Without You: Book 1 of the Changing Hearts Series (7 page)

BOOK: Without You: Book 1 of the Changing Hearts Series
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She remembered the tacos and torta they had last time. “Let’s go where we went last time.”

“Yes. I kinda wanted that too.” They smiled and headed towards the mini mart/restaurant.

A few minutes later, they were there.
 

They went inside, ordered, and sat down. This time, though, Lucas slid in beside her in the booth. It was cold in there. Ariana’s arms were covered in little bumps from the cold, and she shivered. She rubbed her arms.
 

“Here,” Lucas took off his jacket and put it over her shoulders. It was toasty inside from Lucas’s body heat. She sighed and hugged it closer.

“Thanks. Aren’t you cold, though?”
 

“Nah,” Lucas replied. He began playing with a straw wrapper. Ariana took a sip of her drink.

“Do you work tomorrow?” she asked, looking at him.

“Yeah. The whole day.”
 

“That stinks.”

“Yeah. But it’s better than being at home with nothing to do. And I get paid tomorrow.”

“That’s true. So what other classes are you taking?”

“Statistics,” he replied.

“I’m in statistics. Do you have Warner?” She looked at him.

He nodded. “First period.”

“I have him last.”

“I also have chemistry,” he said.

“Taking that next semester,” she said.

“And Spanish. And Art III.”

“So you like to draw and stuff?” she asked.

“Yeah. Anything really. Painting. Clay. I’ve been taking art since eighth grade. I don’t do it in my spare time anymore because I work all the time, but I do it in school.”

“That’s so cool.”

They saw their food land on the counter a few feet away, and Lucas sprang up to go get it. Ariana got up too, to get salsa and lime slices. And some extra napkins.
 

They sat down again.

“Oh my God, this looks so good.” Lucas grabbed a taco and took a huge bite.

Ariana laughed. She had her torta in her hand, and she took a big bite too. “Mm.”

They finished chewing and drank from their drinks.

She caught Lucas glancing at her cheesy torta. “Want some?”

He shook his head but glanced at it again.
 

“Come on.” She turned it around to the unbitten side and put it up to his mouth. He smiled and took a bite. She loved this. He grabbed one of his tacos and gave her a bite.

She put a thumbs up. They had been a few inches apart in the booth, but now, after trying each other’s food, their bodies were touching. They stayed like that the rest of dinner.
 

After their last bites and swigs of soda, they threw away their trash and headed out.
 

“That was amazing,” Ariana said as Lucas opened her door.

“Shhyeah.” She couldn’t stop looking at his smile. It was radiant.

He drove them back to her car at the movies. She pointed to where she had parked it, and he parked in the space right beside it. She couldn’t believe the night was already over. She had forgotten all about Jimmy and Mayra. She didn’t even care what they were up to anymore if she could just keep spending the night with Lucas. But it was already really late, and she had to be home soon.

Lucas came around to open her door. She got out, not knowing what to do. How would they say bye? It was like before the movie all over again, except they felt more comfortable with each other. Still friends, but maybe more.

Maybe.

Lucas shut the door and smiled at her. She smiled back.
 

“Did you have fun?” he asked. He leaned against his car, and she did the same.
 

“Lots,” she said quietly. “Thanks for the movie. And the food. Seriously, I’m gonna pay next time.”
 

“It was nothing.” He moved so he was in front of her, and there was only a small space between them. She moved so she wasn’t leaning on the car anymore.

He put his arms around her and took a step closer. Ariana stood on tip toes, and then she was completely enveloped by him. She inhaled and closed her eyes. The side of Lucas’s face was touching hers. She felt his ear on hers. He had one arm around the small of her back and the other on her shoulders. He squeezed her a little, and she did the same. Just as she was sure it would never end, he pulled back, holding her hands for a few seconds.
 

“I had a great time with you.”

She nodded and looked up at him. “Me too.”
 

“I’ll see you in school Monday?”

“Yeah.” They turned towards her car, and she fumbled to unlock it.
 

“Drive safe.”
 

She got in and he closed the door for her. He stepped back and leaned back on his car again.
 

