Today's Reading

When it did, I heaved the bag off the conveyor belt and lugged it across the nearly empty room. Nantucket's small airport was almost more like a train station—the whole of ACK could fit inside Grand Central. Still, a broken wheel on my suitcase left me panting and awkward as I reached the doors, where I accidentally made eye contact with Tyler.

He smirked.

While the plane ride had turned my normally impeccable curls both frizzy 'and' greasy, and I could feel a zit poking out of my chin, Tyler looked like he'd stepped out of central casting. His soft golden hair gave him the aura of a Disney prince, and even the amusement in his blue eyes didn't detract from his angelic looks. "Hey, Shira."

"Tyler." I dragged my suitcase another few feet. "Need any help?"


"Suit yourself." He turned away, buttoning up his woolen coat and tossing one end of a scarf over his shoulder. It was sixteen degrees outside. He should have been wearing a puffer jacket and Bean Boots, like me. But god forbid he look like anything other than an ad for expensive cologne.

Whatever. I didn't care if he froze to death or ruined his fancy leather shoes. Tyler Nelson came in at No. 1 on the list of Shira Barbanel's Disastrous Attempts at Romance, and I wanted nothing to do with him.

The list, in no particular order:

Jake Alvarez. Asked him to homecoming last year only to have him blink, stumble backward, and stutteringly tell me he already had a date.

Dominic Hoffman from Camp Belman. Mocked him relentlessly in an attempt at flirting. Made him cry and leave for home early. Siddharth Patel from driver's ed. Lusted after him silently throughout the entire course. Finally exchanged numbers on the last day. No response to my one, brave text (Hey).

Tyler Nelson. Spent four summers madly in love with him, only to finally make a move and be utterly, devastatingly rebuffed.

Isaac—handsome, smart, sophisticated Isaac—would not be another example of me failing at boys. He was way more grown-up than any of my other crushes, sure to be better at conversation and easier to hang out with. And this time, I'd master the art of flirting. Or I'd at least follow the steps laid out by Google, for as much as they were worth. ('Step three: start talking.' Possibly, Google needed as much help at flirting as I did.)

In any case, I knew better than to expend energy on Tyler Nelson. I tore my attention away from him to check Uber and groaned at the surge pricing. And—

'No car available.'

Impossible. I tried Lyft with the same result.

With a sense of looming dread, I looked out the windows again. The snow obscured the world. Hard to believe leaves had still clung to trees a month ago, yellow-green and orange-brown. The chill in the air had only been enough to make boots acceptable. But today, a nor'easter had swept the Eastern Seaboard with the reckless speed of Elsa icing Arendelle, painting the world white—even Nantucket, where the sea usually whipped the island wet and bleak.

Outside, a car pulled into the taxi lane, careful on the snow-dusted asphalt. By the terminal doors, Tyler gathered his duffel bag, tightened a hand around his suitcase handle, and walked into the blizzard.

Pride warred with desperation, and the latter won. I dashed after him, heaving my suitcase off its broken wheel. It banged against my legs, the pain and embarrassment warming me against the hideous cold. Snowflakes smacked into my skin, dissolving in icy pinpricks. "Tyler!"

He stood by the back of the taxi, placing his bag in the trunk. "Shira." "Can I share your car?"

"Let me guess." A close-lipped smile curved his perfectly shaped mouth. "You can't get one. Tough break."

"Tyler, come on. You live next door to me."

The driver pushed his head out the window. "That you, Shira Barbanel?" "Phil!" I beamed at the driver, who I'd known for years. "How are you?" "Doing well, doing well. Where's the rest of your family?"

"Snowed in in Boston. Their flight was canceled."

"Really?" Tyler said. "Same with my family. What were they doing in Boston?"

"Noah had a thing. I had to stay home for a final."

"Toss your stuff in the back," Phil said. "I'll give you kids a ride." Throwing a triumphant look at Tyler, I maneuvered my bag into the trunk, then slid into the back after he beat me to the front.


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