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.I thought she might’ve even glanced over at me, her hair shielding her face, before she got back inside again, leaving her door open.Huh.Finally, she burst out of her car, shutting the door, striding toward me as the wind picked up a few strands of curls and played with them.She was coming right for me.I straightened my spine, because she looked like she had a firm purpose.She stopped about five feet away, lingering near the window wiper station and a trashcan, her hands shoved in her pockets.I wasn’t sure what to make of her.“Hey, Jadyn,” I said, standing away from my tailgate.Her words rushed out.“I saw you gassing up as I was driving by and.”Did she even know why she’d turned her car into the Texaco?What struck me hard, though, was the fact that Jadyn wasn’t the first person to have spotted my pickup today and wheeled around for me.There was no hiding in this town if someone really wanted to track you down.She pushed her hair behind her ear.“I’ve been mulling over our talk this morning, and I’m afraid I came off as rude.I was going to visit you at the café some time to apologize, but since you’re here, I decided to get this off my chest.”“Okay.” The gas pump clicked off, but I didn’t go to set the nozzle back in its holder.“You were fine this morning, though.Really.I wasn’t offended.”Jadyn seemed to be pre-programmed for saying sorry, come hell or high water.“I got to thinking that I shouldn’t alienate anyone who doesn’t treat me like a used rag, so.” She took one hand out of her pocket and gestured helplessly with it.“This is me officially apologizing.”I felt sorry for her, this girl who’d been on Cloud 9 with Rex for a short time until Micah Wyatt had intervened.I knew just how persuasive he could be.“And I’m sorry we’re both being put under a microscope by the nosiest people in the world,” I said.“Everyone here has something to say about everything, starting with their beef and ending with their sports heroes.”She smiled.It was the first time I’d seen her do that since she’d made a graduation speech as the outgoing president of our senior class.“I’m sure you have friends who support you,” I said.“You never lacked for those.”Her shoulders stiffened.“Friends move on—or sometimes you realize you actually didn’t have many of them in the first place.”“All of them.They just dropped you?”“My best friends already have internships this summer, and they only came by town to say hi before they got down to professional business elsewhere.” She had always run with the ambitious crowd—student council, FFA, Beta Club members.But instead of going to a university like them, she’d stayed behind, taking care of her elderly uncle.“The rest of my friends.? It appears they think I changed for the worse, so they’ve kept their distance so far.”I was lucky I had Evie, who’d always been on the fringes with me.We’d liked it that way until college had come along.“In any case,” Jadyn said, “thank you for making an effort with me this morning.It couldn’t have been easy, seeing as you probably have your own strong opinions about how I swooped in to date Rex after you broke up.”“It did bother me that he had someone so soon afterward, especially since he was supposed to be so into me.” I shrugged, offering that as an olive branch.“But that’s not on you, Jadyn.We didn’t know each other well in school, so you didn’t owe me any allegiance.”“I’m sorry, anyway.”She was so on the level with me that I couldn’t help making things easy on her.“Just don’t let this bug you anymore.Okay?”I went to the gas nozzle, pulling it out and setting it back in its place.Talking about Rex wasn’t exactly my subject of choice, especially when questions about Micah were bubbling inside of me, ready to pop at her.Grabbing the gas receipt from the machine, I tucked it into the back pocket of my short black skirt, which I’d paired with my Angel’s Seat T-shirt and Keds.“Do you mind if I ask you something?”“Ask and you shall see.”Good—she was letting me in bit by bit.“This morning, you warned me about Micah Wyatt.Just how bad is he?”Jadyn pushed back her hair, looking at the clouded sky, then at me.“You remember that old song about the devil going down to Georgia and getting that young fiddle player into a contest? Micah reminds me of that devil.”I widened my eyes.Damn.I’d asked, and she’d sure told.“Dramatic, I know.” She seemed puzzled, like she wasn’t sure she should word things so strongly.“There’s a part of that song where the devil challenges this Johnny kid to take a dare, to compete for a golden fiddle.I think that’s what Micah does—he challenges women to resist him while flashing that golden smile.And he likes it when they take him up on it—the higher the stakes, the better.From what I’ve seen of him so far, he chooses the females who are most likely to turn him down, some of them married, and when they ultimately can’t, their humiliation is his prize.I’d hate to see more shame piled on you because of his tricks, Shelby.I’d hate that to happen to anyone else.”What would she think of me if she knew about my escapade with Micah in the theater today? I’d sure done some fiddling there with him.I was flushing again, and as I checked to see if Jadyn had caught the sure giveaway, I heard a truck’s horn blaring from the road.I looked toward the sound, and the wind picked up, belting me [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]