Rock and a Hard Place - By Angie Stanton Page 0,1

her. She considered this place her private sanctuary. She worked hard to blend in with her surroundings.

He whipped the disc back and sauntered to where she sat against the giant oak. He plopped down in the unmowed grass, his chest rising heavily.

“Hey.” He checked her out with curiosity. “Whatcha doing?” Libby’s mouth went dry as this great-looking guy stretched out before her. Apparently he expected her to respond. Her tongue felt numb.

A year ago she would have been comfortable with him. Now, that confidence was a distant memory. These days guys rarely talked to her and when they did, it was to ask rude or nosey questions. She never answered them. Libby was an oddity to the kids in this town, Rockvile, which was fine with her. She had been left in this crummy place and preferred to be alone. It was easier.

She’d grown comfortable with solitude, except for now. She prayed for her former confidence to come back, but it was lost, along with so much else.

Libby held the sketch pad as a shield. “Uh, drawing,” she uttered.

“Oh.” He lay in the grass propped up on a muscular arm. He watched her with casual interest, as his breath came back. He was nothing like the guys at Rockvile High School.

“Are you drawing those?” He pointed at the wild flowers sticking haphazardly out of a diet soda can.

“Yeah,” she spoke softly. She couldn’t even speak properly.

“It’s realy dumb though,” she added trying to sound normal and not like the insecure girl she’d become. She puled back and forth at the pendant around her neck.

“Why’s it dumb?” His deep blue eyes gazed at her.

Geez, he talked too much.

“It just is. It doesn’t mean anything, it’s just something to do.” She pressed the pencil hard against the pad and broke the lead.

“Can I see it?” Peter reached for the pad.

Libby’s face heated. “I don’t know. It’s realy nothing to look at.” She puled the bound papers close; her fist gripped the pencil tight.

When she didn’t offer him the drawing, he scooted next to her. He leaned close and took the pad, his fingers brushed against hers, feather soft. He sat so near their legs bumped. She wanted to reach out and touch him. He seemed larger than life. His blond hair was stil streaked by summer sun and hung past his eyebrows and over his eyes. He smeled good. Like shampoo and toothpaste.

He studied the drawing then wrinkled his brow as if it wasn’t what he expected. He pushed the hair out of his eyes and looked sideways at her. She noticed a touch of razor stubble on his jaw.

“Wel?” She waited, and nibbled at her lower lip as he examined her sketch.

“It’s not of me,” he said.

“Why would it be?” She saw his look of embarrassment.

“Wel, you’ve been sitting here watching us, I figured you must be drawing one of us.” He handed back the drawing, a bit sheepish.

“Wow. Kind of ful of yourself, aren’t you?” She teased, feeling brave for a moment. “Sorry to disappoint, but it’s just a bunch of weeds.”

Libby couldn’t get over him sitting so close. He moved right into her space as if it was no big deal, but it was. She struggled to sit stil and not stare at him as her pulse raced.

He studied her then shook his head.

“Wel, it’s not very good.” He declared, but the corner of his mouth turned up as he fought back a grin. His eyes sparkled.

“Now you’re just being mean,” she teased again, surprising herself.

She whacked him in the chest with the papers, and scooted a few inches away to recover from the awkwardness of being so near to such an awesome looking guy. Plus, this way she could sit and look straight at him. He had great eyes.

“Sorry, that’s the best I could come up with. You’re right. I was conceited,” he said.

“Fine, but you forgot to include mean.” She chalenged.

“Okay, you’ve got me. I’m conceited and mean. Not a good start here. Let’s begin again.” He laughed then leaned forward and held out his hand.

“Hi, I’m Peter.”

She looked from his outstretched hand to his friendly face.

Happiness wrapped around her like a warm blanket. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had so much fun, and this guy, Peter, was hot.

“Hi Peter, I’m Libby.”

They shook hands and grinned. His hand felt warm and strong.

“So Libby, do you come here often?”

She roled her eyes at the canned question. “Yeah, pretty often. Mostly on the weekends.” Every chance she