Home > Oblivion (Lux #1.5)(10)

Oblivion (Lux #1.5)(10)
Jennifer L. Armentrout

Granted, that was the whole point of my being such a dick to her.

“Can you do that for me?” She opened the driver’s door. “Make nice with her. Please?”

Her gaze was so earnest that I found myself nodding.

“Really?” she persisted.

I sighed and looked away as I agreed. “Yeah. Sure.”

A smile broke out across her face, the kind of smile that had every guy at school tripping all over themselves, and here I was, her brother, most likely lying to her.

But lies…they worked.

I watched her leave and then headed in, going upstairs to take a shower. Afterward, I changed into a pair of jeans and a shirt that hadn’t been burned and then puttered around the house, actually picking up after myself. That was a miracle right there.

Make nice with her.

I shook my head as I walked over to my trusty stalker window and pulled back the curtain, wondering if— “What in the hell?”

Squinting, I watched the girl next door jump up and down, trying to reach the roof of her car with a sponge with absolutely no success. A slow smile pulled at my lips.

She looked absolutely ridiculous as the minutes ticked by.

Before I even knew what I was doing, I pivoted around and went out the back door, slipping quietly between the houses. I reached the front of the house just in time to see her bend over to pick up the sponge she’d dropped.

I stopped mid-walk, totally admiring the view offered to me. Alien…human… We’re all universally predictable it seems.

She straightened as I wandered closer. I thought I heard her curse as she plucked at the sponge before tossing it in the bucket.

“You look as if you could use some help,” I said, shoving my hands into the pockets of my jeans.

Jumping, she whipped around with wide, startled gray eyes. There was no mistaking the look of surprise as she eyed me, and it was clear as we stood there staring at each other, she had no idea why I was out there.

Neither did I.

Make nice with her.

I swallowed a sigh as I gestured at the bucket with a lift of my elbow. “You looked as though you wanted to throw that again. I figured I’d do my good deed for the day and intervene before any innocent sponges lose their lives.”

Lifting her arm, she used it to wipe strands of damp hair out of her face as she watched me. Tension radiated from her. Since she didn’t say anything, I walked over to the bucket and snatched the sponge, squeezing out the water. “You look like you got more of a bath than the car. I never thought washing a car would be so hard, but after watching you for the last fifteen minutes, I’m convinced it should be an Olympic sport.”

“You were watching me?”

Probably shouldn’t have admitted that. Oh well. I shrugged. “You could always take the car to the car wash. It would be a lot easier.”

“Car washes are a waste of money.”

“True.” I walked around the front of her car and knelt, hitting a spot she’d missed. While I was there, I checked out her tires. Jesus. They were in terrible condition. “You need new tires. These are about bald, and winter’s crazy around here.”

Silence greeted me.

I peered up through my lashes as I rose. She was watching me like I was some kind of hallucination, arms loose at her sides, and damn, the entire front of her shirt was soaked, showing off a very interesting outline I shouldn’t even be paying attention to. Turning away, I took care of the roof. When I was done, she was still standing there, absolutely immobile, and that made me grin. “Anyway, I’m glad you were out here.” I grabbed the hose and sprayed down the car. “I think I’m supposed to apologize.”

“You think you’re supposed to?” Ahh, she speaks.

I slowly turned around, almost hitting her with the spray of water as I attacked the other side of the car. The slight narrowing of her eyes brought forth a great wealth of satisfaction. “Yeah, according to Dee, I needed to get my ass over here and make nice. Something about me killing her chances of having a ‘normal’ friend.”

“A normal friend? What kind of friends does she have?”

“Not normal.”

“Well, apologizing and not meaning it kind of defeats the purpose of apologizing.”

I chuckled. “True.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her shift her weight from one foot to the other. “Are you serious?”

“Yeah.” I worked my way around the car, chasing off the suds as a genius idea struck me. There was no getting rid of this girl, and the likelihood of Dee growing bored with her wasn’t going to help. I’d decided Saturday morning I needed to keep a close eye on her and I needed an excuse. There was no way this girl was going to believe I wanted to be around her when I really didn’t want to be, but if Dee was going to be her new BFF, I needed to know everything about her, and not just if she could be trusted if something weird went down. “Actually, I don’t have a choice. I have to make nice.”

She gave a little shake of her head. “You don’t seem like a person who does anything he doesn’t want to do.”

“Normally I’m not.” I hit the back of the car with the water as I picked out the first thing I could come up with. “But my sister took my car keys and until I play nice, I don’t get them back. It’s too damn annoying to get replacements.”

I started to grin, because the whole thing was ridiculous. It wasn’t like I needed keys to get anywhere. Not like this girl knew that. I made a mental note to text Dee as soon as possible.

She laughed. “She took your keys?”

The small grin slipped off my face as I returned to the side she was standing on. “It’s not funny.”

“You’re right.” She laughed again, and it was a nice laugh—throaty. Kind of sexy. “It’s freaking hilarious.”

I scowled at her. Of course, my keys were on the kitchen counter, but still, she could be more sympathetic to my plight.

Her arms folded across her chest. “I’m sorry, though. I’m not accepting your not-so-sincere apology.”

My brows rose. “Not even when I’m cleaning your car?”

“Nope.” Her smile grew, and that plain face suddenly wasn’t really plain. “You may never see those keys again.”

“Well, damn, there went my plan.” A reluctant smile broke free. Her attitude was…interesting. Entertaining. “I figured that if I really don’t feel bad, then at least I could make up for it.”

She tilted her head to the side. “Are you normally this warm and sparkly?”

I walked past her to where the outdoor spigot was. I turned off the water. “Always. Do you usually stare at guys when you stop over, asking for directions?”

“Do you always answer the door half naked?”

“Always. And you didn’t answer my question. Do you always stare?”

She blushed a deep pink. “I was not staring.”

“Really?” I grinned as I turned around. “Anyway, you woke me up. I’m not a morning person.”

“It wasn’t that early.”

“I sleep in. It is summer, you know. Don’t you sleep in?”

A piece of hair had snuck free of her bun again and she pushed it out of her face. “No. I always get up early.”

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