11.) Let Down

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11.) Let Down

If you really care about someone, you let them know you're going to be late, i.e., you don't leave them hanging for three hours without a peep! I snatched my cell off of my bed's headrest. No missed calls or text messages from Chris. Jerk.

"Natasha, someone's outside!" Mom yelled from her bedroom/watchtower.

"I wonder who that could be." I rose from bed, slipped into my rhinestone sandals, straightened my flower-print blouse and curls, and then stomped downstairs to the front door. "Mom, I'm leaving, I'll call you later."

Chris's dad's SUV sat in my driveway beneath the fading sun. His lowered window revealed him reading a comic book, and wearing my favorite white button-down. But his hotness wouldn't douse my own heated temper after how inconsiderate he'd been. I opened the passenger door and shut it with force as I sat down. "Hi."

"Oh, hey, Tasha." He closed his Punisher comic and then set it on the back seat. Psh, reading a comic as if he'd been sitting out here waiting several hours for me like I had to for him. Landon's words on his birthday while we sat at Jasmine's table rang in my mind: Chris is my brother and all, but he's always late! And when it came to being on time—and a slew of other things like being too confident, a rush-ahead go-getter, and yell-in-your-face feisty—I came out like my dad. Being late annoyed the crap out of me. Especially being overly-late.

Chris looked at me, all cute and innocent as if he'd been early. "We're going to my friend Evan's house. Is that cool?"

"Yeah." I propped my elbow up onto the armrest and peered out of the passenger window. Screw reading between the lines: this kid deserved to know that I was pissed.

Chris started the car while I maintained my stare on the one-story houses in my neighborhood. I'm staying like this until he spits out an apology, which better be soon because he totally owes me one and I'm making it pretty damn obvious that I'm upset.

"Are you okay?" He finally asked.

I hit him with it. "I'm just really disappointed because you said you were picking me up at six and then showed up three hours later. You could have at least called me and told me you were going to be late."

"I'm sorry, Tasha," he said with genuine humility—and sadness.

An invisible weight lifted from my heart. Funny how quickly those two simple words work—especially when coming out of the beautiful mouth of a gorgeous guy with a Josh Hartnett voice.

"It's okay, just please tell me in advance next time."

"All right." The unsettling sadness in his tone remained.

I returned my view to the shifting sceneries outside; high palm trees; a bridge across an ocean; fancy skyscrapers. Ah, the nice side of Miami, about thirty minutes removed from the mostly low to middle-income area my parents lived in for over twenty years. After two stolen trucks, a break-in, and D-graded schools, you'd think my parents would've ditched the place by now.

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