Authors: Faith Andrews
Copyright © 2013 by Faith Andrews
Interior Design by Angela McLaurin, Fictional Formats
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No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Except the original material written by the author, all songs, song titles and lyrics contained in the book are the property of the respective songwriters and copyright holders.
To the man of
dreams and the two beautiful girls we created together. I love you always, forever and a day.
I pace the pale green carpet in my room, back and forth, over and over, twirling a chunk of my hair into an unruly knot. “Do you think he’ll be there, Grace? I really don’t want to go if he’s not.” I don’t hide the embarrassing fact that I have no desire to attend this thing if Noah isn’t going. Grace gets me, even if she thinks it’s pathetic to swoon over the one person I am invisible to.
But this is my last shot.
High school will officially be over soon. Sure, I’ve done my job of cozying up to Noah. We’d swapped calculus notes a bunch of times, sat together in the cafeteria for lunch on occasion and even attended the same parties on the weekends now and then. He may even consider me a friend, but there is nothing special that ties the two of us together. And soon we’ll graduate and go our separate ways.
“You have to go, Mia. Who cares if he’s not there? Your
will be. And besides, you’ve spent the last four years popping up where you knew he’d be. Look where it got you.”
I take the cordless phone away from my ear, and stare at it, practically snarling. I don’t need a reminder of what a loser I am. “Yeah, yeah, I know. You’re right. But what about the
? This has to happen. I have to kiss him before he leaves for college and I never get the chance again.”
“Arrggghhh!” Grace groans in agony. “Mia, I love you like a sister, but you have got to stop this! You could have any guy in that school and you can’t stop obsessing over the only one who has no idea you exist. I swear, if he’s there tonight I’m going to flip out on him for being so blind.”
“You wouldn’t dare!” I growl into the phone.
“Too bad this isn’t middle school. I would just dare you to a round of seven minutes in heaven or spin the bottle!” We giggle together at the thought, but deep down inside I actually wish she could do just that.
A silly game may force him to understand the connection. Because I know if we ever touched—in that way—it would be like a thousand sparks of meant-to-be coming to a culmination. Surely he’d realize what he was missing out on. And I—who am I kidding? I wouldn’t be able to form a sentence, let alone explain to the guy that I’m the girl destined for him.
Grace interrupts my pointless train of thought. “Mia, we’re going. It’s your rite as a senior. And I have to live vicariously through you because you won’t be here for
senior year in that crappy hell hole of a Catholic school. We’ve always had a good time with Lisa and Kristen
Noah. And when you’re all away at college you’re going to regret that you didn’t go to these last few parties because of your Noah obsession.”
I hate to admit it, but she is right.
I’ve lived the last four years on the edge of my seat just hoping and praying for the opportunity to be in his presence. It’s absurd—
am absurd! If I ever have a daughter, I will be sure she knows that no guy, no matter how hot, is worth making her second guess herself, making her consume her day around his every move.
“Fine, we’ll go.” I whine, resigning to the fact that I’ll probably still have a good time, even if he doesn’t show.
I hang up the phone and drag my feet to the closet, taking a good look around. I want to make a lasting impression. Make sure that even if I don’t get my wish tonight, Noah will remember how pretty I looked.
Frustrated, I slide the closet shut, staring at my plain-Jane reflection in the mirrored door. Lifeless dirty blond waves and too-big brown eyes. Am I even Noah’s type? Hopefully, I’ll find out tonight.
I know I’m hovering over the threshold to Loser-ville, but I’m alone in my room so I mutter to myself, “Please God, let him be there, please, please, please.”
When we walk into Lisa’s, Kristen and a few of the other girls from my school are already huddled around a bowl of Doritos, gossiping. I help to fill the bowls with chips and pretzels, half-listening to the girls’ incessant chattering. My mind, however, is back on just one thing. The same
that’s always on my mind. Noah.
Maybe I should just
if he’s coming. At least this way if he’s not, I can set the tone for the evening, get the sour mood out of the way and enjoy
of the night. But if he
coming—there’s a lot more internal preparation I need to do for that.
I decide not to ask; I don’t want Lisa to think that the possibility of being in the same room with Noah is the only reason I showed up tonight. Even though, really, it kind of is.
When the guests start to arrive, I make it a point to be part of the welcoming committee. I usher girls in tiny cut off jean shorts and spaghetti strap tank tops to the living room where The Fugees croon the hit of the year. Everyone sings along, the lyrics so engrained in our heads it’s nearly impossible not to join in. It represents something kind of ritualistic and no party this year has been complete without it being played at least three times.
When a couple of the guys from the baseball team show up I hold my breath as the hope warms my cheeks, thinking he has to be right behind them. Two of them walk past me, bumping my fist in greeting and as I’m about to close the door behind the last of them, feeling disappointed, I see him walking up the stairs. My heart stops and leaps up into my throat. It’s the same reaction every time I see him, whether he’s in his dirty baseball uniform, a pair of jeans, or this time, khaki shorts, a white t-shirt, and canvas flip flops.
Damn it, even his feet are sexy.
I try to hide the excitement in my eyes, the smile that’s itching to stretch across my entire face. Our eyes meet and he, too, flashes a smile—the smile that makes my knees feel like jelly. When he gets closer, he rests his hand on my hip. I stop myself from doing a double take, but I want to look down to make sure I’m not imagining that Noah is actually touching me. Thankfully, I can’t pull my eyes away from his gorgeousness.
“Hey, beautiful,” he whispers in my ear.
My first reaction is to scan my surroundings to see if anyone’s witnessed this so that I can be sure I wasn’t hearing things. My heart takes over the second reaction, thumping wildly, fueled with the newfound knowledge that Noah Matheson thinks I’m beautiful.
I muster up the ability to speak. “Hi,” I say with a voice smaller than the one I’m familiar with. I want to say more. I want to walk into this party with him and take advantage of his attentive mood. But I’m momentarily frozen.