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My day of freedom came to a close much too soon. I lay in my bed snuggled beneath the covers while dreading all the turns tomorrow could take. Boston had a way of switching everything up on me. His persistence almost seemed worse than Mateo's, which was hard to beat at this point.

Why me? The question ran through my mind on repeat. I had no rational answer of my own, except that everything happens for a reason. Maybe tomorrow I could learn why Boston was so reluctant to just me go.

Sleep came in bursts through the night, often accompanied with a break of consciousness in which I mulled over my nightmares before falling asleep again. It seemed my mind was dredging up every way tomorrow could go wrong.

And then suddenly it became today that I had this issue. I dragged myself out of the bed at eight-thirty and into the bathroom. After several minutes of recovering myself, I ambled back to my bedroom. My body still felt tired, but I was not getting back in that bed. Only bad things waited for me in sleep.

I dressed in jeans and a red silk blouse with a black stripe down the front. If I had to sass my former teacher today, something I already was not good at, I needed to feel confident. Returning to the bathroom, I applied some simple eye makeup and straightened my hair. I could feel my confidence rising to the surface as I stared back at my reflection.

While I was strapping my feet into my favorite black sandals, even as worn and torn as they were, it dawned on me that Boston might think I dressed up for him. I panicked for a second. That would work adversely to what I needed him to believe. He needed to see me as fierce in my independence and unwavering in my decision. I didn't want him to even try changing my mind.

Of course, I finished getting ready hours before our lesson, so I wandered downstairs. My mom was sifting through the newspaper on the table, and I assumed my dad had already left for work.

"You got ready early," she remarked as I made myself a bowl of cereal.

"Yeah." I shrugged. "I'm thinking about running some errands before the lesson. Do you need me to get anything?"

"Yes, actually. There's a list on the island, and I'll grab my card for you."

Around nine-thirty, I found myself walking out to the old reliable minivan. I shook my head to myself. I hoped my mom got a nicer car when I left for school. She deserved it.

Fetching groceries and picking up a few supplies for my college dorm would have only taken me about two hours, so I lollygagged. I stopped at Starbucks. Wandered through a bookstore. Ate lunch at a deli. Anything to pass the time so I wouldn't have to go home and sit with my anxiety.

At one o'clock, I drove home, picking up groceries on the way. My mom helped me unload the car, and then we burned through another ten minutes looking at the rug, laundry bag, and closet organizer I purchased for my dorm. By then, it was a quarter 'til two.

"Is that what you're wearing to your lesson?" my mom inquired when I returned to the kitchen with my laptop and a printed manuscript of my unfinished story.


"I see." She quirked a brow.

"Oh, Mom."

"He's handsome. I don't blame you for wanting to dress up for him."

Rolling my eyes, I groaned. It was her fault I was in this wretched predicament in the first place. "I don't like Boston," I lied. "This isn't for him. This is for me."

"Sure, honey. I think I just heard his car pull up."

The color drained from my face. I took a deep breath, set my shoulders back, and carried my belongings to the door. He was standing on the other side, hand poised as if to knock, as I opened the door. A smile stretched across his face while his gaze briefly assessed my outfit.

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