Raven’s curiosity got the better of him.
He let go of Missy’s hand and opened the plastic book bag.
He took the books out one at a time.
“‘Hound of the Baskervilles’. ‘The Vampires Of Madison County’.’ How To Kiss A Girl In Fifteen Days’.” He frowned at that last one. “What?”
Raven opened the book and read the plot summary out loud, “Devin Lloyd is the coolest dude in school and he knows it. The whole school knows it. There is a whole cult built around his coolness. He has two rival fan clubs full of rabid fan girls who would do anything for him. This is his life and he is happy with it. Enter Jamboree Morgan. Jamboree is the new girl in town and she has no time for his popularity or anything else about him. As far as she’s concerned, Devin Lloyd can go jump into the Bermuda Triangle. She avoids him. She snaps and snarks at him. She actually takes the time out of her busy school schedule to vomit on him. And he can’t help himself. He is irrevocably attracted to her. He vows to get her attention and get her to kiss him in just fifteen days.”
He frowned and read it over again.
He looked at the front cover as if that would help clarify the plotline.
Iridescent pink and red lipsticked kiss prints decorated both sides of the glossy white cover. The title sat centered between the kiss prints on the front.
It was altogether very shiny and sparkly and unhelpful.
He could only assume that Sarah had picked it up in a “Ooo! Shiny!” grab fest.
“It is far from my normal reading fare. Yet, perhaps it is a story you would enjoy. Perhaps I am wrong.” He turned to the first page and read the first line,”Devin Lloyd whipped off his shirt in front of the whole crowd and flexed his pecs. All of the girls screamed with joy. The token gay guys hooted and hollered.”
Raven choked out a surprised laugh. “Ah. Yes, you would certainly enjoy this story. I daresay you would mentally cast me as Devin.”
He set the book on the plastic bag and returned to her side.
Her hands had gone still again.
Her expression stayed calm.
“Missy. What I would give to be back home with you. To sit beside you on the kitchen table and read this book with you. I want to hear what you truly think of it. I want to see your reaction. I want to hear your voice. I want…”
He fingered her curly brown hair.
“I want to be with you, to have you beside me. That is all that I want. Missy, you are all that I want.” He leaned forward and gently kissed her forehead. “I am here.” he whispered. You are not alone, Missy. I am here.
Sarah unhugged her book and admired its embossed leather cover. She traced her fingers over the letters.
She hugged it again and remembered…