come in. He walks by with that swagger of his, jeans hanging low off his hips and his baseball cap pulled backwards. It’s not until he crosses the front of the store that I finally release the air I’ve been holding in.

John is the latest disaster in a series of disasters when it comes to my dating life. Not that I have much of one. But my friends all insist on hooking me up with people, and for whatever reason, despite the fact that we’ve gone through elementary, junior high, and high school (we are in a small town after all!), they can’t seem to figure out what kind of guy I’d be compatible with.

When I think about it though, John’s not even the worst. We just had zero in common. It should have ended after the first coffee date, when we literally sat in silence for five minutes at a time, but for some reason, the guy persisted. I gave it a second shot, but we watched a movie, and our whole conversation was literally “hi” and “goodnight”.

He’s texted me a few times since, and I’ve ignored every one. I don’t know how he couldn’t think that the dates were as bad as I think they are, but the last thing I need is to bump into him and ask me out again.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever find someone. I’m eighteen and still a virgin, whereas every one of my friends are paired up. I’ve always been the extra wheel in our group, and the loneliness stings.

There are times I wonder if it’s easier to settle, but I just can’t do it. Not yet. Not when I know there’s someone out there that can make my whole body heat up and my heart explode out of my chest. Although he’s moved away, and probably would never come back to boring old Summerdale...

I’m standing by the laptops, absentmindedly clicking things on one of them when I hear his name. I still get wobbly at the knees when I think about him.

“...out of her mind for leaving Macon like that. Not to mention their daughter.”

I sidle back closer to mom and Sarah, hoping against hope that they’re talking about my Macon. I mean, how many people could be named that right?

“It’s not right,” my mom clucks sympathetically. “A single dad like that is going to have it tough. At least Summerdale’s a better place to raise a child than the city.”

“I agree,” Sarah says wholeheartedly. “It’s too bad that he won’t be giving out tennis lessons anymore.”

I had a feeling that quite a few stay-at-home-moms felt that way. Macon Daniels, with his chestnut brown hair, sparkling green eyes, and ripped body was a sight to behold on the court. A literal walking wet dream. He was a student at the local college, supplementing his tuition by offering tennis lessons. Is it any surprise that suddenly the sport became the hottest thing in Summerdale?

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