According to Audrey
Cautious and introverted, seventeen-year-old Dove spends most of her free time pursuing her one true passion: painting. The twinkling lights of Balboa Island, the ferryboat to the peninsula, the fire pits on Big Corona Beach…these have long been the subjects of her canvases as she daydreams about finding an Audrey Hepburn-film kind of romance.
A hotshot jock is exactly not the type of guy she’s been looking for—but when Leo Donovan drops his cool act to show his vulnerable side, Dove begins to question everything. But first she’ll have to navigate her way through claim-staking mean girls and disapproving parents—and still keep her focus on attending the art school of her dreams.
Being in love turns out to be more complex than the average silver-screen classic. Can Dove follow her heart (and Audrey’s cues) to create her own perfect Hollywood ending?
Leo gently took the bag from my nose and wrapped the ice in the washcloth. “This will be more comfortable,” he said, eyeing my nose like an expert. “It doesn’t look swollen at all, that’s good.” He put the ice into my hand and helped guide it back to my face.
It was not possible to feel any more un-pretty than at this moment. Pain and embarrassment had now mingled into one big uncomfortable feeling. But another feeling was creeping up. I stole another glance at him. He looked like a Hollywood film star from the 1950s—chiseled, with a squinty stare.
I summoned the nerve to look into his eyes and finally spoke. “Thanks, I think I’m okay.” My attraction clashed with my desire to hide. Suddenly I wanted him to go away and stay all at the same time.
His brown eyes locked onto mine, and his mouth turned up at the corners. Was he enjoying my embarrassment? I had no choice but to laugh. “What?” I asked, pulling the ice away from my face.
He grinned and sat down next to me. “Dove, you need to keep the ice on it,” he said, placing it back onto my nose.
The gentle way he said my name made my heart race faster and I searched his face, drinking in its sincerity: his deep gaze—somehow it made me feel safe, and his lips seemed to be just waiting to… kiss me.
All at once, my enamored thoughts screeched to an abrupt stop.
My stomach twisted into a painful knot. How could I have fallen for the sensitive, caring act? Was I really lame enough to get all dreamy-eyed over a few sweet words and a pack of ice? There was no way I was going to end up as one of his conquests. With the ice still held to my nose, I stood with as much dignity as possible.
“Thanks, I’m fine now.” I lowered the ice and looked straight into his dark, concern-filled eyes, shooting him a glare. “I have to go.”
Happy LaShelle is a writer, mom of three, and wife to a Basque baker who brings home loaves of crusty sourdough everyday. She lives near the mission bells in sunny Santa Barbara, but loves the cold, rainy banks of London's Thames River just as much as the sandy shores of her Newport Beach hometown. She studied History at UCLA and enjoys taking pictures of old stuff. Because everything has a story.