Attraction: An Enemies to Lovers Romance
Then I meet Chloe.
She picks me up in her funny yellow Beetle and instead of heading to my fight, we race to the beach.
It's the perfect beginning.
That night in the cage, I fight with her in mind.
Until I see her there, lurking in the corner.
She spots me, too. But she's not there to watch the match.
This isn't the perfect beginning at all.
She's just called the cops on my fight.
This is the beginning of the perfect revenge.
A funny little bright yellow classic Volkswagen Beetle sits outside the sliding doors of the hotel. I check my app again and realize, yep, that’s what picked up my ride request.
The front window rolls down in fits and starts. A girl leans over the passenger seat, awkwardly turning a manual crank. She has blond hair, her skin golden. When she peers out at me, her eyes are huge and translucent, as blue-green as the tide pools I played in on the island where I grew up. She looks like she could be a mermaid coming out of the depths of the ocean.
“SpeedRide?” she asks.
“Yeah,” I say, trying to shake the image of her half-naked in the water.
I open the passenger door. I can’t sit in the front with the bag. It’s too tiny inside. So I maneuver the duffle between us and drop it on the back seat.
“I guess you typically only take one rider?” I ask.
“You’d be surprised how many people can fit in a VW Bug,” she says.
I close the door, and she zips away from the hotel.
I reach behind me for a shoulder harness. It’s there, but pulls out clumsily.
“Original belt,” she says. “Not as fancy as the ones today, but technically, it’s a classic.”
The belt cranks out and finally snaps into the clip. “What year is it?” I ask.
“1984.” She laughs. “I know. Positively Orwellian. Welcome to my Dystopia.”
Another glorious laugh. I could listen to that sound all night.
“No, no. My car. I call her Dystopia Jones. Jonesie for short.”
I can’t take my eyes off her. She’s tiny, her head nowhere near the top of the car, while I can feel my hair filling with static electricity from rubbing the liner. She’s dressed all in black, like a tiny ferocious spy.
“Were you forced to read 1984 for class, or is that what you do for fun?”
She gives me side-eye, as if to warn me not to ridicule her.
“A little of both,” she says, but her voice is more guarded.
Crap, I’ve already blown it. I think fast.
“Is only newspeak spoken here? I’d hate to have a thought crime.”
She looks at me full on, her eyebrows drawn together, as if deciding whether or not I’m poking fun at her.
So I keep going. “I’d be happy to give up the word moist. Can’t stand that word.”
This makes her smile, and it’s pretty much the greatest vision ever to grace a pair of lips.
“I hate that word, too,” she says. “It’s creepy. Like the inside of a cave.”
“I’m happy to sacrifice it for Dystopia Jones,” I tell her.
“You’re also sacrificing leg room.” She waves at my knees, which press against the dash. “The seat might go back a bit more.”
“I’m fine,” I say.
As we pick up speed, the wind noise from the open window makes talking impossible, so I crank it back up.
“Sorry,” she says. “It’s practically Paleolithic. Thankfully the T-rex was already extinct by the time this car was made.”
I cock my head at her. “Why is that?”
She lifts her hands from the steering wheel and flaps them close to her body. “Because of their tiny arms! They couldn’t reach the handle to roll down the window.”
I shake my head and laugh. I didn’t realize how serious my life had gotten until this moment. Work. Train. Worry. This girl is literally the best thing that’s happened to me in months.
“The Beetle was definitely not manufactured with dinosaurs in mind,” I say.
“I like it small. Saves on gas. Easy to park. Cute as a bug.”
So is she, but I keep that thought to myself. This girl is smart. And funny. “What’s your name?” I ask.
“Like the Hornet?”
“You’re killing me,” I say. I am never going to escape that association.
“I can see that’s a touchy point,” she says. “How about I just call you Stinger?”
I shake my head. We look at each other and our eyes just lock. Neither one of us looks away. Her hair is bright against her black shirt. Her chin is dainty, her lips full. I have the crazy urge to kiss her.
We’re startled by a car honking behind us.
The light is green.
As we approach the warehouse, I realize time is running out. I feel anxious about figuring out a way to see her again.
“So is there a way to call you direct?” I ask. “I mean, if I needed another ride in a funky yellow Beetle that disregards the needs of the T-rex?”
That gets her. She tries to bite back her smile, but it grows anyway. “Yeah, just click on my name and make me your favorite.”
I open up the app and find her SpeedRide profile. Chloe S. I wonder what the S stands for. Sexy. Spirited. Definitely not serious. I hit favorite.
The app says we’re less than five minutes away. I wish I could make time slow down. Where’s LA traffic when you need it?
We come to a four-way stop at an intersection and she taps the wheel with her finger. “I guess you’re in a hurry to get where you’re going.”
Is she suggesting we do something else? “I could squeeze in a couple hours,” I say.
She turns the wheel and pulls up to a curb. “We’re close enough to where you were going for the app.”
She picks up her phone from the console between us and hits, “Ride complete.”
My phone buzzes. I click the payment. “What are you thinking?” I ask. Not that I’d say no to pretty much anything.
“I know a beach,” she says. “It's pretty far off the beaten path."
When she turns to look at me, the sun lighting up her golden hair, I know one thing for a fact.
I will go wherever she tells me.