Dante's Girl (Page 34)

Dante’s Girl (The Paradise Diaries #1)(34)
Author: Courtney Cole

“Oh, great.  Not you too,” I snap.  “Listen. Becca read my diary. Doesn’t anyone care about that?  She went into my house to borrow my clothes and she snooped through my stuff.  But no one cares about that part.  No, everyone just wants to act like you and I cheated. And we didn’t.”

“You don’t have to tell me that,” he sounds hurt.  “I realize that we didn’t cheat.”

“So, why is Becca mad at you?” I’m curious about this and since Becca won’t talk to me, Quinn is my only source of information.

He sniffs.  Is he freaking crying? Really?   Oh-my-word.  It must be bad.

“When Becca called and told me about your journal, somewhere in that conversation I mentioned that once upon a time, years ago, I had a crush on you too. I thought it was funny because of the bad timing and all.  But Becca didn’t think it was funny.”

The world grinds to a stop and freezes.

Or at least, my world does.

“You had a crush on me?” I whisper.  I find that anything above a soft whisper drives nails into my skull.  Long, three-inch nails.

This information should be earth-shattering.  Mind-blowing.  Amazing.  And a scant week ago, before Dante Giliberti effectively took control of the full-on crush that I had on Quinn, it would have been.

But now, it only seems sad.

Or funny.

The bad timing is slightly hilarious.  Especially given all the drama that the whole incident has incited.

“Yes, I had a crush on you.  But that’s not that surprising.  Most of our junior high had a crush on you.”

Our age at the time took a little of the impact out of the revelation.

“It was in junior high?”

“Why are you whispering?  Yes, it was in junior high.  And I think our freshman year, too. And then it was Becca. It’s been Becca ever since.  But now she thinks that I’m only with her because you didn’t like me back- even though that was years ago.  And she’s worried that since I found out that you are crushing on me now –bad timing, by the way- that I’m going to break up with her and get with you.”


More silence.

“Are you going to say anything?” he asks.  I can’t read his tone.  Is he actually hopeful?  No.  Freaking.  Way.

“Quinn,” I begin carefully.  “You aren’t hoping that I will say that we should get together, are you?”


“Of course not,” he finally answers.  Thank God he possesses enough perception skills to read my tone.

I sigh.  “Good.  Because I’m not crushing on you anymore. And even if I were, we couldn’t do that to Becca. I firmly believe that she will get over this as soon as she realizes that you are not breaking up with her to date me.  Because that’s not happening.”

“No?” he asks and I can’t even believe that he asks. Are all guys this dense?

“No,” I answer firmly.  “Quinn, you and I have been friends a long, long time. I value our friendship.  I value Becca’s friendship even more.  Please, let’s all just be friends.”

“Alright,” he agrees. “Good idea.  As long as you can get Becca to talk to us again.”

“Well, you’re on your own with that,” I tell him.  “But personally, I’m going to give her some space.  Then I’ll talk to her when I get back.”

“Reecie, why are you whispering?” he asks again.

“Because I have a headache,” I answer quietly.

“Are you hung-over?” he crows.  “Little Reecie-Piecie is hung-over?  Miss Rule Follower herself?  No freaking way!”

I hang up on him.

His voice is just too loud and too crowing.

My phone instantly rings again but I ignore it this time.

I lay still for a minute, remembering everything that happened last night.

Dante kissed me.

Dante’s life is complicated.

I ran, I fell and Dante carried me to bed.

And then he left me here.






Not really.

Well, sort of.

I crawl out of bed and drag myself to the shower.  I lean my head against the shower tiles and let the cool water run over my body for at least twenty minutes.  I don’t even feel guilty about wasting the water.  I need it more than people in the Gobi desert right now, I am sure.

When I finally feel a teench more human, I step back out of the shower.  And instantly get light-headed and instantly drop onto all-fours on the bathroom rug.  My head might fall off and roll away.  That’s what it feels like, anyway. And part of me wishes that it would.  It would at least solve the headache problem.

I crawl back out to my bedroom.  My head feels better if I’m not upright.  I slump against my bed as I pull on some clothes.  And then there’s a knock at the door.

Oh, no.

It can’t be Dante. 

Not right now.

Because I’m on the verge of death.

I slowly get to my feet and creep toward the door.

And open it.

And there’s no one there.

But there is a small white box with a navy blue velvet bow atop it sitting prettily at my feet.  And a card.

I stare at it for a moment before I pick it up and head back inside, dropping into a heap on the bed.

I tear off the bow and the box lid, and find a woven leather cuff bracelet with a big silver sunflower on it.  It’s got pretty Mediterranean beads woven in the leather strands and it’s beautiful and I love it.  And I know, even before I open the card, that it is from Dante.  His little Sunflower. That’s what he called me last night.

My breath freezes in my throat as my fingers automatically snap it onto my wrist.  It looks beautiful there, I have to admit.  It suits me.

I open the card.


I’m so sorry about last night.  Please accept this as a ThankYouForComingToDinner and SorryThatIGotYouDrunkAndKissedYou gift.  I’m really sorry that my life is complicated.  But I’m really glad that I have met you.


I can’t decide if I am angry or touched.  My heart sort of melts at his last I’mReallyGladThatIHaveMetYou line, but the fact that he thinks a gift will just wash away any hurt feelings is annoying.

He simply can’t answer the Elena question with It’s Complicated.  Not cool.