Bad Son Rising

By: Julie A. Richman


Late September

First Semester Freshman Year

His Father’s Wedding

Montauk, New York

What am I? A freaking stalker?

Zac Moore had watched her all weekend. Every move. He knew where she was, who she was talking to, what she was doing. He didn’t even have to look for her to know. He just knew. It was as if he could feel her — like a wave wrapping around him and dragging him to shore, but before it delivered him to safety on the beach, it spun him around, pulling him precariously into its undertow, scraping his nose and cheeks on the rough sand and broken clam shells, and then left him gasping for air, disoriented on the shoreline.

What the fuck? He was somewhat annoyed with himself, bothered by this obsession. Girls didn’t interest him in that way. Definitely not how he rolled. Zac Moore did not obsess over the female sex — they obsessed over him. That was the score. Satisfaction was the name of the game. His satisfaction. And when he was done, the encounter was done. It didn’t matter if the other person was done or not. Not his problem. Next …

She was now across the deck talking to his sister, Holly, and her boyfriend, Jared. He watched as the breeze off the ocean whipped her silky sheath of near-waist length caramel brown hair into her eyes. He wanted to walk over to them. Join in the conversation. Push her hair behind her ears for her as he smiled into her eyes. But he was hesitant. All weekend she had acted as if he didn’t exist. No female — from age eight to eighty — ever acted as if he didn’t exist. Six feet tall with thick blonde hair that naturally fell onto his forehead with a bad boy lock, piercing clear blue eyes and full lips had made him the focus of the female sex from the time he was a little boy. Hoodies and sunglasses had become his close, personal friends when he wanted to ward off excessive, unwanted female attention.

Feeling a hand touch his arm, she spoke before he could even acknowledge her presence. “Go hang out and talk to her.” His dad’s new wife, Mia, motioned with a nod of her head over to where his sister and Jared were talking to Lily.

Liliana Castillo.

Even her name sounded intriguing and exotic to him. So different than the homogenized names of girls from his boarding school in New Hampshire and now his college outside of Boston, where the WASPier the name, the higher you placed in the school’s caste system.

“I don’t think she likes me very much,” Zac shook his head.

“I think you intimidate her.” Mia surprised him with her assessment.

“Me? Intimidate her? I think she could intimidate the heavyweight champion of the world.”

Mia laughed and squeezed his arm, “Now that is an understatement. She’s pretty intense. I think you’d be a good balance for her. Get her to lighten up and enjoy life. She’s way too serious for a nineteen year old.”

Zac nodded. All weekend he had been obsessed with attempting to make her smile. He wanted to see her happy, to know what her laugh sounded like. Maybe a secret giggle that only the two of them would share. And more than anything, he wanted to feel her pressed up against his body. To feel her soft curves respond to his hard planes, hear that quick gasp as her breath hitched the moment he entered her, see the flash in her golden eyes as he buried himself fully inside of her. He wanted to melt into her. It was physical. He could feel the pain and longing. Longing for a girl he had just laid eyes on the night before for the very first time. What the fuck? Zac Moore did not long or yearn for women. Ever. And this one — what the heck was her story? She made him feel like The Invisible Man.

“Wait here a second,” Mia said and disappeared. He had forgotten she was standing next to him as he focused solely on his elusive object of desire.

A moment later, Mia was back and dragging him across the oceanfront resort’s large deck. Looking back at him with her trademark devil smile, Mia’s eyes were alight, “You owe me big time, bucko.”

They were upon Lily, Holly and Jared in a second. “They’re playing Bruce,” Mia announced to the group. Anyone who was familiar with his father’s new bride, Mia Silver Moore, knew that in her estimation Bruce Springsteen personified the second coming and not dancing to his music at her wedding would be considered both heresy and a personal affront to the bride.

Zac recognized the first strains of Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark as Mia herded them all onto the dance floor. The five danced as a group, with Mia whooping it up in the center, moving with full abandon as if she were at a live concert. She was clearly giving the message, “It’s my wedding and I’ll dance if I want to.”

As the song wound down, Mia touched Zac’s shoulder and he bent down, “Now make your move,” hitting him with her devil grin, she danced off into the crowd.

The music segued into a slow tune, another Springsteen song, though one that he wasn’t familiar with, Lift Me Up. Holly and Jared floated into one another’s arms and he could see Lily stiffen, not quite sure what to do in this situation. Opening his arms to her, he smiled down into her pretty face, hoping to convey with his eyes just how much he wanted her in his arms.