“Besides, if one little kiss makes her a slut, I'd hate to know what that makes you.”
“I kissed Ryan, and it charged him up like a freaking Duracell.”
“It's just not worth it to be so stressed and angry about everything. Life's generally not so bad- most people just choose to see the negative.”
“According to Mr. E., all of this was my fault,” Ryan explained. With a little too much amusement if you ask me. “For making you fall in love with me
and ruining everything.”
“Why did that ruin everything?”
Ryan was quiet for a moment, and I couldn’t believe it when his grin changed into that infamous cocky smirk. “You just said you love me!” he
accused with excitement.
Again, I gaped at him, temporarily speechless. Of course I denied it. I had to; it was my natural reaction to his ego. “I did not!”
“Did too.” He grinned. “You said, ‘why did that ruin everything.’ Meaning you agree that it happened. You said it. Can’t take it back. You love me.”
Learning to control my powers was child’s play compared to keeping a straight face right then, but I couldn’t give in to his smugness. He was just so
sure of himself. “Do not.”
“So do too.”
“Because I kissed you? Seriously? You only like me because I’m a good kisser? That’s it. We’re not doing this. I’m not letting you risk your life just
because you can’t think with your upstairs brain.”
“No, you twit.” Ryan laughed. “Because you kissed me that day. I expected the ice queen and got a funny, go-with-the-flow girl that didn’t care what
anyone thought about her. A girl willing to stir up gossip just so that I could win a date with someone else.
“You didn’t have to help me. In fact, you probably should have been insulted, but you weren’t.
You kissed me, you smiled, and then you wished me good luck. No one’s ever surprised me like that. I couldn’t figure out why you did it, and I just
had to get to know you after that.” I had no idea that stupid kiss had that kind of effect on him. Charged him up like a battery, sure, but do all that? All
this time I really thought it was just the superkissing that kept him coming back. I looked down at my lunch, feeling a little ashamed of my lack of faith
in him, but Ryan couldn’t stop there.
Oh, no, not Ryan Miller.
“After that day, every time I was with you I got brief glimpses of the real Jamie, the one who is dying to break out, and she was this fun, relaxed,
smart, funny, caring girl. Finding out the truth about you only made you that much more incredible. You’re so strong. You’ve gone through so much,
you’re going through so much, but you never stop trying. You’re amazing.” I was surprised when I felt Ryan’s hand lift my chin up. I didn’t want to look
at him, I knew what would happen to my heart if I did, but I couldn’t stop myself. I craved him too much.
When we made eye contact, his face lit up and he whispered, “I love you, Jamie Baker.” It came out of nowhere, and it stole the breath from me,
leaving me speechless. Ryan stared at me, just waiting for some kind of reaction, and then I was the one who broke the no-kissing rule.
It wasn’t my fault. He totally cheated! Like anyone could resist Ryan Miller when he’s touching your face and saying he loves you?
I threw myself at him so fast that I startled him for a change, and he was the one who had to pull me off him when his hair started to stick up.
“Sorry,” I breathed as he pulled away.
“Don’t be sorry,” he teased. “Just stop.”
“Sorry,” I said again when I noticed that his leg was now bouncing under the table.
“Yeah. Looks like I don’t get to sleep through economics today.”
“On the bright side, Coach could make you run laps all practice long and you’d be fine.”
“When I got to school the next morning I had stepped only
one foot in the quad when he spotted me and nearly tackled me to the ground. “Jamie!” he hollered, rushing across the lawn without caring the least
bit about the scene he was creating.
The next thing I knew, my feet were off the ground and I was squished so tightly in Ryan’s arms that I could barely breathe.
“Okay, Ryan?” I coughed in a hushed tone. “This is exactly the kind of thing that can get you killed.”
“I don’t care, I’m not letting go. Don’t ever disappear like that again!” he scolded, but his voice was more relieved than angry. “It’s been days! You
had your mother worried sick!”
“My mother?” I questioned sarcastically.
