Listen to Your Heart

Page 8


“So obviously I’ll be the lead host,” Victoria said. “Since I’m the senior and you didn’t even want to do this. You can chime in during the show with things to back up what I’m saying.”
That actually sounded like something I might be able to handle. “Okay.”
“Maybe there are problems you can each specialize in based on your experiences.” Ms. Lyon’s voice sounded from over my head. How did she keep appearing out of thin air? I turned around to look at her but she was already gone.
“That’s kind of creepy,” I said. Alana would’ve agreed, and laughed with me about it.
Victoria just said, “What is?”
“Anyway, I’m older, so I might have more experience in most areas. What problems might people call in about?” Victoria asked.
“Um …” I tried to think of things I’d listened to friends and family complain about in the past. “Parents, maybe?”
“True. Are your parents still married?”
“Then I’ll mark myself as the expert on parent problems. Mine are divorced and it was ugly.”
“Relationship problems will be high on the list. Advice about love and all that. How many relationships have you had?”
“Just one,” I said, blushing and thinking of Hunter.
“Okay, me again.” She put her name down.
“I can give good advice about the lake,” I piped up.
“The lake? You think people will want advice about the lake?”
“I don’t know. Maybe? Like the best time of day to visit or where to take a date or …”
I could tell by the look on her face that she didn’t think anyone would ever need advice about the lake, but she said, “Sure,” and wrote it down on her paper. “I play basketball and run track. So sports advice is all me.”
The rest of class went pretty much the same way. Fashion, homework, teachers, friends, she gave those all to herself. The only other one I got was siblings because she counted my cousin situation as unique.
I was pretty sure our list-making had only reinforced Victoria’s initial idea that she would lead the advice and I would back her up. Again, I was fine with that arrangement. The less talking I had to do, the better.
The bell rang. Victoria packed up her bag fast and was out the door before I’d even stood. The tension that had tightened across my shoulders released and I took a deep breath. The fun class Alana had promised was turning out to be more stressful than I’d anticipated.
Alana joined me. “I’m going to kill him.”
She nodded. “I can’t believe I have to work with him.”
“I’m sorry.”
“Not your fault. Let’s get out of here. Want to go get milkshakes at the diner?”
“I wish I could but I promised Liza I’d take her to her first day of tutoring. Tomorrow after school?”
We walked several more feet in silence. My insides felt close to unraveling. “Advice is your thing, Alana. How am I going to do this?” I asked, kicking at the ground.
She took me by the shoulders and looked me in the eyes. “You got this, Kate. Advice can be your thing, too. People are just looking for understanding and a solution.”
I let out a single laugh. “Yeah, exactly. I’m not good at either of those.”
“Just don’t think about it too hard. It will come naturally to you. Imagine you’re sitting around talking to me.”
I nodded and gave her a hug. Then we separated to our own cars.
My cell phone dug into my hip when I sat down so I freed it and threw it on the passenger seat. I stared at it. I wanted to text Hunter—tell him about the craziness that happened today. He’d understand why I didn’t want to speak on air about things I knew nothing about. But he hadn’t even answered my text from last month. Why would I text him again? I was sure that if Alana’s topic had been picked for the podcast, letting go of someone who has already let you go would make the Top Ten list of dating advice. I stuck my key in the ignition and turned.
“Is she gone?” Liza asked. We had parked outside of the tutoring center, but as soon as I turned the car off, Liza had thrown her head down between her knees. I was surprised she hadn’t smacked her head into the dash in the process.
“I have no idea who you saw, so I don’t know.”
“A girl my age and her mom going into the grocery store. Didn’t I tell you this would happen?”
“You know, Liza,” I said. “Having a tutor is not a bad thing. A lot of people I know have had tutors over the years.”
“Well, nobody I know has, so I don’t believe you.”
“Okay. I think the coast is clear now.”
She poked her head up slowly and looked around. “Good. Let’s walk fast. You can walk fast, right?”
“Yes, I have the ability to walk fast. But I thought the whole point of me going with you was that it wouldn’t be so bad to be seen with me.”
“Yeah, I’ve decided you don’t hold that much power. Nobody at school even knows who you are,” she said, and flung herself out of the car.
By the time I caught up with her, she was at the door. When she opened it, a loud bell rang, announcing our arrival. There was a tall counter in front of us and behind that a large room with long tables. Along the back wall were small cubicles. An entire side wall was full of windows, which made the atmosphere bright and airy. If it had a view of the lake, I would’ve wished I had brought my homework so I could sit at one of those tables and work. But we weren’t in Lakesprings. The windows faced a parking lot. Not that Oak Court didn’t have nice views. There were lots of trees; we were in the Sierra Nevadas, after all. This just wasn’t one of those views.
A guy walked out of a back cubicle, in between the tables, and came to the counter.
“Welcome,” he said.
He and I both recognized each other at the same time.
“Diego,” I said. “I didn’t realize you worked here.”
“You come here?”
“My cousin. I’m here for my cousin.” I pointed at her to verify my statement.
“Oh, now you understand the embarrassment of it all,” Liza said under her breath.
I ignored her. “Are you her tutor?” I asked.
Diego looked at a schedule on the counter. “No. Tommy is her tutor.” He called out over his shoulder, “Tommy! Your client is here.”
“See, you’re a client,” I said quietly to Liza. “That’s fancy.”
“Too late. Now I know how you really feel.”
A tall guy with long brown hair, wearing a band T-shirt, came out of a back room. Liza straightened up beside me.
“Tommy, this is Liza,” Diego said.
Tommy smiled big. “Nice to meet you. We only have an hour today, right? Let’s slay your homework.”
Liza nodded and followed him to a long table by the window.
“Tommy is great. She’s in good hands,” Diego said as my gaze lingered on them.
“Does Tommy go to Sierra High?” I asked, feeling a little silly for asking. If Alana were here, she’d tease me about her lake versus city theory.
“No, he’s a freshman at Fresno State.”