Page 31

I lie back against my pillows and fire off a couple of messages to Heather. Then I check Snapchat and Instagram and even play a couple of rounds of Pac-Man—all while telling myself that I’m absolutely, positively not waiting for Jaxon to text again.

But eventually my stomach starts growling, and I toss my phone aside. A girl can’t live on peanut butter alone, even if right now I’m hungry enough to give it a try.

I start to hobble toward the fridge but get distracted halfway there by a knock on my door. For a second, just a second, I wonder if it might be Jaxon. Then common sense kicks in. It’s probably Uncle Finn coming to check on me and my bum ankle.

Except when I answer the door, it’s not Uncle Finn. And it’s not Jaxon, either. Instead, it’s a woman carrying a heavily loaded food tray.

“Grace?” she asks as I step aside to let her in.

“Yes.” I smile at her. “Thank you so much. I’m starving.”

“Anytime.” She grins back. “Where do you want me to put it?”

“I can take it.” I reach for the tray, but she shoots me a look that says to give her a break. “Um, the bed is fine, I guess.” I gesture toward my side of the room.

She crosses to my bed and puts the tray down toward the foot of it. Then asks, “Is there anything else I can get you?”

I have no idea, considering the food is under two of those silver dome things to keep it warm. But since I’m hungry enough to eat almost anything—and I’m not in the habit of having anyone wait on me—I answer, “No, this is perfect. Thank you.”

Trust Macy to think of me even when she’s in class. My cousin is a goddess.

Except, as I settle back onto the bed, I realize there’s a small black envelope on the tray. One that has my name written on the front in a masculine scrawl that definitely isn’t Macy’s.

Uncle Finn, I tell myself, even as my heart beats triple time.

Because it can’t be Jaxon, I figure as I reach for the envelope with trembling fingers.

Can’t be Jaxon, I think again as I slide out the simple black card.

Definitely can’t be Jaxon, I tell myself one more time as I open up the card and search for a signature.

Except…except it is from Jaxon, and my heart is actually threatening to burst out of my chest.

I don’t know what you like yet, but I figured you were hungry. Stay off that ankle.


Oh my God.


Oh. My. God.

I mean, it’s not the most romantic note in the world, but that doesn’t even matter. Because Jaxon sent me breakfast. That’s why he didn’t text me back. He was busy doing this.

I grab my phone and fire off a quick text to him.

Me: Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!! You really are a lifesaver

He doesn’t answer right away, so I start poking around the tray, seeing what he had the cafeteria bring me. The answer is everything.

There’s a cup of coffee and another one of tea. A bottle of sparkling water and a glass of orange juice. There’s even an ice pack for my ankle.

I lift up the domes to find one plate loaded with eggs and sausage and a giant cinnamon roll that smells amazing. The other has a Belgian waffle on it, topped with strawberry compote and what looks to be freshly whipped cream…in the middle of Alaska. In November.

I’m so touched, I think I might cry. Or I would if I wasn’t so hungry.

Still, there’s no way I can eat all this, and I should feel bad about wasting the food. But right now, I’m too busy smiling to worry about anything else.

My stomach growls again, louder this time, and I dig in, starting with the waffle. Because whipped cream plus syrup plus strawberries equals nirvana.

I’m halfway through the whipped cream covered deliciousness when my phone finally dings again—and I nearly upend the whole tray trying to get to it.

Jaxon: Sorry, taking a test

Jaxon: Waffles or eggs?

Me: Waffles all the way

Jaxon: I figured

Jaxon: Use the ice pack

Me: Wow. Bossy much?

Me: I am using it. I can take care of myself, you know

Jaxon: Now who’s being bossy?

I’m not sure if I should be offended or not by that latest crack. I probably should be, but a waffle this good gives the guy a little extra leeway. Plus, I maybe, possibly deserved it.

Me: How about you? Waffles or eggs?

Jaxon: Neither

Me: So what do you like to eat?

As soon as I hit Send, I realize what a bad idea that last text was and start freaking out. Because oh my God, that sounded way more suggestive than I meant it to be. Damn it. He’s either going to think I’m a freak or he’s going to respond with something really gross, and I don’t want either of those things to happen.

It’s been a long time since I’ve texted/flirted with a boy, and I’m not ready for it to end.

I’m certainly not ready to stop talking to Jaxon, who’s witty and sexy and makes me feel things no one else ever has. Plus, it’s so much easier to talk to him like this than in person, when he’s all dark and broody.

