Recently, I was talking to a fan, and we both agreed that we wished we’d had a boyfriend like Ryan Hunter at High School. It was a simple comment, but it made me think, and finally I had to say that I did have my Hunter… Want to get the full story? Not in a book, of course, but I can tell you now. 😉
We had a song…
I was seventeen when the ultimate romance happened to me. I lived in Vienna, where I went to school, but every summer, I spent two months at my grandparents’ house in Upper Austria, a beautiful place, very green and far away from any city bustle.
It was before my final year of high school that I went there once again, and my best friend and I spent our days outside—from early morning until late at night. I had to suck in as much nature as I could in order to live off of it later when I had to go back to the city, which I hated.
One afternoon, we were playing tennis in the street in front of my grandparents’ house, when a super sexy, dark red, low-slung car drove by. It’s head-lights were modified to a present a really mean-looking front and it had those attention-catching tires on specially designed aluminum-rims. The guy had to slow down, because we were blocking the street, and the tennis ball rolled toward his front tire. I went to get it, and that was when I looked at his face…and immediately fell in love.
I know some of you don’t like insta love in romance books, because you think it’s cliché. But if I ever use it, it’s because I know how fast it can happen in real life. He looked every bit like Ryan Hunter, except his hair was blond.
So, when he was gone, I turned to my friend, and with only one look she knew: I was a goner. The lucky part was that she knew this guy. Not personally, but she’d heard her older sister talk about him and his car before. Apparently, he was nineteen, lived only half a mile from my grandparents’ house…and he was a playboy.
Really? I thought. How could that ever work with someone like me? Me, who had just turned seventeen, had never been kissed, and was the shyest girl in all of Austria.
Are you thinking now that we would have made a stunning match fit for a long, twisting romance book?
I thought so, too. 😉
The only problem was I had no idea how to make sure our paths crossed again. I didn’t know any of his friends. I didn’t go out a lot, so there was no chance of running into him at a bar, club, café, whatever. And I didn’t have a sexy car that would catch his attention like his caught mine. Heck, I didn’t even have a driving license! (Because in Austria, the driving age is eighteen.)
So, I did what any lovesick girl would do. My friend and I started hanging out at this one shop right underneath his apartment. It had a huge ledge that you could sit on like on a bench. So we did just that. We sat there for hours, and I soon learned he wasn’t home during the week because he had to do his military service. (At age 18, every boy in Austria has to do such service for eight months.) And so I sat there on the weekends, trying to catch a glimpse of him as he came home or left to randomly drive around town, which he loved to do.
The good thing was that I saw him quite often. The bad thing was that I saw him with girls. Several of them. It was enough to make me turn tail and give up hope. I would never be brave enough to walk over and flirt with him, which all those other girls seemed adept at doing. I envied them for being so confident, so comfortable around him.
But then one day—it was August 15, a Friday—my friend and I were hanging out in front of my house, just lying in the sun, when something happened that I will never forget for the rest of my life.
The boy with the red car drove past my house again, quite slowly, the windows rolled down. He tilted his head toward me, and one corner of his mouth twitched up.
My heart did a somersault.
I was completely stunned, unable to believe he’d really done that. It was such a personal thing between just him and me that I knew, after all my days lingering at the shop near his apartment, I must have caught his attention. And it felt like an invitation. To do what? I didn’t yet know.
But with all the excitement boiling in my chest, I just had to see him again. So my friend and I went to that shop and slumped down on the windowsill like we used to do so often. It was only a few minutes before he showed up and parked across the street. I tried not to, but I couldn’t stop looking at him as he talked to a friend for some minutes. Suddenly, that friend came toward us. I’d seen him before, because he dated a girl I knew. His name was Jay, but I’d never talked to him before. He asked us if we’d be up for some cruising around with the two of them.
I cast an offended look at the blond across the street and thought, Seriously? You—the playboy—send your friend to do the asking? It somehow hurt my pride, so I told Jay no. That is, not unless the blond asked us personally.
Jay went back across the street and passed along the message. What happened next was so sexy that it still makes me smile when I think about it. The blond boy laughed, cut a glance to the sky, and shook his head in disbelief, probably rolling his eyes, too. Then he smiled, looked my way, and called, “All right… Come on! Pleeease?”
My friend was totally up for it, because while I was in love with him, she was in love with his car. Okay, I was in love with his car, too, but he came first.
So with this lovely invitation, I couldn’t resist any longer. My knees wobbled as we walked across the street toward him, and I could only hope that he wouldn’t notice. He was leaning against the hood of his car, with his arms folded over his chest and his legs crossed at the ankles. He cocked is head just slightly. “Up for a ride?”
“Only if I can sit in the front,” I answered.
That sexy half-smile played on his lips again. “Fine with me.”
I was just about to get in the passenger seat when my friend protested, “Hey, why do you get to sit in front?”
Of course it would have meant a lot to her to sit in the front in the car of her dreams. But it meant more to me to sit next to the guy of my dreams. Of course, I couldn’t say that out loud, so I replied playfully, “Because I’m older than you.”
And then the blond stepped up behind me, really close, and told my friend, from a spot very close to my ear, “And because I don’t want her sitting in the back.”
OMG, butterflies!!! So many butterflies in my stomach!!
Are you listening to the song above right now? Because that was the one playing in his car at that moment.
We cruised around for about an hour, getting to know each other just a little. I loved listening to his voice. It was the sexiest sound I’d ever heard.
When we stopped, right where he’d picked us up, we got out and talked for a while, until it was close to five, the time my gran expected me home for dinner. My grandparents were lenient, and I didn’t have to be home often, just for mealtimes, so my friend and I reluctantly told the guys we had to go.
“Will you come back later?” the blond asked me.
I smiled because he sounded every bit like he wanted me to. “Mmmaybe?”
He leaned in a little closer and purred in my ear, “Because I know where you live.”
That’s the stuff that still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end with giddy excitement.
Sorry, guys, I didn’t intend to drag this story out so much. So, in closing, I’ll just let you know that I met up with him again that same evening, and it was very nice. But he was a playboy—don’t you forget that—and I decided I didn’t want to be just someone on the list of his bad reputation. So I made him wait a year and a half before I let him kiss me for the first time.
And just yesterday, he told me, at home in our bedroom, that I was totally worth the wait… ❤