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.“I swear I’ll be on my best behavior around you.”“It isn’t your behavior I’m worried about,” he snaps.I wait for him to say more, and when he doesn’t, I ask, “So? Will you let me help you?”His mouth moves from side to side.I can tell he’s debating how to tell me ‘no,’ how to do it all his way, on his own terms like he’s been doing for weeks now.So I’m shocked when he says, “Fine.”“Fine?” I clap my hands together.He leans close, and my mouth waters for him.“Studying, Keira.I’ll pass English, get my diploma like you and my family want.But, trust me, it’s not that easy.You don’t just make one little change and fix something as broken as my life is.”I stand on my toes and kiss him, just on one side of his mouth.I pull back and smile at the way he clenches his jaw so tight, I can see the bunch of muscle high up on his cheek.“We’ll see.”I lean back on my chair at the table across from Keira and think about how hot her mouth was when I kissed her at my uncle’s shop.How perfect her body felt under my hands, her curves so damn soft.How her moans turned me like nothing ever has before.The memory of the sexy little noises she made when I was kissing her has kept me up for so many nights in a row, I think I’m going to start hallucinating soon…“…and there’s Myrtle to consider, too.I think you might want to mention her here, in paragraph three—Vin?” She waves a pencil in front of my face.I let my chair fall forward with a thump and give a frustrated growl as she turns the paper my way.“I still like my original thesis better.”Keira sighs.“I don’t think, ‘The Great Gatsby is dumb, and I could have come up with a way better ending,’ is a thesis Mrs.Delani would have appreciated,” she says with a little smile.Keira and I have been working together for two weeks now.I dropped her off the same night I took her to Gio’s shop without laying a single finger on her again.I wanted to.No mistake.I wanted to badly.But I liked the way she looked at me.With respect.And I wasn’t about to ruin that by pulling her onto my lap and peeling that tight little sweater over her head—“Vin!” She snaps her fingers.“Sorry,” I mutter, getting back to work.“I’ve never really tried in school before.It’s harder than I thought,” I admit.I see her smile out of the corner of my eye.“I’m proud of you.I know this is way out of your comfort zone.That diploma will be yours before you know it.”“It would be way easier if Gatsby had manned up and swept Daisy off her feet,” I say, adding a few sentences about Myrtle as I gripe.“But that wouldn’t have worked,” Keira argues quietly.“Daisy had her life.Jay had his.They couldn’t just ignore that.”“If he really wanted to, he could have been with her.He could have found a way to make it work, to figure it all out,” I say, then notice that her smile is growing.Because she’s baiting me.I put my pencil down and look right at her.Damn, she’s gorgeous.I pick up my falling-apart copy of the book.“You know why people like this book? Because this is how it is.”“I thought you said books were nothing like real life,” she points out, her mouth shaping into this cute little frown.It’s exactly the shape that makes the temptation to kiss her hard as hell to resist.“I guess I should have waited til I finished one before I ran my mouth,” I grumble.I keep working and she pulls her own book out.Pre-calc.I know she mentioned she had another big quiz a few days ago.I get ready to pass my rough draft back to her so she can check my shitty grammar when I catch a glimpse of her grade on the quiz paper.She tries to clamp her hands over the red number with a circle around it when she notices me looking.“Keira, let me see it,” I say.She shakes her head and bites her lip, her cheeks pink.“It’s embarrassing.I’m usually at least decent at math.I don’t know what happened…” She trails off and I crook my finger.She sighs, stares at the table, and slides the test over with the tip of her pinky.I glance over it.Unlike crazy English, math has rules.Order.Logic.I get it, usually without having to give it too much thought.“Ah.You have Steinberg? He breezes through the Algebra II and jumps right to trig.Did you do okay with trig before?”“I thought so,” she says, tucking her hair behind her ears.It’s this tic she has when she’s nervous or frustrated.I love it.“My trig teacher at Mallory took a mid-year sabbatical to study in Tibet, and we wound up with a replacement fresh out of college.I guess she wasn’t as thorough as I thought?”I toss my essay aside.“I see where you’re getting off track.Pull your chair over and I’ll—”“No.” She puts her hand up and shakes her head.“I so appreciate it, Vin, but I can’t take time away from your tutoring.Your paper is getting better everyday, and I don’t want to lose time.It’s due in two days, and we need to make sure it’s really good.”I tap my finger on her test, wondering if I should bother to argue.One look at her stubborn little chin, and I realize it’s a lost cause.I go back to my paper, but it bugs me how she looks at the test like she’s lost.Damn, I know that feeling.Before I realize it, the bell rings and she starts to gather our things up.“Keira?” I say, and I feel that random punch to the heart that hits every now and then when she looks my way with those beautiful, innocent eyes.It’s surreal that this girl used to be mine.She smiles like she’s encouraging me to speak.Right.Speak.Funny the simple things I find so hard to concentrate on when she’s around.“Thank you.For your help,” I say.She hugs her binder to her chest and chews on her bottom lip.“You’re welcome, Vin,” she whispers before she races out the door and into the hall.By the time I get to the parking lot, her truck is gone, and I feel a sharp disappointment I can’t ignore.***“Night off?” Uncle Gio fumes.“Am I hearing right? You need a freaking night off?” He goes back to counting the stack of bills on the desk, then pushes them to the side and points at me.“What the hell’s been up with you lately, Vin? You’re the one who begged me to let you in on this, right? You’re the one who wanted to help your father out.I appreciate that, you’re a good kid.But this is business.Playtime is over.”“I get that,” I say, then bite back all the arguments I was going to bring up [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]