Liv raced out the door. She paused only slightly as Connor got out of his new black truck before she threw herself into his arms. He was practically shouting his joy. He twirled her around before depositing her on her feet.
"Man Liv, you weigh so little I almost forgot I was holding you."
She scowled at him. "Jerk."
Connor grabbed her hand and pulled her toward the pickup. "C'mon. Look how sweet this is." He opened the driver's side door and nudged her until she sat. Then he put his hand on her leg and side and slid her over until she was in the passenger seat. "Souped up stereo," he said as he got behind the wheel, "four wheel drive, six cylinders--"
Liv tuned him out while he rattled off the truck's specs. She was enjoying just being in the moment, reveling in his enthusiasm, so pleased that in some small way she had helped to make this possible.
Then what he was saying fully registered. "...gonna ask Ana out now."
A roaring sound filled her ears. "What?"
Connor grinned. "She's called me a few times since school got out. Totally has the hots for me. Now that I've got my ride, I'm pimpin' it with the ladies."
Liv swallowed and wondered how she could instantly feel like crying.
Connor frowned. "What's wrong? Did I do something wrong?"
She reached for the stereo and fiddled with the buttons. "No...um..." She cleared her throat. "No, Connor, I think it's great. I'm happy for you." She did her best to look happy, but knew she'd failed. "Maybe you two could be the Most Sexually Desirable Couple."
He huffed and looked frustrated as he said, "What is it with you and that stupid list?"
"Nothing!" She startled herself with how forcefully she spoke.
"Is it because you aren't on it?"
Heat climbed her cheeks and she blinked rapidly to hide the tears that instantly filled her eyes.
"Oh, shit." Connor groaned. "I'm sorry, Liv. I didn't mean--" He wrapped his arm behind her neck and pulled her against his chest. "Look, I..." After a moment he doggedly plowed on, "You are really pretty. It's just in a different way, you know? You've got a really pretty face, and your hair is, you know, hot. Long and blond and shiny. I've noticed it a lot."
Liv sat silently in his embrace. She'd held back the tears, but she couldn't stop the stupid trembling that she knew he could feel. She didn't want to pull away though. She marveled at the feeling of being in his arms, marveled at how good he smelled. She also wanted to hear more.
"It's just, you know, all about the body," he continued, "And all the girls on that list have really hot bodies."
Maybe hearing more wasn't such a good idea. Liv gave a tortured moan and pulled out of his arms. "And clearly I don't."
Connor rubbed a calloused hand along the back of his neck and muttered what sounded like a curse. "No, it's not like that. You're just...you know...you're like those models who wear clothes and stuff. Not like the Victoria's Secret models, or anything like that. But you know, the ones that...walk and look pissed off all the time. Seriously, you could be a model."