Chapter 57: The Calm Before

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Wynter was full of news when they got back that evening to find Caleb waiting. Lights out was postponed for the first time ever. Caleb already knew Indio had been at her graduation—he had photographic evidence. She showed Caleb her diploma and the two videos people had already sent her of the Clockwork Toys' performance.

"So how was it, being up on stage in front of hundreds of people?"

"Like being on top of the world. The kids were screaming for us. Even some of the parents were bopping their heads. I think they loved it. It made me feel like I was really there. Really here, I mean." Like I exist. That's what she wanted to say.

Then she told him about Indio's tour. She wanted to call Jesse about it, too, but Caleb said Jesse was out with friends celebrating the end of finals week.

"Get some sleep," he told her. "Busy day tomorrow."

"What are we doing?" But he wouldn't tell her.

On Saturday morning, when they crossed paths outside the bathroom, he told her to wear jeans and boots. She knew what that meant. But Caleb had driven up in the Silverado, no bike in the truck bed.

He told Rosa they'd skip breakfast because he was taking Wynter for a drive and they'd stop along the way. They'd find a nice scenic route, he said, perhaps even as far west as the national parks and forests. They got in the truck and Caleb drove two blocks to a parking garage. The Beast was right there, where he'd left it overnight. He wheeled it into the truck and secured it.

"Aren't we riding?"

"One more stop."

They headed west on the I-82 for an hour, listening to Caleb's old blues CDs. He exited the highway at Selah and pulled into a service station. There in the parking lot was Jesse with his motorcycle.

Yes!

She was practically bouncing in the seat. "Where are we going?"

"Canyon Road. Due north and back again."

"Can I ride with Jesse for once?"

"Nope."

She gave him a look of mock disappointment, too excited for it to be effective.

"Breakfast first," Jesse said, giving Wynter a huge hug that instantly made up for him not being at her graduation. "I've been waiting forty minutes."

They ate a huge cooked breakfast in a tiny diner. Jesse was in a fantastic mood—excited about his summer because as of last night's party he had a new girlfriend. Excited for Wynter because of the Clockwork Toys and her Greece trip.

"Did you upload my song yet?" Wynter asked him.

"First thing this morning—you didn't see? Well, there's nothing to see, actually. Indio does visit my channel now and then, so in order to keep the guitar a secret I only uploaded the audio."

"That's fine."

Jesse checked his phone. "Two views so far. Well done! I added a snare track. Didn't want to swamp those unique lyrics with the full kit."

"What guitar? What secret?" Caleb said, having watched their conversation closely.

"It's a surprise," Wynter said, uncertain how Caleb was going to react to her little scheme. "I managed to buy back Indio's Fender."

"How?"

"I saved up my allowance." A third of that payment to Giselle had been her allowance.

He nodded approvingly. He would assume, of course, that Wynter had only paid fifty dollars for it. "That's a really nice thing to do for him. He loves that guitar."

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