That night Keeley was fast asleep when an unfamiliar ringtone played in her ear. Eyes still closed, she reached under her pillow and grabbed the phone. “’Ello?”
“Your brother is annoying,” Talon mumbled, his voice rough with sleep.
“Tell me something I don’t know.”
“Wants you to pick him up from some chick’s house. Chloe-something-or-other.”
“He’s at another party?”
“Said he snuck out with one of his buddies.” What was Zach thinking? He was grounded. There would be hell to pay if their parents caught him. They’d all but threatened to take him off the football team if he broke another rule.
She rolled out of bed, reached into her closet and grabbed the first thing she could find — a blue Edgewood High sweatshirt. It clashed with her orange polka-dot pajama shorts, but she was too tired to care. She went to slip on her flip-flops, but they were gone. Tucker must have buried them in the backyard again. All she could find were the rain boots her father had given her for Christmas last year. She slipped them on, then crept past her parents’ room and down the stairs.
“You still there?” she whispered. “What time is it?”
“2:30. Why is he even calling you?”
“He can’t drive.”
“Let me get this straight. He calls and you drop everything to help him out?”
She frowned at his tone. “I’m his sister. Wouldn’t you do the same?”
“He got into the situation. He can get himself out.”
Keeley grabbed her car keys off the kitchen table and tiptoed to the front door. “You’re an only child, aren’t you?”
“That’s irrelevant. You need to stop acting like his personal chauffeur and show him some tough love.”
“I’m not —” Tucker rushed after her, thinking he was going for a walk. He whined when she opened the door, pushing himself in between her legs. Shushing him, she glanced up the stairwell to see if her parents had woken. Their room stayed dark, so she waved Tucker away. “Go to my room,” she ordered quietly.
“I thought you’d never ask,” Talon replied. “I knew all that protest was just an act. No one can refuse my charm.”
“I was talking to the dog,” she hissed as she silently closed the door and hurried to her car. “Although there is an uncanny resemblance.”
“And how would you know? You’ve never seen me.”
“Maybe not physically, but personality-wise. I mean you both love to chase and you sulk like children when your favorite toy gets taken away. Not to mention needing constant attention and stroking.”
“You’re right. I need lots of stroking.”
“I’m talking about your ego, pervert.”
Talon laughed. Unbelievable.
“Shut up, dude!” a voice yelled in the background. Talon must have covered the phone with his hand because all Keeley could hear was a few muffled noises. There was some white noise, then Keeley heard a door close.
She hesitated before asking. “Talon?”
“Sorry, my roommate’s being an ass and kicked me out.”
“I’m surprised you let him.” Talon didn’t seem the type to let himself be pushed around. Keeley turned on the car and switched him to speakerphone. She pulled out of the driveway and waited till she was at the end of the street before turning on the headlights.
“Coach is doubling up practices so everyone’s exhausted.”
“You should get some sleep, then.”
“I’m not that tired. Besides, I’m talking to you.”
“So I’m your shot of caffeine?” she teased. She froze when she realized how flirty that sounded. In fact, the whole conversation had a playful undertone. She wasn’t sure how she felt about it.
“Something like that,” he replied. “Explain to me again why you’re always running to the rescue. What does your brother have over you?”
“Nothing! I do it because I have his back, and he has mine.”
“What has he done for you?”
“Why do you care? It’s not like it affects you,” she replied.
“And curiosity killed the cat.”
“Good thing I’m a dog then, huh?”