Heyyy. A new fic. Hopefully you’ll like it, and tell me what you think :) Just a disclaimer first, I’ve never been to California or Venice Beach, so excuse my lack of knowledge about the area, but this is an AU fic which means I have the liberty of making up stuff :D Also, this fic is hugely inspired by the awesomest of all the movies, Lords of Dogtown. That’s about it, I hope you like it, and feedback is highly appreciated. :) x
Oh and it will get smutty in the future. You have been warned. ;)
It is probably the sudden stopping of the bus that wakes her from her light sleep; she shifts in her seat, not willing to wake up just yet, but she has no choice – this is her stop, the bus driver says. Venice Beach, California.
She pries her eyes open and catches a glint of turquoise in the distance – the ocean. Smiling, she rubs the remains of sleep out of her eyes and grabs her luggage in form of a worn out backpack and a guitar case lying by her side before stepping out of the vehicle and onto the hot asphalt. The heat hits her suddenly, and the light breeze does nothing to help; it will take her a while to get used to the weather, she thinks.
But she’s willing to wait because, damn it, she’s in Cali. Five minutes away from the ocean. She can smell it, taste the saltiness in the air, hear the cry of the seagulls and the crashing of the waves.
Her name is Zoey; she has just finished college, and, as a gift (even though her parents begged her to just accept the car they intended to buy her) she gave herself a year to travel around the world and see as much as she possibly could. With some money saved over the years in her wallet, along with the money her parents gave her, a minimum amount of clothes and her beloved guitar, she took the first bus to California, choosing it as her first destination on her year-long journey.
Back there, in her hometown, she didn’t feel bad nor not happy nor trapped; it was just that she felt like she had an obligation to herself to see if the world had more to offer her. If it did, then great; if it didn’t, that was okay, too. But it didn’t hurt to try, right?
Her parents, of course, weren’t exactly pleased about it. They just couldn’t understand why would she ever want to leave their peaceful neighborhood, let alone the entire state, and eventually, even the continent? How possibly could she find traveling and meeting strangers more appealing than taking care of her garden and having barbecues every Sunday?
They had no idea from where or whom she got it from, that vagabond side of her that craved adventure. It first showed when she had told them she wanted to learn how to play guitar and dismissed her mother’s comments that a piano or a flute would be more fun to learn. Not to mention it was far more suitable for a little lady.
She didn’t like that word very much, lady, or at least what it represented.
She looks around, her eyes skimming over the buildings and houses and palm trees and clear blue skies and she wonders where she could get a room for herself, if there was any – this little town isn’t exactly the tourists’ paradise - and that’s what she likes about it.
She decides to go left, because, if nothing else, at least she will be going towards the ocean; she digs through her backpack, fishing out a pair of sunglasses and a water bottle, takes a big gulp of the now warm liquid and shoves the frames on top of her nose before taking the first step towards her, first ever, adventure.
Twenty minutes later, she has found a decent room for a decent price from a decent lady that’s living alone (decently). One thing that Zoey likes the most about her peach-colored room is that it has a balcony with an ocean view, which means she can watch sunsets every evening, while reading a book or eating her dinner; she pictures it in her head, her future self, with tanned skin and wavy, air-dried hair, tired after a long day at the beach. She smiles, liking the idea.
She unpacks the few of her belongings, places them neatly in the drawers of her new dresser before she takes a quick shower. While there, she makes a list of things she’d like to do or try while in Cali: learn to surf, meet new, interesting people, maybe find someone she can jam with every now and then; watch a sunrise, go skinny dipping and (her parents would kill her if they knew about this) smoke some pot, maybe?
She also makes a mental note to look around for a shop or a diner that needs an extra worker; she does have enough money not to worry for a month or two, but it wouldn’t hurt her to have something extra on the side… She has seen this cute little shop not that far from where she is staying, and it would be rather convenient if they needed help. She tells herself to make sure to check it out.
But first things first – she needs to look around, find a surf shop and buy a board. She has no clue what type would work best for her, but she hopes she’ll figure it out on the way. Or maybe a cute surfer boy could help her pick it out.
It’s around three in the afternoon when she goes outside, wandering the streets in search of a surf shop; there isn’t many people on the streets, which makes it more difficult for her to ask around - a middle aged woman and a boy who looks around eight aren’t exactly the best people to help her – so she ends up buying some food instead and a bouquet of wildflowers from an old man who charms her into buying it by saying the flowers were almost as pretty as her. She likes flowers, especially the wildflowers, and she definitely likes compliments, so why not?
She wanders some more, with the flowers and a bag of groceries in her hands, discovers an abandoned movie theater and a bookshop, but not even a trace of a surf shop; she contemplates going back to her room and continuing the search the next morning, when she spots a group of boys talking not that far down the street.
