Listen to Your Heart

Page 18


“Yes. It’s about my family. They are so focused on my future and what it’s going to take for me to get there that sometimes I feel like I don’t get to live in the now. It’s all about schoolwork, college applications, tests, and studying. I have no time for anything else. It’s like they don’t want me to have a social life at all until I’m done with college.”
“Is there a question in there somewhere?” Victoria asked.
“How do I make my parents relax a little so that I can do something outside of school and work?” the caller asked.
“What about making a schedule?” Victoria offered, which I thought was smart. “Maybe you can block out times for studying and times for social things. They can’t expect you to eat, drink, and breathe schoolwork.”
“They probably can,” I said. Sometimes parents expected a lot.
“So do you have advice, Kat?” Something about the way the caller said my name felt personal. And that husky voice of his wasn’t helping, either. A shiver went through me.
“No. I mean, I don’t know,” I said. “But I understand when parents expect something different for us than what we want for ourselves.”
“Is there a certain someone you’re wanting to spend some time with, and these obligations are getting in the way?” Victoria asked the caller.
He coughed and stuttered for a moment then said, “No.”
Victoria said, “That didn’t sound like a no.”
“Well, I do like someone, but this isn’t about her.”
“Does she know you like her?” Victoria pressed.
“No” was all he said. “But you’ve both given me things to think about. Maybe I’ll try the schedule thing. Thank you.” And just like that, he hung up. Victoria had scared him away.
Victoria fanned her face and mouthed Sexy voice to me. I agreed.
The clock on the wall said forty minutes had passed. We could definitely whittle that down to thirty minutes. Victoria must’ve noticed the clock too because she said, “That’s all the time we have today. Thanks for listening! We’ll be back next week, so if you were too shy to call today, please pick up your phone another time. We’re not too scary. Well, Kat is a little scary but we keep her behind glass so you’ll be safe.” I shoved Victoria’s shoulder and she laughed. “Until next time.”
Ms. Lyon opened the door between the two rooms. “Great work, team. We’re getting our legs under us. The postproduction crew will edit tomorrow. You’re all free to go.”
Alana grabbed my hand as we walked out of the recording studio. “You did better today.”
“You think?”
“Victoria does a good job. I’m just along for the ride.” In fact, I barely hung on. If there was no Victoria, there would be no podcast.
But something else was bothering me, too. Something that was hanging in the back of my mind.
“Did you recognize the voice of that last caller?” I asked Alana.
“No, but he was changing it.”
“I know.”
“Did you recognize him?” Alana asked.
“Maybe … I think …” I bit my lip. “Was it Diego?”
“What? No.”
“I think it was. And if it was, you know what that means, right?”
“You heard him. He likes a girl. A girl he wishes he had more time for. He was talking about you, Alana.”
Alana’s eyes widened. “That’s a big jump.”
“Didn’t you say you had a solid flirting session at the tutoring center the other day? The boy likes you.”
“Shhh!” she hissed as if he might be lurking in the halls of school listening in.
I lowered my voice. “He said he wants to spend more time with a girl he likes, but his family is preventing it.” I stopped suddenly, remembering the picture Diego had in his phone case.
“What?” Alana asked.
“Maybe it isn’t Diego. He and his family seem close. He gets along with them.”
Alana shrugged. “Just because you’re close with your family doesn’t mean you can’t have disagreements.”
“True,” I said. “So you think the caller was Diego?”
“No. I was just pointing out a flaw in your logic. I still think you’re making a big assumption.”
“But if it’s him, the time issue is probably why he hasn’t asked you out. He knows he doesn’t have time for a relationship right now.”
I still wasn’t totally certain it had been him. But somehow I’d find out. Because if the caller was Diego, it was obvious that all he needed was a tiny push in Alana’s direction. I could help with that.
Labor Day weekend was one of the busiest rental times of the entire year. It was like people realized the warmth was leaving, so they were trying to soak up every last minute of sun.
“Guess who doesn’t have tutoring because of Labor Day?” Liza asked happily. She sat next to a rack of swimsuits in the marina shop, not helping at all. I stood at the register, behind the computer. Max was in the back, unpacking a shipment we had received that morning.
“You don’t?” I asked my cousin. I found myself slightly disappointed. The plan was to help Alana with Diego, and the tutoring center had been a good place to do that. Plus, I wanted to see if I’d been right about the podcast call—if Diego was the mysterious caller. I needed a long period of talking to him to figure that out.
“Nope,” Liza said, beaming. “Mom didn’t even reschedule it for another day this week.”
“Lucky you.” I nudged her leg with my foot. “Aren’t you going to miss Tommy?”
“Ha ha,” she said but she looked at the floor, probably to hide pink cheeks.
My dad appeared in the open doorway. “Kate, will you check the position of WaveRunner number seven on the GPS?”
“Yep.” All our power rentals had GPS units to keep track of them. Cell coverage on the lake was spotty and sometimes people couldn’t call in to the marina if they got stuck. “It’s in the cove,” I said when I pulled up the location on the computer.
He sighed. “That’s what I was worried about. It’s an hour late. The next renter is here.”
“It probably ran out of gas,” I said, and Dad nodded. “Want me to go check on it?”
Liza hopped up. “I can stand at the cash register.”
“Okay,” Dad said.
We had a smaller, older WaveRunner that had aged out of our renting fleet, but we kept it for situations like this when all the others were rented out. I grabbed the keys, a life jacket, and a rope, and headed out. With a big smile on my face, I untied the vehicle from the dock. I shouldn’t have been happy someone was stuck or late, but it meant I got to be out on the lake for a little bit.
After I got past the five-mile-an-hour buoys, I cranked the gas and picked up speed. Water sprayed out on either side of the WaveRunner, creating a fine mist on my legs. The lake was choppy today and crowded with boats. The sequoia trees created a dark green band against the blue sky. There were spots of rust-colored trees as well—dying trees. Some were suffering from the drought, some from a beetle that had infested the area a few years back.
The cove was up ahead, hidden by a bend in the lake and an outcropping of rocks and trees. When I rounded the corner, the first thing I saw was a fancy speedboat, its engine off. Two guys were standing inside the boat; one, who looked to be about my age, manned the wheel, and the other guy, who looked to be in his twenties, stood beside him, talking. I should’ve instantly recognized the boat as belonging to the Youngs but I didn’t until I recognized the driver: Frank.