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“Maybe one day.” I force a stiff smile, feeling like an asshole for lying. The truth is, I’ll never go over to Jax’s house. He lives with his sister and nephew and going there means meeting his family. And meeting his family feels way too personal for friends who mess around on the weekends.
Jax knows me too well and sighs, reading through my bullshit. “So, do you work tonight?” he asks as he pulls up to the order menu.
“Not until Wednesday.” I lean over the console to scan the list of beverages. This close to him, I catch a whiff of his cologne and a hint of cigarette smoke. “I thought you quit smoking.”
“I did, but I messed up this morning.”
He shrugs. “Just one of those days.”
I’m about to press for more, worried something might be wrong, but he speaks first.
“I don’t know why you look at the menu,” he teases. “You always get the same thing.”
“Hey, maybe I’m planning on mixing it up,” I retort, swatting his arm. “Perhaps I’ve decided to become adventurous today and live life on the wild side.”
He glances at me as the lady through the intercom asks what she can get him. We’re so close our lips almost brush, but he doesn’t lean away. He elevates his brows, challenging me. “Alright, Miss Adventurous, what’ll you have?”
I think about kissing him, planting a big, wet kiss right on his mouth. Three years ago I would have. Three years ago I was Miss Adventurous.
But not anymore. I’ve become Miss Routine.
I end up ordering a Vanilla Cappuccino with an extra shot, just like I always do. When I lean back in my seat, Jax looks mildly disappointed, but doesn’t comment. Instead, he traces a finger down the brim of my nose.
“So, what’s on the agenda for this weekend?”
“Well, I can only go out for about two hours,” I tell him as he pulls up to the window. “I have work and stuff.”
He mulls something over as he hands the cashier a ten. “What other stuff?”
“Just stuff.” Mom stuff, like doctor appointments and making sure she’s taken care of.
“Could you maybe get some time off from work? I want to spend a little more time with you this weekend.”
“More time to do what? I mean we only need like two hours for us to,” I gesture between the two of us and shimmy my hips, “make bow-chicka-bow-wow.”
He chuckles under his breath. “You know, the really amusing thing is that you make the joke and make yourself blush.” He grazes his finger along the corner of my eye, causing me to shiver. “But I don’t just want to make bow-chicka-bow-wow this weekend.”
My brows knit. “What else would we do?” School’s out, so studying isn’t an option. Back in the day when we were just friends, we used to go to movies and dinner but now I worry it’d end up being a date.
“I was thinking we could take a road trip,” he mutters then coughs into his hand.
“What?” I figure I heard him wrong. I had to have heard him wrong.
He clears his throat. “I want you to take a road trip with me.”
“Well, after your last class gets out today.” He reaches out the window, takes the coffees from the cashier, and then he hands me the cup marked cappuccino.
“Jax, I can’t do that.” I swallow a drink of the coffee but instantly regret it as the steamy liquid scalds my tongue.
“You can’t say no yet.” He places his coffee into the cup holder. “Not when you haven’t heard where we’re going and why.”
“I don’t need to hear why. I can’t go.”
“Work…” I start to list things off, but realize, with school ending, the only other responsibility I have is my mother. And while it’s a huge responsibility, Jax doesn’t know about it.
“You have a ton of vacation time, right?” He shoves the shifter into first gear and drives forward.
“I’m saving that up for a family vacation,” I lie, feeling like a class A jerk. But telling Jax about my mother means letting him enter the madness of my world.
“To scatter your father’s ashes with your mom? In the Teton’s, right?” When I nod, a faint smile touches his lips. “Well, what if I said, during our road trip, we’d be right by the Tetons?”
I scrunch up my nose. Crap. Why did I ever give him that information about my father?
“Your mother could even come too if she wants,” he says, though he sounds unenthusiastic about the idea.
“Why are you even going on a road trip right now?” I ask as I put the coffee between my legs and flip down the visor to block out the blinding sunlight.
His jaw tightens as he merges the car onto the road. “It’s my mom.”
“I thought you said she was okay?”
“No, I said everything was okay, meaning I have a plan.”
“You omitted the truth.” I rummage around in my bag for my sunglasses.
“I did it for a reason.” The gears grind as he shifts into second gear.
“What reason?” I find my sunglasses and slip them on.
“Because I needed time to come up with a plan to convince you to come with me.”