staff feature: leslie l. mckee
Nothing says summer in the country like the county fair. As expected, the fairgrounds are packed. I barely stop the car before Cami jumps out.
“Hey, Paisley, can we go on the Ferris wheel first?”
I had to bring her, but that doesn’t mean she gets to control things. “No, we’re gonna do the Scrambler. It’s my fave.” Don’t get me wrong, I love my little sister, but I’d rather hang with my friends. I mean, it’s the last month before senior year.
“Aww…” She starts to pout.
“We’re already here, and the line’s not too long. We can do your ride next. Deal?”
“Deal. Ooh, I love this song.” Cami starts dancing and singing like no one’s watching.
Boy, her mood shifts quickly. For a kid sister, I guess she’s not too bad … most of the time.
Cami nudges my shoulder. “Did you hear me?”
Actually, no. I hadn’t even realized she was talking to me. I was way too distracted by the familiar sea-green eyes of the ride operator. “Of course I heard you. Let’s go. Line’s movin’.”
“You did not. You’re checking out that guy. You like him.” She giggles and points at the hunk at the top of the stairs.
“Cami, stop that.”
“Why? Do you know him, Pais?”
“He looks familiar. I think he plays basketball at Central High.”
“We’re almost to the front of the line so you can talk to him.”
I consider it for about half a second. Cami’s an extrovert, and she wouldn’t think twice about talking to a complete stranger. Total opposite of me. “Thanks, but I think I’ll pass.”
“Oh, come on. Why not? He looks nice. See? He’s smiling at you.”
“Um…” Before I have a chance to respond, Chase—according to his name tag—ushers us to the open seats.
“Enjoy the ride,” Chase says with a grin. Our hands touch as he locks the bar. Wow.
Cami squeezes my arm as he moves on to the next car. “Did you see that? I think he likes you.”
“Yeah, right. I bet he smiles at everyone on the ride. He probably gets tips or something afterwards.”
Cami shakes her head. “He didn’t smile at me. Hey, I want a selfie before the ride starts.”
I shake my head but lean over so she can take a picture.
We start to move. I’d forgotten how much I love this ride. I glance at Chase as our car spins by him. He grins at me. Next time around, he winks. OMG, my stomach feels all scrambled. I’ve never felt that way on this ride before. What’s going on? Why can’t I get Chase and that gorgeous smile out of my mind?
As the ride slows down, Chase walks around, releasing the bars on each car.
“Did you have fun?” he asks as he offers me his hand.
“Y-yeah. It’s … it’s my favorite ride at the fair. There’s nothing like the feeling of the wind whipping through your hair as you worry about slamming into the other riders.” Shut up already, Paisley.
Chase chuckles. “I’ll be here all week. Maybe I’ll see you around.”
That smile. Those eyes … and oh, he’s waiting for a response. “Uh, sure. That’d be cool.”
Cami jumps up and down. “You bet we’ll be back. We’ll be here every day.”
At this point, I notice Chase staring at me instead of Cami, who’s still rambling on. He glances at Cami and says, “Great,” before looking back at me. “I hope you find everything you’re looking for.”
“Me, too.” Oh my gosh. He’s gorgeous.
Maybe going to the fair with my little sister isn’t such a bad way to spend my summer after all.
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