Authors: Amy Sparling
I set two baskets of burgess and fries on the table and slide one over to D’andre. He grabs the massive cheeseburger in one hand and takes a bite.
“So what’s up, man?”
My shoulders fall. “I’m in trouble.”
He takes another bite, his eyebrow rising. “Like . . . legal trouble? Man, what did your dumbass do?”
I laugh and grab a fry. Even though we’re at a Red Robin restaurant and not McDonald’s, I still think of Keanna when I eat French fries.
“Okay first of all you can’t say shit about this, okay?” I point the fry at him as if it’s some kind of weapon I’ll use to whip his ass if he talks.
He takes another bite of his burger. “Okay now I’m intrigued. I mean I was interested when I thought you wanted to use my dad’s lawyer services to bail you out of some kind of legal trouble but by the look on your face, this’ll be good.”
“I’m serious, man. No telling anyone what I’m about to say.”
He sets down the burger and gives me his undivided attention. “Lay it on me.”
I draw in a deep breath. When I’d called my best friend to come eat lunch with me today, I’d known I wanted to tell him all about my dilemma. But now that it’s about to happen, I kind of want to laugh and say I was kidding and go on with our day like normal. But if I avoid talking to someone about this, it’ll only make the problem worse. If D’andre can’t help, then I’ll go to my dad. But I really don’t want to because that’s just embarrassing.
“Yeah so, I’m in trouble,” I say again. “With Keanna.”
His eyes light up. “Is she pregnant?”
“What?” I sit up straighter. “Dude, no.”
D’andre lifts an eyebrow. “Okay so, why are you acting like the world is ending?”
“Don’t judge me, but I’m kind of into her.”
He takes the bun off his burger and adds a huge amount of ketchup to the meat before replacing the bun. “Uh, okay. You’re into a million girls. That’s why I fucking hate you,” he says with a chuckle. “You get all the hot girls and guys like me get the leftovers.”
I shake my head. “No, I mean, I’m into her. Like, we’ve spent every day this week together.”
I expect him to laugh at me because I’d do the same thing in his position. But even under all of the joking and giving each other shit, he’s still a good friend.
“Well, I guess the great womanizer Jett Adams can settle down if he wants, right?” D’andre says with a shrug. “What’s the problem?”
“That’s exactly the problem. I don’t settle down. I’ve pretty much based my entire sex life on being a no-strings-attached kind of guy.”
“And is this chick trying to attach strings to ya’ll?” he says, moving his finger around like it’s attached to an invisible thread.
I shake my head. “That’s another issue. Sometimes she acts like she’s really into me too, but the other times she’ll do something sexy as hell and then walk off like it’s nothing. Like what we have doesn’t mean shit.”
D’andre lowers his gaze at me. “You mean like how you treat every girl you’ve ever been with?”
The words are true but they sting regardless. I stare at my burger, counting each little sesame seed on the bun. “I don’t know what to do. I keep telling myself to treat her like any other girl, but I can’t. I really like her.”
“And this is coming from the guy who has promised me numerous times that he’ll never fall for a girl,” D’andre says with a laugh. “Man, you’re fucked.”
I draw in a deep breath and sigh. “Yeah, I know. Even if she liked me back, I wouldn’t know what to do. I’m not a girlfriend guy, ya know? Like, that in itself would be a nightmare to figure out but that’s not the problem. The problem is that I have no idea if she likes me back or not.” I sink my forehead into my hand. “Sometimes I think she’s just fucking with me. Like she still royally hates me and is messing with my head.”
“Girl’s will do that,” D’andre says, nodding like he knows that fact all too well.
“You’re not helping at all,” I say, trying to get back to eating. I haven’t eaten all day so maybe the lack of food is making me even more heartsick.
“Dude, what I am supposed to do?” he says, taking a long sip from his drink. “Want me to ask her?”
I shake my head. Keanna could lie to him just as easily as she lies to me. And just the thought of that girl lying to me makes my heart feel five kinds of pain that it’s never felt before. I’ve promised total honesty with her and I’ve been true to my word.
It occurs to me now that she’s never offered the same promise to me.
“Look, Jett,” D’andre says, grabbing three fries at once and dunking them in ketchup. “Why don’t you bring her to the lake party this weekend? I’ll chat her up and we can get the guys to meet her and then see what everyone thinks.”
“Absolutely not. What the hell did I say about keeping this to yourself?” I say. “No one else can know but you, okay? Don’t fucking tell anyone.”
He holds up his hands in surrender. “Okay, man, chill. You’re either completely in love or terrified of this chick embarrassing you for having emotions.”
“Honestly, it might be a little of both,” I say, feeling my chest constrict.
“So bring her to the party,” he says. “Let me meet her and I’ll tell you what I think about her feelings toward you. I mean I’m no relationship expert, but it looks like I’m all you’ve got.”
“Yeah okay,” I say, wondering how I’ll bring it up to Keanna. We’ve only ever hung out alone, although we’ve spent nearly every waking moment together this week. “I’ll bring her.”
After work, I rush home and hop in the shower. I’ve only seen Keanna once today and it wasn’t nearly long enough. She’d been in the front office with Becca, preparing for her first week of working alone since Becca is leaving for some craft thing tomorrow. So all I was able to do is say a quick hello to her since I was with a customer and I had to show his little kid around the track.
