He looks at me and I get chills? Who the hell am I?

“Your name. That’s all I want.”

I debate on whether or not I should explain to him that my name isn’t going to help him in his stalking endeavors. I’m more than likely the only seventeen-year-old left in America without an online presence. With my grip still on the door handle, I discharge a warning shot with my glare. “Do you mind?” I say sharply, my eyes darting to the hand that’s preventing me from shutting my door. My eyes trail from his hand to the tattoo written in small script across his forearm.

I can’t help but laugh internally. I am obviously the target of Karma’s retaliation today. I’m finally introduced to the one guy that I find attractive, and he’s a high school dropout with the word hopeless tattooed on himself.

Now I’m irritated. I pull on the door one more time, but he doesn’t budge.

“Your name. Please.”

The desperate look in his eyes when he says please prompts a surprisingly sympathetic reaction from me, way out of left field.

“Sky,” I say abruptly, suddenly feeling compassion for the pain that is clearly masked behind those blue eyes of his. The ease at which I give in to his request based off of one look leaves me disappointed in myself. I let go of the door and crank my car.

“Sky,” he repeats to himself. He ponders this for a second, then shakes his head like I got the answer to his question wrong. “Are you sure?” He cocks his head at me.

Am I sure? Does he think I’m Shayna/Shayla and don’t even know my own name? I roll my eyes and shift in my seat, pulling my ID from my pocket. I hold it up to his face.

“Pretty sure I know my own name.” I begin to pull the ID back when he releases my door and grabs the ID out of my hand, bringing it in closer for inspection. He eyes it for a few seconds, then flicks it over in his fingers and hands it back to me.

“Sorry.” He takes a step away from my car. “My mistake.”

His expression is glossed over with hardness now and he watches me as I put my ID back into my pocket. I stare at him for a second, waiting for something more, but he just works his jaw back and forth while I put my seatbelt on.

He’s giving up on asking me out that easily? Seriously? I put my fingers on the door handle, expecting him to hold the door open again in order to spit out another lame pickup line. When that doesn’t happen and he steps back even further as I shut my door, eeriness consumes me. If he really didn’t follow me out here to ask me out, what the hell was this all about?

He runs his hand through his hair and mutters to himself, but I can’t hear what he says through the closed window. I throw the car in reverse and keep my eyes on him as I back out of the parking lot. He remains motionless, staring at me the entire time I pull away. When I’m heading in the opposite direction, I adjust the rearview mirror to get a last glance at him before exiting the parking lot. I watch as he turns to walk away, smashing his fist into the hood of a car.

Good call, Sky. He’s got a temper.

Monday, August 27th, 2012 4:47 p.m.

After the groceries are put away, I grab a handful of chocolate from my stash and shove it in my pocket, then crawl out my window. I push Six’s window up and pull myself in. It’s almost four o’clock in the afternoon and she’s asleep, so I tiptoe to her side of the bed and kneel down. She’s got her facemask on and her dirty blond hair is matted to her cheek, thanks to the amount of drool she produces while she sleeps. I inch in as close as I can to her face and scream her name.

“SIX! WAKE UP!”

She jerks herself up with such force that I don’t have time to move out of her way. Her flailing elbow crashes into my eye and I fall back. I immediately cover my throbbing eye with my hand and sprawl out on the floor of her bedroom. I look up at her out of my good eye, and she’s sitting up in the bed holding onto her head, scowling at me. “You’re such a bitch,” she groans. She throws her covers off and gets out of bed, then heads straight for the bathroom.

“I think you gave me a black eye,” I moan.

She leaves the bathroom door open and sits down on the toilet. “Good. You deserve it.” She grabs the toilet paper and kicks the bathroom door shut with her foot. “You better have something good to tell me for waking me up. I was up all night packing.”

Six has never been a morning person, and from the looks of it, she’s not an afternoon person, either. In all honesty, she’s also not a night person. If I had to guess when her most pleasant time of day occurs, it’s probably while she sleeps, which may be why she hates to wake up so much.

Six’s sense of humor and straightforward personality are huge factors in why we get along so well. Peppy, fake girls annoy the hell out of me. I don’t know that pep is even in Six’s vocabulary. She’s one black wardrobe away from being your typical, broody teenager. And fake? She’s as straight shooting as they come, whether you want her to be or not. There isn’t a fake thing about Six, other than her name.

When she was fourteen and her parents told her they were moving to Texas from Maine, she rebelled by refusing to respond to her name. Her real name is Seven Marie, so she would only answer to Six just to spite her parents for making her move. They still call her Seven, but everyone else calls her Six. Just goes to show she’s as stubborn as I am, which is one of the many reasons we’re best friends.

“I think you’ll be happy I woke you up.” I pull myself up from the floor and onto her bed. “Something monumental happened today.”

