Chapter 17: Loves Me Or Loves Me Not?
Quarter to five that day, Tyler parked his car across the street from my house before texting me to come down. I hadn’t expected him to show up to our prearranged double date with Marriah and Austin after I threw a crushed cookie in his face, but Tyler didn’t understand the word shame when he was around me. Everyone else at school knew him as cool and silent, and he did what he needed in order to keep that image, but around me, he allowed himself to do the oddest things.
Today he decided to dress up for our date – however unnecessary I thought it was. I could see him from my bedroom window, but it was rather obvious that he couldn’t see me. It was still early out and the heat left from the afternoon sun hadn’t quite lifted from the atmosphere. Nonetheless, Tyler still wore an oversized leather jacket, trying out a variety of poses as he waited for me to come out: him leaning against his car, him leaning against his car version two, him leaning against his car version three, him leaning against his car with one hand in his pocket and his sunglasses on. I stopped watching at that point.
Grabbing my phone, I pulled up his last text before pressing “reply.”
Camila: Can you wait another 15/20 mins?
Camila: I’m not ready yet.
He texted me back almost instantly.
Tyler: Yeah. I’ll wait. : )
Tyler: You’re a girl so I get it.
I narrowed my eyes at the last part. I had no idea what anything had to do with me being a girl, but I wasn’t exactly interested enough to ponder over it either. Sitting back down in front of my desk, I continued doing my math homework until I finished the last question and checked all my answers at the back just to make sure they were correct. They were correct. Rarely were they not, but I liked to be thorough and it gave me such a fulfilment to know that I was right.
When I was done, it took me two more minutes to grab a bag, walk downstairs, kick off my slippers, and lace up my shoes. I wasn’t excited to see Tyler, but I didn’t mind meeting Austin. Even if it didn’t work out, the worst thing it’d cost me would be an evening of practice, and that was something I was willing to give up.
Tyler was surprised to see me when I walked out. During the time I’d been doing my homework, he’d climb back inside his red 1998 Camaro SS, something his older brother obviously left for him, and was flipping through his CD’s in boredom. I let myself inside the car before he had a chance to get out – which he looked like he was about to; my wildest guess being that he wanted to perform that pose he’d worked so hard on.
If I had thought things were going to be awkward because we already fought once today, I was wrong. Things were awkward, but only because after buckling myself in, Tyler just sat there and refused to drive. He stared mindlessly at the road ahead, one hand on the shifter and one hand on the wheel. I had no idea what in the world had him thinking so hard, but with every passing second, his face seemed to get redder… and redder… and redder. Occasionally he’d open his mouth, turn to stare at me with this bewildered look on his face like he really needed to say something, but then he’d sigh, close his mouth and look away.
After what felt like forever, he finally had the guts to speak. “I…”