Several seconds pass without a response, and I contemplate throwing my phone across the room or drowning myself in the leftover maple syrup.

In the end, I do neither. I just wait impatiently for him to answer. And when he finally does, I hold my breath as I swipe open my screen. Then burst out laughing because:

Jaxon: I don’t think we’re there yet, but I’m sure you’ll let me know when we are

Way. Right. Answer.




Deeply Bitten

I spend the rest of the morning lying around, waiting for Jaxon to text whenever he can. Which is so not a badass feminist move, but I’ve given up controlling my brain when it comes to this boy. Plus, it’s not like there’s anything else to do. I’ve read everything on my Kindle, and I can’t watch any more episodes of Legacies without Macy. Add in my bum ankle and the fact that I can’t go anywhere and that leaves…

Jaxon: What’s your favorite movie?

Me: Atm? To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

Me: Of all time? Some Kind of Wonderful

Me: Yours

Jaxon: Die Hard

Me: Seriously?

Jaxon: What’s wrong with Die Hard?

Me: Nothing

Jaxon: Jk. It’s Rogue One

Me: The Star Wars movie where everybody dies????

Jaxon: The Star Wars movie where people sacrifice themselves to save their galaxy

Jaxon: There are worse ways to die

It’s not the answer I’m expecting, but now that he’s said it, I can totally see how that movie would appeal to this guy who has gone out of his way to rescue me over and over again. Even Die Hard makes sense when I put it in that light. A main character who’s willing to die if it means keeping other people safe.

There’s a lot more to Jaxon than the person I met at the bottom of the stairs my first day here. I mean, he’s still the jerk who told me not to let the door hit me on my way out. That’s not something I’m likely to forget any time soon. But he’s also the guy who saved me from Marc and Quinn. And the guy who carried me all the way back to my dorm room last night. That has to count for something, right?

Plus, I can’t believe how different he is when there’s no one else around. When it’s just the two of us texting and he’s not so busy trying to convince me that he wants nothing to do with me…and, more, that I should want nothing to do with him.

I wish I could ask the real Jaxon Vega to please stand up, but the truth is, I’m kind of hoping he’s the guy who’s been texting me for the last two hours. And if he’s not…well, I guess I don’t want to know that yet.

Me: Favorite ice cream flavor?

Jaxon: Don’t have one

Me: Because you like them all???

Me: Which, btw, is the only acceptable answer to not having a favorite

Jaxon: I think we both know there are a million different reasons I’m unacceptable and ice cream choice barely makes the list

That line shouldn’t make me swoon. It shouldn’t, especially when it’s so obviously a warning. But how can it not when it’s delivered by the same boy who said Rogue One is his favorite movie?

It’s pretty obvious Jaxon is the villain of his own story. I just wish I knew why.

Jaxon: Favorite song?

Me: OMG, I can’t choose

Jaxon: What if I said you had to?

Me: I can’t. There are too many

Me: You?

Jaxon: I asked you first

Me: Ugh. You suck

Jaxon: You have no idea how much

Me: Okay, fine

Me: Atm, Niall Horan’s Put a Little Love on Me and anything by Maggie Rogers

Me: Of all time? Take Me to Church by Hozier or Umbrella from Rihanna

Me: You?

Jaxon: Savage Garden Truly, Madly, Deeply

Jaxon: Anything by Childish Gambino or Beethoven

Jaxon: Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl” is my new favorite, though

I drop my phone because…what do I say to that? How am I not supposed to swoon over this boy? Like, seriously? How am I not supposed to swoon? It’s impossible.

I pick my phone back up with shaking hands. He hasn’t texted anything else, but to be honest, I don’t expect him to for a while. That was…a lot.

Instead, I swipe open my Spotify app. And play “Brown-Eyed Girl”…on repeat.

I’m still listening to it when Macy stops by around noon to check on me. “What are you listening to?” she queries, nose wrinkled.

“It’s a long story.”

She eyes me speculatively. “I bet. You should tell me all about—” She breaks off when she sees the remains of my very big breakfast. “Where did you get the waffle?” she demands, crossing the room so she can scoop a little of the leftover whipped cream out of its bowl and suck it off her finger. “It’s not Thursday.”

I stare at her, baffled. “I don’t even know what that means.”

“It means the cafeteria only makes waffles on Thursdays. And we only get whipped cream on special occasions.” She dives back into the whipped-cream bowl, holds up a finger covered in the sweet, fluffy stuff. “Today is not a special occasion.”