Embrace: Evolve Series, Book Two(10)

By: S.E. Hall



“Now how did—”

“Evan, I’m gonna let you in on a big secret. You can never get your cell phone far enough away or hidden well enough from a girl if she really wants to see what you’re typing.” She winks this time and giggles. “Annndd, I think you owe me eating another icy fry for that little pearl of wisdom.”

That’s good shit to know, so I happily dip a fry in her shake and pop it in my mouth. Not bad. Not good, per say, but not bad.

“One more,” she teases, waggling a fry at me.

“No, no,” I protest, shaking my head, “I can’t stay at your place. I barely know you. In fact, please tell me you don’t usually let guys you hardly know stay with you.”

That pissed her off. Her eyes have narrowed to slits. “I will have you know,” her perfect fingernails drum against the table, “that I have lived in my home for almost two whole years and not one man has ever slept there. In fact, I’ve never even brought a date back there!”

“I didn’t mean to make you mad, Whitley. I’m sorry. It just worried me because it sounded kinda unsafe. I wasn’t alluding to anything else.”

“It would be unsafe if I did that, but I don’t. And I may barely know you, but I already know enough to be absolutely sure I’ll be safe and sound with you in my home. You, Evan Allen, are a true gentleman. You couldn’t hide it if you tried.”

I grin coyly. “Oh yeah, how do you know that?”

“Because you didn’t like Sawyer talking down to a girl. You hold open all doors for me. You led me to this booth with your hand gently on my back,” she blushes, “and you’re arguing not to stay the night with me.”

“Sounds like you’ve got me all figured out. So what about you?”

“What about me?” She tucks her shiny, golden hair behind her ears. The tops of them are pink; she’s nervous to be the one under the magnifying glass.

“I don’t know. Pick something you want to tell me. How about… What’s something you’re passionate about?”

“Singing,” she answers instantly, a glow taking over her face. “I’m this year’s captain of the Lovely Larks, the school a cappella group.”

“Very nice.” I nod with a grin. I can totally see her as a singer. “You’ll have to sing for me sometime.”

“Someday.”

“Someday like tomorrow, or someday like it’s never gonna happen?” I laugh, just kidding her.

“The day I figure out the perfect song to sing to you,” she whispers, looking down.

I try desperately not to think of how that single statement reminds me so much of someone else I know. Or at least, someone I used to know. Someone I thought I knew.

“Okay, one more fun fact and I’ll feel safe sleeping under the same roof as you,” I request, giving her a playful kick under the table.

“My major is Music Education. I want to be a music teacher in an elementary school, where the kids are still young enough to just love the music.”

“You’ll be great at it.” I shoot her a wink.

“How can you be so sure of that?”

“The passion in your eyes when you talk about it.” I shrug, the explanation self-explanatory to me. “You could never be bad at something you feel so strongly about.”

I don’t know her well enough yet to pinpoint the exact emotion that passes through her eyes before she centers her shoulders and lifts her head just a little higher. “Thank you, Evan.”

“Thank you,” I give her a grateful smile and pop the second dipped fry in my mouth, “for giving my sorry butt a bed. You ready?”

She nods and I stand up, offering my hand to hold as she slides out of the booth. I settle the bill and hold the door open for her, thinking how easy she is to talk to.



“Here you go,” she says cheerfully, walking into the room ahead of me, turning down the bedspread and sheet. Then she fluffs my pillow and turns to me with a smile. “Do you need anything else?”

“No, this is more than enough. Thank you so much, Whitley, for taking in this gypsy. Are you sure you’re comfortable with this?”

She bobs her head, smiling. “It feels nice to have someone else here. I don’t know,” she pops her shoulders, “maybe we could make popcorn and watch a movie, or sit up and talk, or something,” she bites her little lip again, “if you’re not too tired.”

I try not to let the wonderment show on my face. How is this beautiful, kind, trusting girl lonely?

“What movie ya thinking?” If she says anything Disney, I’m jumping out the fucking window and sleeping on the sidewalk.

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