A strong gust of hot air invades the car and Reagan’s hair gets ruffled. It’s been like this the last few weeks. Crazy hot winds picking up now and then. Mine is literally standing on end. I’m forced to hold it down with both hands.
“The Santa Anas,” he says as if reading my mind. I look over and find him smiling at me. “The hot wind.” He swirls his index finger.
I let go of my hair, close my eyes, and let it have its way with me. It stands instantly upright, like I stuck my finger in a socket. I’m sure I look like an idiot but it makes me laugh, a burst of pure joy emanating from my chest that can’t be contained any more than the wind can.
“Nice hair,” he mocks with a teasing smile.
“I thought we established that it’s not a dolphin.”
“You’re not going to like me saying this, but you’re more dolphin than shark,” I happily point out. He’s always perky and upbeat, likes to socialize, loves all the attention. He’s a dolphin––whether he likes it or not.
He levels narrowed green vengeance on me, offset by a sly smile. “I’m the top of the food chain, babe. I’m all shark.”
“That’s adorable. Especially coming from someone that wears a swim cap like my nana used to wear. Except yours has those darling cinnamon buns over the ears. Like Princess Leia.”
He fights his amusement. “Those cinnamon buns are meant to protect my ears from all the rough, manly activity. And I’m tellin’ on you. I’m tellin’ all the guys you said that.”
The Jeep comes to an abrupt stop. Only then do I realize we’re parked in front of the apartment building where my study group is being held. Scanning the parking lot, I see people I recognize from class pouring out of a car.
My attention returns to Reagan and I find him watching me. His smile melts. His expression grows serious like he rarely ever is. I rake my hair down and get my fingers snagged on a few knots. Unfortunately I’m not the comb-carrying type.
Mental note: purchase comb. Crazy winds are afoot.
“Thank you for driving me.” I look for some sign of what’s going on in his mind and finding the door shut.
“What time should I pick you up?” He reaches out and I lean away, staring at his hand. “Chill, Bailey. You have a piece sticking up.”
“Oh…okay.” He’s trying to be helpful and I treat him like he’s a festering case of the bubonic plague. How embarrassing.
I lean in and he sets about gently brushing down each and every one of my stray hairs, so gently I can barely feel him picking apart the knots. I can feel his breath on my skin. Fresh from a shower, I can smell his shampoo. My scalp tingles and goose bumps break out on my forearms. Lord give me strength.
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