Dusk and Summer

By Dee

This is something new for me, an AU story that I hope will turn into a full-length. It's set to the songs from the great emo album Dusk and Summer by Dashboard Confessional.

WARNING: Adult story, probably eventual smut and some angst.

Disclaimer: Not my characters, not making any money. Recognizable characters belong to Janet Evanovich. Song lyrics belong to Chris Carrabba and Dashboard Confessional.

Part 1—Don't Wait

Don't wait, don't wait
The road is now a sudden sea
And suddenly, you're deep enough
To lay your armor down

Chris Carrabba



Carlos lay flat on his back in the hot May sunshine, baking and sweating the poison out of his system. He stared at the red glow on the inside of his eyelids and ruminated on the problems that had turned his life to shit in just a few short months.

Beside him, his younger brother Julio rolled from his stomach onto his side and sat up, stretching. "I'm sick of the beach. I need to move."

Julio's best friend Lester groaned and brought a hand to his forehead to shade his eyes from the bright sunlight, squinting up at him. "You got no money, bro, so just suck it up and veg on out here with us."

"I'm just gonna walk up on the boards a bit." Julio pushed up to his feet, hoisting his long board shorts up over his skin-and-bones ass and re-tying the string to keep them up. Carlos watched him push his dull, stringy dark-brown hair back behind his ears and noted the ribs protruding from his sides and the twig-thin legs. He marveled at how just a few months on meth could turn a healthy, toned body into a skeleton.

As Julio started across the beach, Carlos growled, "Go with him, Les. If you don't keep an eye out he'll be ripping off some little old lady's purse."

After watching Lester kick up sprays of sand in his hurry to catch up with Julio, Carlos lay back down, sighing and feeling like crap. This summer was looking to be the worst kind of hell, and there was nothing he could do except suck it up.

Just as he was starting to doze off, to escape from the ache in his chest for a few minutes, a shriek of laughter and a chorus of giggling brought him to abrupt consciousness. Sand sprayed over him, and he sat up with a jerk.

"Oh, God, I'm so sorry!" A lithe, tanned body in a white bikini crouched down next to his blanket and slender fingers ran across his chest and abs, tracing the muscles while brushing off the sand. "I didn't mean to get sand all over you."

"No problem," Carlos muttered, using his arm to block her touch and brushing the sand away himself.

Tossing long, artistically sun-streaked blonde hair back behind her shoulders, the girl widened eyes of an intense emerald green color not possible in nature. "It was all Heather's fault." She jerked her shoulder at another tanned, bikinied body standing at the edge of the water watching them. "I'm Ashley, by the way."

"Carlos," he muttered, shaking the hand she extended and studying the cleavage presented as she leaned forward toward him. She was pretty and was really stacked. Maybe if he felt the urge later he'd give her a little tumble. Her body language told him she'd be amenable, and he hadn't had a woman in over a week, since he'd taken in Julio.

"Are you going to be here for the whole summer?" Ashley asked. "Heather and I are lifeguards and will be working the beach."

"Me, too. I'll see you around." Carlos dismissed her by lying back down and throwing his arm up to shield his eyes.

"Hey, a bunch of us are going to Mac's tonight. Why don't you meet us there?"

Carlos rolled his arm up to his forehead and squinted at her. The sun behind her generated a halo of blonde around her head, and her body in silhouette was slim and yet lush, with disproportionately large breasts. She was a bit young to have had implants, around his own age, he guessed, but looking her over, he wouldn't be surprised to find fine scarring beneath her breasts where the fakes were inserted.

"Maybe," he muttered and covered his eyes again.

"It's a date, then. See you there," Ashley said, taking the hint and moving off toward the water and her friend.


"Let's go up on the boards for a few minutes and cool off," Stephanie said. "There's bound to be a breeze up there and I'm sweating like a pig."

"Glowing, Steph," giggled Mary Lou. "Women don't sweat, they glow."

"Well, I'm freaking glowing like a pig."

"Thank God we don't have to be back until tomorrow morning," said Tina as the three of them walked up the ramp to the boardwalk. "Who knew waitressing was such hard work?"

"Yeah," agreed Stephanie, "and it's only May. Just wait until July and August when things really get busy."

The three girls, former classmates at Trenton Catholic High School, were working at a popular Point Pleasant restaurant for the summer, hoping to make enough in tips to offset the huge rent they were paying on a tiny apartment three blocks from the beach. If they were lucky and got great tips they'd even have some money saved up for the fall semester.

"You know, it really sucks that we have to serve drinks to customers at the restaurant but aren't old enough to drink ourselves." Tina frowned. "Do either of you have a fake ID?"

Mary Lou raised her hand, and was followed by Steph, looking guilty and saying, "My mom will kill me if she finds out."

"Well, I'll never tell," said Tina. "As long as you tell me where you got it so I can get one, too."

"I've got a friend at Rutgers who can hook you up. I'll give him a call later," Stephanie told her. "It's only fifty bucks, and it'll pass anywhere. He'll even put your actual name and address on it and just change the date of birth."

"Perfect," Tina replied.

As they reached the railing overlooking the ocean Stephanie pulled the ponytail holder out of her hair and shook her head, letting the cool salty breeze brush out the smell of fried seafood. Her hair was going to end up a huge mass of frizz, but she'd pull it back in a few minutes. It just felt so great having it loose.

She'd have to call her mom in a little while and tell her all about her first day of work. The restaurant was owned by Tina's Uncle Tommy Rosolli, and the connection to Trenton was the only reason her mother let her come. Her mom was intense in her over-protectiveness, and Stephanie felt lucky she'd even been allowed to go away to college. Now with a year under her belt, she wanted more independence, hence the summer job away from the stifling atmosphere and rigid propriety of the Chambersburg neighborhood where she grew up.

Stephanie's thoughts were interrupted by a male voice behind them. "Well, well, what have we here?"