Chapter 36

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Chapter 36

After school on Wednesday, I'm sitting at the Starbucks on one of the barstools by the window, sipping on an iced tea. Katie and one of her lacrosse friends named Ashlee decided to join me and are currently waiting in line to buy yet another vanilla bean latte to share. I stare out the window in front of my seat at the counter, watching various cars pull into the shopping center parking lot while several college kids, who are already on summer vacation, park their vintage bicycles outside the store before entering. I smooth out my light blonde hair with its dark highlights and adjust my ponytail before getting up to throw away my finished drink. A few minutes later, Katie and Ashlee head back over to where I'm sitting and plop down on the barstools either side of me.

"Sip," Katie says, reaching out her hand to Ashlee who's currently in possession of the vanilla bean latte.

She rolls her eyes and hands it over to Katie. "I barely get one sip in and you're already bugging me about giving it you again."

"Sorry," Katie laughs, shrugging her shoulders. "I'm not ashamed to say that I'm obsessed with Starbucks drinks. It's my new addiction, and I can assure you both that I'm never planning on going to rehab for it."

Now it's my turn to laugh and soon all three of us can barely control ourselves as we continue to joke around, Ashlee almost falling off her stool in the process. "Shit!" She exclaims softly, grasping the counter for support, which only makes Katie and I laugh harder.

When we're finally able to calm ourselves down, we decide to walk around outside for a little bit before hopping back into Ashlee's car. I slip my cell phone into the back pocket of my shorts and put on my sunglasses in order to shield my eyes from the blinding sunlight that automatically greets us.

"Nora says she wants to come to the team sleepover this Friday night," Katie pipes up as we walk past the Maui Nix Surf Shop. The three of us stop to look in the window.

"Oh my god, really? That's fantastic!" Ashlee exclaims, "We'll save you an extra sleeping bag then, bi-atch."

I smile. "Thanks girl," I say, lightly bumping my hip up against hers.

I turn away for a second while Katie and Ashlee ponder whether or not they want to go in the surf shop and that's when I see a familiar figure rounding the corner of the sidewalk, heading straight towards me. When my eyes finally register who the familiar figure is, I almost don't want to believe it.

Shit, it's Daniel. What am I going to do? I think to myself, experiencing an internal panic.

He continues to draw closer and closer to me, his hands in the pockets of his cargo shorts. He looks so damn casual as usual. I don't think I ever saw Daniel look distressed or acting awkward before and he probably never did even when I didn't know him. I feel a nervous jolt in my stomach when he finally says my name.

"Nora."

Both Ashlee and Katie turn their attention away from the store window to see who just approached me. I feel like dissolving into the pavement right at that moment.

"Uh, hi?" I say, only it comes out sounding like a question instead of a greeting.

"Wassup?" He asks.

I cross my arms over my chest, unsure of how I should respond.

"I'm fine," I manage to say, "You?"

"I'm alright." He casts a quick glance over at my two friends standing behind me. He looks annoyed that they're here.

"What do you want, Daniel?" I blurt, not caring if I sound rude or impatient.

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