Wondering what I’ve been up to? I’ve been in Mexico visiting family and having a good time. Thought I’d have internet access so I could keep in touch and post last week’s Unbreakable Love excerpt and Monday Must-Reads. Boy, was I wrong! I’m still recovering from lack of communication with the world and finishing up edits on Unbreakable Love (will be out September 2013). Here’s a quick excerpt. Hope you enjoy and share!
Ariana started walking over to Carlos’ car.
Carlos’ back was to her, so he didn’t see her come up behind him. Ariana tapped his shoulder. Just touching him made her stomach feel funny.
He turned around and smiled once he saw her. “Hey. What brings you to this part of the school? Miss the bus again?”
“Yeah. Didn’t really feel like riding it today.”
He nodded and smiled. She had been about to go on to say that she’d much rather catch a ride with him, but her confidence left her abruptly. She opened her mouth to say something, anything.
“Can I catch a ride with you?”
“I have a basketball game with the guys in like thirty minutes. But I’m sure they won’t mind if I’m a little late.”
“Oh. Sorry.” She began to walk away, mortified. This was not going according to plan.
Carlos grabbed her hand. “Hey. Get back here.”
“I don’t want to bother you.” Her hand was still in his. She liked it there. They were just inches apart.
He took her other hand. “I’d love to give you a ride home.” Carlos smiled and opened the car door for her.
“Come here,” he motioned.
“Thanks.” She put her book bag on the floor of the car and slipped in. Carlos shut the door and walked around to the driver’s side. He got in and turned on the car.
Ariana couldn’t believe she was in a guy’s car. Again. She had broken her parents’ rules. Again. She realized she kind of liked the feeling, but she pushed it out her mind, not sure how she felt about that.
Carlos back out of his parking spot effortlessly and revved the engine of his car as they left the school parking lot.
“So you play basketball after school?”
“Yeah, every Wednesday after school at the park. You should come sometime.” He looked over and smiled quickly.
She nodded and looked at the dashboard. Like that would ever happen. She’d have to lie to her parents just to get as far as the driveway.
“Sorry again about making you late to your game.”
“You don’t have anything to be sorry about.” He turned to her for two seconds. “It’s nice to see you besides in the hallways at school.”
He turned onto a road. They would be at her house within a few more minutes.
“So what are you doing after graduation?”
“I’m not sure. Still figuring that out. I like working with cars, so maybe I’ll study that. But I also kinda want to take a year off. I need a break from school, you know?”
“I get that.”
“So what about you? What’s in your future?”
“No idea. Just trying to get through this year, I guess. My parents want me to go to college, but I’m not sure.” Why had she said that? Of course she wanted to go to college, but it’s like the words that were coming out of her mouth weren’t hers. They were someone else’s.
“Sounds like you’ve got pretty strict parents.”
“The strictest. I hate it. Honestly, I can’t wait until I’m old enough to drive at least. Then I’ll get some say into what I want to do with my life. Or my weekend for that matter.”
“But until then, I guess you’re stuck with me, huh?”
She laughed. “Yeah, I guess I am.”
They were turning onto her street now.
“Although, I’m not sure I’d exactly describe it as stuck.” He smiled. She noticed his eyes and how perfectly they squinted a little when he smiled.
“Me neither.” She tried to focus on her breathing, seeing as how it was difficult all of a sudden.
There was silence for a couple of minutes.
“I really hope we can see each other again. Outside of school.”
“Yeah.” Yeah? Was that the best she could do?
They pulled into her driveway. Or rather Mayra’s driveway. According to Carlos, that’s where she lived.
“Thanks for the ride.” She got out of the car.
She started walking towards her house while he pulled out and drove off, revving the engine again as he did. She couldn’t help but see him disappear around the curve, wishing she had had the courage to ask him more about himself.
As she turned around, she noticed her mom’s car in the driveway, parked near the side of the house where it was hard to see.
Her heart began beating wildly, more than when she had been in Carlos’ car.
Had her mom seen her get home in a guy’s car instead of the bus? Was Jimmy even home yet?
Damn. She looked around and couldn’t tell if the bus had already come through. What was she going to do? What time was it anyway? She checked her phone. The bus had probably come by less than five minutes ago.
She walked up the driveway, trying not to make noise. Then the front door opened, and her mom came out with a pot in her hand. Ariana looked back behind her, glad to see Carlos was long gone. Oh, thank God he wasn’t here to see this, she thought.