Ariana tried to remember how to pull out of a parking space and simply drive. Her head was still buzzing from Lucas’s hug, but she managed to get out of the parking lot without hitting anything.
 

Then her mind turned to Jimmy and Mayra.

chapter six

Ariana went into Mayra’s house without knocking, without thinking. The lights were off except for the bathroom, and the door was halfway closed. The television was on, but the movie was long over because the main menu of the DVD was on the screen. They had been watching some chick flick, apparently.

She saw them on the couch, covered with a fuzzy blanket. She walked over and noticed they had clothes on. She exhaled in relief, her hand on her chest. Her keys jingled in her hand as she pushed her hair out of her face. Mayra was leaning on Jimmy’s shoulder, and Jimmy’s head was on top of Mayra’s. They looked so peaceful she almost didn’t want to wake them, but it was past time for her and Jimmy to get home.
 

She nudged them both. “Guys.” She nudged a little harder. “Hello, I’m back.”

Jimmy opened his eyes and looked around and down at Mayra, who was also waking up.

“I know you lovebirds must have had a nice time and all, but we were supposed to be home like twenty minutes ago, Jimmy.”

He sat up and grabbed his phone from the coffee table. “Crap. It’s almost eleven thirty?”

“Uh, yeah. I’ve only been gone like four hours.”

“Shit.” Jimmy said as he stretched his arms into the air and stood on his tip toes.
 

“What were you guys up to?” She stared at Mayra, who was in a tank top and some tiny shorts. She was rubbing her eyes.

“Just watched a movie and ordered in.” The leftovers and trash were still on the coffee table.

“Is that all you guys did?” she asked as Jimmy began cleaning up.

Jimmy just winked and said, “We don’t kiss and tell. Sorry.” He messed up her hair with his free hand on his way to the kitchen. She barely reached his shoulders now, he had grown so tall.
 

“Bleh.”
 

Mayra came over and gave her a hug.
 

“You guys good then?” Ariana asked.
 

“We’re still technically friends. We want to take things slow,” she said. “How was your date?”

Ariana rolled her eyes and sat down on the couch. “It was not a date. It was a…celebration.”

“Okay. How’d your celebration go?” Mayra and Jimmy joined her on the couch.

“Yeah, who’s the dude?” Jimmy asked.

“Funny how you actually care about that now that your date is over, huh?” She reached over and playfully punched him on the shoulder.

“His name is Lucas, and he’s in our Spanish class. He’s a senior. So where’d you guys go?” Mayra looked at her.

“We saw that new racing movie, and then we went to eat tacos and tortas. Really good.”

“The movie or the tortas?” Jimmy asked. She noticed how his hand was around Mayra’s waist, but she looked away before he noticed she had noticed.

“Both. He’s really nice.”

“Nicer than Carlos?” Jimmy asked.

She flinched a little at the sound of his name. “He’s nothing like him.”
 

“Good.” Jimmy squeezed her shoulder, and they all got up and said good night to Mayra. Ariana walked to the car first and turned it on. Jimmy followed a minute or two later.

He got into the car and closed the door.
 

“So you guys had a good time, huh?” Jimmy said.

“Yeah. We did. We’re just friends, but I don’t know. Could be something more eventually.”

“Do you like him?” he asked as she pulled out of the driveway and onto the street.

“I don’t know. But for now I’m okay just like this.”

He nodded.
 

“What about you and Mayra?”

“Just friends too. For now. Maybe we’ll take the next step later on.”

“That’s good. If I’ve learned anything in high school, it’s that you can’t rush things.”

“Tell me about it.”

“What do you know about relationships? I thought you’d never had a girlfriend?”

“Not really. Not real girlfriends. I’ve kissed girls and stuff—”

“And stuff?” She stared at him, trying not to laugh as she parked the car behind her dad’s truck.

“But I’ve never had a real girlfriend. I’ve just always liked Mayra. And look how long it’s taken for us to realize we might be right for each other. I’m sure not about to mess that up because I want to get laid or something.”

They got out of the car.

“Ew,” she said.
 

Jimmy put his arm around her shoulder, and they went inside.

