The Sound of Temptation - Dylan Allen




The First Time

“Bored yet?” My brother, Jack, asks as soon as he picks up the phone.

I glance around the crowded lakeshore, and sigh. “I’ve never been so bored in my life.”

“Like I knew you would be. There’s a 9 AM flight out of Austin, it’ll get you here in time for us to pick you up on our way to the ferry.”

“I didn’t say I wanted to leave. In fact, I’m thinking about extending my stay. Boredom is the most underrated, misunderstood state of being. I’m in heaven.”

“How? I’ve seen pictures of that place. It’s a dump.”

“It’s not a dump, it’s just not a five-star resort. It’s quiet, and nobody knows who I am. You can have the limelight. This suits me just fine.”

“You’ve been there a week. Give it one more. The novelty will wear off.”

“Maybe. I don’t know…”

“Well, the beach house has plenty of room, and Stella’s still coming with us.”

“She is?” I frown in surprise. “Why?”

“Because she planned to. Just because you decided to bail doesn’t mean she should miss out.”

I shrug. “Actually, given that she’s my girlfriend, and she was coming with me, that’s exactly what it should mean.”

“Maybe, like the rest of us, she’s thinking you’ll get over whatever it is that’s been eating at you and join us.”

“Jack, what was eating at me was the lack of privacy and the constant noise. And the fact that my girlfriend was more interested in the chance to be on the show than spending real time with me. So, even if I wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be going to the Vineyard with you. One season was enough for me.”

“Suit yourself. Spend your summer with the retirees and their caretakers. And I’ll console Stella when she realizes you’re not coming.”

“I don’t know why you think everyone here is old. There’s been a party every night. Can’t you hear the music?”

“Yes, I hear it. I love Motown, too – but I don’t know anyone under forty who parties to it. And Carter, what sane, young person would spend their entire summer in a cabin by the lake when they could actually be living?”

A loud scream of laughter draws my attention back over my shoulder to one of the large communal bonfires that were lit right before sunset.

The music that had been background for water sports and sunbathing has been turned up and the stretch of shore has turned into a dance floor. In the fading daylight, small crowd of bodies all seem to blend together. But I see her right away.

“I gotta go, Jack.”

“Oh come on, I was kidding,” he protests.

“I know. But I’ve got a ghost to catch.”

“What the fuck does that mean?”

“I’ll tell you later.” I hang up before he can ask any more questions and shove my small keyboard, phone, and notebook into my backpack. I should take them to my car, but the girl who I’d started to think was a figment of my imagination is dancing alone at the edge of the crowd, and I’m not letting her out of my sight again.

If the drawing she left behind wasn’t enough to intrigue me, seeing her like this would have done it. Her eyes are closed, her arms hang loosely by her side as she sways languidly. Her lips are curved in a smile of pure content while she sings along to one of my favorite songs of all time, I’ll Be There by the Jackson 5. I didn’t know I was a sucker for all of these things until just now, but not only can I not look away, I can’t stay away, either.

I weave my way through the crowd toward her not sure what I’ll do or say when I get closer. I also don’t know why my heart is beating out of my chest.

As I get closer, the details the distance and dusky lighting obscured are revealed. Her dark hair is pulled back and leaves her heart shaped face and the firelight turns her sun-tanned skin into a burnished canvas for eyes that are wide set, framed by dark arched brows, and fringed by thick, sooty lashes that cast feathery half-moon shadows on the high rounds of her cheekbones.

And in a visage that’s drawn from soft curves and delicate angles, her wide, ample lipped mouth is a total stand out. The deep crease down the middle of her bottom lip reminds me of the indent in the sweet, juicy cherries I’ve been eating all week.

The crowd between us has thinned,