“Hey, Eric,” I called.
“What’s up?” I said as I was unlocking the door. I wasn’t paying attention to the uncomfortable edge in his voice, so his next words took me by surprise.
“Uh, I was just wondering… if you would go to the spring dance with me?” His voice broke on the last word.
“I thought it was girls’ choice,” I said, too startled to be diplomatic.
“Well, yeah,” he admitted, shamefaced.
I recovered my composure and tried to make my smile warm. “Thank you for asking me, but I’m going to be in Seattle that day.”
“Oh,” he said. “Well, maybe next time.”
“Sure,” I agreed, and then bit my lip. I wouldn’t want him to take that too literally.
He slouched off, back toward the school. I heard a low chuckle.
Edward was walking past the front of my truck, looking straight forward, his lips pressed together. I yanked the door open and jumped inside, slamming it loudly behind me. I revved the engine deafeningly and reversed out into the aisle.
Edward was in his car already, two spaces down, sliding out smoothly in front of me, cutting me off. He stopped there – to wait for his family; I could see the four of them walking this way, but still by the cafeteria. I considered taking out the rear of his shiny Volvo, but there were too many witnesses. I looked in my rearview mirror. A line was beginning to form. Directly behind me, Tyler Crowley was in his recently acquired used Sentra, waving. I was too aggravated to acknowledge him.
While I was sitting there, looking everywhere but at the car in front of me, I heard a knock on my passenger side window. I looked over; it was Tyler. I glanced back in my rearview mirror, confused. His car was still running, the door left open. I leaned across the cab to crank the window down.
It was stiff. I got it halfway down, then gave up.
“I’m sorry, Tyler, I’m stuck behind Cullen.” I was annoyed – obviously the holdup wasn’t my fault.
“Oh, I know – I just wanted to ask you something while we’re trapped here.” He grinned.
This could not be happening.
“Will you ask me to the spring dance?” he continued.
“I’m not going to be in town, Tyler.” My voice sounded a little sharp. I had to remember it wasn’t his fault that Mike and Eric had already used up my quota of patience for the day.
“Yeah, Mike said that,” he admitted.
“Then why – “
He shrugged. “I was hoping you were just letting him down easy.” Okay, it was completely his fault.
“Sorry, Tyler,” I said, working to hide my irritation. “I really am going out of town.”
“That’s cool. We still have prom.”
And before I could respond, he was walking back to his car. I could feel the shock on my face.