“Since you’re so talkative, I’ll start the conversation,” he says. “If you want to get rid of those guys then stand here and talk to me, and I’ll stand here and talk to you. You can smile like you know me because it’s tough to make me smile, and it will seem fake. Then I can try to win you a stuffed animal. Won’t be a snake, but it will do. Those losers will catch on we’re friends. Eventually, they’ll keep walking, and then they’ll return to their loser frat house where they’ll play with themselves for the rest of the night because they don’t know how to properly talk to a girl.”
I blink because all thought processes have taken a mini break. Either that or I’m having a stroke.
“Just a smile. Maybe a few mumbled words. Tell me anything. Doesn’t have to be poetic. Just your lips moving in my direction without your current blank expression.”
I blink again, many times, as the sights, sounds and smells of the midway blast back as if someone had pushed the play button on my life. I flash the perfectly practiced public smile I’ve used too many other times in my life.
“I don’t know how to get them to leave me alone.” I pause, then the bitterness leaks out as well as a grim grin. “At least not without a baseball and a well-placed throw. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to continue their genetics.”
The right side of his mouth tips up, and my eyes narrow on him. “I thought you didn’t smile easily.”
“I have a twisted sense of humor, and I didn’t think a girl like you could make me laugh. You’ve done it twice now. That’s a record for the past year.”
I bristle, still on the dangerous edge of anger. “A girl like me?”
“Yeah, one that’s out of my league. Listen, if you want to get out of this situation without it escalating, let me know. Otherwise, I’ll take a step back, and you can do whatever you need. I’m all about helping, but I’m not looking to get into a fight. Your call on how this goes down, but if it’s violence, you’re on your own.”
He says he doesn’t want to partake in violence, but there’s an essence about him that says he could drop anyone at any time and do it without breaking a sweat.
He’s looking at me, I’m looking at him, and the flutter in my chest returns. “Thank you for the offer, but I can take care of myself.”
Sure can. Just need that ball, a good throw, and then my mother will be seriously ticked off. I’m tired of people like those guys, and I’m also tired of pretending to be perfect. I rub my eyes at the exhaustion caused by the combination of both.
“Don’t doubt you can,” he says, “but you really think they’re going to back off if you give them a reaction? And if you keep walking, do you think they’re going to leave you alone? They aren’t some third grade bully who’ll run when you sock him in the nose, and ignoring them isn’t working either. Guys like them get high off your anger, get off on your fear. Trust me on this one. I’ve spent almost a year in the presence of some real assholes.”
“Why are you helping me?”
He lifts one shoulder like he doesn’t know the answer or doesn’t care he has an answer, yet he answers anyway, “I have a younger sister. You met her earlier.”
It’s not an explanation, but it is, and he inclines his head to the game. I move to stand in front of it, and as I go to retrieve money from my pocket, he shakes his head, and pulls out his wallet. “It’s on me.”
The anger that had been boiling in me retreats because him paying for this game feels old-school James Dean. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, but don’t expect much from me. Odds are I’m going to lose.”
ABOUT THE BOOK:
"Doesn't matter who did it. Not anymore. I did the time. It's over."
When Drix was convicted of a crime--one he didn't commit--he thought his life was over. But opportunity came with the Second Chance Program, the governor's newest pet project to get delinquents off the streets, rehabilitated and back into society. Drix knows this is his chance to get his life back on track, even if it means being paraded in front of reporters for a while.
Elle knows she lives a life of privilege. As the governor's daughter, she can open doors with her name alone. But the expectations and pressure to be someone she isn't may be too much to handle. She wants to follow her own path, whatever that means.
When Drix and Elle meet, their connection is immediate, but so are their problems. Drix is not the type of boy Elle's parents have in mind for her, and Elle is not the kind of girl who can understand Drix's messy life.
But sometimes love can breach all barriers.
Fighting against a society that can't imagine them together, Drix and Elle must push themselves--Drix to confront the truth of the robbery, and Elle to assert her independence--and each other to finally get what they deserve.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katie was a teenager during the age of grunge and boy bands and remembers those years as the best and worst of her life. She is a lover of music, happy endings, reality television, and is a secret University of Kentucky basketball fan. She is the author of the Pushing the Limits and Thunder Road series. Say You’ll Remember Me will be released in 2018. Katie loves to hear from her readers.