Дженнифер Ли Арментроут
If There’s No Tomorrow
“Partly true,” he answered after a moment. “Well, you know the football part wasn’t.”
Mulling it over, I wasn’t sure how to feel about that. Since I was one of his friends, was he saying he cared about me more? A second later, I realized that was a stupid thing to question and I sort of wanted to punch myself.
“I’m going to stay here for a little while,” he murmured, lifting his hand. He caught a strand of hair that had fallen across my cheek. As he tucked it back behind my ear, his fingers dragged over my skin and my breath hitched in my throat. A wave of shivers skated across my skin as he drew his hand back. “You okay with that?”
“Yes,” I whispered, knowing he hadn’t seen my reaction. He never did.
Resting his hand between us, he shifted closer, and I felt his knee press against mine. “Lena?”
He hesitated for a moment. “Thank you.”
The corners of his lips picked up. “For just being here, right now.”
Closing my eyes against a sudden rush of tears, I spoke the truest thing I could’ve. “Where else would I be?”
* * *
“So my mom made me write down this list of the top ten things I want to do with my life, since she thinks it’s completely ridiculous that I’m about to enter my senior year and I don’t know what I want to do yet,” Megan said, nursing her third glass of sweet tea as she rooted around in a basket of fries. “Which is hilarious considering my mom is like the official hot-mess express, ticket for one.”
“Does she not realize you don’t have to declare a major right off the bat?” Abbi was sketching what appeared to be a rose garden on her napkin. “Or you could change it later on?”
“You’d think she’d know that, being an ‘adult,’” Megan said, curling her fingers in air quotations. “You’d also think she’d cool it, since I ended junior year a half a point away from a 4.0. I’ll do fine no matter what I choose to study in college.”
From behind the counter at Joanna’s, I grinned as I folded my arms and leaned against the countertop. Luckily, the diner was virtually dead, since it was Saturday night. There were only two tables set, and both parties had already handled their checks. Bobby was somewhere out back smoking half a pack of cigarettes, and I had no idea where Felicia, the other waitress, was. “So did you make a list?”
“Oh, yes. Yes, I did.”
Abbi snuck a fry. “Can’t wait to hear this.”
“It was the best list ever.” She popped a fry in her mouth and wiped her fingers on a napkin. “I listed amazing careers such as hooking, stripping, dealing drugs...and not the small stuff. I’m thinking heroin. Oh, by the way, I heard Tracey Sims is on the brown sugar.”
“Okay.” Abbi twisted on the stool, angling her body toward Megan’s. “I don’t know if you’re talking about heroin or the actual sugar.”
“Heroin. You’ve never heard it called that?”
I shook my head. “I haven’t, but where did you hear that?”
“You know how my cousin used to date her?” She picked up two fries and made a cross out of them. “He told me she’s using. That’s why they broke up.”
Abbi frowned. “Are you serious?”
I pushed away from the counter. “God, I hope not.”
Megan nodded. “I’m serious.”
“That’s so...so sad,” I murmured, glancing up as the door opened. I almost couldn’t believe what I saw. It was Cody Reece and crew, including Phillip, glued to the phone in his hand. Why were they here? None of them usually hung out in Joanna’s unless they were with Sebastian.
“It is. I mean, that’s some hard-core stuff right there,” Megan continued, smacking her fry cross off the edge of the basket. Sprinkles of salt hit the counter. “Just can’t even imagine actually taking a needle and injecting something into me. And if it’s going to cause me to pick at my face, so not volunteering as tribute.”
“I hope it’s not true. Tracey is nice.” Abbi’s eyes widened as she glanced over her shoulder, just as Phillip spotted Megan.
He raised his finger to his mouth as he crept forward, looking ridiculous as he walked on the tips of his sneakers, which made him about six foot twelve or so. With his dark brown skin and a flirtatious grin that had gotten him in trouble more than a time or two with Megan, he was just as crazy-smart as she was. Grinning, he stopped right behind Megan.
“Come to think of it, there are a lot of things I wouldn’t volunteer for,” Megan continued, dropping the fry cross into the basket. “There are a lot of things I don’t—” She squealed as Phillip circled his arms around her.
“Hey, babe.” He rested his chin on her shoulder. “Miss—”
“What are you doing here?” Megan asked the question of the century as she elbowed him hard enough that he grunted. “Seriously? Are you stalking me or something?”
“Maybe.” He let go, leaning against the counter as he grinned at us. “Hey, if you don’t want me stalking you, don’t check into every place you visit.”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “I’m not talking to you right now. Do you remember that?”
Dark skin around his eyes crinkled as he smiled. “You didn’t have a problem talking to me last night.”
“That’s because I was bored.” Looking up at me, she brushed her thick braid over her shoulder. “Can’t you make him leave?”
“No.” I laughed.
Abbi helped herself to another fry as she leaned forward. “What does your shirt say?” She squinted. “‘Ain’t no party like a George Washington party, because a George Washington party don’t stop...until the colonies are free and the world recognizes them as a sovereign nation’—oh, what the hell?” Laughing, she shook her head. “Where did you find that shirt?”
“Found it on the street, by a Dumpster.”
I rolled my eyes as the other guys took the booth in the back. “What do you want to drink?”
“Ha ha,” I replied drily. “What age-appropriate drink do you want?”
“Coke is fine.” Phillip smacked his hand on the counter as he changed focus. “Megan, my love...”
Shooting Abbi a look, I pivoted around and grabbed him his drink from the soda station. Then I picked up the pitcher of ice water and made my way over to the table.
I hadn’t seen Cody since the night at Keith’s party. Heat was already creeping steadily into my cheeks, but I squared my shoulders. “Hey, guys.”
Cody looked up first. The other two guys had their heads bowed, watching something on their phones.
“Hey,” he said.
Plastering a smile on my face, I ordered myself to not think about that party. I had to admit that Cody was definitely good-looking, which led to my bad life choices that night. He had a head full of wavy blond hair and an easy smile that he broke out frequently, complete with perfectly straight, blindingly white teeth and a cleft chin. He looked like he belonged on the beaches of California, hauling a surfboard behind him, instead of in Nowhere, Virginia.
And Cody knew he was good-looking. That knowledge was etched into that smile he gave so freely. “So what are you guys doing here?” I asked as I poured their water.