The Bet

By: Rachel Van Dyken

Chapter Six





“Liar,” Kacey mumbled a half hour later.

“Excuse me?” Jake looked up from his laptop and squinted. The idiot had spent the entire flight using the Wi-Fi on the plane, sending business emails like they were going out of style.

Meanwhile, Kacey was checking out every single shady character on the plane and studying the diagram in front of her just in case she had to make an escape route.

Well, the joke would be on Jake when the plane crashed. She would know at least seven different ways to exit the plane as well as the quickest way to get to any door, while he would probably save his laptop and every other worldly possession he owned.

Perhaps she had built him up in her mind too much? As a friend he had been great. And yes, every other kiss had paled in comparison to his. But if things were different, if they had stayed friends or maybe even gotten married, would her life be so wonderful?

Or would she be flying around with him, watching, while he paid more attention to his laptop than he did to the fact that she was having a major panic attack?

“Fifteen minutes,” she mumbled to herself, forgetting that she had actually just accused Jake of lying.

“First you accuse me of lying, and now you’re giving me a count down? You okay, Kace?”

“Fine.” She clenched and grinded her teeth as she watched him shrug and look back at his computer.

The temptation to smash his computer with her bare hands was strong, but it would accomplish nothing other than ruining her nails, which she had worked hard to perfect hours before. Not that Jake would notice.

“It’s only fifteen more minutes,” she chanted more to herself than to the idiot next to her. “Plus? It’s not as if things are going to get any worse, right? I mean, it’s not as if Travis is going to be there.” Kacey suddenly felt so much better.

Jake’s brother Travis had been the bane of her existence. While Jake chased and played with her, Travis wouldn’t give her any attention at all. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. When she was really little he was relentless. And then he suddenly stopped. It was simply like she didn’t exist. And she wasn’t sure why it bothered her so much, but he always seemed to be irritated with her when she was young. Kacey was his little brother’s best friend. She could count on one hand the number of times he had actually spoken to her, and each time she ended up crying and running away, while Travis continued to taunt her.

Outwardly shuddering, Kacey managed to stay silent the rest of the flight.

****

He knew he was being rude, but he had business to finish up, and well, Kacey needed to understand that some things were just more important. It wasn’t as if he didn’t care that she was hyperventilating next to him, but he couldn’t just drop everything in order to cater to her every fear.

Geez, he’d be catering to her all night, and he had a few things he needed to finish up. Because she looked so good in what she was wearing, it was taking him three times as long to even finish his emails, let alone put together sentences that made sense to his colleagues.

Jake had never been so happy for a plane to land. He pulled out his cell to text his mom that they had arrived.

His phone beeped immediately, he looked down and felt the blood drain from his face.

“Shit.”

“What? What is it? Is it Grandma? Oh my gosh, Jake, I have to see her. Is she okay?” Kacey was gripping that same arm she had pinched earlier. He was going to have to have plastic surgery to remove the imprints of her fingers on his arm.

“No, not Grandma.” Wanting nothing more than to slam his phone against the seat or crush it in his hand, he managed a tight smile. “Mom can’t pick us up. Her nail appointments ran late and she had to run home to put dinner in, so someone else has to get us.”

“Oh.” Kacey shrugged and reached for her purse.

Oh, God. He looked up and sent a prayer heavenward. “So yeah, um, and Dad is helping grocery shop and Grandma’s most likely sleeping, so um, Travis is gonna come get us.”

Kacey froze. “Your brother, Travis?” People began shuffling into the aisle. Maybe he could make a run for it. Or jump off the plane and break something so she’d feel sorry for him. He looked at her face, not even a hint of a smile.

“Come on, Kace, it’s not that bad. Travis is a grown man. Get over it.” Oh wow, that was sensitive.

Apparently Kacey thought so too. Her nostrils flared. She nudged past him, nearly knocking an old man to his knees. Great, maybe Kacey would get him sued for assault.

“Excuse her,” Jake mumbled as Kacey continued to move toward the exit. Luckily it wasn’t a very full flight, so she was able to make it without causing any more physical harm to the other passengers.

He cursed and grabbed his carry-on, then followed her out.

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