Lynn and her husband, Paul, sat downstairs eating breakfast. An obviously tired and despondent Justin walked right by them. Minutes later, a cheerful Juli bounded over, dropping dramatically in his lap. Justin cheered up visibly.
“ Good morning, my prince charming,” Juli giggled.
“ Morning, Sleeping Beauty. Glad you finally decided to wake up,” Justin took a sip of his coffee.
“ Like you’ve been here forever? I watched you come in. I was with Lacy,” Juli replied, “ Kisses?”
Justin noticed his mother watching them curiously. He pulled up the newspaper he brought so she couldn’t see anything. Lynn watched, glancing down in time to see Juli’s bare toes curl.
“ Paul, you don’t think-” Lynn began.
“ I think we should stay out of their business and have a wonderful day,” Paul replied.
Lynn followed him out, glancing back one last time before taking her husband’s hand.
Justin felt Juli slowly pull back. He searched her eyes questioningly.
“ There are other people here, Justin, that might not take kindly to watching a couple make-out,” Juli said.
Sure enough, some people were watching them.
“ Newlyweds,” Justin said.
The people nodded, turning away.
“ Justin,” Juli had flushed a bright red.
“ What?” Juli loved that innocent look.
He could murder someone and get off by just giving someone that look.
Joey, Lance, Lacy, Chris and JC slipped into chairs around them. Juli looked at them curiously.
“ So, how was breakfast, Justin?” Joey asked, cheekily.
“ The food was…” Justin trailed off, “ The FOOD was great, Joey, not the woman.”
“ Same thing,” Joey shrugged.
Juli’s eyebrows arched as she sat up a little bit.
“ You shouldn’t have said that,” JC said.
“ Huh?” Joey glanced up in time to see Juli in front of him on top of the table.
“ If she attacks you, I’m not helping you,” Justin said.
“ So, I’m just a piece of food, huh, Joey? A piece of food, you’ll never taste. A luscious delicately I’m sure you’ll water for, but never get,” Juli had leaned down.
Joey’s mouth was wide open at the blatant sexual references she was making about herself, along with the low cut shirt she was wearing.
“ If you want to talk about the food, just keep on asking Justin,” Juli slowly inched back into Justin’s lap.
Justin blushed a little while the five stared at the couple like they were aliens.
“ I feel like I’m interfering with something,” Chris got up quickly.
“ You remember what I said, Justin,” JC said.
Justin slowly nodded. JC walked away.
“ Is my Daddy taking care of me?” Juli asked in a mock baby tone, “ He’s threatening you that if you hurt me, you’ll be dead meat.”
“ Feel like ditching security?” Justin nuzzled her neck.
“ I heard that,” Mike said from a nearby table.
“ How would you like the day off, permanently?” Justin retorted.
“ I’m looking the other way, lovebirds,” Mike turned away.
Juli grabbed Justin’s hand and they ran out towards the beach.
Justin watched Juli from afar. She was so beautiful even when serious.
“ Can’t believe I never saw it before,” Justin muttered.
Her too big blue eyes glance up at him. Juli waved at him, holding up a shirt. He nodded in approval. She’d look great in anything.
Juli watched Justin notchantly. He’d been watching her with that goofy smile on his face. Juli smiled in spite of herself. He only used that grin for her.
“Are you almost done here? I think my covers been blown,” Justin whispered.
Juli jumped, glancing at the many girls milling around nearby.
“ I’m done. Let me buy this,” Juli nodded.
Justin’s arm fell across her shoulders protectively.
“ No one’s gonna hurt me,” Juli muttered.
“ I’m just making sure,” Justin replied.
Juli made the purchase and they walked out, down the tropical isle.
“ It’s so beautiful here,” Juli breathed.
“ I know,” Justin kissed her temple softly.
“ Not me, you dork, the ocean. It’s like an artist’s dream come true,” Juli pushed him.
“ You’re pretty too,” Justin said.
Juli’s smile faded.
“ Justin, why now?” Juli asked.
“ What do you mean?” Justin’s forehead furrowed in confusion.
“ Justin, the only reason you’re clinging to me is because I’m the only piece of normalcy left in your life. You don’t like me, you can’t,” Juli said, “ We’re best friends.”
“ Juli, haven’t you ever thought its weird for a guy and girl to be so close. I mean, I can’t ever see myself getting married because I don’t wan to lose you,” Justin replied.
“ We can’t have anything but friendship, Justin. I don’t want to lose you,” Juli’s bottom lip trembled, “ I can’t think of day when I couldn’t call you or just hug you.”
Justin pulled her close.
Barry watched from a distance. His slate-gray eyes narrowed to black slits.
“ How can they be so happy?” he whispered angrily.
He clenched his soda harder. They were young, naïve. They didn’t know what it was like to lose love. Barry glanced at the photo.
“ I’ll show you what it’s like to lose everything you love,” he promised.
Justin slumped in a chair downstairs. He’d offered his heart to Juli, but she’d turned away.
“ What’s up, Superstar?” Lacy slid across from him.
“ Juli,” Justin had come to trust Lacy.
“ What happened?” Lacy asked.
Justin poured out the whole story. Lacy listened intently.
“ Do you really like her?” Lacy asked.
“ I do,” the blatant honesty in Justin’s eyes scared her.
“ Better keep your heart tucked away. I f the wrong people knew, it could be disastrous,” Lacy whispered.
“ Barry?” Justin asked.
“ Yep, you know he just lost his wife, so that’s why he’s so moody. They wouldn’t even let him off for the funeral,” Lacy answered.
Justin nodded, leaning back in his chair. Lacy moved away as Juli walked up.
Justin walked up at Juli. His eyes showed shock at her disheveled appearance.
“ I know I look awful. Don’t rub it in,” Juli ran a self-conscious hand through her curls.
“ You look fine,” Justin leaned foreword slightly.
“ I made a decision, Justin. I’ll try this whole relationship thing, but if it doesn’t work out, we never bring it up again,” Juli said.
“ You’ve made me very happy, Jules,” Justin smiled.
“ Come on, then. I don’t want to miss the sunset. It’s gonna be gorgeous,” Juli grabbed his hand.
Justin felt like a giddy schoolboy as he followed her.
Barry let the newspaper drop slightly. He’d heard the whole conversation.
“ Justin’s letting little Juli into his heart. This is better than anything I could’ve planned.”
He folded his newspaper and picked up his cell phone