Ryan laughed as he finally set me back on my feet. “Okay, fine, me too.” He still wouldn’t let go of me, though. He was gripping my arms while he
looked at me with those eyes, and that smile… You know, being all Ryan-ish. And then, when I got lost in the moment, he totally took advantage of
how whipped I was and he kissed me. The jerk. He just pulled my face to his right then and there, in the middle of a crowded quad full of students,
where I could have accidentally unleashed an electrical storm at any moment. And okay, maybe I liked it, and maybe I even needed it, but still! You
can’t just go kissing Jamie Baker whenever you want, even if you are Ryan Miller!
“Ryan!” I yelled as soon as I was able to pull away from him—which admittedly took a minute.
“I’m sorry.” Ryan laughed with this big dopey grin on his face and then kissed me some more.
I had to push him away from me. “Don’t be sorry, just stop!” I realized I was screaming at him when I felt a hundred different pairs of eyes on me. I
tried to ignore the audience that Ryan seemed oblivious to and dropped the audio a few decibels. “I wasn’t kidding when I said this has to stop.
Look, I will be your friend. I want to be your friend. But that’s it.
We can’t be anything more. It’ll never work.”
Ryan watched me for a minute and then whispered, “Don’t do that.” I was shocked to hear the sudden emotion in his voice. “Don’t give up.”
It was hopeless.
“Fine!” I snapped. “I’ll be your stupid girlfriend!”
Big shocker, me giving Ryan his way, I know. But let’s face it—it’s just what I do best. I had to at least act a little tough, though. “But!” I said in the
harshest voice I was capable of. “You can’t ever touch me unless I say. No more tackling me, and especially no more surprise kissing.” He actually
laughed at my request. “No promises.”
Stupid, cocky boyfriend.
“You’re crazy. You know that, right?”
Ryan got this big cheesy smile on his face and said, “Crazy about you.”
“Ugh,” I groaned. “Would you be serious for a minute? Why do you insist on putting your life in danger?”
“Because I like you.”
His stupid grin was infectious. I wanted to be angry, but how could I with him looking at me like that?
“I’m not worth it, you know,” I said stubbornly. “I have issues. I’m unstable.”
“You’re cute when you’re unstable,” Ryan said, “and I like your issues.” The stupid boy was straight-up giddy now. But he was so cute that I cracked
a smile despite myself. “You really are crazy,” I muttered.”
“Aghhh! You don’t get it! I have to resist! No kiss, no matter how good it is, is worth killing you for. I’ve already lost one boyfriend. I am not going to
lose another one! Do you understand me?” Ryan didn’t answer my question, but he was positively glowing. “You just called me your boyfriend!” he
“I—” My mouth dropped all the way to my lap. “I did not!”
“Yes you did! You said you weren’t going to lose another boyfriend, and that would be me—the other boyfriend you don’t want to lose.”
“Ha! You said it, and you can’t take it back! You are so my girlfriend now!”
“I am not!”
“So are too!”
“Aghhh!” I screamed again. “You are so impossible!”
When I screamed, I lost control for a second and let out a burst of energy that stalled the truck.
Ryan just grinned at me. He was lucky the car stopped right then, because I was contemplating knocking the stupid cocky smirk right off his face.
Instead, I flung the door open.
“Bye, honey!” Ryan called playfully as I jumped out of the truck. “I’ll see you at school tomorrow!”
“Are you going to put on your old cheer uniform?”
Ryan was a little too excited by the thought of me in a costume, so I squashed that idea, and fast.
“In your dreams.”
“Not exactly.” Ryan grinned wickedly. “In my dreams you’re usually dressed like Wonder Woman.”
Ugh. I wondered how long it would take for him to start in on the superhero crap. Obviously, not long. I was not amused, but Ryan seemed to think
himself hilarious. I could also tell by the look on his face that he was quite confident he’d have me in costume one day. “Never gonna happen,” I
assured him. “Ever.”
And of course he responded with that classic, cocky smile. “Just like you were never gonna be my girlfriend, right?”
“Becky!” I had to laugh. “You’re worse than me! It’s no wonder he’s such an egomaniac.”
“What? You’re telling me you can say no to that face?”
I wanted to say yes, but it would have been a lie and we all knew it.”
“Oops,” I whispered as I met Ryan’s worried gaze. “Sorry about that.”
“Are you kidding? That was great!”
“Great? I knocked out the electricity.”
“But you didn’t blow up my room.”