It is obvious they’re all locals; they walk confidently, their loud laugh echoing the streets. One of them stops to demonstrate a funny situation and the rest of them stop in their tracks, too, watching the inked boy flailing his arms around before breaking into fits of laughter. They’re back from the beach - or on their way there, since none of them is wearing a shirt, their tan skin on display, for Zoey’s viewing pleasure. She somehow manages to tear her eyes away and notice that the two of them, the tall boy who looked like the oldest one and the blonde boy with shaggy hair, are carrying surfboards. Bingo, she thinks.
She lets her lips curve into a friendly smile and courageously approaches the group of boys; they hear the sound of her sandals clicking and turn their heads towards her, squinting their eyes at her. Her courage slips a little, but she makes the last couple of steps until she’s right in front of them. Just as she takes a deep breath and prepares herself to speak, the boy with sun-bleached hair cocks his head to the side and crosses his arms. It distracts her.
“Are you lost?” he asks her, and not in a friendly way.
It takes her a second or two to answer. She breathes out a light laugh as she shakes her head. “Oh, no, no, I’m not lost, I’m just -“
“You’re not from around here” the boy interrupts. She’s a little bit shocked by his behavior.
“No, I’m not” she says, pursing her lips afterwards to prevent herself from commenting on the boy’s growing rudeness. She can feel five pairs of eyes on her.
“Then you are lost” he counters, a mean smile playing on his lips. His eyes wander up and down her frame slowly; it almost tickles her skin.
“I know where I am at the moment, thank you very much; I was just wondering if any of you would be so kind to help me pick out a board?”
The blonde boy snorts out a laugh, making the other four snicker. He looks at her in disbelief, like he can’t believe how she has even thought about it.
“Go back to where you came from, sweet cheeks.” He scoffs giving her an once-over, turns his back to her, focusing on the boy next to him, and starts a conversation.
Zoey can feel her cheeks heating, and it’s not only from the sun, but she decides not to pay the rude boy any attention; she turns to the other boy with a board, fluttering her eyelashes, a small smile on her lips.
“I could also use an instructor” she tells him; she has caught the rude boy’s attention again - she can feel his hard glance on her temple, but she chooses to ignore him. “I can pay… not much, but still” she says, hoping that the damsel-in-distress/money combo would get to him. It’s visible on his face that he’s thinking about accepting the offer, but when he glances next to Zoey, most likely catching the other boy’s disapproving grimace, he scratches the back of his neck, his eyes gluing to the ground.
“Sorry, ’m too busy” he lies through his teeth, scrunching his nose; she wants to ask what exactly he is busy with, but chooses not to. Instead, she just shrugs her shoulder and turns to walk away – at least she tried - when the blonde boy speaks again.
“If I were you, I’d stay away from the waves” he shouts behind her, making her stop and turn to him again.
“Was that a threat? Because if it was, it was a really lame one.” She can almost hear the gasps the boys make; apparently, no one ever responded to the cocky kid, which is visible on his face for a few seconds before it falls back into his usual bored expression. He laughs, and Zoey must admit, it does sound a little scary.
He takes a step towards her, places his board’s tale on the ground and leans into it, oozing coolness. “If I was threatening you, you’d be aware of it, trust me. Now, I’m gonna be a bit more tolerant because you’re not from around here and you don’t know shit about how we roll here” he says slowly, and if the even tone of his voice wasn’t scaring her a bit, she’d laugh at his choice of words; “There aren’t enough waves for us locals – us who surf every single day - let alone a tourist, a female tourist” he explains. “So why don’t you stay on the beach, building sand castles or sunbathing or whatever the fuck you girls do, and stay away from the big boys’ business, alright?”
She swallows the lump that has formed in her throat, grits her teeth and raises her chin before boldly speaking, “As far as I’m informed, you don’t own the waves.”
Again, he’s surprised she’s still even there, let alone that she’s replying. He cocks his head to the side. “Maybe not, but it comes very close to it.” She suddenly realizes he’s quite close to her - she can see the freckles sprinkled over his cheeks, down his neck and just on top of his tan chest; when her eyes snap back up, he’s smirking at her lazily, his eyes half closed. He noticed her staring, meaning he has won this round.
Still smiling, he looks into her eyes, like he’s trying to read her, and she finds it hard to tear her eyes from his blue ones; or at least until the boy speaks again. “Look, you’re quite a fit bird, and it would be a shame having to fight with you, when we could have other kinds of fun, you know?” he raises his brows suggestively, and even though she’s mostly repulsed by the idea, there’s a tiny part of her that wants the same thing as him.
“Um, no thank you?” she stutters out, but damn it, he’s still smirking and she call tell he knows it; he knows what she’s thinking about.
“You must have some real good manners in bed, too” he teases, his eyes scanning her body for the millionth time. Her cheeks redden a little bit more. How dare he?