Seeing Keanna looking beautiful as hell in a blue tank top and cut off jean shorts but not being able to kiss her was the absolute worst. My heart has been aching all damn day. I kept trying to find ways to sneak back in the office, but my dad had me busy at the track all day.
But it’s over now and I’ll get to see her soon.
This last week has been a whirlwind of new emotions and experiences. We’ve hung out every single day without planning it. Somehow we find ourselves in each other’s arms, secretly of course. My mom might suspect something but no one else knows. The last three days in a row, I came home to find Keanna waiting for me on the porch. Today she wasn’t, but that doesn’t stop me. I’ll see her soon enough.
I crank up the hot water even though it’s hot as hell outside. I let the shower steam up the bathroom and I scrub every inch of my body with the best smelling soap I have. The water hits my neck and I close my eyes, picturing Keanna’s lips in that exact spot. She is intoxicating and she has taken over my whole heart. I am in
And that’s probably why this hurts so badly. I have no idea what she really feels. We haven’t exactly talked about it. And I come from a long stream of pointless hookups so I’ve never had this conversation. I wouldn’t even know how to bring it up.
“Uh yeah, are we like, dating?”
That wouldn’t be very charming.
I sigh and let my head rest against the side of the shower wall. This is going to drive me insane if I don’t get answers soon. I’d been trying to be kind and respectful, especially since I know she’s worried about not hearing from her mom. But now it’s at the point where thinking about Keanna hurts more than it feels good.
Because I’ve got some major feelings for this girl and if she doesn’t feel the same, it’ll crush me.
After my shower, I towel off and pull on a blue shirt because two days ago she said I looked hot in blue. I throw some gel in my hair and rush out of my room, almost forgetting my phone. All I want to do is be near her.
I refuse to worry that her not being on my porch today was a bad sign.
Becca opens the door for me when I arrive. “Hey, kid,” she says, letting me in. “You here for Key?”
I nod. “Is she in her room?”
“Yep. You staying for dinner?”
I shrug. “I dunno. I might take her out.”
“Okay, well let me know.”
I smile and head across their vintage house to the guest bedroom. I knock softly, realizing that my entire body is now just a nervous sack of skin and organs.
The door opens and she is so beautiful I can’t help myself. “You’re hot,” I say, leaning against the door frame.
She smiles and steps back, letting me enter her room. “How was work?”
“Work was work,” I say, taking her face in my hands. “I don’t wanna talk about that, I want to kiss you.”
She smirks. “Then do it.”
When we kiss, my anxiety melts away. I hadn’t realized how scared I was about her not being at my house after work until her kiss takes it all away. Maybe she was running late or something. I slide my hands through her hair and try not to let on to how much I love when her boobs graze against my chest. “I missed you,” I whisper between kissing her perfect lips.
“You always miss me,” she teases, dropping down to her normal height. She’d been up on her toes a second ago and now she feels so far away.
“Yeah, but you never say you miss me.” I make a pretend puppy face and hope to god that she’ll tell me something I want to hear.
“Maybe I do, maybe I don’t,” she says, that frighteningly adorable smile still on her face.
“You kill me, you know this right?” I say, wrapping my arms around her and pulling her close to me. She’s still wearing those cut off shorts I love so I slip my hands in her back pockets and revel in the feeling of her being so close.
My heart is aching with all of the questions I have—does she like me? Is she fucking with me? But I don’t even care right now. I just need to be near her.
“Hey, can I ask a favor?” she says, peering up at me with this serious expression.
“Of course. Anything.”
She bites on her bottom lip. “Could I use your phone?”
I take it out of my back pocket and hand it to her. “Thanks,” she says as she dials a number from heart. She puts the phone to her ear and turns around, walking to the window that overlooks the fields on the other side of the road.
I follow, giving her some space while she waits. Finally, she lowers the phone and turns back around, holding it out to me.
I take the phone and frown. “Your mom still not answering?”
She shakes her head and looks at the floor. “It’s driving me crazy.”
“I’m sorry, Key.” I wrap her in my arms and hold her tightly, lowering my chin on top of her head. We stand like that for a long time and then she finally breaks away.
“Sorry I’m in a crap mood,” she says, her eyes full of sorrow. She points to the bed where one of Becca’s old laptops sits. “I’ve been looking up police news, accident reports, everything. I can’t find any sign of my mom. I even looked up craft fairs to see if she was listed as a vendor. I just hope she’s alive, you know?”
I take her hand. Here I was spending all day freaking out about if a girl liked me or not, and she’s got real issues to deal with. God, I’m a dick. “I’ll help you look,” I say, pulling her with me to sit on the bed. “We can drive down to Corpus Christi if you want. Ask around for her?”
She considers this a moment and then shakes her head. “I don’t even know the name of the company she was interviewing for. For all I know maybe that was a lie.”
“Have you called hospitals?” I ask.
She nods. “Yep. I even hacked into her email account and it hasn’t been used in months.”
I squeeze her hand in mine. “I’m sorry. I’m here for you, though. Anything you need.”
Just when I think we’re having a moment, she shakes her head. “Don’t worry about it. It’s not your problem, it’s mine.”
That hard look is back on her face. The one from the night I first met her. She’s built her walls up again and is shutting me out.
“Okay well, I don’t care what you say. I’m still here for you.”