Don’t Spend It on Booze
“Congratulations!” I hug Everly in her cap and gown.
“I never would have made it without you,” she says as she squeezes me back. She hugs Tyler next. “You either, bro.”
“I’m proud of you.”
Her fingers brush the tassel on her cap out of her face and she lets her gaze sweep over the rest of the guys in their travel suits. They came straight from the plane. It’s the playoffs and it’s a miracle they were able to make it at all. They leave again tomorrow, but tonight we are celebrating Everly.
Stephanie and Piper’s dad came for the ceremony but had to leave right after. I’m glad they came. I overheard Stephanie say she’d watched Tyler’s game on TV. Things aren’t magically fixed between them, but I do feel like she’s putting in more effort.
“Thank you, guys, for coming.”
“Wouldn’t have missed it, Little Sharpie.” Declan hands her an envelope. “It’s money. Don’t spend it on booze.”
“Mine is also money and I say buy whatever you want.” Ash steps forward and hands her another card, then gives her a quick one-armed hug.
“Do you want to grab something to eat?” Tyler asks Everly after all the guys have congratulated her.
“Everly!” A group of her classmates come running up.
Grace waves at me and then takes Everly by the hand. “Jacob is having a party at his house. Can you come?”
“Oh, uh…” Everly glances at Tyler.
“Go,” he says.
“Really?” Ev asks.
“Yeah.” He drapes an arm around her shoulders and gives her a little squeeze. “We can do dinner another night.”
“Before you go, let’s get a picture.” Scarlett has her camera and directs us all to stand together.
“Everybody say, ‘high school is awesome,’” Everly says while grinning at me.
Turns out, high school is kind of awesome. At least as a teacher. I accepted a position to cover Mrs. Aaron next year while she’s on maternity leave.
After Scarlett takes so many photos our faces hurt from smiling, Everly disappears with her friends, and Tyler and I linger, holding hands and enjoying the weather. It’s finally warmed up, the sun is out, and I just want to soak it all in.
“What do you want to do with your day off?” I ask him.
“Hang with you.” His brings our joined hands up and kisses the top of my fingers.
“Anywhere particular in mind?” I ask.
He shakes his head.
“Good. I want to take you somewhere.”
His lips lift in amusement, but he tosses me the keys. I was hesitant about driving Tyler’s car, but the more I do it, the more I love it. It has so much power and people always look at me like I’m such a badass.
I drive us to Frank’s car shop. Tyler shoots me a puzzled look but doesn’t ask.
Frank comes out when he sees us.
“Hey,” Tyler says. He looks back at me. “What’s going on?”
Frank is grinning ear to ear. I had to let him in on my surprise, but he has been a great co-conspirator.
“Why don’t you come inside.” He tips his head toward the garage.
I link my fingers through Tyler’s and lead the way. Inside, is the car I had Frank find for me. It’s barely more than a big hunk of metal at this point, but he assured me that all it needed was a little love (or maybe he said a lot of love).
Tyler zones right in on it, gaze sliding over the old Mustang.
“Wow,” he says. “You’re building another ‘67?”
Frank looks to me.
“No. We are. I bought it.” I smile and wait for his reaction. He’s smiling, but he still looks confused.
“I know you wanted to buy me a car, but it was important to me that I buy something on my own. Frank found this for a steal. He’s helping me find parts and agreed to do anything we can’t, but with summer coming up, I thought we could work on it together. What do you think?”
“I’m speechless. Really? You don’t want something newer?”
“Your old car has grown on me. Plus, you should see the looks I get driving it.”
His gaze hardens. “No deal. Station wagon and minivans for you.”
“Frank, pop the hood.”
Tyler smirks, but he can’t resist looking. He gets this excited, happy look on his face when he’s working on his car, and I can’t think of any better way to spend the summer than seeing that look every single day.