Dating trouble

Another followed instantly from Sam and Lisa.

Dating Trouble (Grover Beach Team, #5) by Anna Katmore

Sam was small enough that I could look over her head, but it took Simone, who was as tall as me, stepping aside for me to catch a glimpse of the person who had stunned them into silence. My heart pounded like a bass drum—not from excitement to see him, but from anger.

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Whatever it was, when he saw me, he cracked a goddamn smile. I gritted my teeth and just followed the others past him. Simone stopped walking and cast me a quick glance full of questions over her shoulder, but I shook my head, so she went to the low, rectangular table in the back. I, on the other hand, turned around and folded my arms over my chest. He peered at me, tongue-tied, for a couple of seconds. His brows furrowed even more as he slid from the bar stool to stand before me. He was a pretty boy with dark hair and even darker eyebrows.

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His name was Ted, and I knew him from my journalism class. Ted came over to take our orders and hushed us into silence. She let out a thoughtful sigh. Ted returned then and served each of us a hazelnut latte deluxe. I took my cup and lifted it in a salute to my friends.

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He paid for it before he left. And he says sorry for whatever shit he supposedly dumped on you. Choking on my mouthful of latte, I put the cup down before it spilled over my pants. Sam smacked me on the back until I could breathe again. Was Ethan really that crazy? Leaning back in her chair and lacing her fingers over her stomach, Sam chewed on her bottom lip. Adding the sugar to my latte, I stirred until it sank into the foam. How does that deserve a second chance? Sam raised her eyebrows, grinning. Fair enough, she had a point. And the side I got to know of Ethan yesterday made me want to spend more time with him.

It was as if we were on the same wavelength. Maybe there did exist some weird explanation for his behavior this morning. There were certainly no anti-amnesia pills involved, though. Finding out the truth tempted me… Only, was it really worth the effort? What should I do? The shopping afterward was pure delight. I found a dozen books to add to my TBR stack, a pair of skintight blue jeans, a picture frame—which I had no idea how to fill but needed to have because of the beautiful seashells on it—and some accessories for my hair.

Satisfied, exhausted, and happy, I sank against the door when I got home and reveled in the silence in the house. My new books found a place on the giant shelf my dad had built for me some years ago and which reached from wall to wall on one side of my room. There was no time to put them away. Quiet nights were as holy to me as Christmas Eve. Armed with a book, I settled on my bed in the corner next to the window and stuck my feet under the crochet blanket that my grams had made for my eighth birthday.

Bambi was on that quilt. It was my most valued treasure. Before I began to read, I leaned as far out of my bed as I could without falling. My arm was just long enough to reach the top drawer of my desk where I kept a pack of liquor-filled chocolate pralines. Placing them on the mattress next to me, I shoved a piece into my mouth. The pralines would keep my hunger in check, because no way was I going to stop reading for dinner alone.

Around nine, Dad came home and knocked on my door to say hi. I waved from the bed and when he closed the door again, I finished this volume in my now-favorite series. As I turned off the light a couple of hours later, I hoped to dream of the Scottish Highlands.

What made you think that you and I would be going out together? Afterward, I walked up to Ethan and spit it all at his face. Luckily, I woke up after that. The guy seemed stuck in my mind like a toothpick in a cheese cube.

Dating Trouble

So how could I get him out of there? Sitting at the kitchen table and shoving a spoonful of scrambled eggs into my mouth, I wondered if it was better to evade soccer practice for a while.

At least until my knee was fine and Ethan would have to clear the field for me again. Not seeing him seemed like the easiest way to forget about him. I toasted myself with my glass of orange juice on that decision and washed the eggs down with a sip, then I got ready for school. A few minutes before the bell rang, I slipped into the building and headed straight for my first class. Certain that Sam would be the first to grill me this morning on the subject of Ethan and how I felt about him today, I was surprised to run into Lisa in the hallway.

Patiently, I waited at the corner of the hallway, off to the side, for a couple of minutes, until a familiar voice carried to me—and caused the hair at the back of my neck to stand on end. I cast a look over my shoulder. In front of the restrooms, Hunter and Ethan were engaged in a chat. It looked like one had just come out and one was about to walk into the restrooms, but both had too much to tell the other to move on. Instantly, I shielded my face with one hand and lowered my head.

And probably Ethan, too. So much for not going to soccer practice to avoid Ethan. Seeing him today totally ruined my intention of getting the blockhead out of my mind. Maybe we needed to talk it out once and for all—just so I could stop thinking about him and hopefully sleep better.

But with my nerves in this state, I could hardly walk over and confront him. What misery, and before first period even started. Frustrated, I banged my head against the wall behind me, pulling at my hair. Lisa, who was standing with her side to me, must have caught my angst. I had no idea which subject Lisa had with her, but they seemed on very close terms. My breakfast rolled around in my stomach, but I ignored that queasy feeling and walked straight up to Hunter and Ethan, gaining speed and courage as I went.

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Ethan saw me first. Though he kept talking to Ryan, his eyes focused on me alone.