“Ow!” I cried irritably and scrambled back to my feet. “What was that for?”
She dangled my key ring in front of my eyes and then hid them behind her back before I could snatch them back. “You will go with Ethan after school, and I will drive your car home. Then, when you’re done, he can drop you off at my place, and you can tell me everything.”
“That plan has a million flaws, Shannon!”
“See you after your date! ” She laughed and slipped back into the general crowd. She caught sight of Charlie Hamilton and was immediately drawn into conversation with him. It was as if she’d suddenly forgotten I was even there.
“Out of the way, Bates!” someone shouted behind me, and I stepped back into the flow of traffic that swept me away to Government class without further argument.
After Lit, I raced out of the door and to the parking lot, leaving Finn to stare after me in confusion. The goal was to reach my car before Shannon and take back my dignity, but by the time I reached the parking lot, I could just see the lime green monster tooling along the highway towards Shannon’s house.
“You ready to go?”
I whirled around to find Ethan coming up behind me, grinning as usual. His teeth seemed especially white against his dark skin, and his piercing eyes dove right down to my very soul. I didn’t know anyone could do that, let alone that anyone would want to do that to me. Ethan was just so charming .
His smile faltered. “To get something to eat?”
My empty stomach growled again. “Oh. Right. Yeah.”
He looked around the parking lot. “Where’s your car?”
“Oh, uh, Shannon took it. You can drop me off at her place later.”
“I guess that is more convenient.”
“I’m kind of surprised that she isn’t coming with us, actually.” He unlocked his truck and I climbed in, leaving my stomach behind on the pavement.
“Oh, did you want her to come? We can pick her up.” Of course he had a thing for Shannon. Of course this gorgeous guy would have a thing for my gorgeous best friend. He was probably just using me as a way to get closer to her. What a jerk.
“No need, ” he said.
Ha! He was such an angel!
“So, where do you want to go?” he asked me, pulling out of the student parking lot.
“Have you been to Rick’s yet?” I asked. “There’s not much to do in St. John, but Chris can make some good coffee.”
“He owns Rick’s.”
“Ah.” He laughed, rubbing the back of his neck again. “Does Chris serve food at Rick’s? Or is coffee the only option?”
“Chris has sandwiches.”
“Sandwiches it is.” He gunned it down the highway, his truck roaring smoothly under the mild strain. Oscar would have stalled out again. “Did you bring your calculus? We could work on it if you want.”
“Oh, crap!” I exclaimed, making Ethan jump. “I forgot it!”
He laughed again. “You’re hopeless, Emily! The first day of school, you don’t do your homework, and the second, you don’t even bother to bring it home!”
“No, no! Turn around!” I cried. “I can get it before the janitors lock up.”
“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “I’ve got my book. We’ll do it before I take you to Shannon’s place.”
“Oh. Okay.” That certainly sounded like a reasonable alternative. It was definitely nothing to get all worked up about. I turned to stare out of the window so that Ethan couldn’t see my flushing face.
“So you’re not going to get in trouble for staying out for a while, are you? Are your parents strict?”
“Naw. Mom’ll just assume I’m at Shannon’s or something. No big deal. What about you?”
He shrugged. “Dad and Nancy won’t even be home until five or so.”
Twenty minutes later, the pair of us was sitting on the same side of a two-person table. I was picking at a blueberry muffin, while he opened his