Xavier Thomas has everything. Money. Power. Control. All of that is shattered when he meets an unusual irl with an unusual name and an even more unusual request…
…Tennessee Evans wants to see the world. She’s never been on vacation and she wants to road-trip while she can. When she sees a rich pretty-boy getting his passport, her problems are solved. She asks him to take her on vacation and, to her utter surprise, he agrees.
However, she has a secret that could shatter everything. And Xavier has now become a complication.
“Mommy, I’m hungry.”
Xavier shoved his earbuds further into his ears. Waiting in line was one thing, but waiting in line with a child crying in his ear was another. He shifted his stance and attempted to block out the sound best he could.
The woman did her best to hush the belligerent child while remaining oblivious to the dirty looks people were sending her way.
The child expelled an unexpected, ear-piercing wail, which turned the dirty looks to dark ones. The lady, cheeks stained pink with embarrassment, apologized profusely and swiftly carried her child out.
“Shoulda done that quite a bit ago.”
At the middle-aged man’s comment, a woman snorted. “Children these days have no sense of respect. So spoiled.”
Though the young boy’s cries were more than a bit annoying, Xavier highly doubted a child barely of the age of two would know the existence of the word respect, let alone have the capability of behaving with such.
He slid his phone from his pocket and changed the song. People annoyed him. Not all people, but most. He liked order and reasoning and control. It hadn’t taken him long to discover that many times, people didn’t make sense, and more than that, life was impossible to control.
That didn’t stop him from trying, however.
A woman started an argument with her husband. The man’s face became even more drawn as his wife roused herself into an embarrassing frenzy.
Yes, he most certainly did not care for people.
Xavier stood as he heard his number and made his way to the counter.
“How are we doing this afternoon?”
He peered at the woman in front of him. He had always thought it strange when people used the word we rather than you.
The woman’s face was blank as she nodded absently, not really interested in his answer. She pulled some papers out and handed him a pen. “Just sign here and… here and then you can go ahead and take a seat.”
Xavier did as she requested, then returned to his seat. Just as he was about to return his earbuds to his ears, a shadow descended over him. He looked up.
“Mind if I sit here?”
Curly hair and bright eyes stared back at him. The girl was practically bouncing. She wore a shirt much too big for her small frame with leggings and sandals. What caught his attention, however, was her smile – wide and genuine.
Xavier cleared his throat, realizing he’d been staring. “No. Not at all.”
“Thanks.” She plopped down next to him.
An awkward silence ensued and Xavier began to wish the crying child was still around.
“How old are you?”
Xavier startled and stared at the girl with wide eyes. “‘Scuse me?”
She laughed and the sound wasn’t polite and reserved like most girls. It was loud and full, brimming with joy. It wasn’t boisterous, however, simply… unfiltered. He smiled. He had a suspicion her laugh was much like her personality.
“How old are you?” she repeated.
“Twenty-three. How ‘bout you?”
She grinned, mischievousness gleaming in her eyes. “Don’t you know better than to ask a woman her age?”
His face warmed and he coughed. “I beg your pardon. But, I figured you’d rather me ask than guess.”
“And what would you have guessed?”
He stared at her then. She had the figure of a teen and her behavior bespoke of youth. However, her eyes held more maturity than he would have expected. “Twenty.”
Her leg began to bounce. “Ooh, you’re good. nineteen.” Her hand came out and gestured towards the DMV. “License renewal and all that jazz.” Her head tilted to the side, sending a curl brushing against her cheek. “I’m surprised you didn’t say sixteen or seventeen.”
He shrugged. He would have, but… “Your eyes.”
Her brow furrowed. “What?”
“Your eyes. They seem older than the rest of you.”
A gleam entered her eyes, then, and she smiled, seeming to like that answer.
That particular gleam made Xavier uncomfortable, but he decided to ignore it.
He shouldn’t have.
“Wanna go somewhere?”
He choked. “W-what?”
“Do you want to go somewhere? Anywhere.”
“Are you propositioning me?” Horror colored his tone.
She laughed again and it made Xavier want to smile. “I want to go on a trip. Away from here. And you seem like just the person to take me.”