Home > A Place Without You(2)

A Place Without You(2)
Author: Jewel E. Ann

Long, tan fingers take over, attaching it for me. I look up and go all gooey inside at how amazing my ride-sharing stranger looks with the wind messing up his surfer hair.

“All-Access Pass. Lucky girl.”

I nod without elaborating. Instead, I just stare at his eyes because they are worthy of my attention.

“Bodhi.” He grins. “My name is Bodhi.”

“Bodie? Like the ghost town in California?”

“Bodhi like the sacred fig tree.”

“Shut. Up.” My eyes pop out of my head. “For real? Your name is Bodhi. B.O.D.H.I?”

He grins, but I can’t tell if it’s a duh-that’s-just-what-I-said grin or a you’re-so-gullible grin.

“Henna and Bodhi. It’s so fucking poetic. Now comes the part where I inform you that we will marry some day and live in a small house nestled into the cliffside of Italy, overlooking the Amalfi coast, where we’ll have terraced groves of lemon trees, olive trees … and tomatoes. I love tomatoes.”

Bodhi’s brows inch up his forehead.

“And before you say no and get all weird on me, I’m not suggesting we do this right away. I have some serious traveling to do before settling into one location with a hot guy.” A long two-second delay later, I realize what I’ve just said.

Amusement grows along his mouth like the sun sliding up the horizon in the early morning, giving me the brightest smile. I slip on my sunglasses. Bodhi and the desert sun are a bit too intense, even for me.

“Henna, are you flirting with me?”

A group of girls gather around us and snap a few photos of me before blending back into the sea of humans funneling toward the entrance. Bodhi gives them a narrow-eyed look and shifts his gaze to me for an explanation.

I ignore the girls and his curiosity. “Yes, Bodhi, I’m shamelessly, unapologetically, working-my-ass-off flirting with you. The universe has spoken. We can’t ignore the universe.”

A bold laugh escapes him. “Fate?”

“Fate? No. Fate is nothing more than another word for happiness. We’re more than fate. We sound like something undeniable—Romeo and Juliet, Johnny and June, Beyoncè and Jay Z … Henna and Bodhi.”

His parents have to be awesome like mine. I can’t wait to meet them.

Glancing at his watch, he gives me that goodbye smile that should be outlawed. “Whatever strain of weed you’re on is clearly a good one. Don’t forget sunscreen, a hat, and if you don’t want a nasty cough by Monday, you should cover your nose and mouth with a bandana or scarf.”

“Like … are you kidding me? Did you just give me a parental speech?”

“I have to go.”

“How will I find you?”

He starts to walk toward the far entrance, tossing me a flirty grin over his shoulder. “Fate. Right?”

“Fate. Schmate. Now you’re mocking me. Not cool, bae, not even a little.”

I wait for him to look back at me one more time. I wait … and wait …


As the crowd engulfs him from twenty yards away, he gives me one last glance.

Dead. I’m dead because that’s the guy I’m going to marry. Henna and Bodhi—perfection! After taking a long swig of water, I stare at the words on my water bottle again.

Don’t sweat it. Everything is temporary.


After slathering on a ton of sunscreen and covering my braided hair with a big-ass hat, I make my way through security. Spilling into a diverse crowd milling in every direction, I shoulder my way to the first stage.

Within hours, my clothes are drenched in sweat as the sweet smell of Coachella hangs heavily in the dusty desert air. Still—I love it.

The intense energy of the festivalgoers has its own pulse that can be felt past the rhythm thumping from the various stages. It’s not a mingle fest. Everyone moves from stage to stage, dancing, singing their favorite lyrics, and drifting to the next stage to do it all over again.

“Shit!” A familiar voice grabs my attention.

Waiting for the next act to set up, I glance past the barricades to the right of the stage and giggle at the man frowning at ketchup dribbled down the front of his white T-shirt. A blue-eyed gaze shifts from the mess on the white cotton to meet my gaze. Biting my lips together, my eyes widen as I snort another laugh.

“Fate is working her ass off today.”

He grins a unique blend of something goofy and incredibly sexy. Surfer sexy. No … it’s cowboy sexy. The blond hair and tan skin say surfer, but those perfectly fitted jeans and boots scream cowboy. And the name is that of my future husband.

