Chapter Four: Kyle and Crows

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Freddie expected Divya and Laina to be in the jeep. They were not. Instead, it was Kyle and Kyle alone.

Freddie thought her lungs might punch through her esophagus.

"Thanks for the jacket," she said as she clambered into shotgun. She slipped it off, and a great wash of cool air and sadness wafted over her. At least she had Buffy back, though, and safely around her neck.

"You're welcome." Kyle grinned. "Did it work?"

"Erm." Freddie wasn't sure how to answer that question. After all, it was a jacket, not a power tool. "Yes?" she responded eventually.

And he grinned even wider.

"So where are Laina and Divya?" Freddie asked as he shifted into drive.

"Laina's got her mom's car tonight, so she's driving them."

Oh. Inwardly, Freddie grinned a Dr. Evil grin. Divya, you minx.

"And Cat is driving her and Luis, so we're all meeting at the cul-du-sac."

"The...cul-du-sac?" Kyle had spoken as if Freddie should knew the place, even though she had no idea why he would think this. Then again, there was a lot about Kyle that confounded the standard mind.

Like why he was currently bobbing his head when the radio wasn't on.

"What is this cul-du-sac?" Freddie asked when it was clear Kyle hadn't understood that her previous repetition was actually a question.

"It's an unfinished subdivision." Devastating grin. "If you cut through the woods, you end up right next to RH Prep's landscaping shed. There's a gate there, and no one ever locks it."

"Interesting," Freddie murmured—and it was. Surely, after years of pranking, the school would have figured this out by now.

They turned off of Freddie's road, and Kyle's swoony green eyes latched onto Freddie's. "Sorry I didn't come to you locker." He flashed an apologetic wince. "I forgot I had detention."

"Oh." She blinked. "And here I thought I'd missed you because I had..." She trailed off. There was nothing at all she could say that wouldn't lead to questions or strange looks—and neither questions nor strange looks were what she was after.

"I...stayed late after class. To tutor Divya." She is going to kill me. "Why were you in detention?"

"I skipped school." He winced adorably.

And Freddie really didn't think he could get any cuter. She'd always found Bad Boys appealing—particularly if they wore tight pants and sang about summer nights and greased lightning. "Do you perhaps have a leather jacket?" she asked hopefully. "Or a motorcycle?"

"Huh?" His adorable face scrunched up. "No."

"Alas," she sighed.

"I think someone left one at my family's dry cleaners, though." He smiled. "A leather jacket. Not a motorcycle." This made him laugh, a buoyant sound that made Freddie laugh too.

"Do clothes often get left at the dry cleaners?" she asked.

"All the time. People forget to come get their clothes, and then we're left with them. We've got like, three Roberta Hughes uniforms. It's my job to track down their owners, but if I don't find 'em"—he shrugged—"then the stuff gets donated."

"What a dutiful son," Freddie breathed delightedly. Hard working and charitable.

Two more turns, and Kyle steered them onto the the curvy road beside Lake Michigan. The sun was almost gone, leaving the road dark and the lake hidden behind trees and shadow.

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