I wasn’t going to rearrange my mornings to avoid Logan any longer. I’d never been that girl who got all frazzled around a hot guy and I sure as hell wasn’t going to start now. He’d had his fun but now it was time for him to meet the real Cassandra.
Leaving my iPod on the foyer table, I took off enjoying the sounds nature had to greet me with. The morning air was fresh and cool with a hint of moisture. Perfect. I inhaled a deep breath as I jogged down my usual direction.
Within minutes, I heard rather than saw someone behind me. I didn’t turn back. I knew who it was and I wondered if he would mention the previous night.
Half an hour later and not a word out of Logan, I noticed one of the large potholes I regularly ran around to avoid. This morning I was feeling exhilarated and relaxed, so instead of jogging to the side of it, I did my infamous ballerina leap from the other morning. This time however, I followed it up with a dramatic twirl. I smiled, and it felt good.
I didn’t bother to look back during my twirl so I wasn’t sure if he was laughing at me or not. He didn’t make a sound and I didn’t care either way.
I was back to my old self.
The city limits sign came into sight, and as I was about to cross the road to turn back, I heard his smooth voice.
“You seem to be enjoying your morning.” His tone was soft and lighthearted.
I could feel his arm brush mine as he came up beside me. He was waiting for the nerve- wracked Cassandra to show.
Against the pull of my body enjoying the sensation of his touch so close to me, I was able to keep my head.
I looked to my right, staring him straight in the face, the bright sun behind him blocking his expression.
“Yes, I am,” I replied, smiling.
I heard him chuckling as I raced forward, leaving him in my dust.
To my surprise and enjoyment, he never said another word although I could feel he was still close behind me. He gave me the peace I treasured on my morning jogs.
Slowing as I approached my driveway, I smiled.
“Have a good day, sweetheart,” he called out as I walked up my driveway. My body was surging with electricity and I was pumped to get my day started.
“Tell Oliver I said hi,” I called back and disappeared inside my house.
Showered and in my car by noon I stopped by the small grocery store on the edge of town. With school starting in two weeks, I needed to pick up a few last minutes supplies.
My cart was filled with cheap notepads, pencils, and red pens by the time I made my way down the tissue aisle.
“Hey, I tried calling you about twenty times this morning,” Hilary said, stepping beside me while I stocked up on Kleenex. “Are you all right?”
I turned and smiled. “Yeah, sorry I turned my phone off. Just needed a day to myself but I’m good, promise.”
She looked at me intently, studying my expression as if trying to decide if she should push the subject. I cocked an eyebrow and made a face. She relaxed and turned her focus to the tissues in front of us in the narrow aisle.
“So, Caleb called me last night,” she said, as if it were the most natural thing and not something she’d dreamed of half her life.
“I didn’t know you gave him your number.”
“I didn’t.” Her nonchalant expression began to falter, a smile tugging at her lips. “He said he has ways to find out things worth knowing.”
“How cocky of him.” I laughed. My cart was full so I began walking toward the register. “So what did he want? To prove his stealthy abilities at getting a phone number in a town of less than a thousand people?”
She rolled her eyes. “He’s having a thing at Haven this Saturday and wants me to come and bring you along.”
“What kind of thing? He just had his opening. I didn’t realize Caleb was going to be livening up the town with parties every weekend.”
“It’s not a party, it’s an…event.” Her tone was soft and slightly embarrassed. What was she not telling me?
“What kind of event, Hilary?” She now had my full attention.
“Will you promise to come with me?”
“Not until you tell me what it is.”
“Please, Caleb wants me to help out and inviting all my single friends will really help him.”
I frowned, so much for Caleb’s interest in her. Yet she didn’t seem to notice.
“Hilary—” I warned.
“Promise you’ll come with me and I’ll owe you one, please.” She gave her best sappy face that left it impossible to deny her. Damn her!
“Ugh. Fine, I’ll go,” I groaned. “But I’ll collect this debt when you least expect it.”
Hilary nodded with an excited grin.
I began unloading my cart on the conveyor belt of the register and smiled over at Miranda, the cashier. Having no idea what I’d just agreed to I braced myself for the worst.
“Don’t freak out—” Hilary said slowly, “it’s speed dating.”
“What!” I yelled louder than I intended. “Speed dating! No, not happening.” That was far worse than I could have imagined.
“Come on, you can’t back out now, you promised.” Hilary smiled as she scurried away and quickly retreated toward the front doors. “I’ll see you Saturday at eight. I’ll meet you there. And wear a dress!”
I bit my tongue and turned back to Miranda. She was our age and single—and the look on my face must have been enough for her to read my mind.
“I’m not going.” Miranda laughed. “I actually just started seeing someone.”
I shook my head and sighed.
“That will be sixty-eight dollars and thirty-two cents,” she said. I handed her my debit card.
“Have a good day, Cassandra, and good luck.” Miranda grinned as I walked out.
“Tell me again why I let you drag me to this?” I pouted. Hilary and I stopped in front of the small table set up with pens and name tags. If only I had not been born and raised in this town I could get away with writing a phony name. Hmm. Alexandria had a nice ring to it.
I grinned, lost in thoughts of the possible personas I could conjure up for tonight’s grueling event, when Hilary snatched away the sticker in my hand and filled in my rightful name. She was no fun tonight.
“Oww,” I said, exaggerating it for full effect when she slapped the sticker roughly on my upper abs. The low cut of my dress left no other place.
Pulling in my brows, I shot her a look of annoyance. “You know, I have better things to do than spend my Saturday night with a bunch of pathetic guys looking for a frivolous one-night stand, right?”
“Don’t be so negative.” Hilary leaned down to fill in her name on the tag. “I’m sure most of the guys here tonight are looking for a deep, emotional relationship.”
I could hear the snicker caught in her throat and couldn’t help but smile. Maybe she would be fun tonight after all. Standing up straight, she looked down at her strapless turquoise dress that was accentuated by her full breasts and frowned. Nowhere to really place the sticker.
“I don’t see the point in name tags. We’re not children. If you’re old enough to go on a date you should be old enough to not need a name tag,” I scoffed. My short, white, summer dress looked silly sporting the bright-red sticker. It took long enough to convince myself to put on the damn thing in the first place for an evening like this, and now it was marred with a hideous tag.