“But I guess you’ll never know” she fires back and hears one of the other boys’ loud laughter. The blonde boy isn’t smiling as bright anymore; she arches her eyebrow, cocks her head just like he has done minutes ago and gives him a look that says ‘looks like we’re even now’ before turning on her heel and walking away.
Before she gets too far away for them to hear her, she speaks, “I’ll see you at the beach tomorrow morning.” She doesn’t hear him say anything, and she doesn’t dare turning around to see his face.
Arguing, or any form of conflict with people, especially strangers, makes Zoey tired. She hates it, even though she can be quite good at it – she knows where to hit and is quick to reply – but she gets easily upset and, in the end, it just isn’t worth it.
When she walks away from the boys, she might seem cool, calm and collected, but she’s not. She will show up at the beach the next morning, she’s too stubborn not to, but the surfing will most certainly lose a part of its charm because of the tension between her and the blonde boy.
She’s still thinking about it when she walks past a small old school diner, nearly not noticing the sign on the window, ‘HELP NEEDED’; she stops, walks backwards a few steps and reads the sign again. With a hopeful smile, she pushes the glass door and enters.
The diner is larger on the inside; it’s clean, brightly colored and not very popular, since only two booths are occupied at the moment. Zoey approaches the counter, but there’s no one there, so she places the bag on the floor and the flowers on the counter, sits on one of the stools and reads the menu in front of her. She could really use a milkshake right now.
“Hi, how can I help you?” she hears and almost jumps in her seat; when her eyes shot up, there’s a boy standing on the other side of the counter, looking at her expectantly; he has a name tag on his shirt pocket that says ‘Hi, I’m Dylan’ in a pretty messy handwriting. Zoey smiles at him.
“Hi, I saw the sign on the window? The ‘Help needed’ one?” she says, pointing behind her back in direction of the door. He follows the motion of her hand before nodding.
“Oh, yeah, we need another waitress” he says before offering her his hand to shake, “I’m Dylan, nice too meet you. Pretty flowers, by the way.” He smiles, motioning his head to the bouqet, and she can’t help but do the same.
“Yeah, I know” Zoey laughs, and Dylan’s confused until she points to the left side of his chest where the name tag is, and then he laughs too; “I’m Zoey, nice to meet you too.”
“Okay, Zoey” he says, rolling her name off his tongue, testing it, “So you’re insane enough to want to work here… Have you ever waited tables before?” he asks her, something playful twinkling in his eyes. Zoey winces.
“Not really” she says, “but I’m responsible and a fast learner and I could use some money” she adds hopefully.
Dylan looks like he’s thinking for a few moments; “Well, you don’t look like a drug addict” he notices, making her laugh, “and it’s not like anybody else applied for the job, so… I’ll say a good word or two for you to the boss” he says, winking mischievously.
“Thank you, I really appreciate it” she says. Dylan just waves his hand at her.
“It’s nothing, really. Just come around this time tomorrow and you’ll be waiting tables in no time” he says, and Zoey smiles at him as she slides from her stool, ready to go, when she remembers something.
“Hey, Dylan? Do you know if there’s a surf shop around here?” she asks, and he’s surprised for a second or two, before he nods.
“Oh, yeah, there’s this one not that far from here, it’s quite good” he says, pointing west, “It’s just down the street, but it’s not very eye-catching, that’s probably why you haven’t noticed it already. You surf a lot?” he asks.
Zoey snorts. She wishes she surfed a lot. “I’ve never surfed, actually, but I want to learn; it just seems really fun, you know?”
Dylan leans on the counter, smiling. “I do, actually; I’ve been surfing for a couple of years now” he says, but he’s not bragging. He seems nervous all of a sudden. “I could – I mean if you’d like me to – I could help you? Like, learn and stuff” he says.
It doesn’t seem like a bad idea to Zoey. “Yeah, sure, why not?” she says, shrugging her shoulder and smiling.
“Really? Great, we can go one day after work, that’ll be cool” he beams, excited; Zoey nods, approving, before picking up the bag from the floor and the flowers. Dylan jumps over the counter, takes the bag from her and walks towards the door, leaving Zoey standing in slight shock.
“Here, let me get the door for you” he says, holding it open, and when she walks through, still taken aback by his chivalry, he follows her outside.
“It was really nice meeting you” he says as he hands her the bag, “So, be here tomorrow at, like, two o’clock? That’s when the second shift starts.”
Zoey nods. “Got it. I’ll be there. And thanks again. For the good word. And the surfing thing. And the bag” she says, laughing. She knows him for, what, ten minutes? And he’s already done so much for her.
Dylan shifts his eyes to the ground, shoving his hands in his pockets. He looks slightly embarrassed. “No big deal, really. Glad I could help. So, I’ll see you tomorrow?” with the last sentence, he looks up at her.
“You got it. Bye, Dylan” she says, waving at him with the flowers as she walks away, making him laugh.
“Yeah, bye, Zoey!”
And just like that, surfing has that charm again.