“It’s a good night, right?”
“It doesn’t sound like you’re having fun,” he says.
“I am. Just a little worried about my parents, I guess.”
“Parents are a drag.”
“Mine aren’t. Not really. They’re cool, which is probably why I don’t like lying to them.”
“Relax. It’s not like they’ll find out. You and Jules already called them, right? And she called hers?”
“Well, yeah. But I keep worrying. Like, what if one of my parents or Jules’s is in an accident? What if the house catches on fire? So, they try to find us and discover we lied. My father could have a heart attack or something and Mom would be a worried mess, and then she’d know I wasn’t where I said I was and she’d panic while already being upset…”
“You’re a freak, Luna. Breathe. None of that’s going to happen.”
“Yeah, probably not,” I tell him. “But, that doesn’t make me forget the possibility is there.”
“At least your parents care about you. My father won’t even notice I’m gone and wouldn’t for days, if then.”
“Of course, he would.”
“No. I don’t have your kind of life, Luna. Dad barely talks to me. He’s drinking from the time I get home from school until he passes out. I don’t know how he manages to keep his job at the garage. Old Mr. Gilroy threatens to fire him at least once a week. He just never does.”
“I’m so sorry, Attie. I had no idea,” I whisper, putting my hand on his leg in silent support.
“It’s okay. I’m used to doing things on my own. I don’t need anyone.”
“Well, you have your brother, Gavin. It’s good you both have each other.”
“Yeah, good ole’ Gavin. He’s—”
“Late to the party.”
My head jerks up at that deep voice and my body experiences an all over shiver. Gavin is standing across from me and Atticus. It’s dark, but the light from the fire highlights him perfectly. He’s wearing jeans and a flannel shirt that I’ve seen him in often. It has different colors of blues and greens in it and I love it because it somehow makes his dark hair look like it shines.
“What are you doing here?” Atticus says, and his voice is laced with anger. I’ve never seen Atticus angry at anything or anyone. He’s always been laid back and easy going. The change is shocking.
“You invited me. Remember?” Gavin says, and something about his smile tells me that is not the full story.
“I remember telling you that there was no way you’d get what you wanted. You might as well go back home now.”
“I don’t think so. I’m just now starting to enjoy the view,” he says and this time when he smiles he looks right at me.
My heart beats frantically in my chest. It’s a dangerous smile. I kind of feel like I’m Little Red Riding Hood and Gavin is the Big Bad Wolf.
“Hey, Luna,” he says.
Oh my God! Oh my God! My brain screams as my palms go sweaty. If I thought my heart was beating hard before, it’s thumping like a runaway train now.
Oh. My. God.
Gavin Lodge spoke to me!!?!!
And he knows my name! Mine!
Holy freaking cow!
“Uh… Hi…. Gav… Gavin.”
Heat explodes through me and centers on my face as I blush so deeply I probably glow from it.
Can I be any lamer?
I barely could get his name out and my voice cracked. I want to die in shame. I want the ground to just swallow me up and bury me alive.
“Want to go for a walk?” he asks and I blink.
“Me?” I squeak.
“Don’t see anyone else here I’d be asking, Babe. Unless you and my brother are busy?”
Oh my God. Gavin is asking me to walk with him! He wants to be alone with me!
Every freaking dream I’ve ever had has centered on this guy and he just asked to be alone with me!
“Attie? Um… No. We don’t have anything going on. I mean… We’re just friends. We were talking that’s all. You know…”
I have got to get control of my nerves. I’m not making any sense! Gavin probably thinks I’m insane. He’s probably already regretting asking me to go on a walk.
I expect him to tell me he changed his mind, but then he reaches his hand out.
“Then, take a walk with me, Babe.”
I put my hand in his and watch wide-eyed as his fingers wrap around mine and he pulls me up.
His hand is warm, strong and I memorize the feel of it.
I’ll remember it for the rest of my life