Home > Boys South of the Mason Dixon (South of the Mason Dixon #1)(7)

Boys South of the Mason Dixon (South of the Mason Dixon #1)(7)
Author: Abbi Glines

Steel pressed a kiss to the top of my head. “He’ll be okay with this. Once he sees how we feel, it’ll all be good, I promise.”

I knew that Steel completely believed this. And I let him. Maybe he was right? Really, what did I know? It wasn’t that Asher verbally ever said that he hated me. He just never acknowledged me again. When I went to his house, after calling several times and him never answering the phone, he’d looked right through me, and then he left town. He went to stay at his uncle’s in Texas for a month and no one had an explanation to give me. They all looked at me with pity in their eyes.

When Asher returned, it was as if the man didn’t know who I was. The Asher who had loved me so fiercely was gone and in his place stood an emotionless, cold stranger. He then accepted a scholarship to the University of Florida and I never saw him again.

I was left to claw my way out of despair all on my own, never knowing what I had done to lose him. Then just when I thought I had my heartbreak finally under control, Asher came back.

I was now fifteen years old and I had one more year until I got my car. My body had finally started developing, giving me curves where I never had them, and even boobs I was no longer ashamed of when I looked at myself in the mirror.

I knew all this wasn’t enough to get Asher Sutton’s attention, not in the way I so desperately wanted it. But it made me feel less like a child in front of him, less like a little girl he was protecting from bullies at school. That year, Steel Sutton had also begun talking to me in class, even more so since my body had started changing, and even though my infatuation with his brother was still consuming my every thought, I knew that at some point, I had to let myself date somebody else.

Steel was probably not going to be that “somebody” because I’d not only have to be around Asher, but hiding my feelings for Asher while dating Steel would be hard. Impossible even. I needed someone else to date, but he would have to be a brave soul. Asher was around me more and more lately and since our little staring game in the dark, he was talking to me even more. I rarely walked to a class that Asher didn’t walk me to these days. He was slowly becoming a permanent fixture around me. Our strange night was never mentioned. I’d sat there on the step wondering if he wanted me to walk to him. If he was waiting on me. Finally, I’d decided he’d have to come to me. He hadn’t, of course. He was Asher Sutton. And I was just an inexperienced young girl with no idea how to handle him, or how he wanted me to react.

Today though, I was older, and I finally looked my age. I had plenty to be happy about and I had decided that I didn’t need Asher to be happy. I was turning over a new leaf.

“Dixie, you have . . . uh, company,” my mother called up the stairs. We were about to leave for school. Who was here and why? Was this another birthday surprise? I’d awakened to my favorite breakfast, chocolate cake on a plate, a tradition they began when I was four. I’d wanted my birthday cake so bad, I’d asked God in my prayers for my parents to let me have cake for breakfast on my birthday. They’d found that funny and not wanting me to think God wasn’t listening to me, they’d given me cake for breakfast.

That wasn’t a surprise, of course, but during breakfast they had also given me a camera, though I’d only asked my dad to make a deposit in my car fund and nothing more. He’d done that, and then he bought the camera too, because he knew it was something I was into lately. Last summer, I’d found an old camera in the attic and ever since then, I’d been taking photos, mostly of people, the kind of action shots I’d seen in magazines.

His voice stopped me as I hit the first step. Asher Sutton was in my house, talking to my parents, on my birthday. I glanced down at the skirt and top I was wearing. Secretly, I’d thought of Asher when I picked them out, hoping he’d see me in them and like the way I looked.

“Yes sir, I’m thinking of the University of Florida . . .”

“Good choice, although Alabama’s my favorite, I’ll give them Gators a cheer, when they aren’t playing Bama, of course.” Daddy’s reply was predictable, I thought. They were talking football. Asher was thinking of going all the way to Florida? That was so far. I’d have three full years left of high school while he was away at Florida, falling in love, maybe getting engaged, which immediately made my stomach feel sick.

I slowly walked the rest of the way down the stairs and put a smile on my face. Asher was in my house and he was here to see me, not to bring Momma something his mother had made for her, or to borrow a tool from Daddy. Asher was here for me.

“Hey,” I said, as I entered the living room.

Asher turned, a sexy smile appearing on his face with ease. “Happy birthday, Dixie,” he replied.

“Thank you,” I replied, beaming.

“I figured I’d give you a ride to school on such an important day. Was driving by and thought it would be nice to visit the birthday girl.” He paused and looked back at my parents. “That is, if it’s okay with the both of you?”

My mother’s eyes got that knowing light in them. I knew she was reading the wrong thing into this, but I couldn’t correct her in front of Asher.

“Reckon it is, if I can have your word that you’ll treat my girl like the lady she is. I’ve heard about that truck of yours. Dixie ain’t one of them girls.”

I blushed from embarrassment, wanting to crawl under the coffee table and hide there forever.

“Yes, sir. You have nothing to worry about. Dixie’s my friend, and I respect her. I like spending time with her, as a friend, only as a friend.”

Asher had just said I was his friend three times and that was all the wake up call I needed to stop me from getting silly ideas about him being here, picking me up for school on my birthday. He only saw me as his friend and that was all.

Daddy didn’t look very convinced. But he nodded, indicating he was buying it. “Known you since you were born. You’re a good boy, even if you’ve got a bit of a reputation with girls. I trust you’ll do right by my Dixie.”

Oh, good Lord, this was getting more embarrassing by the second. I hurried to the door saying, “we need to go or we’ll be late,” and opening it quickly. The cool morning breeze helped my heated cheeks, but it would take an ice storm to cool them.

“Have a good day, honey. Wear your seatbelt,” Momma called.

I nodded, and kept hurrying to his waiting truck. I feared that if we didn’t get away soon, dad would be asking Asher about his intentions and whatnot.

I climbed in the passenger side of the truck and it dawned on me then that the other Suttons weren’t here. Asher shared this truck with the twins and they rode to school together every day.

Asher got inside with a chuckle. “Don’t worry about them, Dix. They’re just parents being parents. No need to be embarrassed.”

“Where are your brothers?” I asked, wanting to forget that scene inside. I wasn’t looking at him, I couldn’t do that yet.

“They got another ride.”

“Why?”

“Because I didn’t want them in here to see me give you this.” I looked up from my lap to see a small silver box with a shiny pink bow on top. Asher was giving me a present. A boy had never given me a gift, not on my birthday at least, unless you count the white bunny Davey Miller gave me way back in first grade. It was the same bunny he napped with his entire kindergarten year which made me feel pretty special at the time.

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