“Christine!” Carl came running into the gym with his hand held in the air, waving a small box. His cell phone?
“What’s wrong, Carl?” I dropped the basketball and met him at half-court.
“It’s not what’s wrong.” He shoved the phone in my hand and leaned over, hands on his knees, panting. “It’s what’s right! Eddie passed his parole hearing! He can come home today!”
“Home?” A sinking feeling hit my stomach hard. A war between wanting to be reunited with my childhood sweetheart and wishing I could further explore the budding relationship with my new friend, who somehow felt like way more than just a friend.
“He’s on the phone,” Carl said. “Answer it.”
“Oh!” I put the phone to my ear. “Eddie?”
“Hey, babe, it’s so good to talk to you.” Eddie’s sultry voice melted my resistance. He may as well have been there holding my hand and gazing into my eyes.
“When are you coming home?”
“Today, if I can find a ride.”
“A ride? Where are your parents?”
“They’re both working second shift,” Eddie said. “If I have to wait for them, they won’t be able to pick me up until tomorrow. I can’t stand the thought of sleeping here one more night. Can you come pick me up?”
“I don’t have a car, Eddie.” I could hear the panic in my own voice. “Our only car is the one my parents have at work with them.”
“I could drive you,” Dylan said. I turned around and gaped at him. I’d almost forgotten he was there.
“It’s an hour drive each way.” I shook my head infinitesimally. “I could never ask you to do that.”
“I don’t mind.” Dylan took a step closer and lifted my hand, the one that wasn’t holding the phone where my boyfriend waited, oblivious to my heart racing while looking into Dylan’s hypnotic eyes. He threaded his fingers through mine and squeezed gently.
“That would be so cool,” Carl said. He was practically jumping up and down. “I’m totally coming with you. I get to sit in the front seat this time.”
“Great, then it’s settled,” Dylan said. “When do we leave?”
I turned my attention back to the phone. “When can you leave, Eddie?”
“As soon as you come pick me up.” He sounded excited.
“Okay, well, I guess we’ll leave as soon as we can.” We said our goodbyes and I turned to find Dylan and Carl already near the door with jackets on. I pulled on some warm up sweats, donned my jacket and changed into boots then followed the boys out to Dylan’s car.
The Charger was just as luxurious in the back seat as it was in the front. I should have been enjoying the hot car and the prospect of it taking me to see my hot boyfriend, but I couldn’t get my thoughts, or eyes, off the hot guy in the front seat.
I heard Dylan ask Carl in a low voice, “Who is this Eddie kid we’re springing from jail?”
“He’s our next-door neighbor,” Carl said. “We’ve been best friends since we were kids, even though he’s, like, two years older than me.”
“Well, that’s cool. What did he get in for?”
“Drugs,” Carl answered. “Like, a lot of drugs.”
“Possession with intent to sell?” Dylan asked.
“He said he was keeping it for himself, but that’s what the prosecuting attorney charged him with.”
“But he’s been rehabilitated now, right?” Dylan shrugged. “Everybody deserves a second chance.”
I felt the tear slip down my cheek before I even realized it had fallen from my eyes. A second chance. Yeah, everyone deserves a second chance. I stared out the window wondering how my life was about to change.