Can’t Catch My Breath
I wrote down in all capitals PEER INTERVIEW, jotting down the due date. One thing that tripped me up, though, was that Mr. V had said pairings. Meaning he’d already stuck us together with partners. I knew I wouldn’t have gotten lucky enough to be paired with Vesta, but I honestly wasn’t sure if there was another student I’d want to have to spend two weeks interviewing. Or, most likely, one week interviewing—the second week would be spent drafting that report.
“Greyson Clemon and Kristen Veracruz,” Mr. Walker called out. “Yvonne Buckley and Ella Garrett. Vesta Upperton and Kyle Casey.”
Figures. My best friend was with another easygoing, charismatic person. All kinds of unfair. She’d get someone like him, and I’d get--
I’d been looking at Mr. Walker, and I saw the moment he scanned the next pair of names, saw the moment he came up short. “Addy Arden and…” He paused, looking like he visibly swallowed. “Vincent Castello.”
My whole body seemed to freeze, an iciness sweeping through my veins. It was like I’d fallen into a lake of water in the middle of winter, instantly turning into an Addy Arden popsicle.
I’d never thought about Vincent Castello before, at least not for any longer than five seconds at a time. He was a partier, definitely not my crowd. He didn’t party like Vesta partied, with a few sips from a red cup. Word was he did drugs. Had tattoos. I mean, he had a lip piercing. I’d never even looked him in the eye.
While holding my breath, I glanced behind me and almost immediately wished I hadn’t.
He wasn’t looking at me, almost like he refused to. His dark hair hung in his eyes, lips turned down into a frown—even from here, I could see his silver lip piercing, and it made my heart skip a beat. That rumor was true, so what else was?
Just as quickly as I’d turned, I flipped back toward the front, slipping lower in my seat. Whether Vincent looked over at me or not, I had no way of really knowing, but there was no shaking the feel of eyes on the back of my head.
It wasn’t just this assignment that made me panicked. It was the fact that his dad was Carlo Castello that complicated things. A lot.
A sticky, hot feeling unfurled over me. If Vincent and I were partners for this project, that meant we’d have to talk to each other. Interview each other.
I was already near hyperventilating. No. No, no. I couldn’t do that. Not even a little bit. And I was certain Vincent wouldn’t want to either.
Mr. Walker continued down the list, but I mentally replayed the sound of Vincent’s name, my brain unable to let go.
I couldn’t help but think that Vincent’s life was entangled with mine, two pieces of string in a messy, twisted knot. I would never be able to look at him without thinking of everything that happened.
Both of our lives, forever altered by the same accident.