Arianna's Tale: The Beginning
“She’s pretty, Austin. Good job.”
    “Thanks,” Austin chuckled and Leah walked
away again while Austin looked over at me with a twinkle in his
bright blue eyes. “Arianna, you’re blushing,” he whispered which
only worsened the heat in my face while I darted my attention to
the table.
    “We’re still legally brother and sister,” I
mumbled, eating my ice cream slowly while my attention wandered to
the groups of teenagers again and my gray eyes met a pair of bright
emerald eyes. “And everyone’s still watching us….” The emerald eyes
were partially hidden beneath shaggy blonde hair, on the face of a
rather gorgeous guy; a guy wearing jeans and a plain t-shirt, but
he somehow stood out from the others and looked like a model.
    “Anna,” Austin beckoned and I pulled my
attention away from the staring emerald eyes back to him curiously.
“Don’t… not the ones here… please….”
    “What?” I pressed and he sighed.
    “Please don’t fall for some guy here…
there’s some guy behind me and you think he’s attractive… right?”
Austin wondered and I blinked in surprise before shrugging.
    “There’s a guy behind you that stands out
and is staring at me, and he has really pretty eyes,” I retorted
simply, “I hadn’t thought too much past that. Austin… since you
never let me have a boyfriend, I kinda stopped letting myself get
my hopes up that some guy was going to ask me out….” I paused for a
long moment before sighing. “It was like… why get interested in a
guy and get to thinking about ‘ooh, maybe he’ll ask me out’ when I
knew that was never going to happen?”
    “Then please don’t stare at him… he’ll think
you’re interested, and come over here,” he stopped mid-sentence
because the emerald-eyed guy had gotten up and left his group to
walk over to the table.
    “I couldn’t help but overhear,” he started
in a sweet, melodic voice, “Are you Arianna Gray? Detective Gray’s
daughter? And Austin Gray?” He only let his gaze wander to Austin
briefly, focusing intently on me, but I darted my eyes between him
and Austin before staring into my ice cream.
    “Yes, we are,” Austin answered with an edge
to his voice, “But Arianna is adopted, not exactly my father’s
    “I see,” the guy remarked, laughing faintly,
“Austin Gray… I’m Jack Clayborne, and I’d like to show your adopted
sister around town, if that’s all right.”
    I bit my lip to keep myself from laughing,
but I couldn’t stop myself from smiling and chancing a glance at
Jack who was smiling kindly at Austin, but winked when he glanced
at me.
    “I’m sorry, but my dad wants her with either
me or my little brother at all times,” Austin countered with his
fake friendly smile.
    “Jason Gray, right?” Jack questioned and a
tiny giggle passed my lips, “We can show him around, too. I’d offer
to show you around, Austin, but quite frankly, I remember when you
used to come visit every summer.”
    “Yeah… how’s Patrick?” Austin evasively
    “Patrick’s fine. He graduated salutatorian
from our high school this past semester. He’s going to Berringfield
University this fall,” Jack explained and I spotted the tiniest
twitch in Austin’s left eye.
    “Arianna doesn’t date, Jack,” Austin coldly
announced and Jack smirked and shrugged.
    “Who said anything about a date? I just
wanted to show her around. Does Arianna talk?” he lightly laughed
and I giggled again, biting harder on my lip when Austin shot me a
    “I can talk,” I whispered, looking over to
meet Jack’s curious gaze, “I choose not to talk very much… and you
showing me around town, sounds like a date.”
    “I never said it would just be me,” he
corrected coyly, “I could get a whole big group together if you’d
like. Actually, there’s a group of us headed out to the lake
tomorrow night for a bonfire; we were curious if any of you Grays
would care to come along.”

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