“I shouldn’t have gotten the fries.”

My sober alertness mixed with the timbre in his voice has me taking a mental count of all the condoms in my possession.

He steps toward me, using another french fry to wipe off the ketchup. It only makes it worse.

“Henna.” Patricia, the tour manager for the band getting ready to take the stage, nods and smiles at me as she walks past ketchup guy.

Bodhi looks over his shoulder at her and then back at me with a hint of confusion on his adorable face. I still can’t decide if I want to see him on a billboard wearing board shorts and holding up a surfboard, or if the thought of him on the back of a horse makes me weaker in all my girly parts.

I smile at Patricia before quickly returning my attention to the mess of a man before me. “No.” I lean over the roped-off area, winking at the security guard eyeing me a few feet away. Stealing a french fry and popping it into my mouth, I lick the salt from my lips. “You just shouldn’t have gotten the ketchup.”

He lifts an eyebrow. “Help yourself.”

I grab another fry. “Thank you.” Tapping it on my bottom lip, I inspect his shirt. “You should take that shirt off before anyone else sees what a mess you’ve made.”

He smiles. I like it a lot. Smiles are nothing new to me. I’ve seen a lot of them—mostly arrogant ones.

“I don’t have another shirt here.” Dipping three fries at once into the ketchup, he tosses them into his mouth.

“Your point?” I take two more fries, leaving him with two.

“I’m pretty self-conscious about my body.”

Biting the fries in half, I grin—a girl-meets-boy flirty one, just for ketchup guy aka my future husband. “Do you love what you do, or do you have dreams of being in a band? Being the one in the spotlight instead of the one adjusting it?”

“This isn’t what I do. It’s a break I take every spring. And for your information, I was in a band.” He eats one fry and hands me the last one.

It’s oddly the most romantic thing a guy has ever done for me. The final french fry trumps a single red rose. At least, that’s how my mind works.

“Thank you.” I take the fry. “Singer?”



I press my hand to my bag over the exact spot where I have a condom. “Well…” I lick the salt from my fingers “…what a coincidence. I happen to have a thing for drummers.”

“Are you still flirting with me?”

“Always. Even when our kids think it’s gross and we’re too old to flirt, I’m going to tease you with my sexiness.”

“Cute.” He tosses the french fry container in the garbage just behind him before turning back to me.

“You think I’m cute? See, Bodhi, you have flirting skills too.”

This earns me the full smile, the kind that should be accompanied with at least one dimple. No dimples. That’s fine. He has sex appeal beyond any dimple I have ever seen.

With the back of his arm, he wipes his brow. It’s hotter than a pot of Devil’s stew. Rubbing his lips together, his gaze meanders along my body. It’s a more potent high than any strain of marijuana. Bodhi might be my new favorite painkiller. He stares at me for so long I feel completely translucent. “I have to get going.” He nods toward the stage. “Enjoy Coachella, Henna.”


With confident strides, he walks away.

“Seriously! You have to stop walking away from me, acting so savage.”

“Savage?” He glances over his shoulder.

I snort a laugh. “It means cool, Bodhi. You’re just too cool.”

He winks.

Dig a hole in the ground and pile dirt on me. I’m so dead.

My fingers run along the outline of the circle of protection in my purse.

Bodhi and Henna. Sigh…

I grin, retrieving my phone.

Me: OMG I met a drummer. And his name is Bodhi! BODHI!!! Are you reading this? HIS NAME IS BODHI!

Juni: Condoms!

I giggle.

Me: Lol. Right? #dead #bestnameEVER


After running into a few friends from school and a few more from my mom’s and stepdad’s social circle, I’m high on Coachella, high on gummies, and really high on thoughts of Bodhi.

The night air is electric with energy from the dancing crowds packed around the venue, the bass, the screaming, and the technicolor of lights from the stages and big screens.

Well done, tech guy.

Aside from the art features and stages, Coachella at night is quite dark and chilly. As my favorite ballad plays from twenty yards away, and everyone around me sways to the slow rhythm, I lift onto my toes to see the stage. Every girl around me is on some guy’s shoulders, blocking my view.

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