“I haven’t had time,” I said, exasperated. “As soon as I remembered, I came straight here.” Ryan turned to face me before clicking on the results. I
didn’t like the way he was suddenly looking very suspiciously at me. “You were really upset…” he prompted, but I didn’t know what he wanted me to
“My point is, when you freaked out you came straight to me for help. That is the most girlfriendy thing ever. I don’t know why you won’t just accept
what you are.”
“Calm?” I screeched. “Calm? Ryan, I nearly killed you! How could I possibly be calm?” Ryan studied my face for a minute and then rolled his eyes.
His smile turned to a frown. “You’re not going to let me kiss you ever again, are you?” It wasn’t really a question.
“And you say you’re not that smart.”
“Come on,” he said, and then dragged me toward the house.
I stopped when we got to the porch. “What is that smell?”
Ryan sniffed his shirt and with a smile said, “Armani. You like it?”
“Not you,” I said. “It smells like someone is frying up dog vomit in your house.” This took Ryan by surprise. I guess it was pretty random. “You’re
really sick sometimes, Baker,” Ryan said. “You know that?”
“The way I see it,” Carter said, “I have to keep your secret because if I don’t call a truce with you, that someone who’s going to get killed someday
will probably be me.” I shrugged. He was right about that. But I smiled again and held out my hand. “Fine. Truce.”
“Truce,” Carter agreed, and shook my hand. “So how about a statement for my article?”
“Sure. ‘No comment.’ ”
“It’s really better this way, Ryan,” Paige said with a sympathy that made me nauseous.
“Better for who?” he asked her. “For Jamie? For me? Or maybe just better for you. I can’t believe you, Paige! You have no idea what she’s been
through! Pain like you could never imagine! And you’re throwing it in her face over and over again for what? Because I’d rather go out with her than
You call her the ice queen, but Jamie would never do something like that to anyone.”
“But look at what she’s doing to you,” Paige said.
“She’s done nothing but make me happy, and she’s had to turn her entire life around just to do it.
You guys are the ones doing all the damage!”
“Right then I wasn't a freak. I wasn't an ice queen. I didn't have powers. What I had was a friend comforting me when I needed it most. Right then I was just a normal girl, and Ryan was the superhero.”
“Life's generally not so bad-most people just choose to see the negative.”
“It’s just not worth it to be so stressed and angry about everything. Life’s generally not so bad—most people just choose to see the negative.”
“It’s just not worth it to be so stressed and angry about everything.”
“Aside from the fact that the F-250 you’re pumping is making me feel extremely inadequate,” Ryan said, “I’m afraid that if you don’t stop doing that, you’re going to end up throwing it at me.” “Why would I throw a truck at you?” “Because you usually get really cranky when I try to kiss you, and if you don’t stop looking so downright sexy, I’m going to have to do just that.” I”
“Because you kissed me that day. I expected the ice queen and got a funny, go-with-the-flow girl that didn’t care what anyone thought about her. A girl willing to stir up gossip just so that I could win a date with someone else. “You didn’t have to help me. In fact, you probably should have been insulted, but you weren’t. You kissed me, you smiled, and then you wished me good luck. No one’s ever surprised me like that. I couldn’t figure out why you did it, and I just had to get to know you after that.” I”
“Across the field, Carter’s voice yelled: ‘STAHP!’
I guess stahp is actually a word in Ancient Egyptian. Who knew?”
“Halvorsen remembered Harry had once said that what separates a good detective from a mediocre one is the ability to forget. A good detective forgets all the times his gut instinct lets him down, forgets all the leads he has believed in that led nowhere. And pitches in, naïve and forgetful again, with undiminished enthusiasm. The”
“When he takes off his shirt, I see that his shoulders are narrow and his chest almost hairless and almost concave. For a second I’m disappointed but right away I think, Grow up; this is the chest of a husband.”
“The gospel declares that no matter how dutiful or prayerful we are, we can't save ourselves. What Jesus did was sufficient.”
“The author writes that key FDR aide Harry Hopkins was in such poor health near the end of his boss's second term that one observer said he didn't know how Hopkins could possibly report to the president. But, at the onset of war and genuine national emergency, Hopkins was animated with a new sense of purpose.”
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