The Boyfriend Deal(8)

By: Charity West

“Not so far. But then, Alicia hasn’t tried to rearrange my face yet. By the time word spreads through the school, I’m sure she’ll pay me a visit, and I doubt it will be a pleasant one.”

He winced.

“You had to go out with a psycho, didn’t you?” I asked. “Couldn’t go for some nice, normal girl?”

The smile was back. “I’m trying the nice and normal thing now, aren’t I?”

“Fine. You can give me a ride home, and if Mom agrees, then you can take me to school in the morning. But I have to warn you, after Hunter, she’s leery of the boys I bring home. I had a friend over for a study session, and I thought she was going to have a stroke.”

“Noted. I promise to be on my best behavior.”

“Then get me out of here before someone else notices us. I’m not the best actress, and I’m not sure I can pull off two shows in one day.”

Tyler winked at me, opened the passenger side door, and then walked around the front of the car. As he slid behind the wheel, he reached over and laced our fingers together again. I thought it was a little odd since no one could see us, but I had to admit I liked it so much I didn’t really resist. Being alone with him should have been uncomfortable, or at least a little bit weird, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t like we were best friends or anything, but being with him was … nice. If the charismatic boy I’d spent time with today was the real Tyler Robbins, I was in so much more trouble than I’d thought. He wasn’t just sexy and funny. He was sweet, endearing, and judging by his class schedule, he was pretty smart. Would the real Tyler Robbins please stand up? Because if all of this was just for show, I didn’t think I’d survive the break-up.

I gave him my address, but he gave me one of those smirks of his and it made me wonder if he already knew where I lived. He pulled into the driveway a few minutes later, parking behind my mother’s car, and we walked hand-in-hand up to the front door. Before I could get my key in the lock, the door swung open and my rather frantic mother pulled me into the house.

“I’ve been worried sick about you!” Her hands coasted over my hair, shoulders, and down my arms, stopping at the hand that was still linked with Tyler’s.

“I’m sorry, Mom. I should have called or something. We decided to grab some ice cream on the way home.”

Mom was eyeing Tyler with narrowed eyes. “And just who are you?” she demanded, making me wince.

He held out the hand I wasn’t gripping like a lifeline. “I’m Tyler. I’m sorry if I had Hadley out too late. It’s my fault. She said she needed to get home, but I talked her into ice cream. Not as an official date or anything, but just to spend some more time with her.”

Mom looked from Tyler to me and back again. “And will you be asking her on an official date?”

“There’s a party after the football game on Friday. I was hoping she’d agree to go with me.”

Mom pursed her lips and I could tell she was going to say no. I’d seldom attended parties with Hunter, and look how that had turned out. To say I wanted to go was an understatement. Besides, a party with Tyler? Yeah, that had to be fun. Well, assuming I could get past the girls trying to steal him away, and the whispers as we passed. I hadn’t really experienced much of that, but when you dated the most popular guy at school, it was bound to happen. If someone had stolen Hunter from me, there was no doubt someone would try to steal Tyler.

“Please, Mom?” I asked. “I’d really like to go.”

“I can bring her home, and I swear I won’t drink anything stronger than soda or water.”

Wow. Tyler was giving up alcohol for me? I hoped the grin on my face didn’t look as goofy as it felt. Not even Hunter had offered to give up beer on the few occasions I’d gone to a party with him, not that I’d ever told my mom he’d been drinking and driving. She’d have locked me in my room until graduation.

I could tell Mom was going to cave, and I tightened my grip on Tyler’s hand. If it bothered him, he didn’t show it. We both waited patiently for her to make a decision, and when she finally sighed and gave a nod, I squealed and jumped up and down. Not my coolest moment, and my cheeks flushed the moment I realize Tyler had just witnessed me acting like a kid.

“Thanks, Mom.”

“Would you care to stay for dinner, Tyler?” Mom asked.

“If you’re sure it’s no trouble, I’d love to.”

My heart pounded in my chest. I led Tyler into the living room and claimed a spot on the sofa. He sat next to me and wrapped an arm around my shoulders. I couldn’t stop myself from snuggling closer. Snatching the remote, I flipped channels until I found the sports channel. I’d never really watched it before, but I figured Tyler probably liked it.

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