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Authors: Juliana Stone

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BOOK: Some Kind of Normal
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Chapter Two
Everly

Trevor Lewis bit his bottom lip when he read.

We'd just gone over the basic structure of our government (if I was going to tutor him, we were starting from the bottom up), and I was surprised at how much he already knew. I wasn't expecting that. But then, I'm not exactly sure what it was that I'd expected.

Everyone knew about the accident. That his best friend Nathan had gotten behind the wheel of Trevor's car, either high or drunk (I'd never been clear on which, and for all I know, it could have been both). He'd crashed the car, and Trevor ended up in a coma for months. I guess I just thought he'd be somehow less than what he'd been before. So far, he seemed pretty much the same to me.

I settled into a chair across from him and tried to concentrate on the book I'd brought along, but I found myself peeking over the top of it and looking at his mouth. At the way he worried his bottom lip with his teeth.

It was kind of adorable, something my little brother did, and totally not in keeping with Trevor's bad-boy persona.

His eyebrows were furrowed as he concentrated, and he kept tugging on a piece of hair that hung in his eyes. His plain black T-shirt showed off impressive biceps, and though I couldn't see them, I knew that his faded jeans, so worn out they looked as if they were about to fall apart, hung low on the hips. It was hot but he wore heavy black boots, and I noticed a sheen of sweat on his forehead.

He sure didn't look like someone who'd nearly died in a car accident a year ago. In fact, with the beam of sun coming in through the bank of windows highlighting the dark blue streaks in his hair, he looked more alive than anyone I knew.

But then again, hadn't he always?

Trevor Lewis. The bad boy with the smile of an angel. The kind of boy who got away with most everything because he was a charmer. Had that down to an art form by grade six. In eighth grade he convinced our teacher, Miss Harmon, to let us have our year-end dance out at Baker's Landing. You know, 'cause that was so much cooler than the gym. Everyone was excited at the idea, and Trevor went with it.

He thought that maybe his band should play.

Oh, and maybe his band should, you know, get paid to play.

And he managed to get Miss Harmon on board with that.

When they changed the location, my parents wouldn't allow me to go unless they chaperoned. As if. Who wants to go to their eighth grade dance with their parents watching? Not me. I missed the dance in protest, and of course it was all anyone talked about that summer.

I totally blamed Trevor and decided there and then that he was on my very own personal blacklist. It was easy to do. The guy was confident, cocky even, and usually in the middle of whatever was going on.

And
he always had a girl…or two. I thought of his ex and the guy we'd seen her with earlier, and I wondered about that. I'd heard that she'd dumped him a couple of months after he'd come out of his coma because he wasn't the same guy as he was before the accident.

If it was true, then she was as shallow as I'd always thought.

I snuck a peek at him again. He looked good as new to me.

Not that I'd seen him much over the last year. Because of the accident, he'd missed the entire first semester of school, and when he'd returned, well, we didn't exactly eat at the same lunch table. He hung with Nathan Everets, his buddy Link, and more girls than I'd ever care to wade through.

My eyes fell back to Trevor's mouth, and I thought of a dark closet, the smell of Pine-Sol, and his infectious grin. Trevor Lewis was trouble, and if I let him, he could make trouble for a girl like me. The guy was way out of my league.

So why was I thinking that his mouth was so interesting?

Squirming, I dropped my eyes to my book, but the words were a total blur, so after a few moments, I gave up and glanced at my cell. Only an hour to go until I was supposed to meet my best friend Hailey at the pool. She was a lifeguard, and after her shift we were going to hit Big Burger and then maybe a movie.

I know. Exciting times in Twin Oaks, but when you're stuck out in the middle of nowhere, you pretty much take what you can get.

Trevor's finger tapped along the table, and for the first time I noticed that he had tattoos across his knuckles. They looked like a bunch of nothing to me, but I suppose the weird markings meant something to him.

“Courage.”

Startled, my eyes shot up, and then, bam, my heart took off so fast and hard that for a moment I forgot how to breathe. I felt like I'd just been caught sneaking a cookie from the proverbial jar.

