As promised, Milo is waiting for me outside my room at seven-thirty on the dot. I doubted his ability to get up early and show up on time when he made the promise last night, but I am pleasantly surprised to find out how wrong I was to question him. Today is already starting off a million times better than yesterday. I smile as I climb into his Corolla.
“Ready?” Milo asks groggily.
He jams the gear shift in reverse. The car jerks back and then out of the parking lot. His hair hides most of his face, and his sunglasses hide the rest. Milo’s hunched shoulders and drooping head, plus his utter lack of conversational ability, make me smile.
“Not much of a morning person, huh?” Normally I’m not either. I rarely get through a night without terrible nightmares, which means little sleep and grumpy mornings. Nightmares still gave me an awful night’s sleep, but actually having a ride to school this morning has put my usual unpleasantness on hold. I was sure I’d be calling a taxi after yesterday.
Milo merely grunts in response to my question.
“Well, thanks for picking me up.”
“No problem,” he growls.
A chuckle slips out before I can stop it. “Are you sure?”
I smile even wider. He doesn’t seem to notice. He does however speed up, ten, fifteen miles over the speed limit. He darts in and out of traffic so effortlessly that I doubt the likelihood of his one talent being Perception. He fits right in with the rest of the Guardians the way he’s driving. The rest of the trip passes in silence, with me holding onto the door handle very tightly. We make very good time. We have a full twenty minutes before the bell is due to ring.
“Well,” I say when we’re safely stopped and my fingers are unclenched from the handle, “that was interesting. If you wanted to get away from me that badly you could have just said so.”
Milo finally looks over at me. “What?”
“You were speeding like a maniac. Were you trying to get rid of me as soon as possible?”
“Oh. No, I just wanted you to have enough time,” he says.
He unbuckles his belt and leans toward me. I almost start to say something, a mixture of fear and curiosity at what he might do springing up instantly, when he twists and reaches for a container I hadn’t noticed, peeking out from under his backpack. He tugs it out and hands it to me.
“I brought you some breakfast. Wake me before the bell rings, okay?” Then, casual as you please, he lays his seat back and closes his eyes. Within seconds his chest is rising and falling in the steady rhythm of sleep. Amazing.
I turn back to my container with an amused shake of my head and work on prying the lid off. The bagel, or buttered toast, I’m expecting isn’t there. Lying in the blue plastic container are scrambled eggs, bacon, and a sliver of cantaloupe. The eggs and bacon are still hot, the melon protected from the heat by a couple of folded paper napkins. A plastic fork is wedged between the edge of the container and the melon. For several long seconds all I can do is gape at the food. The last time anyone made me breakfast was five years ago. The morning my dad died. My eyes still water every time I see blueberry pancakes.
My fingers are actually shaking when I pick up my fork and take a bite. It’s positively silly that I should be getting so worked up over eggs, but I can’t help it. The homemade breakfast warms me completely. As long as it takes me to finish relishing the treat, there are still ten minutes before the first bell when I’m done. I close the dish back up and set it in the back seat. Before I can settle into my seat to wait, my gaze lands on Milo.
YOU ARE READING
For Libby Sparks, turning sixteen means only one thing…death. Guardian rule demands she attend the ritualistic Inquest that will unveil her talents and secure her place in society. But that isn’t all that will be revealed in Libby’s case. The more t...