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  • Home > Samantha Young > Into the Deep Series > Out of the Shallows (Page 37)     
  • Out of the Shallows(Into the Deep #2)(37) by Samantha Young
  • I nodded. “You’re driving so you should decide. That’s a while to be behind the wheel.”

    He shrugged now. “About eight and a half, nine hours in total.”

    “We can stop before then.”

    “Well, we left Chicago at eight o’clock. It’s just coming up for eleven now. We’ll get to Des Moines about one thirty. Break for an hour. We should get to Lincoln by five. I’m cool with that.”

    “Sounds like a plan,” Beck agreed.

    I was concerned Jake was going to be exhausted constantly on this trip. “I can take over driving if you want.”

    He surprised me by shooting me a small smile before turning his attention back to the road. Where had the moody, snappy version of Jake gone? “No worries. Beck’s on my dad’s insurance. He and I will alternate days.”

    Jake pulled over at a gas station in Davenport and we got out to see to our needs. Afterwards, as Claudia and I were washing our hands in perhaps the world’s nicest gas station bathroom, she said, “You need to start talking to Jake or this road trip is going to be beyond awkward.”

    I grinned at her. “I thought you were too busy cozying up with Beck to notice what was going on in the front seat.”

    She made a face. “No. You and Jake are acting like there’s a plate of soundproof glass between you. I was hoping you could at least try to get along.”

    “We’ve been perfectly pleasant with one another. We’re not going to whisper in each other’s ears and brush one another’s hands and press up against each other like you and Beck—all of which is questionable behavior and note that I am keeping my nose out of it.”

    Claudia snorted. “That’s you keeping your nose out of it?”

    I rounded my eyes in mock innocence. “What? I didn’t ask one question about you and Beck and whether this means you’re going to start seeing each other…”

    Her answer was to punch me in the arm like a five-year-old and prance out on a huff. I think I struck a nerve.

    Smirking, I followed her out and into the gas station where we bought some snacks to tide us over until we hit Des Moines.

    Keeping Claudia’s comment in mind, I attempted to make small talk with my ex-boyfriend as we got the show back on the road.

    “It was good of your dad to let you borrow his car.”

    “It’s safer than most vehicles we could’ve afforded to rent. Dad’s borrowing mom’s while we’ve got this.”

    I opened a bag of potato chips and offered them to him. He took some, eating one-handed. “How are they? Your family?”

    He finished munching and shot me a quizzical look. “They’re fine but isn’t that the question I should be asking you?”

    “I believe you’ve already asked that question.”

    “I did. Two months ago.”

    I shot him a droll look. “Let’s just say not much has changed.”

    “I wouldn’t know. You never told me how things were to begin with.”

    I sighed. Apparently Jake and I couldn’t do small talk. Hoping a little music might quell the tense silence, I reached over to turn on the radio. Unfortunately, Jake had the exact same idea. Our fingers brushed and a frisson of electricity sparked between us. We snapped our arms back at the contact, and I hurriedly glanced out the window, willing the heat coursing through me to cool.

    Just like that, my whole body was aware of him. I was aware of every time his hands shifted on the wheel, every little sound he made, or when he’d look into the rearview mirror to answer a question from Claudia or Beck. That awareness had me stealing glances at him. Little glances, little stolen snapshots of his enviously long eyelashes, of the two little freckles on his left earlobe, of his large, masculine hands, of the slightly fuller lower lip that had fascinated me since we were sixteen…

    I was flooded by memories.

    Those memories hurt all over.

    Clenching my hands into fists in case they reached out to involuntarily touch him, I tried to remember a time when Jake wasn’t a part of me, but the memories of when he was were just too overwhelming.

    They won and I lost. But I’d gotten really good at pretending that wasn’t true.

    There were no words to describe how happy I was to get out of the car when we reached Des Moines. Beck was in the mood for lunch at IHOP, so Jake used his dad’s GPS to find us the nearest one. It took us off our main route, but as soon as Beck mentioned it, I couldn’t stop picturing pancakes, waffles, scrambled egg, bacon, and maple syrup.

    But mostly, I was just glad to be leaving the world of awkward silence, stifling tension, and unspoken words.

    The four of us slid into a booth and, after we ordered, I remembered the last time the four of us dined out on a trip together.

    Things had been so different back then. Hard to believe it was only a little over seven months ago.

    “Okay, let’s play a game.” Claudia grinned at Beck and Jake across the table. I noted the mischievous twinkle in her green eyes.

    “Do we have to?” I asked.

    “Yes, Grumpy Betsy, we do.”

    I snorted. “Grumpy Betsy?”

    Claudia waved off my teasing. “Never mind. Anyway, Beck and I play this game all the time.”

    “Maybe IHOP isn’t an appropriate place for a game you and Beck play,” Jake offered slyly.

    I laughed because he’d beaten me to it.

    Our eyes met, his smiling into mine like he knew exactly what I was thinking.

    “Get your minds out of the gutter,” Claudia scolded. “It’s not like that. The game is you choose a couple, or two friends or whatever, who are eating out together and you have a conversation for them. We’ll show you.” She glanced around the room and then surreptitiously pointed. “There.” She gestured to a young couple who sat with their elbows on the table, leaning a little across the distance so they could speak in lowered voices. “Beck.”

    He looked at the couple and smiled. “Baby, you smell better than apple pie and taste better than maple syrup.”

    I groaned but grinned.

    Claudia gave an exaggerated sigh of happiness as the girl tilted her head to the side, causing her hair to fall away from her neck. “It’s my new perfume. It’s called Eau de IHOP.”

    We laughed and Claudia nudged me. “Your turn. You and Jake.”

    And that’s when I understood her plan with this stupid game. “I don’t know.”

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