The two-hour drive had seemed interminable, and I was glad to finally be back in Ocean Shores. I was anxious to see Trent, but I wanted to stop at the Shack to let my dad know I was in town first. I figured I could grab a bite to eat while I was there and then head to the beach to look for my boyfriend.
"Little Rocket Cuz, is that you?" Tito greeted me when I arrived. He gave me a big hug. Raymundo came out from the back and looked both surprised and pleased to see me.
"What are you doing here?" he asked.
"I wanted to surprise Trent!" I exclaimed. "Oh, and to see you guys, of course," I added hastily.
"Ah, as the ancient Hawaiians said, the waves always return to shore."
I gave Tito one of my "that was so wise" expressions, while Dad just scratched his head. Raymundo gave up trying to make sense of Tito's latest pearl of wisdom and asked me how I'd gotten home.
"Oh. Well, you see, I, um, well..." I hated to admit to the temporary truce I'd called, but I didn't want him thinking I'd hitchhiked or anything. "See, I found out that Lars was coming home this weekend, so I asked him to give me a ride since he was coming to Ocean Shores anyway. So, um, Dad, if he shows up, would you mind giving him a meal on the house? To thank him?"
I hadn't planned on ever approaching Lars at school. Although we were both attending the same state university, we had different majors. I might have managed to avoid seeing him entirely, except that I came across him and a bunch of his new college friends hanging out at the student union one afternoon. When I overheard him complain that he had to drive to Ocean Shores for a family reunion, I'd found my feet heading towards his table, and asking if he wanted company for the commute. It wasn't exactly the first time I'd been desperate enough to ask for a favor from Lars Rodriguez, but it wasn't until after he agreed that I'd realized I had no doubt that he'd say yes.
Raymundo raised his eyebrows, although whether that was because I'd survived over two hours in Lars' company cramped in that ugly beat up sports car of his, or because I was asking him to treat Otto's greatest nemesis with a free meal, I wasn't sure. "Sure, Rocket Girl," he said, gesturing to show it was no big deal. I released a breath I hadn't realized I was holding, glad that we got that out of the way. At least I didn't have to feel like I owed Lars anything now, although he might have a different idea about that. It would be worth it, though, to see the expression on Trent's face.
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