Into the Deep Page 11

“I don’t agree with you.”

My chest felt too full, my whole body tense with whatever heaviness was settling around our picnic on his truck bed. We’d only been on our date for twenty minutes, for goodness’ sake, and already we were in Seriousville.

“Charley, look at me.”

I did as he asked and found the breath leaving my body again at the look in his eyes.

“This shouldn’t be possible,” he whispered, “but somehow, it’s happening. You’re something special to me, and I can only hope that I’m something special to you.”

“I barely know you,” My brain murmured logic; my heart screamed its opposite.

Jake shook his head slowly. “I don’t know if that’s true.”

We were silent a while, eating our sandwiches and listening to the radio.

Finally, not able to contain it, though I knew it was insane, I whispered, “You’re something special to me.”

Jake turned his head, his eyes glittering in the dark. “Yeah?”

I ducked my head, embarrassed. “We haven’t even kissed yet.”

“It’s going to be epic.”

“What if it’s not?”

Jake threw his head back and laughed. “Are you this pessimistic about everything?”

“No. I’m just asking a question.”

“Trust me. It’ll be epic.”

I took a drink of water, eyeing him carefully. I swallowed and wiped my lips dry. “This overconfidence of yours could definitely become a problem.”

“It’s not a problem. You love it.”

“No, I love cheese fries, chocolate milkshakes, The Killers, Metric, Lucky jeans, my mom and dad and Andrea.”

Jake chuckled. “In that order?”

I narrowed my eyes playfully. “Maybe. What do you love?”

“Gio’s Pizza: the best pizza in Chicago, Reese’s peanut butter cups, the White Sox, Pearl Jam, Silversun Pickups, Bob Dylan, The Smiths, my pickup, my mom and dad and maybe Luke too.”

I nodded and then asked casually, “Have you named your pickup yet?”

“Nah, but I was thinking The Vedder.”

My eyebrows puckered together in confusion. “Why?”

Jake flinched like I’d shot him. “After Eddie Vedder. Lead singer of Pearl Jam?”

I shrugged. “Sorry. I’ve never listened to their stuff.”

Yup, this time my words had shot him. Jake shook his head. “No, no, no. Okay, no. I’m not dating a girl who has not listened to Pearl Jam. You can borrow my CDs.”

I laughed. “It’s cool. If you feel that strongly about it, I’ll download their albums.”

“Uh, one, there are a lot, and two, it’s Pearl Jam. You have to listen to them on CD.”

I tried not to laugh again, my lips twitching with the urge. “Okay.”

“Never listened to Pearl Jam,” he muttered, incredulous.

Choking on laughter, I replied, “It’s not a punishable crime.”

“That’s a shame. I could find a very creative way to punish you.”

I blushed and threw a napkin at him. “You have a filthy mind, Mr. Caplin.”

He grunted. “Of course I do. I’m sixteen years old.” He pushed the picnic up the blanket and I watched warily, wondering where he was going with this. In the end all he did was stretch out on his back, arms behind his head as he gave me an inviting smile. Casually, I lay down beside him, feeling the heat of his body as if it were pressed against mine. I’d left space between us so he wouldn’t get any funny ideas.

While we stared up at the stars, it occurred to me that we were lying there in this perfectly comfortable silence I’d never felt with anyone before.

“Just call it ‘Eddie.’”

Jake snorted. “What?”

“‘The Vedder’ doesn’t trip off the tongue. Eddie’s simpler.”

“You want me to call my pickup ‘Eddie’?”

“It’s just a suggestion.”

“He’s not the dog from Frasier. He’s a pickup.”

“Call him ‘Ford’ then.”

“He’s not a businessman with a stick up his ass.”

Now it was my turn to snort. “Zorro?”

“I get the feeling you’re not taking this seriously.”

“No, I am. Naming a truck is very important. I was going for masculine. Powerful.”

“And you came up with Zorro?”

“The Hulk? Batman? The Batmobile?”

“I’m not even humoring you on those.”

“Alan? Bob?”

“You’re so lucky you’re cute.”

“Ozzy? Lennon? Morrison? Joplin?”

“Charley …”


Jake stilled next to me and I felt his gaze on my face as he turned to stare at me. “I like that,” he murmured softly.

I turned my head to meet his eyes and smiled. “Hendrix?”

“Yeah, it’s cool.”

I smoothed a hand down the bed of the truck and announced into the night, “I hereby christen thee Hendrix.”

Suddenly my hand was caught in Jake’s and my eyes drifted back up to his as he rubbed his thumb across my knuckles. “You named my truck,” he murmured.

“You can un-name it,” I muttered back unsurely.

Jake shook his head. “We’re in too deep for that, baby.”

My hand tightened in his and he felt it. His fingers flexed and he threaded them through mine. “I’m not too sure about the deep. I breathe better in the shallow.”

“Not true,” he whispered. “You hate the shallow.”

I finally let go of the breath I was holding and turned my head to gaze back up at the starry sky. Keeping hold of my hand, Jake asked me what my favorite color was.


“Me too,” he replied quietly. “But I like black too.”

“Is black a color?”

“As opposed to a shade?”


“Does it matter?”

“I guess not.”

“What’s your favorite song?”

And so began three hours of questioning back and forth. By the end of the date, I think Jake Caplin knew more about me than I even knew about myself.

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