This is one of my favorite parts of the book. Sahar and Cameron have their first big fight and we meet Dean, who, if I'm being honest, is my favorite character of all. ;)
“Cameron,” I called to him, “Cameron, hey wait up!” His pace never slowed and I had to run full sprint to catch up to him. My calls must have been lost in the wind and that was why he didn’t wait for me. It had to be.
He stopped and spun around, reaching out to grab my arms before I could put them around him. “Sahar, what are you doing?” he asked in a sharp tone.
“I…well, I saw you walking. I’ve called you a million times today, where have you been?”
“My daily whereabouts are none of your concern. I didn’t call you back because I didn’t want to talk to you.” His voice waivered on the last word. Anger? Was he mad at me?
“Have I done something to upset you?” I asked, stepping backward and away from his grasp on my arms.
“No…yes…no… It doesn’t matter. Look, we can’t be together okay. I’m sorry if I made you think we could, but we can’t.”
It wasn’t normal. The way I was feeling, as if his words were a sharp knife that continued to serrate my soul, in long slow movements, dragging out the pain. He kissed me. That was it. There wasn’t a profession of affection or devotion. It was just a kiss. My rational mind was aware of this. My rational mind was telling him that was fine and I didn’t care, to have a nice life. But there wasn’t anything rational about what I felt for him. So my irrational mind won out and I started to cry.
“But why? I don’t understand.” I sniffled and blotted my nose with my shirtsleeve. Attractive.
His demeanor softened at the sight of the tears and he ran his hands through his dark hair. “I don’t want to hurt you, okay. I don’t want anything to ever hurt you. It’s better this way.”
“Too late for that.” Now I was angry. What kind of cockamamie line was that? I don’t want anything to ever hurt you. “Fine,” I said through clenched teeth. “Good luck with the pack. I’m sure that dead body won’t stir up any trouble.” Okay, yes, I know my dad had told me not to say anything, but if you recall, I already mentioned that my rational mind had taken a hike.
He froze. I mean, stopped breathing froze and stared at me, his mouth agape as if he wanted to say something, but had come down with a sudden case of laryngitis.
“Whatever.” I turned and walked away from him. He was still standing like that when I glanced back at him over my shoulder. Good. Served him right.
Night had fallen and the streetlights were on. A soft glow from the storefront windows illuminated the sidewalk as I fought the strong winds walking back to my car. I had to lean into it and therefore did not see the body standing beside the car I was parked next to.
“Oh, I’m so sor…” Oh. My. God. My gaze traveled up the broad frame to meet black eyes that were alive with amusement. “I…I didn’t…”
He laughed, an easy going laugh that made me smile. “It’s all right,” he said. “It was just as much my fault as it was yours, I was looking down.” He kicked the tire of the car he was standing next to and I saw that it was flat as a pancake.
“Do you need a ride?” I blurted out before I could stop myself. I knew this must be Dean. Small town, remember. And he fit the H-O-T description Rachel had given me. Of course I didn’t know anything about him other than the physical reaction my body was having looking at his gorgeous features that rivaled any famous movie star I had ever seen, but what the heck. I dared a look over my shoulder, searching the night for Cameron, but he had vanished.
“Hey, that would actually be great, as long as you aren’t some serial killer or something,” he said.
“I was just hoping the same thing about you. I’m Sahar North. It’s nice to meet you.” I held out my hand and he took it in his, but just held it instead of shaking.
“I know who you are. Dean Anderson, nice to meet ya. That’s really a cool name, I’ve never heard it.”
“Thanks, it’s sort of a family name,” I told him.
He didn’t let go of my hand and I thought about pulling away, but didn’t want to be rude so I just stood there, feeling the warmth of his skin on mine.
“We should get going,” I told him, gently pulling my hand away to grab the car door in a surreptitious manner. “I didn’t expect to work today and need to get home before my dad does.”
I held the passenger side door of the Camry open and he slid in. What are you doing, I asked myself as I walked behind the car to the driver’s side. This was perhaps the single most reckless thing I had ever done. Hey, hot guy, I don’t know, hop on in my car and let’s drive down these dark roads. Ughh.
“Where to?” I asked him once inside and buckled. I knew where he lived, the house on Grover Street, but I couldn’t let him know that. He would think I was some kind of stalker or something.
“896 Grover Street. Do you know where that is?”
“Yeah, sure.” Awkward silence followed. Well, awkward for me. Dean seemed perfectly content with his long legs stretched as far as they could go and his arms pulled back behind his head. I turned the radio on to fill the quiet. My mom was the last person in the car and it was set to an easy listening station.
“Nice tunes,” he said, a note of humor in his voice. “Maybe we can swing by the bingo game over at the rec hall.”
“Sorry, this isn’t really my kind of music,” I told him frantically flipping for something with a beat. “This isn’t my car, I just turned sixteen and don’t have my own car yet.”
He looked over at me, “Huh, you sure look older than sixteen. I guess that means you’ll be going to TNH then?”
“Yeah, junior year for me. What about you?”
“Senior. Finally. I only need one math credit to graduate, then it’s so long to parental domination and hello to my freedom in college.”
“You don’t like your parents?” I asked him, turning on Grover Street. My foot eased off the gas. What was the speed limit on this road anyway?
“It’s just me and my dad and he’s okay, I’m just sick of moving. We move all the time. He works for the government as an environmentalist. They send him all over, testing the ground and shit. Needless to say I’ve been to every rural, nothing town in these here United States. No offense.”
“None taken,” I assured him.
“This is me,” he said, pointing to the driveway off the main road that I was already heading to. It had been a while since I’d come this way, the house was spooky looking in the dark. “Hey, it was nice to meet you, Sahar. I’ll see you on Tuesday. Who the hell starts school on a Tuesday anyway?” He laughed at his own joke and hopped out of the car.
I saw him throw a backward wave as he danced up his driveway to some song he had begun to sing. I think it was something about a bad moon? He seemed to be in an awfully good mood for your average run of the mill I-hate-my-parents-and-can’t-wait-to-get-out-of-here teenager.
He was odd.
I liked him.