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Chapter 10

Matt didn’t bother asking if I wanted to order anything. I’d come to the café enough times for him to know I wouldn’t order anything else. Instead, he dropped a cube of sugar in my caramel coffee, and left to wait another table a little further down. I didn’t have to strain to catch the fake tone the girl at the other table used with him. Good for him, bad for me. I was still working up the confidence to even strike up a casual conversation. It irritated me to no end. I’d come out of my shell my freshmen year of college. There was just something about him that made my tongue knot up.

My eyes drifted from the window to the other table and I frowned. She was trying to a catch his attention, and it was working. Matt was blushing but smiling, and I even heard him laugh.

I sighed and returned to my window. The weather matched my mood—cloudy and in the distance thunder rumbled echoing down the street. Across from me, Justine let out a sigh as well and set the menu down.

“You’re going to throw off the flavor if you don’t mix the sugar in,” she said. A grunt on my part had her rolling her eyes. “Any idea when you’ll be done pouting like a spoiled princess?”

My eyes snapped to Justine, and my lips thinned. She knew I hated being called that, especially since I looked the exact opposite of one. She was just trying to get a rise out of me, the bitch. But I couldn’t help it as my glare broke into chuckle, and I shook my head. She knew how to snap me out of my funks. Straight forward and honest if not blunt, the best qualities you could have in a friend.

Justine slipped a spoon into my coffee and stirred. She was a connoisseur of the stuff, and couldn’t stand it when the brew wasn’t created just right.

“Quit it,” I said flicking her hand away and taking a sip.

“I will if you lighten up.”

“Kinda hard when your parents are on your ass about jobs, boyfriends, and going back to school for a real degree.”

Justine rested a cheek in her hand and raised an eyebrow.

“C’mon on Nora, you should be excited. Not many parents are willing to offer to pay for their kid’s entire education.”

“Jealous,” I asked raising my voice over the thunder approaching thunder.

“Who wouldn’t be?”

I hummed tapping my chin, “Someone like me?”

Justine’s eyes scanned the ceiling yet again while saying, “Even you could enjoy going back if you’d actually allow yourself to.”

“The only thing I’ll enjoy about going back is getting access to the university’s telescopes again,” I said sitting back sighing.

Justine smiled, “Exactly. You’ll have access to some of the greatest technology while you’re there. It should help to pass the two to four years you’ll be trapped there.

“Thanks,” I muttered taking another sip of coffee, and winced as thunder shook the window next to us.

Justine tilted her head and looked out the window, “Sounds like it’s gonna be an intense one.”

I hummed in agreement and turned to the window. My eyes widened as a blur shot by our booth headed for the door. The next second the door chimed and in walked Noah and Mina.

“Whew, just made it!” Noah said grinning. It widened when he spotted us and pointed Mina in our direction before walking to the counter. I had enough time to catch him say something to Matt before Mina arrived.

“Hey guys,” she said sliding in next to Justine.

“Save it,” I said grinning. “C’mon, let’s see it.”

Mina glowed, holding out her hand for us to see the engagement ring. Noah really had gone all out for it. And judging from my brother’s stupid grin and the look in Mina’s eyes, she still hadn’t finished showing her appreciation.

“Admiring the hardware,” Noah asked, sliding into the seat next to me. He poked my side getting my attention and said, “I told mom and dad to lay off you. You don’t have to go back to school if you don’t want.”

I gave him an appreciative smile, and then nodded at his watch, “Shouldn’t we go? The movie starts in fifteen minutes.”

“Nah, we got some time,” Mina said grinning, and my brother quickly mimicked it.

The warning bells started soundings. Those two had something planned.

The wind outside picked up, and a flash of lightning caused the lights to dim for a second. Noah stood up again, helping Mina out of her seat saying, “On second thought, maybe we should head out.”

I nodded and left some money on the table. We made for the door, but Noah looked over his shoulder and whispered, “Just so you know we’ve got enough room for one more in the car.”

I gave him a confused look, but he just nodded at something behind me. Turning around, I saw Matt slipping on a jacket as he punched out. I shot Noah a glare, which he just shrugged off with a grin and left.

I followed, but stopped at the door. My heart sped quickened, my cheeks started burning, and I bit my lip. Spinning on my heels, I went straight to Matt and tried to ignore his dimples as he gave me a surprised smile.

“Hey,” I said. My eyes dropped to the floor, and my cheeks burned even hotter. Taking a breath I looked back at him, tucking a loose strand of hair behind my ear and said, “So we’re all going to see a movie. Wanna come?”

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