It’s a simple compliment, but one that affects me way more than I wish it did. I have no idea what to say in response, so I press my pen to the paper and don’t even think when I write.

People in Wyoming don’t really exist, and I can never find the right outfit to wear when I shop for penguins.

I slide the paper back to him and when he laughs out loud, I put my hand over my mouth, covering my smile.

I love that he gets my sense of humor, but hate it at the same time. Every second I spend with him just makes two more seconds I want to spend with him.

He slides the paper back to me.

Mosquitos whisper sweet nothings into my barrel of monkeys that took too long to bring me the pizza I ordered.

TOO LATE : CHAPTER 11 – 20. Thingscouplesdo

I laugh, then clench my stomach. Seeing the word pizza reminds me of just how hungry I am. I was too upset to eat supper last night, so it’s been over twenty-four hours since I’ve eaten anything.

Pizza sounds good.

I lay my pen down but don’t slide the note to him. I’m not sure why I wrote something down that I was actually thinking this time.

“It does,” he says aloud.

I glance up at him and he’s looking at me with a smile that actually hurts. He’s everything I want, and everything I don’t need, and it literally, physically hurts.

“After class,” he whispers. “I’m taking you for pizza.”

It comes out of his mouth so fast, it seems like he knows he shouldn’t be saying it, much less doing it.

But I nod.

Dmmit, I nod.


Carter POV

After class is over, she walks next to me as I lead her toward the parking lot. I can tell by the grip she has on her backpack and the way she keeps looking behind her that she’s about to back out. When she pauses, turning toward me on the pavement, I don’t even give her the chance to speak.

“It’s lunchtime, Sloan. You need to eat. I’m taking you for pizza. Quit trying to make it more than it is, okay?”

Her eyes widen in shock that I knew exactly what she was thinking. She presses her lips together and nods.

“It’s lunch,” she says with a shrug, casually trying to convince herself that this is perfectly okay. “I eat lunch. You eat lunch. What’s the big deal if we eat lunch at the same time? At the same restaurant?”

“Exactly,” I say.

There are smiles on both of our faces, but the fear in our eyes speaks volumes.

We’re crossing a line, and we both know it.



When we reach my car, I naturally start toward her door to open it for her, but change my mind and go straight to the driver’s side, instead. The less I treat her like my date, the less it’ll feel like a date.

I don’t want to make her more nervous about our “casual lunch” than she already is. The truth is, I’m nervous enough for the both of us.

I don’t know what the h’ll I think I’m doing, but whenever I’m around her, all I can think about is how much more I want to be around her.

We both shut our doors and I crank the car, then pull out of the parking lot. Pulling away from the college with her alone in my car feels almost like playing a game of Russian roulette.

My pulse is racing and my mouth runs dry, knowing my being with her is potential career su!cide. Not to mention what would happen if Asa found out.

I wipe him from my mind and look over at her, deciding that if this may very well be my last day on earth, I’m going to focus on her and enjoy the h’ll out of it.

“I have a confession,” she says, looking at me embarrassed.

“What is it?”

She clicks her seatbelt into place and folds her hands in her lap. “I don’t have any money.”

I want to laugh at her confession, but in all honesty, it makes me sad for her. “My treat,” I say, because it would have been, regardless. “But if I wouldn’t have taken you to lunch today, how would you have eaten?”

She shrugs. “I usually don’t eat lunch. Lunch costs money, and money is something I don’t have in abundance right now. I’m saving up for something more important.”

She glances out the window, a clear sign that she doesn’t have intentions of elaborating on what it is she’s saving up for. I don’t push it. But I do push for an answer as to why she doesn’t have money to eat on.

“Why don’t you just ask Asa for money? He’s got it. I bet if he knew you weren’t eating lunch, he’d make sure you had some.”

She shakes her head. “I don’t want his dirty money,” she spits out. “I’d rather starve


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