I ease away from Henna.
“No! God, no!” She sits up, hair wild and completely ineffable. Her shirt falls back over her breasts as she grabs my face and plunges her tongue into my mouth.
Tacos aren’t life. This girl is life.
I kiss her, my hands conflicted as I try to push her away for one second before sliding back up under her shirt to claim her breasts again.
She releases my face and traces her fingers down my torso, her tongue sliding against mine as she works the button to my jeans.
My watch chimes from her handbag a few feet to the left of us. My reminder to not be late. I pull away again, out of breath and out of my damn mind.
“Bodhi.” Henna jumps to her feet after I stand, running my hands through my hair while trying to make sense of what almost happened with a girl I met yesterday.
I hold out a flat hand to keep her at arm’s length. “Don’t.”
Said no sane man EVER!
A slow-building smile works its way up her face. Yeah, she’s all kinds of trouble—Hell.
“The acai bowls are bland, and the croissants are dry.”
I grin for a second, but it quickly fades when her playfulness sinks into my gut. The problem is I like every single thing about Henna, and I don’t care that we’ve only known each other one day. Time is a weak force compared to other earthly phenomena like magnetism.
Attraction doesn’t give a shit about time. It wants what it wants.
I know one thing for sure—long after our time ends, I will feel an invisible pull to her for the rest of my life.
Yin and Yang.
Positive and negative.
Bodhi and Henna.
“I’m not even sure it’s physically possible to tear myself away from you,” I say, taking a step away from her and feeling the immediate invisible resistance. “But I have to try because I have to be someplace in a short while, and …” I shake my head as she tries to move toward me again. “Per your warning about the acai bowls and croissants, I’ll just grab a glass of juice before I go.”
Her mouth twists as her eyes narrow a fraction. “Okay.”
Henna nods. “Yep. Okay.”
It feels like a trap. The smile she gives me isn’t a submissive okay. It’s evil and no doubt a hiding-something-that-will-probably-ruin-me kind of smile.
“I’m leaving now.” I jab my thumb over my shoulder toward the door, eyes wide in anticipation of her next move.
“Okay.” She laces her fingers behind her back and rocks back and forth on her heels.
I squint, nodding slowly. “O—kay.”
“Oh!” She holds up a finger and jogs to the balcony, retrieving my shirt. “Don’t forget to stain treat it.”
I take the shirt, slipping it back on with the ketchup in the front again. “I think it’s headed for the trash.”
“Well, I’m headed for the shower.” Fishing my watch from her purse, she hands it to me and lifts onto her toes, stamping a quick kiss on my cheek before retreating to the bathroom. “Bye, Bodhi.”
White crop top tied in front.
White ankle boots.
Flower crowned head.
Mission: find Bodhi.
“Hey, Juni.” I answer my phone as I worm my way through the festivalgoers after surviving the cluster fuck of security.
“Yes.” I wait for the real reason for her call.
“In my bag.”
“How many condoms do you have left?”
I glance behind me, frowning at the shadow that’s been following me since I left the hotel after my dad cancelled.
“Should I be worried about the gray-haired man following me who looks completely out of place?”
“I’m a cool mom, but I’m still a mom. Ignore him. I want you to have fun, but safety is my first priority.”
I pull out my hat and swap it for the flower crown. It’s going to be a freakishly hot day. “Thank you. I think.”
“So … I got the picture from Lauren. He’s adorable. Bodhi?”
I smile, sighing like a lovestruck fool. “Yes. He’s … life.”
“He’s an experience.”
I snake my way through the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd in one of the tents. “I know. And he’s … everything. God! I had the best night of my life.”
“And you were—”
“No condoms. We didn’t get that far.” I roll my eyes.
“So tell me everything about him.”
“Not much to tell. We didn’t share our bios.”
“Smart. You might not see him after tomorrow. Just have fun. Have you seen a lot of friends?”
“Some. I sorta got distracted by Bodhi yesterday.”
“Mmm … I remember those days.”
Dad. She remembers my dad. That makes me grin again.
“I’ll call you later, unless I get distracted. But I’m sure the gray-haired shadow will keep you appraised of my whereabouts.” Glancing back, I watch the poor guy try to battle the sea of bodies to keep up with me.
“Love you. Be safe. Have fun. And condoms, Henna. Don’t forget them.”
“Yeah, yeah, bye.” I slip my phone into my bag and hunch down to find a few holes to maneuver my way to the stage. Within minutes, the crowd goes wild as lights come to life and the lyrics to one of my favorite songs spill from the stacks of speakers.
After hours of milling around the tents, getting lost in the pulse of the crowds, and scoring a cold drink, I set out to find ketchup guy. But … no luck.
I snap a selfie with only the bottom half of my face to allow my cleavage to have the focus, then I text it to Bodhi.
Me: Missing my sidekick.
A few minutes later, he responds with a selfie of himself drenched in sweat, another white shirt sans stain, and sipping a sports drink. It looks like he’s sitting on the edge of a stage, but I can’t tell for sure.
Me: I bet you have your own screaming crowd. Location please? I called dibs on you today.
He sends me a short video of his surroundings.
Bodhi: Come find me.
I grin. This isn’t my first Coachella. I know exactly where he’s at. Spewing off apologies for my shoving and pushing to break free from the crowd, I take long strides to another stage that isn’t set to have a show start for a while. Everything vibrates inside of me as I wear a permanent grin.
“Sorry, miss. This is a restricted area.” A security guard holds up his hand as I make my way toward the side of the stage.
I retrieve my pass from my bag. Mr. Security Guard inspects it then gives me the nod while stepping to the side.
Rounding the corner to where I feel certain Bodhi is at, I freeze. A blonde wearing a shirt that says Crew on the back throws her head back in laughter as Bodhi animatedly talks to her.
“You’re too much.” She nudges the toe of her shoe into the toe of his boot.
I have a place I want to stick my foot as well.
“Let’s get a drink as soon as you’re done.”
I jump behind a large speaker as he turns his head to look around.
“I think I have plans.”
“Well, if you don’t, text me.”
I peek around the speaker just as he returns a genuine smile to the other crew member.
“Cool. Later.” She sashays off in the other direction.
Bodhi lifts his shirt to wipe the sweat from his brow and blond girl shoots him an admiring glance over her shoulder. The hair on the back of my neck stands erect as my claws inch their way out. I had no idea I was catty, until now.
I’m not trouble. Bodhi is trouble.
Returning to my hiding spot, I contemplate just walking away. We only have two days—really more like one and a half. He’s going his way, and I have school in the fall. There’s no room for promises or cattiness. We are temporary—don’t sweat it, everything is temporary.
“Let’s stop time so we don’t have to say goodbye.”
I jump as two familiar arms wrap around me from my backside.
How the hell did he sneak around here and find me?
“Bodhi …” I sigh his name, closing my eyes and relaxing my head back onto his chest.
“Henna.” He kisses my neck.
My arms cover his. I don’t want him to let me go, and I have no idea what to do with that realization.
He whips me around and pins me to the speaker, holding my hands behind my back. “No bra. Interesting choice when wearing a thin white shirt.” His tongue makes a lazy swipe across his lower lip.
“I wore it for you.”
A twitch of a grin nudges his lips, eyes alight with mischief. He hums. “For me?”
He takes his time letting his gaze roam along my body. “If you dressed for me…” he looks around before leaning closer to my ear and lowering his voice “…you’d be naked.”
Feeling extra flushed, I hold my breath until I can speak without stammering a bunch of nonsense. “I offered you naked Henna. You wanted a glass of juice and a quick getaway.”
A throaty laugh escapes him. “Clear lapse in judgment on my part.”