Until We Break(5)

By: Jamie Howard

“Sure thing,” she says. Her flip-flops slap against the hot asphalt as she makes her way back to her car. Snagging her phone from inside, she tosses it my way.

I catch it in one hand, and spin it so it’s facing in the right direction. The home screen is a picture of her and the other girl from last night, smiling like idiots. I watch her as I put in a call for a tow. She’s still tense, but not quite the stuck-up bitch I took her for yesterday. Despite her obvious distaste for me last night, I haven’t seen any of that this morning. Or not much anyway.

When I’m done, I toss the phone back to her, and she neatly fields it.

“You need me to wait for the tow with you? Give you a ride back into town?”

I shake my head. “It’s fine, I’ll catch a ride with the tow truck.”

“Suit yourself.” Sliding back behind the wheel, she revs the engine and rolls the car up to me. “Nice seeing you again, Luke.”

“You too, Sloane.”

As her slick little sports car fades into the distance, shimmering in the heat rising off the pavement, I kick myself for not asking her to wait around. I’m way off my game this morning. I blame the hangover. I press two fingers into my forehead and try to stave off the throbbing.

I’m never drinking again.

Chapter 2


“You’re late!” Gran calls out, not even bothering to lift her eyes from the register.

I bustle through the dining room into the kitchen, nearly colliding with Blaire in the process. Reflexively, she readjusts the plates balanced on her arm and bumps back through the door.

“You’re late!” she yells back at me.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m late,” I grumble under my breath. I wouldn’t have been if I’d followed my better instincts and blown right past the disabled Wrangler, but just as I decided to keep right on going, my foot eased off the gas and I slammed on the brakes. I’ve always been a sucker. One day it’s going to get me in trouble.

I’m tying my apron on when the door swings back open and Blaire reappears. Her brown hair is pulled back in a loose ponytail and her green eyes are glittering. “Do you know how many tables I’ve had to juggle by myself while you were moseying your ass in today?”

I roll my eyes at her and give the apron strings a final tug. “I wasn’t moseying. Some guy was stranded on the side of the road, so I stopped to help.”

“Please tell me you’re joking.”

When I just stare at her, she gives me a harder stare back. “You don’t just stop to help random people. The guy could have been an ax murderer or a serial killer.”

I scoff and wave a dismissive hand her way as I turn to roll some silverware. “He wasn’t an ax murderer, he was just a guy whose car broke down and who didn’t have his phone.”

She peeks through the window in the door, surveying the tables. “Convenient.”

I stack the rolled sets of silverware in a pile next to me, glad to see the routine of it is coming back to me quickly. It’s been years since I helped out around Gran’s Diner, but it’s almost like I never left.

“Yes, Blaire, it was very convenient for him that his car broke down and he had no phone. He must have known I’d be driving down that stretch of road and staged the whole thing.”

Her footsteps echo as she walks across the room, and I turn just in time to catch the rag that’s flying at my face. “You’ve got crap on your leg.”

I wipe at the smeared grease stain, scrubbing to get it off until my skin is red.

“Is that grease?”

I laugh. “Actually, yes. I offered to take a peek under the hood of the car.”

The dangerous glint to her eyes dims a fraction. “Seriously? Why?”

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