“Excuse me?” I whispered, totally thrown off balance by the way he was looking at me. As if he was trying to figure something out.

Trevor stretched out his fingers and laid his hand on the table. He pointed to the markings. “It's Sanskrit. The one on my other hand means strength.”

“Oh.” Like I knew what Sanskrit was.

“It's Indian or Hindu or something like that.” Trevor shrugged. “Nathan's into that shit, and after I came out of the coma, I had a lot of stuff to deal with.” He studied the markings for a few moments. “Most of it sucked.” He smiled, not a full one but a small glimpse of something pretty nice. I found myself smiling in return.

“We went to New York at Christmas. It was the first time I'd gone anywhere since I'd been out of the hospital, and man, that city blew me away.” He frowned, his eyes intense. “Have you been to New York City?”

I shook my head. God, I hadn't been out of the state.

“It's an amazing place, and I'm jealous as hell that Nathan's there for the summer. I met his girlfriend, Monroe, and the night before Nate and I had to fly back to Louisiana, all three of us got tattoos. We all got the same ones.”

A pause.

“Courage and strength.”

I cleared my throat, because suddenly there was a frog as big as a donut stuck down there. “It's really cool.”

Trevor nodded. “Yeah. I like ink, you know? I like anything that inspires me. Words. Music. Tattoos.” His eyes met mine again, and even though it was as hot as a furnace in the library, I shivered. “You got any?” he asked.

“Any what?”

“Tattoos?”

“Me?” I had to laugh at that. Wow. Before last year that would have been grounds for major punishment. Heck, up until my senior year, I hadn't been allowed to wear lip gloss. Now I wasn't so sure that my mom would even notice, and since I avoided my dad whenever I could…

“No,” I said, shaking my head. “My skin is untouched.”

His eyes widened a bit, and I felt heat creep up my neck. Great. Now I was blushing again.

“Untouched,” he said with that lopsided smile that made my stomach dip. “I like that.”

“You do?”

“Yep. A clean slate. There's something almost poetic about that, you know? Tragic too. How many people get a do-over?”

Trevor reached for my hand, and though my first instinct was to snatch it back, his long fingers enveloped mine before I had the chance. He turned my hand over so that my palm faced up and then traced the little blue lines that ran down my wrist.

I can't lie. It felt weird and good, and my heart took off once more, so fast that I was surprised he couldn't hear it.

“This is…kind of…like ink,” he said, his words a little slow as if he was thinking hard. “But it's alive.”

He glanced up again, and all I could do was nod before my eyes dropped to his hand. Mine was still there, small and pale next to his large palm and tanned skin. I saw the thin blue veins that ran down my wrist, the ones that carried blood from my heart, electrifying my cells and feeding my body.

His thumb rested just beneath my pulse, and I swallowed thickly. Crap, he was going to feel how fast it was, and that would be embarrassing.

“Your fingers are rough.” I blushed harder and thought that there was no way I could sound any more like an idiot. Not even if I was trying.

“Yeah,” he answered. “It's from playing guitar. I practice a lot so my calluses are nice and strong.”

“I used to play piano.”

Wow. Good comeback. I guess it was better than a clarinet or trombone, but really. Dork much?

“I mean, I still do in church and stuff.”

“I know. I saw you play once.”

Surprised, I shook my head. “Where?”

“Church.”

“But you don't come to church.”

“How do you know?”

I was silent for a moment and more than a little confused. “Because I've never seen you there.”

He grinned. “So you miss me then.” His smile got bigger. “You know, when I'm not there.”

“Trevor. I'd have to see you there in the first place to miss you when you're not. And I like I said, I've never seen you in my church.”

“But the only reason you know I'm not there is because you must be looking for me in the first place, right?”

Okay. I couldn't really argue with that logic, even though it made no sense whatsoever. I figured he was trying to mess with me and relaxed.

“I used to practice every day after school.”

“Used to?” he interrupted.

Again he surprised me. He was sharp.