###

Ariana wandered into the book section of the grocery store and picked up a book with pretty girl on the cover. She flipped it over and began reading the back.

“Boo,” someone whispered in her ear. She jumped and turned around. She knew it wasn’t Jimmy. It had been a different but familiar voice.

Lucas.

“What are you doing here?” Her heart was still racing, but she found herself smiling back at him. For a split second, she’d thought Carlos had somehow found her.
 

“Um, I have to buy groceries too, you know.”

“Sorry. I meant hi.” She put the book back on the shelf.

“You gonna get that?” He nodded at the book.

“Eh. Probably not.” She looked back at him. He looked nice, as usual, with fitted jeans and a semi-tight shirt. She was in a t-shirt and sweats with a ponytail. Curse destiny making them bump into each other now. “So you’re grocery shopping?”

“My mom is. I’m looking for my little sisters because we’re about to go get in line to pay.”

“Well, I think you’re in the wrong section. If I were a kid, I’d probably be in the toy section.”

They began walking down the aisle.

Lucas laughed. “I was just on my way there, actually, when I saw you.”

The store was packed, and they moved out of the way of shopping carts pushed along by parents and grandparents.

“Didn’t work today?” She glanced at him.
 

“I go in a bit later,” he replied.

She nodded.
 

“I had fun the other night. We should do it again.” He stammered a bit. “Mayra and your brother can come too.” They looked at each other. “What I meant was that, you know…”

“I’d love to go.” She blinked, not believing Lucas was pretty much asking her out at the grocery store while she was in sweats.
 

“Really?” His smile returned.

“Yeah. I had a great time. And I can’t stop thinking about those tacos,” she replied.

He smiled.

“One rule, though,” Ariana said. They were at the toy section now.

“What is it?” His eyes were glued on hers.
 

She tried to contain her smile. She could just hear Lucas’s thoughts of panic from the look on his face.

“I pay for my stuff this time.” She nudged him and finally smiled.

“Oh, I don’t know if I’ll be able to follow that rule,” he said, looking ahead.

“Well, if you want to go out with me again,” she loved the way that sounded but stammered herself, “then you’ll have to follow it.”

“I’ll think about it,” he said.
 

They kept walking and looking down the aisles for Lucas’s siblings. When they got to the end, they saw two girls playing with some bicycles.
 

“That’s them. Amy, Jessica! Let’s go.” He motioned to them, but they just ran away. Lucas sighed and turned to her. “I have to go.”

“See you later.” She was about to walk away when Lucas pulled her into a hug. She hugged him back and smiled as they pulled back.
 

“Bye,” he said.

“Bye.” And she saw Lucas run off after some giggling voices around the corner.

Someone picked her up from behind, and she screamed.

“Jimmy!” He put her down.
 

“So that’s Lucas, huh?” He put his arm around her, and they began walking back towards the grocery section of the store.

“Yes. Stalker.”

“I just happened to be walking by…” he said, shrugging but smiling.

Lucas walked by a few aisles down, holding his sisters’ hands in his. He turned and looked at Ariana one more time, smiling.
 

She smiled back, thinking he must be such a great big brother.

“He’s cute,” Jimmy said, and Ariana just stared.

“I mean, if I were a girl, I guess I’d think he was cute.”

Ariana just laughed. “Okay…”

They walked back to the grocery section of the store.

“He seems like a nice guy. When do I get to meet him?” Jimmy went on.

“Um, how about never? We’re just friends,” Ariana said.

“For now. I can tell he likes you, though.”

“You didn’t even talk to him.” She laughed.

“I can tell with these things. He likes you. You like him.” Jimmy’s voice sounded like a xylophone.

Ariana just pursed her lips.
 

“I get a good vibe from him. And I’ve heard good things too. You have my permission to fall in love with this guy.”

Of course Jimmy had been investigating along with Mayra.

“Thanks? Although like I said, we’re just friends.”

She thought about that. Were they just friends? She knew Lucas was a busy guy with a lot of responsibilities, but she couldn’t stop thinking about him. And maybe he felt the same way.

BOOK: Without You: Book 1 of the Changing Hearts Series
8.59Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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