Author's Note: Sorry for the EXTREMELY LATE updates. I've been extremely busy and had a severe case of Writer's Blockitis. But now I'm back, and on vacation with nothing to do with my life but write, play music and work out! Yay for you! Without further ado, on with das story!

Getting to Monday was slow-going. When I told Alex about it, she freaked. "Omigawsh! He totally likes you!" She had said. I had rolled my eyes, but secretly hoped it was true.

Anyways, Monday finally came, and I was excited to a point I couldn't sleep. Still, I made an effort to look nice. I wore a tank-top that I had made from my school's football t-shirt under my overall short with combat boots. I styled my hair and put it in a side-braid and added a subtle amount of make-up.

I scurried down stairs and was greeted by Gran. "Oh hai, Gran." I said, kissing her on the cheek.

"You seem a little dressed up just to go to the store." She said, giving me a once-over.

I blushed. "Oh, well, I just threw this on. And I just wanted to do something different with my hair."

"Oh," Gran said slowly, and I could tell she was still not convinced. "Well, I already gave Eli my list. He should be waiting at the gate. Stay safe." She told me.

"Will do." I said, and skipped out of the house.

Eli was waiting by the gate like Gran had said. "You ready?" He asked. I nodded. He tossed me the keys.

I caught them. "Um, why do I need the keys?" I asked, sincerely puzzled.

"You have a permit in driving, right?" He asked.

"Yea. I'm getting my license when I get back to Cali." I said, still not following.

"Your gonna drive then," He said. "You know, to prepare yourself for your big driving test when you get back."

"But…" I stuttered, but it was no use. He was already sliding into the passenger's seat and there was no way I could push him out. He was almost 200 pounds of pure muscle and I was a measly 100 with little strength.

I nervously walked around the truck to the driver's side. It'll be fine, I thought to myself, I've driven plenty of times before, and I'm good at it. It's the same thing, just different look, right?

Wrong. The truck was completely different than the cars I've driven. Not only was it a four-wheel drive, but was a stick-shift too!

"I can't do this." I said aloud, gawking at the foreign stick-shift that laid before me.

"Yes you can. Hear I'll guide you." Eli lifted my limp hand and placed it on the shaft. He put his over mine. "You do the pedal work, I'll move your hands." He instructed.

The car moved forward smoothly as I pushed the pedals and he switched gears with rhythmic timing. "Remember to steer." He muttered so softly, I barely heard. I nodded. We kept going down the road in silence, only speaking whenever Eli told me to turn. We arrived to the store in the nick of time, and I parked the car.

I turned to Eli, who was beaming. "What?" I asked.

"Look down at the stick-shift." He said. My hand was on it, all by its lonesome without any guidance.

"How long has it been like that?" I asked.

"Since about five miles back. You did it. You got to the store, without crashing." He said, practically glowing.

I grinned wildly. I hopped out of the car, and did my happy dance. Eli laughed, and we high-fived. "I think this calls for a celebration." He said. "Slushies for both of us. On me." He said. I agreed. We walked into the store that reminded me of an old saloon you see in Wild West movies.

"Eli! What a nice surprise!" A female voice practically screeched when we walked in. A girl with curly dirty blonde hair rushed up to us. She was gorgeous, with a deep tan, and curves. Her face was made up with dark mascara, black lip liner, and bright red lipstick. She had a beauty mark right above her lip and I couldn't tell if it was real or drawn on. She wore a red plaid sleeveless shirt that she had rolled up so that her belly showed and ripped up shorts that were so short her pockets went longer than the hem.

Eli gave her a hug, and his musky cologne mixed with her bubbly smelling perfume.

"And who's this?" She asked, giving me a once-over. "Little cousin?"

"No. Jules, this is Marissa, Marissa, this is Jules. She's Betsy's granddaughter." He introduced us awkwardly.

"How cute." She said. I flinched. I hate being called cute.

Eli handed Marissa our list and we took a seat at the bar counter while Marissa prepared our items.

When she was done, she placed the bags over on the counter.

"So," She strutted over Eli. She walked her fingers up leg to where his hand was resting and clasped it. "You coming tonight?" She smiled seductively and toyed with his hand.

