Bleeding Hearts Page 18

I missed her. She didn’t do that stuff on purpose. I knew she loved me. She was just weak. I felt kind of bad thinking of her that way, but it was true.

I shook off the mood before it could clamp its sharp teeth shut over my head. Mom was in rehab, getting better. When Lucy’s phone rang, she yelped so loudly that she startled me into yelping too. Then we both laughed.

“What are you so nervous about?” I asked her as she fumbled for her phone. “Give me that.” I glanced at the call display before she drove us into a tree. “It’s your mom.”

“Of course it is.”

“She’s texting. She and your dad are going to a late movie.”

“Text her back that we’re fine and on our way home.”

When I was finished, I shook my head. “Honestly, it’s a good thing you guys don’t live in a big city. Your parents would be a wreck.”

Lucy just snorted. I got that feeling again, like there was a layer under everything that I wasn’t quite seeing. It made me want to pick away at it until it unraveled. She slowed her car down to an idle.

“I’m counting to ten,” she decided, reaching for her phone. “And then I’m turning around if he doesn’t answer.”

“What’s the big deal?” I asked.

“Um, his car is crap,” she replied, a little too quickly. “Breaks down all the time.”

I raised an eyebrow incredulously. “And you know how to fix it.”

“Well, no, but I worry. You know, gangs.”

“Right, the organic New Age flakes roaming the countryside with their ferocious flaxseeds. Give me a break, Hamilton.”

Her phone trilled, announcing a text. She grabbed it from me so fast she accidentally scratched me. “They’re fine,” she assured me, sounding way more relieved than was warranted. What the hell was going on? She put the car back into drive, her shoulders visibly unclenching. I hadn’t even known shoulders could clench. She relaxed even more when Nicholas’s Jeep caught up to us, trailing behind like a clunky, muddy shadow. I glanced in my side mirror, frowning.

“Is that a knife in the hood?”

She glanced back. “Trick of the light. Told you it was falling apart.”

It looked in pretty good condition to me.

“So,” Lucy said before I could press her. “You and Connor?”

“He’s nice, but he’s not my type.”

Lucy shot me a look, as if I were demented. “Are your eyes broken? Hot guys aren’t your type?”

“Good boys aren’t my type,” I corrected. “I like an edge.”

Her smile was more of a smirk. “Give him a chance.”

“I’ll totally hang out with him, don’t get me wrong. He’s decent. You know, nice.”

Lucy winced. “Ouch. He’s not dark enough for you?”

“Exactly.”

She was still smirking as we pulled in front of the house. I had no idea why she thought it was funny. Nicholas raced in on squealing tires to park behind us. Lucy ran down the driveway to smack him on the shoulder. Hard.

“Don’t do that again!” she exploded.

“You stopped the car,” he accused, “when I told you to keep going!”

“So?”

“So, you don’t do that again!”

I unlocked the front door, very aware of Connor ambling up the walkway behind me, which was stupid. Hadn’t I just told Lucy he was too nice? “Are they fighting?” I asked, even though she’d already told me they weren’t.

“Not really.” He smiled. “Trust me, you’ll know if they’re fighting.”

The dogs greeted us with wagging tails and drool, as usual. Nicholas followed Lucy into the living room. They both looked worried.

Connor turned to look at me, kicking the door shut. “Where’s your laptop?”

“Oh, um, in my room.” I hurried ahead of him, suddenly worried that I’d left a bra out on the bed or that there was underwear falling out of my laundry basket. Girls in poems never had to worry about that stuff. Luckily, my room was relatively inoffensive. The bed was unmade and there was a row of old teacups on the windowsill, but the closet door was shut and my diary was well hidden. Connor went straight to my desk and lifted the screen of my laptop.

“So what’s it doing?”

I half smiled. “I have no idea. The Internet’s not talking to me.”

He flicked me a glance and half smiled back. “Okay.”

His fingers flew over the keys and he bent his head, his hair falling over his forehead. “How much poetry do you have on here?”

My eyes widened. “You’re not reading them, are you?” I never let anyone read anything I hadn’t edited or fixed up.

“I won’t,” he promised. “You just have a lot of Word documents here. You should make sure you back them up.”

“Oh. Okay.”

“So, you’re really into this poetry stuff, aren’t you?”

I nodded. “Yeah. I can’t help it.”

“Who’s your favorite?”

“John Keats right now, but only because of that movie Bright Star. I love Shelley too.”

“They’re all old dead guys, right?”

“Um, yeah.” I shrugged. “But they were the best.”

He grinned at me slowly. “You’re a geek.”

“Am not.”

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