“I don't hang out at the church all that much, and I'm not really home too often either.”

That was an understatement.

“Why?”

“Because my dad's there.”

Okay. I did not just say that to a guy who was practically a stranger.

“Anyway,” I said in a rush, hoping he wouldn't notice my slipup. “I didn't really enjoy piano until I heard some old Elton John songs.”

“Really,” he said with a smile. “He's stellar. Retro, but stellar.”

“Yeah.”

“So what's your favorite?”

He was still holding my hand. It was still hot. And I felt vaguely light-headed.

“Favorite?”

He flashed that smile again. The one that had charmed Miss Harmon back in eighth grade. “Your favorite Elton John song.”

“Oh.” That was an easy one. “Blue Jean.”

He frowned for a moment. “You mean David Bowie?”

“No. Elton John.”

“Got it, ‘Tiny Dancer.'”

“Yes,” I nodded. “That's it, from—”


Almost
Famous
,” he finished for me.

Had he always looked this intense?

“What?” he asked. He smiled again and I thought that on a scale of one to ten, his smile was a total eleven. “You're into the classics. That's cool. Didn't picture that.”

“Really. What exactly did you picture?” Shoot. Did I really want to hear this?

“I don't know. PBS and that Jane Austen?”

Okay. First off, I was impressed that he knew who Jane Austen was, and secondly…
he
knew
who
Jane
Austen
was!

I dropped my eyes, because I was pretty sure that my cheeks were as red as the roses planted just outside the library. Trevor Lewis wasn't anything like what I thought he'd be. He wasn't stupid and he wasn't arrogant. He wasn't slow or weird.

He seemed pretty normal to me.

You know, for a guy with tattoos and blue hair.

Mrs. Henney, the librarian, chose that moment to clear her throat, and it startled me. I snatched my hand from his.

Trevor Lewis made me nervous. I wasn't exactly sure why, and I didn't want to spend a whole lot of time thinking about it. Besides, I had way too much on my mind. I needed to put this into perspective. Trevor was my excuse to be out of the house all summer. A guy I was tutoring. A distraction maybe, but nothing more than that.

“I have to go.” I stood up, nearly knocking over my chair while Trevor reached for his book and laptop.

“I'll drive you home.”

“No.”

He raised his eyebrows. “Did I do something?”

Taking a deep breath, I shoved my free hand into the front pocket of my jean shorts. “I'm meeting Hailey at the pool.”

“Cool.” He closed his laptop. “Let me give you a lift.”

“No really,” I replied. “I want to walk.”

“Not gonna happen.” He was standing now. He nodded toward the door. “Let me drive you to the pool. I don't mind.”

Not
gonna
happen.

The words echoed in my head, but it wasn't Trevor's voice I heard, it was my father's. And they'd been knocking around my brain for three hundred and eighty-three days now. They were three words I was trying to forget. Three words he'd spoken to someone. A someone who wasn't my mom. A someone I was trying to forget.

Something broke inside me. Something hot and heavy and mean. Something that pressed into my chest and made my eyes smart with unshed tears. Great. If I cried in front of Trevor Lewis, I just might die.

“I said that I wanted to walk, Trevor. Do you need me to speak slower? What part of that don't you understand?” As soon as the words left my mouth, I wanted to snatch them back.

For a moment there was nothing but the sound of Mrs. Henney as she shushed us.

Trevor ran his hand over his chin and studied me for a few moments, that slow grin still in place though it had pretty much left his eyes. “Don't worry, Everly. Sorry.
Ever
. I'm having a good day today.” Sarcasm bit into his words. “I understand all of it.” He looked away and muttered. “Every single word.”

His eyes swung back, and I saw anger in their depths, which only made me feel worse than I already did.

“Just so you know, I'm not a moron. I might have been in a coma and all.” His eyes narrowed and he winced as if in pain. “Maybe my words come out a little slow sometimes, but you don't have to talk to me as if I'm some kind of loser. I didn't expect that from you.”

“You don't know me,” I shot back.

BOOK: Some Kind of Normal
11.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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