Six opens the bathroom door and walks back to her bed. She lies down next to me and pulls the covers up over her head. She rolls away from me, fluffing her pillow with her hand until she gets comfortable. “Let me guess…Karen got cable?”

I roll onto my side and scoot closer to her, wrapping my arm around her. I put my head on her pillow and spoon her. “Guess again.”

“You met someone at school today and now you’re pregnant and getting married and I can’t be a bridesmaid at your wedding because I’ll be all the way across the damn world?”

“Close, but nope.” I drum my fingers on her shoulder.

“Then what?” she says, irritated.

I roll over onto my back and let out a deep sigh. “I saw a guy at the store after school, and holy shit, Six. He was beautiful. Scary, but beautiful.”

Six immediately rolls over, managing to send an elbow straight into the same eye that she assaulted a few minutes ago. “What?!” she says loudly, ignoring the fact that I’m holding my eye and groaning again. She sits up on the bed and pulls my hand away from my face. “What?!” she yells again. “Seriously?”

I stay on my back and attempt to force the pain from my throbbing eye into the back of my mind. “I know. As soon as I looked at him it was like my entire body just melted to the floor. He was…wow.”

“Did you talk to him? Did you get his number? Did he ask you out?”

I’ve never seen Six so animated before. She’s being a little too giddy, and I’m not sure that I like it.

“Jesus, Six. Simmer down.”

She looks down at me and frowns. “Sky, I’ve been worried about you for four years, thinking this would never happen. I would be fine if you were gay. I would be fine if you only liked skinny, short, geeky guys. I would even be fine if you were only attracted to really old, wrinkly men with even wrinklier penises. What I haven’t been fine with is the thought of you never being able to experience lust.” She falls back onto the bed, smiling. “Lust is the best of all the deadly sins.”

I laugh and shake my head. “I beg to differ. Lust sucks. I think you’ve played it up all these years. My vote is still with gluttony.” With that, I pull a piece of chocolate out of my pocket and pop it into my mouth.

“I need details,” she says.

I scoot up on the bed until my back meets the headboard. “I don’t know how to describe it. When I looked at him, I never wanted to stop. I could have stared at him all day. But then when he looked back at me, it freaked me out. He looked at me like he was pissed off that I even noticed him. Then when he followed me to my car and demanded to know my name, it was like he was mad at me for it. Like I was inconveniencing him. I went from wanting to lick his dimples to wanting to get the hell away from him.”

“He followed you? To your car?” she asks skeptically. I nod and give her every last detail of my trip to the grocery store, all the way up to the point where he smashed his fist into the car next to him.

“God, that’s so bizarre,” she says when I finish. She sits up and mirrors my position against her headboard. “Are you sure he wasn’t flirting with you? Trying to get your number? I mean, I’ve seen you with guys, Sky. You put on a good act, even if you don’t feel it with them. I know you know how to read guys, but I think maybe the fact that you were actually attracted to him might have muddied your intuition. You think?”

I shrug. She could be right. Maybe I just read him wrong and my own negative reaction prompted him to change his mind about asking me out. “Could be. But whatever it was, it was ruined just as fast. He’s a dropout, he’s moody, he’s got a temper and…he’s just…he’s hopeless. I don’t know what my type is, but I know I don’t want it to be Holder.”

Six grabs my cheeks, squeezing them together, and turns my face to hers. “Did you just say Holder?” she asks, her exquisitely groomed eyebrow arched in curiosity.

My lips are squished together due to her hold on my cheeks, so I just nod rather than give her a verbal response.

“Dean Holder? Messy brown hair? Smoldering blue eyes? A temper straight out of Fight Club?”

I shrug. “Dowds sike dim,” I say, my words barely audible thanks to the grip she still has on my face. She releases her hold and I repeat what I said. “Sounds like him.” I bring my hand to my face and massage my cheeks. “You know him?”

She stands up and throws her hands up in the air. “Why Sky? Of all the guys you could be attracted to, why the hell is it Dean Holder?”

She seems disappointed. Why does she seem so disappointed? I’ve never heard her mention Holder before, so it’s not like she’s ever dated him. Why the hell does it seem that this just went from sort of exciting…to very, very bad?

“I need details,” I say.

She rolls her head and swings her legs off the bed. She walks to her closet and grabs a pair of jeans out of a box, then pulls them up over her underwear. “He’s a jerk, Sky. He used to go to our school but he got sent to juvi right after school started last year. I don’t know him that well, but I know enough about him to know he’s not boyfriend material.”

Her description of Holder doesn’t surprise me. I wish I could say it didn’t disappoint me, but I can’t.

“Since when is anyone boyfriend material?” I don’t think Six has ever had a boyfriend for more than one night in her life.

She looks at me, then shrugs. “Touché.” She pulls a shirt on over her head and walks to her bathroom sink. She picks up a toothbrush and squeezes toothpaste onto it, then walks back into the bedroom brushing her teeth.


Tags: Colleen Hoover Hopeless Romance
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