Pathetic as it was, my mind drifted back to Dastien. I couldn’t help but wonder if he’d be there. The chances seemed slight, but still, a girl could dream.
When Saturday finally came around, I didn’t even want to get out of bed. Rosalyn’s friends had tentatively let me in their group, but they grew even more touchy-feely with every day that passed.
What was it with Texans and invasion of personal space?
It was exhausting keeping my visions under control. I’d thought about ditching my new friends, but there was no mistaking that my family had moved here for me. I owed it to my parents and myself to give it my all. When I hit my breaking point, I’d reassess what my goals were. But for now, I could handle it. I would try to be a normal kid. And normal meant having friends and hanging out with said friends.
Still, a little escapist therapy in the form of a new book would help cleanse my brain of all the unneeded background information I’d gotten over the past few days.
I rolled out of bed at noon, and got ready as quickly as my sleepy body would allow. I threw on a pair of well-worn yoga pants, the first T-shirt I could find, threw my hair up in a messy bun, and headed downstairs. Axel was in the kitchen digging into a bowl of cereal.
“I’m hitting the bookstore. Wanna join?” Bookstores were my kind of place. All those shiny books, lightly touched by only a couple of people. Each one held a different world, a different life to disappear into.
That said, libraries were a total nightmare scenario. Too many hands touched those books and turning pages with gloves on was a bit too cumbersome.
“You want me to go to a bookstore?” Axel narrowed his gaze at me. “Yeah. Not going to happen.”
Axel hadn’t ever read anything cover to cover. I wasn’t sure how he was going to do the whole college thing when I wasn’t there to help him with his homework. I grabbed my purse and dug through it for my keys. “It’s at the mall, dork.”
“In that case, yes.” He put his now empty cereal bowl in the sink. “But I get to drive your car.”
He made a grab for my keys, but I dodged around the center island. “What! No way. Only I get to drive my car.”
“I picked it out, but Dad drove it here. I should at least get a turn before I leave. Deal?” He held out his hand, as if I’d just hand over the keys.
“No deal. I’m not having you imbue the driver’s seat with whatever stuff you’ve got going on in your head. There’s such a thing as TMI between siblings. I’ll go by myself.”
He sighed dramatically. “Fine. You can drive, but I pick the music.”
“Fine.” Now I just had to let my parents know where we were going. “Where are Mom and Dad?”
He shrugged. “Dunno. They were gone when I got up.”
Weird. They were usually around on the weekends when Dad wasn’t working. I headed for the door.
“Wait. You didn’t eat any breakfast.”
“Not hungry.” I usually didn’t get hungry until after I was up for a bit. Today was no exception. I had too much on my mind to be hungry.
The bookstore was attached to the only mall in town. It was a brown blob of a building, with a JCPenny’s and Macy’s on either end. The bookstore branched off the mall on the Macy’s end, and had an entrance from the outside. I left Axel to his search for a new pair of jeans, and pushed open the glass doors to the bookstore.
Fans blasted me with cold air, refreshing after the 110-degree weather outside. The scent of flavored coffee wafted over me. The baristas were hard at work, making yummy caffeinated concoctions. I closed my eyes for a moment, letting the calm seep in. There wasn’t much to this town, but at least I had this bit of zen, and that was nothing to look down upon.
I veered over to the science fiction and fantasy section, and searched for any new epic fantasy releases. I was still looking through titles when I bumped into a body.
That wasn’t like me. I was usually hyper-aware of the people around me. “Excuse me,” I said without looking up. “I didn’t hear you.”
That voice made goosebumps spread over my skin. I spun.
He was taller up close. At least a foot taller than me. But it was his golden eyes that held me captive.
It took me a second to speak. “Hi.”
“Are you okay?” He asked.
It took me a second too long to answer. “I’m sorry. My mind seems to be MIA.”
Then he smiled, his eyes scrunched at the corners and his lips spread to reveal perfect teeth. His black hair was flecked with auburn highlights. And there was something sexy about the way he held himself, standing up straight with his right hip slightly cocked.