Into the Deep Page 12

As Hendrix pulled up to my house, the murmurings of butterflies in my stomach turned into a full-blown riot. This was it. This was the kissing part.

But Jake didn’t lean in for a kiss. Instead he moved around the truck to help me out. He took my hand and I followed him up to my porch. Quieted by my anticipation, I let Jake turn me and clasp me by the nape of the neck again. He pulled me in close and ducked his head to hold my gaze. “You’re going out with me next Friday.”

I blinked, coming out of my anticipatory fog. “You’re not even asking now?”

Jake shook his head solemnly. “I can’t take the chance you’ll say no.”

Okay, he had to stop with the perfect words before I melted into goo. I smiled up at him, my hazel eyes full of flirt. “Ask me.”

Jake took a deep breath and gave my nape a squeeze. “Charley … will you go out with me next Friday?”

I shrugged casually. “Sure, why not.”

Chuckling, Jake drew me close and pressed a sweet kiss to my forehead. When he pulled back, he winked and let me go. “See you at school on Monday.”

I nodded, standing there in a state of bewilderment as he walked away, got in Hendrix, and drove off. Without kissing me.


Confused, I turned on my heel and walked inside. Mom and Dad were sitting in the living room pretending to watch television, covering up the fact that they’d definitely been spying on us.

“How’d it go?” Dad asked, his voice tight, as if he really didn’t want to know but needed to.

“You’ll be glad to know that Jake was the perfect gentleman.” Did I sound glum when I said that?

“Good,” Dad grunted.

“Are you going out again?” Mom asked.

I nodded. “He asked me out next Friday.”

“Oh, Christ,” Dad muttered.

Mom laughed. I rolled my eyes and headed into the kitchen for a glass of orange juice, my heart still pounding from the adrenaline Jake’s presence had released inside me. It almost cracked a rib when I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket.

My face split into a huge goofy grin at the message.

I’m going to kiss you when you least expect it. And it WILL be epic.

Butterflies back in full force, I quickly texted him back. I trust you.

Chapter Five

Slowly, I glanced over my shoulder. Seeing the anguish on Jake’s face, I turned to him despite myself. “What do you want, Jake?” I asked.

He took the steps down to me, his long legs eating them up quicker than mine had. Before I knew it, he was right there in front of me again and I was right back where I’d been last night when he approached me. I clenched my jaw to stop myself from saying something awful. He didn’t deserve awful but I wasn’t sure he deserved forgiveness, either. I was too confused. Part of me still felt for Jake and all he’d been through, and the other part hated him for breaking all the promises he’d made me.

From the moment we’d met, he’d dragged me into the deep, swearing to me he was in there with me. It was a lie. He’d waded back out to the shallows and left me to drown. Worse, he’d found a new deep elsewhere with some other girl.

Jake cleared his throat, bringing me back to the present. “I have a lot of things I need to say, Charley. I know you don’t owe me anything …” his eyes darkened to black, “but you need to hear this. After last night, I know you need to hear this.”

“I don’t need anything from you. I grew up. I’m over it.”

“I know, but clearly you still haven’t forgiven me. Last night proved that.”

“It was shock. I was enjoying myself and then suddenly, you were there.”

Jake winced. “Okay. Well, I’m not asking you to get over that shock. I’m just asking for a coffee so we can sit and talk.”

Remembering how relentless Jake could be when he wanted something, I gave him a sharp nod. “Tomorrow. The Library Bar. Twelve o’clock. I’ll give you five minutes.” I whirled around to walk away from him, but his voice stopped me again.

“You don’t have to run away because of me. Come back inside, finish your drink.”

I inwardly cursed at his audacity and looked back at him over my shoulder. “I’m not running away because of you. I finished my drink so I left. But I can see you’re still an arrogant ass**le.” I moved off with long strides, desperate to get away from him.

“I’ll take that as a good sign!” he shouted across the square.

I lifted my fist in the air and shot my middle finger up at him.

“That too!”

I grunted and sped up. The last thing I needed was Jake to be Jake.

I thought Claudia would say I was crazy for agreeing to meet Jake, but instead she thought it was a good idea for me to clear the air with him. I didn’t know if that was because she liked hanging out with Beck and didn’t want to stop, or because she’d decided maybe she liked Jake a little after spending time with him at Teviot. She’d texted me when she realized I’d left, but I told her to stay. After Beck dropped her back at the apartment, she informed me, a little tipsy, that Jake and Melissa had joined the band for drinks.

Apparently, Melissa had been quiet for most of the night and Jake appeared to spend half his time reassuring her. His ex-girlfriend showing up in Edinburgh probably had put a little kink in their romantic study abroad, but I couldn’t give a shit.

Not true, actually. Part of me really did feel for Melissa. In fact, part of me wanted to run straight to her to warn her to get the hell out of there before Jake Caplin ripped her heart out.

Claudia didn’t see Jake the Heartbreaker, however. She cautiously told me that Jake was charming and friendly and acted like everything was cool. The only moment of tension at the table came when Lowe asked about me. Claudia had said I was tired and Lowe had responded by telling her to ask me to wear my Pearl Jam T-shirt next time I came out with them.

“This will be good,” Claudia said confidently as she walked me to the door. “Clear the air before classes start so you can focus on enjoying your time here.”

I wished I was as confident as she was. Instead I walked into Teviot with my chest vibrating and my stomach churning. I didn’t want to dress up for him because I thought that would be pretty obvious, but I also stupidly wanted to look hot enough to annoy him. I wore my best black skinny jeans, short black ankle boots with a little heel, and a green Harley Davidson T-shirt that was a little short in the hem and snug across the bust. I topped it with my jewelry and let my hair spill down my back in its usual waves. Jake once told me I had sex hair all day, every day, and it used to drive him nuts. My petty hope was that everything about me now would drive him nuts. If I had to suffer through my attraction to him, it would certainly help a little if he had to suffer too.

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