Summer Love - Book cover

Summer Love

Evelyn Miller

The Bad Joke

Spending the day lying on the beach and swimming is the perfect day. Well, in my book it is. According to my whining brother, it is torture when you have a massive hangover.

“You don’t have to be here,” I snap as we make our way back to our towels after swimming for about an hour.

“Aunt Kim is too loud,” he groans, flopping onto his stomach.

“And she never shuts up,” I add, laying on my stomach next to him.

“I want an ice cream,” he whines, lifting his head up.

“Go get one then,” I mutter, turning my head away from him.

“Can you?” he continues whining.

“No,” I state, closing my eyes and enjoying the hot sun drying my back.

“You’re so mean,” he huffs, and I hear him shuffling around. “Want one?” he asks, his shadow covering half my back.


I close my eyes once his shadow leaves, letting the sun hit me again. This summer is going to be the best summer ever.

Mom looked so much better this morning. She had the sparkle back in her eye and was taking great enjoyment in being a little louder than normal just to piss Hayes off.

“Look who I found.” Hayes's voice makes my body jerk. I must’ve fallen asleep.

I lift my head only to see Asher standing next to my brother. His swim trunks are low on his hips, showing off a very sexy ‘V’ line, and his towel is slung casually over his shoulder.

“Hi,” I breathe out. Damn, since when did my voice do that? Hayes notices it too and raises a questioning eyebrow at me as he sits back on his towel and hands me my ice cream.

“Hey.” Asher smiles, setting his towel up next to Hayes.

“Holy shit,” Hayes whistles as two tourists walk past in very little bikinis. “I love summer.” He smirks, licking his ice cream.

I roll my eyes and see Asher looking between Hayes and me with an odd expression on his face.

“How old are you?” Hayes asks him.

“Seventeen.” Asher shrugs, still looking strange.

His eyes lock with mine in a questioning manner. I can tell in the bright light his eyes are gray, and his hair is actually a light brown. Not dark like I thought last night.

“You going to school here?” Hayes asks, sending me a look out of the corner of his eye.

“Yeah. Senior year.”

“Same with us!” Hayes exclaims, almost dropping his ice cream from his excitement. “Now, what’s your type? Cheerleader, the cute nerdy girls, or stoner? That’s all we have here,” Hayes asks, and I roll my eyes.

“Ahh, normal girls?” Asher answers, but it sounds like a question.

“No such thing. Trust me,” Hayes whispers, earning a punch in the shoulder from me. “What? It’s true! All girls are moody and emotional,” he huffs.

“Hazel’s never emotional,” I hear Zeke, Hayes's best friend and our cousin, laugh before he pops up, sitting on the end of my towel.

I scowl at him and kick his legs, trying to get him off.

“Can I have a lick?” He winks.

So I kick him again as Hayes punches him in the shoulder.

“I’m Zeke.” He introduces himself to Asher after his laughter stops and he moves over to Hayes's towel.


“We met him last night,” Hayes explains before mentioning he’s a running back.

The boys begin talking football again, so I stay silent as I eat my ice cream. I’m about halfway through it when I hear my name being yelled.

I look around the beach and spot Monica running full speed toward us, flailing her arms around.

“Surfers,” she breathes heavily, leaning on her knees to catch her breath. “Out of towners,” she adds when I just raise my eyebrows.

With her words, I jump to my feet and practically throw my ice cream into Hayes's hands and begin running off with her.

“Yeah, that’s okay. We’ll just stay here!” I hear him yell out sarcastically.

“Where are they?” I ask as we run toward the cove where traveling surfers always stop for a day or two.

“Cove,” she answers, dodging a little kid who walked right in front of us.

Since Hayes has scared off every guy our age, the only “fun” I get to have is in the summer with the tourists—surfer being my favorite type.

When we reach the cove, we’re both completely out of breath.

“Oh,” she mumbles as we look out to the surfers waxing their boards.

“Um, what?” I huff. There is a group of out-of-town surfers, but they’re all her dad's age.

“This is bullshit!” she yells, making a few of their heads snap toward us.

“Stop looking at us, you pervs!” she yells at them, and they all snap their eyes back to their boards.

“Maybe tomorrow,” I suggest hopefully.

“I goddamned hope so,” she huffs as we slowly make our way back to where the boys are sitting.

“How’d things go with Cameron?” I ask.

“Ugh. We got back to his place, and he vomited all over me,” she gags, scrunching her nose up.

“Oh my god! Ew!” I laugh as we sit down on my towel.

“I know, right? Totally don’t love him anymore,” she giggles, grabbing my sunscreen. “At this rate, I’m just going to have to marry Zeke.” She shudders.

“What’s wrong with me?” he asks, making her jump, not realizing he was sitting right next to her.

“N-nothing,” she stutters out.

