Listen to Your Heart

Page 15


“Says the guy who has known he wanted to fly airplanes since the time he was five.”
He smiled. “True.”
I started to walk toward the door.
“But I minored in Biology because I thought cutting things open sounded fun, too.”
I turned and walked backward a few steps. “You’re weird.”
He raised his cereal bowl to me. “Sometimes the path of least resistance isn’t necessarily the right path. You can resist the siren call of the lake sometimes.”
I stopped walking. “What?”
“You were talking to my dad, weren’t you? He used those exact words. Did you all sit around talking about me?”
I lowered my chin and continued to stare.
“They’re just concerned about you, Kate.”
I frowned. “They think I only want to run the marina because it’s easy? Because I’m lazy or something?”
“They don’t want you to choose your future by default.”
“I love the marina. Maybe more than they do.”
He held up his hands in surrender. “Don’t shoot the messenger.”
I grunted and marched to the door. “Fine. I won’t quit the podcast.”
At least, not yet.
“I thought Alana was coming with us today,” Liza said as we pulled up outside the tutoring center on Monday afternoon.
“She’s meeting us here.”
Alana had explained to me that she didn’t want to show up at Diego’s place of employment without a good reason. I wasn’t sure what good reason she’d come up with, but I’d learned long ago to just go along with Alana’s plans. Things turned out better that way.
This time, Diego was at the front counter when Liza and I walked inside.
“Hey, Kate, Liza,” he said.
Tommy came out of the back room. “Hi, Liza. You ready to get to work?”
She shrugged. “Not really.”
Tommy laughed. “Well, too bad, kiddo. I get paid the big bucks to make you work.” His gaze slid to me. “Hey, nice job on the podcast Friday.”
I nearly choked on my own surprise. “Oh … you listened to that?”
“Yeah. You were funny.”
“See!” Liza said. “That’s what I tried to tell her, but she cried about how awful she was.”
“I did not cry.” My face got hot.
“Whined, whatever.”
She had me there. “Yes, there was lots of whining.”
“Well, I liked the podcast,” Tommy said. Then he gestured toward the tables and led Liza away.
I bit my bottom lip and tried to avoid Diego’s stare, which I could feel on me.
“You host the school podcast?” he asked.
“I know. I seem like the last person who should’ve been picked to be a host.”
“I didn’t say that.”
I occupied myself with the magazines on the table again. There were new ones, I noticed. “It was a job forced upon me.” I picked up one of the new ones, a fashion magazine, and showed it to Diego. “This another hobby of yours?”
“No. Do you like fashion?”
I threw the magazine down and sank onto the chair. “Not really.” I opted for one of the three-year-old celebrity gossip magazines and began reading some articles. It was interesting going back in time for a bit. Some things seemed exactly the same and others were totally different.
I wasn’t sure how long I sat leafing through that magazine and wondering if Alana would ever show up. But when I looked up again, Diego was typing into his phone. A picture was tucked into the clear case of his phone. My curiosity had me tossing the magazine back on the table and standing up to take a closer a look.
“Your family?” I asked. The photo showed Diego with two adults, plus two older guys and a girl I guessed were his brothers and sister. They were all good-looking, with similar wide smiles.
“What?” he asked.
I pointed. “The picture.”
He flipped his phone over to look. “Oh. Yes. I like my family. Go figure.”
I smiled. That was sweet. “Me too. Most of the time.”
Diego went back to typing something, and I was just about to ask him what had his attention when Victoria’s voice rang out over his phone’s tiny speaker, broadcasting the podcast.
I gasped and without hesitating, I lunged forward tried to steal the phone from Diego. He held it out of my reach. Then my voice rang out from the speaker. I grabbed his arm and tried to pull the phone down. He laughed and twisted out of my hold.
“Seriously, Diego, this isn’t funny. Please turn it off.”
“But I want to listen.”
“No, I forbid it.” I had his sleeve now and I knew he wasn’t taking me seriously because I was laughing, too. It was my nervous laugh, but a laugh just the same. How was anyone supposed to take me seriously when I laughed? Our collective laughter made it impossible to hear the podcast. But not impossible to hear the bell on the front door as it opened.
“Alana,” Diego said, and I whirled around.
“Am I missing a good game?” Alana asked.
In the new silence, my voice sounded from Diego’s phone. “Having to host a podcast when I don’t like people very much.”
“You don’t like people?” Diego asked me.
“Only the ones that try to talk to her,” Alana answered for me.
“Please turn it off,” I said. This time my sincerity was obvious.
Diego lowered his phone and pressed the screen. The room went still.
“Thank you,” I said.
“I brought you back your math book, Kate,” Alana said. “I dropped it off in your car.”
“Oh. Thanks.” She hadn’t borrowed my math book. Apparently that was the really good excuse she was going with.
“Ooh, fashion.” Alana sat down, propped her feet on the coffee table, and started looking through the magazine.
“Two questions,” Diego said as I backed out from behind the counter and took a seat next to Alana. “One, why do you feel like the podcast was a failure? And two, I thought you hated to be called Kat?”
“I do. All the times I corrected Victoria were edited out. And the podcast was a failure because hardly anybody called in.”
Tommy yelled out from the back like he’d somehow been able to follow along with our conversation. “Just keep being funny and people will call in.”
My cheeks went pink from his praise.
Alana casually stood, most likely to get a look at Tommy, but pretending it was to examine the art on the walls.
“Oh, really?” she mumbled when she sat back down. “Maybe that finger is about to come off the hook, after all?”
I answered just as quietly back, “No. Liza is crushing on him. He’s off-limits.”
“Anonymity,” Diego said.
“What?” both Alana and I asked at the same time, turning our attention away from our private conversation and back to him.
“People aren’t going to call in with personal problems if there’s a chance the listeners will know who they are,” Diego said, leaning his elbows on the counter. “I mean, I guess some people might. But you’ll have a bigger chance at success if people can be anonymous.”
“He’s right,” Alana said.
Of course he was, and I wasn’t sure why I hadn’t thought of that. Even Alana, the most outgoing person ever, had tried to disguise her identity when she called in. Part of it was that she didn’t want the class to know she was bailing me out, but it was also because she didn’t want everyone in the world to hear her problems … well, my problems.