"Uh," He looked over at me. "I'm not sure."

"It's okay, I can call a babysitter for her so you can come to the club." She smirked at me and I felt my face getting hot.

"I don't need a babysitter! I'm old enough!" I blurted furiously. Marissa just laughed.

"Okay then, sweetheart. We'll see." Marissa cackled and flashed me a wicked grin.

"See you later, k?" Eli said and we left with our items.

We didn't even get Slushies.

Dinner was short and quiet. "May I be excused?" He asked once he was finished. It was something Gran made us do. Gran nodded her approval and Eli got up and put the plate in the sink. He thanked meal for the dinner, then headed out to the barn.

"What's wrong with Eli? He's been quiet today. Face has been redder than ever too. Is he embarrassed about something or has he been out in the sun to long.

I shrugged, not really wanting to explain. "Went to the store, that's all."

"Oh, I see. It's that girl workin' at the shop isn't it? Eli's had a crush on that girl for a while. Although I shouldn't say girl. She's built like a woman."

My heart sank. "He told you?"

"No, but I can tell. Whenever he gets back, he seems extra smiley. Not to mention he smells like perfume. That girl's probably huggin' and kissin' up on him."

"Oh." Was all that I could say.

Gran yawned. "Boy am I tired. Those chickens gave me a runnin' around today. I'm going to bed. Goodnight, Julia." Gran gave me a kiss on my cheek and headed upstairs. I was left downstairs to do the dishes.

Once I was finished, I decided to visit Eli at the barn. I climbed up the ladder and stood up on the small plank that prevented people from falling 3 stories to the ground. The door was cracked and I peeked through. Eli was in the middle of changing. I immediately jerked away. "Knock, knock!" I called loudly.

After a few seconds of shuffling, Eli called, "Come in!"

I stepped through the door. "Hey," I said awkwardly and just stood by the door. Eli was laying on his bed like last time, wearing regular street clothes instead of his normal working get-up.

"You wanna come in further? I'm not going to bite." He chuckled. I nervously laughed and sat down on the edge of his bed. "So?" He asked.

"Um, I just wanted to apologize." I stuttered.

"For what?" He asked, genuinely confused.

"For earlier. At the store. If you really wanna go to that party, you can. You don't have to worry about me. I don't wanna hold you back from hanging with…a friend." More like girlfriend, I thought as I said it but kept to myself.

"It's okay. I didn't wanna go. You were just a good excuse on why not." He smiled. I felt a little better.

"Oh, so I was just a prop in your lie?" I said, pretending to be taken aback with fake offense.

Eli laughed and put his hands up as if in surrender. "Okay, okay, maybe so." We both laughed.

"So…do you like Marissa?" I questioned nonchalantly as our laughter died down.

"Eh…she's hot." Eli stretched, purposely pushing me with his foot.

"Hey!" I grinned and smacked his foot away.

"Why'd you ask?" Eli sat up, curious to hear my answer.

"Because Gran thinks you do. She says every time you come back from the store, you have this big smile on your face and smell like perfume. Just confirming the myth." I half-lied.

"Okay, well I guess you could say I do." He admitted.

"Then why didn't you go to the club or whatever with her? Or ask her out?" I interrogated. I don't know why though, because finding out Eli liked Marissa was killing me on the inside.

"Nervous, I guess." He shrugged.

"But if you kissed her—"

"What's with these 20 questions? Are you jealous?" Eli teased.

"Am not! I have a boyfriend!" I blurted.

"Really?" Eli said surprised. "What's his name?"

"Well, he isn't really my boyfriend," I said, blushing. "but we probably would have ended up dating, my best friend, Nick and I. I liked him and he liked me, at least, I thought he did, but now, I'm not sure. He keeps avoiding me." I said, trying my hardest not to cry. Because when I thought of Nick, I thought of Alex and how I was going to be best friendless next year.

"Well, I don't know what his problem is. I would never want to leave a girl like you." Eli said softly while he rubbed my back.

I rested my head on his chest. "Next year is going to suck for me," I said between sniffles. "I'm going to be completely friendless."

"You'll still have me, right?" He asked.

I smiled, "Yea, I guess I will."