“Didn’t think we’d see you two again so soon.” Hayes smirks.

“They were like her dad's age.” I shudder.

“I heard there was a new guy at the bonfire last night!” Monica exclaims, gripping my arm to get my attention. “Apparently he’s a real hottie.” She waggles her eyebrows up and down.

“His name is Ashton. Or was it Ashley? Can’t remember.” She shrugs, and I burst out laughing along with Hayes.

“Asher,” I offer with a smirk.

“That’s it!” she exclaims, snapping her fingers.

“You spoke to him,” I tell her, mouth popping open.

“I did?”

“Yup. Told me all about your love for Cameron,” Asher pipes up, smirking.

Monica turns beet red, realizing that she’s just been talking about the new guy when he’s right there. “Oops.” She blushes.

“I’m going to get some lunch. Want to come?” I ask Monica, standing up and brushing some sand off my ass.

“What type of question is that?” she asks, standing up too.

“Wait for us!” Hayes says, grabbing hold of my wrist and stopping me from moving.

“Hurry up then,” I sigh.

Zeke jumps to his feet instantly and rubs his stomach while Hayes stands up slowly, using me as his tool. “You coming?” he asks Asher, who remained on his towel.

“Sure.” He shrugs, getting up and going to pick his towel up.

“Leave it. We’ll be able to see it,” Hayes tells him.

Monica and I lead the way toward my house. She links her arm with mine and glances over our shoulders before looking forward again.

“He’s cute,” she whispers, bumping her hip with mine.

“So cute,” I agree.

“How’s Holly?” she asks as we climb the steps to my house.

“Good today,” I tell her, pushing the door open and yelling out to Mom.

“Kitchen!” she yells back as the boys catch up with us.

“Mom!” Hayes yells, and I roll my eyes even though we’re walking to the kitchen.

“No love for Aunt Kim then?” she pouts from the table.


“Aunt Kim!” Zeke and Monica exclaim at the same time, going in to hug her.

“You kids want sandwiches?” Mom asks, moving toward the fridge, but stops when she sees Asher standing awkwardly in the doorway. “Hello, I’m Holly. Sandwich?” she smiles.

“Uhh, yes, please,” he answers, scratching the back of his head.

“Mom, Hazel ran off to look at boys,” Hayes tells on me like he did when we were little.

“He was whistling at the tourists,” I counter. If he’s going to be immature, then so am I.

“In her defense, they were surfers,” Monica defends me.

“Were they cute?” Mom asks as she makes us sandwiches.

“Ew, no. They were old as fuck.” I scrunch my nose up.

“Language,” she scolds.

“Sorry, Mom,” I mutter, looking away.

I catch Asher’s gaze as he looks between Hayes and me before his eyes widen and his mouth becomes an O shape.

“Do you kids ever wear clothes in the summer? I swear I’ve never seen you lot in anything other than swimsuits and pajamas,” Aunt Kim jokes.

Whenever she would come over, all four of us were never dressed in “real” clothes in the summertime, and it kinda became a joke for her.

“Clothes are for the weak, Aunt Kim,” I sigh, feigning disappointment in her summer dress.

“This is cute, though. Can I borrow it?” I ask, playing with the straps of the dress.

“No, you can’t. I’ll never get it back,” she huffs, slapping my hand away. “Where’s the party tonight?” she asks as Mom brings a large plate of sandwiches over to the table.

“Beach,” Hayes answers, digging right in.

“You’ve got to be quick if you want any,” Mom laughs to Asher at all of us grabbing one and stuffing our faces.

“Mom, do I really have to go to dad’s?” Zeke groans to his mom.

“You know you do,” she answers sadly.

Aunt Kim and her husband, Mike, broke up a few years ago and moved to Washington State. Zeke has to go spend most of the summer there every year until he turns eighteen, much to his dismay.

“But he’s so boring, and the weather sucks,” he groans.

“Kim is my sister. Zeke is her son. Monica is just always here,” I hear Mom say, and I snap my head to see her explaining to Asher who everyone is. “You kids need to learn to introduce your friends to people,” she fake scolds us.

“Hayes’s fault.” I point to my brother, who just glares at me.

“She made me buy her ice cream,” he says through a mouthful of food.

“And who carried your drunk ass home last night?” I bite back.

“You kids are going to be the death of me,” Mom laughs, making everyone in the room go silent.

Sadness fills the room. I bite my lip, trying to keep the tears from falling. The only person to see me cry in the last three years has been Hayes.

“Oh, come on. It was just a joke,” Mom scoffs, rolling her eyes.

I lock my eyes with Hayes and can tell he’s holding back his tears too.

“Now, who wants lemonade?” Mom asks, clapping her hands, and this seems to snap everyone out of their sadness.

As I take a sip of Mom’s famous lemonade, I wish that somehow she’ll get better.

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