Spirit Page 28

Bueller . . . Bueller . . . Bueller.

He’d never responded.

He should have just deleted it, but his message from this morning, the one about his grandfather, sat there right above it.

He’d been such an idiot. Why had he told her about it? God, he’d been ready to completely unravel in front of her, and then she’d started texting some other guy.

The phone suddenly vibrated in his hand, and he almost dropped it.

I am going to stare at you until you respond. O_O

It made him smile.

He told himself to knock it off.

His phone vibrated again.


And again.


Hunter slid his thumb across the keys.

Careful. Your eyes will dry out.

As always, her response appeared almost instantly.

I knew the staring would get you.

He didn’t know what to say to that. A pause, and then another message appeared.

What are you still doing up?

I couldn’t sleep while someone was staring at me.

Why did you throw me out of your car this morning?

Hunter had no idea how to respond. I didn’t want to get played seemed like the wrong thing to say.

He already felt like a loser for almost breaking down in front of her. No sense adding more weight to that.

Then again, she’d lost her mother. Maybe he’d misread this morning entirely.

Nick’s breathing changed, and he shifted on the bed, running a hand across his face before looking down at Hunter. “What are you doing?” He glanced at the clock on his nightstand. “It’s two a.m.”

“Sorry. Can’t sleep.” Hunter clicked the phone off and shoved it under the blanket.

“Who are you texting?”


A pause. A long one.

A weighted one.

Then Nick’s voice gained an edge as he said, “Is this some elaborate trick to get in our house? Are you reporting back to Bill about us—”

“I’m not.” Hunter paused. “It’s just a girl.”

“Prove it.”

Hunter’s pride wanted him to refuse—but he really couldn’t blame Nick for not trusting him. He pulled the phone out from under the blanket, unlocked the screen until Kate’s texts were visible, and tossed it.

Nick took a quick glance, then tossed it back. The edge was gone from his voice. “Kate? The one who just transferred?”

Hunter looked up in surprise—though her name was clearly at the top of the screen. “How did you know?

“She asked me about you today.”

“She did?” That statement was full of highs and lows. She’d asked about him—but she’d asked Nick. Had she sat with Nick again?

He didn’t care. He didn’t.

Yeah, he did.

God, he needed to stop being such an idiot.

But he couldn’t stop thinking about her. “What’d she say?”

“She asked if I knew why you were ditching school.”

His heart felt like it was beating faster. No, it felt like it wanted a break from being inside his rib cage. His phone was a warm weight in his hand, and he wanted to pull it out from under the blanket to see if she’d written again. “And what did you say?”

“Ah . . . I said no.”


Hunter rolled back to look at the ceiling.

Nick said, “Do you know her?”

Hunter shook his head.


Yes. Immensely. “Not really.” Hunter looked down at Casper, who was blowing puffs of warm breath against his arm. “She seemed into you, though.”

Nick snorted. “Yeah, in a way that made Quinn want to pull her hair out by the roots. I think she’s just friendly.” He paused. “You don’t have to worry about me being interested.”

Well, at least that was something. “You and Quinn getting serious?”

“Something like that.”

“I think Kate’s a player.”


Hunter pushed the hair back from his face and sighed. “She climbed in my car this morning, but then started texting some other guy.”

“Quinn saw her get into a truck with someone yesterday.”

Well, there went that. Hunter let go of his phone. It fell off the air mattress and onto the carpet.

Nick continued, “To hear Quinn tell it, he was—well, I’m not going to repeat her phrase, but let’s just say Kate seemed into him.”

Hunter didn’t say anything.

His subconscious was screaming at him. DUDE. You are an IDIOT.

She was probably laughing about him with this other guy.

The room was so silent that Hunter was sure Nick had fallen back to sleep. Tension still had him by the throat, but he started to doze himself.

Nick’s voice caught him. “Hey.” His voice was rough with almost sleep. “I didn’t mean to see the text about what happened with your grandfather. You didn’t say that earlier.”

Now Hunter was fully awake again. “It’s fine.”

“I won’t tell—”

“I said it’s fine,” he snapped. This whole situation was just one big reminder of all his failures. Besides, Hunter didn’t want to think about his home stuff, not now, in the dark, lying on the floor of someone else’s room.

Then he realized that he probably shouldn’t be a total shit in someone else’s room, either.

“Sorry,” he said. “Long day. I really . . . I just don’t want to talk about it.”

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