Whoever said time heals all wounds never encountered James Talon Harrington the Fourth. It seemed the longer she went without talking to him, the harder it became. Luckily, Nicky's problem kept her busy most days. Besides offering support and an endless amount of cupcakes, Keeley helped her best friend navigate through the new world of parental dating. Her evenings, however, were another story.  Without anything keeping her occupied, her mind drifted to Talon. She never realized how integral their nightly routine of phone calls and texts had become.

For two weeks, the silence mocked her. It became a constant ache that ate away and left her feeling hollow. She tried to fill the gap, but nothing worked. Even reading had lost some of its pleasure. She couldn't touch a romance book without her chest seizing up.  

If that wasn't bad enough, Edgewood's annual Homecoming dance was fast approaching. The student body was abuzz as they gossiped about who was going with whom and which latest fashion trend they were going to wear. For the most part she tuned them out, but every now and then a stray comment would make its way to her. In those few moments, she allowed herself to imagine what it would be like to go to Homecoming with Talon. Then, seconds later, reality would set in and like a balloon losing air, her dreams hurtled back down to Earth.

As Keeley made her way to her school locker, she took solace in the fact that Nicky wouldn't be going to Homecoming either. She was scheduled to work that night. Once Nicky finished her shift, they planned to raid their kitchen pantries and then bust out the karaoke and spend the night pretending to be rock stars.

Her feet slowed as she approached the long row of lockers. Pacing up and down the hallway was Gavin. He looked nervous as he chewed on his nails, sporadically shaking his head and muttering nonsensical words.

"Gavin?" she asked in surprise. He'd been avoiding her since she learned about his connection to Talon, even going so far as to stop using her locker. "What are you doing here?"

He immediately stopped pacing and dropped his hand from his mouth. "I came to see you." His eyes turned shifty as they darted around the hallway. Satisfied that no one was listening, he shoved his hands into his jacket pockets and turned his attention to her. "Can we talk? Privately?"

She had a good idea what he wanted to say. "Listen, you don't have to worry. I'm not going to tell Zach you're related to," her voice dropped to a low whisper, "you know who. Your secret is safe with me."

His cheeks flushed as he let out a curse. "I didn't even think about that. Zach would go ballistic if he knew. Thanks for not squealing on me."

Taken back, her brows pulled down into a frown. "Then what did you want to talk about?"

He pressed his hands even further into his pockets. "It's about JT."

Her posture stiffened as she gave him a wary look. "What about him?"

"He—Well, you see....I...uh..." A light sheen broke out across his forehead as he pulled at the collar of his shirt.

Keeley resisted the urge to shake the words right out of him. Instead, she leaned against her locker and patiently waited for him to spit out what he had to say.

"He'll kill me if he finds out I talked to you about him," Gavin finally confessed.

"Technically you haven't said anything yet," she pointed out.

"He'll know." His gaze became distant. "He always knows."

"Hey, you can still walk away with your life fully intact. No one has to find out we had this conversation." She drew a giant X over her heart. "Promise."

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