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Chapter 4

I surveyed my reflection on the full-length mirror.

I tugged the black skirt a little lower and checked if my red top was properly tucked into it. I didn't want to exert too much effort—I didn't want Seth to get the wrong idea—but I didn't want to show up looking like I just rolled out of bed either.

While looks weren't everything, I've learned to rely on making myself look perfectly fine to fool everyone into thinking that I was.

I hadn't properly brushed out my hair, so I initially planned on putting it up in a high ponytail, but after running my fingers a few times through it, I managed to make it look like I'd kept it this way on purpose, framing my face just the right way.

People always said I looked a lot like my mom. I got her high cheekbones, which I only learned to be thankful of when I began to pay attention to how I looked, as well as her nose (while it wasn't movie star perfect, it wasn't entirely hideous either) and brown hair.

"But you got my best feature, Kid," Dad used to tell me whenever someone pointed out the resemblance between me and Mom, always claiming it was his vibrant green eyes that made Mom "fall in too deep," to which she would roll her eyes and shake her head.

Now I was looking at the green eyes staring back at me on the mirror and I knew it was the closest I could ever get to having Dad's eyes on me again.

I'd always wondered what he would have thought of Cedric. I wanted to know if he would have approved of him; if he'd try to scare him off; or if he'd tell me to stay away from him because he knew he was only going to break my heart. I wondered what he would have done to comfort me after the breakup. He probably would have whipped up a batch of (burnt) waffles, like he always did when I was a child, telling me a quote or two that he picked up from one of his favorite books.

All I could ever do now was wonder—about what he thought of me wearing this skirt, or of Seth, who was going be here any minute now to pick me up.

I never planned on letting him drive me, but if there was one thing I was quickly learning about him, it was that he was really stubborn.

I was taking something from my locker when he walked up to me after class yesterday. He leaned against the locker next to mine, casual as ever, and asked me what time he should pick me up.

At first, I couldn't tell if he was being serious, but when I figured he really was serious, I said, "I can drive, Everett."

Not only did I have a problem with not having my own means of escape, but agreeing to ride in a car with a person whose reputation with girls wasn't exactly pleasant was something that triggered countless warning flags at the back of my mind, so I told him no.

He followed me all the way to the parking lot, incessantly trying to convince me to agree, and the thing that annoyed me most was the fact that he didn't even look desperate, not even when he began to drive after me on my way home, looking as though he was hardly bothered by the chase (I suspected he might have even enjoyed it), like he knew for sure that I would say yes by the end of the day.

I managed to ignore his car trailing behind mine until the first stoplight.

I pulled into the parking lot of a bakery store, knowing he would stop as well.

"Fine," I hissed out at him. When a smug look crossed his face, it took all I had in me to resist the urge to hurl something at him. A shoe, maybe, or my phone. Perhaps even my whole bag.

By the time we said goodbye, I'd already given him my address and he was promising to pick me up at eight.

For some reason, he struck me as the kind of person who would have been late, but there was still a minute before the clock struck eight when the doorbell rang. Before going out of my room, I peeked out the window, just in case it wasn't him, but sure enough, it was his car parked in front of our house.

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