Pretty Dark Sacrifice
You okay?” Caleb banged on the glass, startling her out of her stupor.
    “Yeah, I’m fine.” Quinn gripped the steering wheel, avoiding eye contact. Maybe if she ignored him, he would give up and leave her alone.
    “You don’t look okay. You look like you’ve been in a fight. Did you know you have mud all over the side of your face?”
    Quinn looked in the rear-view mirror and rubbed a sleeve on her cheek to get the dirt off. Caleb knocked on the glass again.
    “Go away.”
    “You’ve been sitting out here all day. Can I at least call someone for you? A friend? If you need a friend, you can talk to me.”
    Quinn sucked on her bottom lip. Friends were in short supply these days, and Caleb wasn’t so bad. At least she didn’t have any history with him, which might be a good thing.
    “We’re not friends,” Quinn said, but she found herself unlocking the door.
    Caleb ran a hand through his still damp hair and settled into the passenger seat. He smelled of soap and shaving cream.
    “You haven’t moved since I started my shift this morning. Did something happen?”
    Her chest tightened and heaved. Too personal, too quick. The tears were coming again, and he would see her fall apart. For a second, Quinn regretted letting him in. She should have just started the engine, driven off, left him in the dust. How was she supposed to answer that? What would he think of her? And that’s when she realized she could say anything she wanted to him, because she didn’t care what he thought. A laugh bubbled to her lips as tears leaked from her eyes.
    “Are you hungry?” Quinn asked.
    Caleb nodded, slow and unsure. Quinn started the engine and slammed the car into reverse. Caleb pressed his hand against the ceiling to steady himself against the sharp turn.
    “You drive like you fight, Blondie. All anger and no finesse.”
    “Did I ask you?”
    Caleb shook his head, knuckles white against the dash, and kept his mouth shut until she pulled into a dimly lit parking lot. On the side of the building, the owner had graffitied ‘‘Just Tacos’’ in giant hot pink, orange, and teal letters. Quinn scanned the lot for any cars she recognized, but it looked safe.
    “Are we going in, or are you going to make me eat by myself?”
    Quinn nodded, and followed Caleb through the double glass door. They settled into a small booth near the back. Piñatas hung over the tables, and the menu was decoupaged to the table along with brightly colored confetti.
    “What’s with the cagey twitching and downcast eyes? Afraid to be seen with me or something?”
    “Something like that.” Quinn glanced behind her. The last thing she wanted was to run into anyone from school, especially Jeff or Kerstin. It was why she stayed home at night, why she never went to Tony’s anymore. Demons, she could face. Her ex and his pregnant girlfriend were another matter. Sometimes she dreamed of slamming her fist into Jeff’s face for his part in Aaron’s accident, and if she saw him, she wasn’t sure she wouldn’t follow through.
    “You know, I missed watching you beat your own hand black and blue this morning. Where you been?”
    “I don’t want to talk about it.”
    “What can I get you?” The waitress popped her gum and tapped her pen on a pad. The words “Get Taco Or Get Out” blazed across her white T-shirt in bright green letters.
    “Just water,” Quinn said.
    “Water? Seriously, that’s it?” Caleb asked Quinn.
    Quinn nodded. “I’m not that hungry.”
    “Brisket and jalapeño tacos. Thanks.”
    “Coming right up.” The waitress scribbled on the notepad then tucked her pen in the pocket of her jeans. Quinn couldn’t help noticing Caleb noticing the curve of her hips beneath the tight jeans.
    “You can wipe the drool from your chin now.”
    “Hardly.” The hairs on the back of Quinn’s neck shot up, as if she’d stepped into an electromagnetic field, and she turned.
    “What is it?” Caleb asked, but Quinn

Similar Books

The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett

Little Black Lies

Sandra Block

F is for Fugitive

Sue Grafton

Death in Spring

Mercè Rodoreda