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    She has her own style. Her black tank top shows more skin than it covers and her skintight jeans hug all the right places. My eyes linger on a single rip in them, directly below her ass.

    She leans over the counter and the rip widens. Skater Girl turns her head toward me and the drive-thru. “Is someone going to take my f**king order?”

    Chris’s laughter from our corner table jerks me back to reality. I pull off my baseball cap, mess my hand through my hair, and shove the hat back in place. Why her? Why tonight? But there’s a dare and I’m going to win. “Counter’s a little slow tonight.”

    She glares at me like I’m a little slow. “Are you speaking to me?”

    Her hard stare dares me to glance away, and a lesser guy would. I’m not lesser. Keep staring, Skater Girl. You don’t scare me. I’m drawn to her eyes though. They’re blue. Dark blue. I never would have thought someone with such black hair could have those brilliant eyes.

    “I asked you a question.” She rests a hip against the counter and crosses her arms over her chest. “Or are you as stupid as you look?”

    Yep, pure punk: attitude, nose ring, and a sneer that can kill on sight. She’s not my type, but she doesn’t have to be. I just need her number. “You’d probably get better service if you watched your language.”

    A hint of amusement touches her lips and dances in her eyes. Not the kind of amusement you laugh with. It’s the taunting kind. “Does my language bother you?”

    Yes. “No.” Girls don’t use f**k. Or they shouldn’t. I don’t care for the word, but I know when I’m being tested and this is a test.

    “So my language doesn’t bother you, but you say—” she raises her voice and leans over the counter again “—I could get some f**king service if I watched my language.”

    Wouldn’t hurt. Time to switch tactics. “What do you want?”

    Her head snaps up as if she had forgotten I was there. “What?”

    “To eat. What do you want to eat?”

    “Fish. What do you think I want? I’m at a taco joint.”

    Chris laughs again and this time Logan joins in. If I don’t salvage this, I’ll be listening to their ridicule the entire way home. This time I lean over the counter and wave at the girl working the drive-thru. I give her a smile. She smiles back. Take lessons, Skater Girl. This is how it’s supposed to work. “Can I have a minute?”

    Drive-Thru Chick’s face brightens and she holds up a finger as she continues with the order from outside. “Be right there. Promise.”

    I turn back to Skater Girl, but instead of the warm thank-you I should be receiving she shakes her head, clearly annoyed. “Jocks.”

    My smile falters. Hers grows.

    “How do you know I’m a jock?”

    Her eyes wander to my chest and I fight a grimace. Written in black letters across my gray shirt is Bullitt County High School, Baseball State Champions.

    “So you are stupid,” she says.

    I’m done. I take one step in the direction of the table, then stop. I don’t lose. “What’s your name?”

    “What do I have to do to make you leave me alone?”

    And there it is—my opening. “Give me your phone number.”

    The right side of her mouth quirks up.

    “You’re f**king kidding.”

    “I’m dead serious. Give me your name and phone number and I’ll walk away.”

    “You must be brain damaged.”

    “Welcome to Taco Bell. Can I take your order?”

    We both look at Drive-Thru Chick. She beams at me, then cowers from Skater Girl.

    With her lids cast down, she asks again, “What can I get you?”

    I pull out my wallet and slam ten dollars on the counter. “Tacos.”

    “And a Coke,” Skater Girl says. “Large. Since he’s paying.”

    “Oookaay.” Drive-Thru Chick enters the order, slides the money off the counter, and returns to the order window.

    We stare at each other. I swear, this girl never blinks.

    “I believe a thank-you is in order,” I say.

    “I never asked you to pay.”

    “Give me your name and phone number and we’ll call it even.”

    She licks her lips. “There is absolutely nothing you can do to ever get me to give you my name or number.”

    Ring the bell. Playtime ended with those words. Purposely invading her space, I steal a step toward her and place a hand on the counter next to her body. It affects her. I can tell. Her eyes lose the amusement and her arms hug her body. She’s small. Smaller than I expected. That attitude is so big I hadn’t noticed her height or size. “I bet I can.”

    She juts out her chin. “Can’t.”

    “Eight tacos and one large Coke,” says the girl from behind the counter.

    Skater Girl snatches the order and spins on her heel before I can process I’m on the verge of losing. “Wait!”

    She stops at the door. “What?”

    This “what” doesn’t have nearly the anger of the one before. Maybe I’m getting somewhere.

    “Give me your phone number. I want to call you.”

    No, I don’t, but I do want to win. She’s wavering. I can tell. To keep from scaring her off, I bury my excitement. Nothing sends me higher than winning.

    “I’ll tell you what.” She flashes a smile that drips with a mixture of allure and wickedness.

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