(From Chapter 6)
She almost didn’t recognize him behind the wheel of his father’s green pickup truck. His hair was longer than she remembered. For a moment, her mind spun. She dropped the box in her hands and it fell to the floor, spilling the pink and white candies everywhere. He was parking almost directly across the street from her now. As stupid as it was, she hadn’t planned this far. Now he was getting out of the truck.
She had long since rolled up her window and turned on the air conditioning, so it wasn’t as if she could yell to him. Instead, she opened her door as fast as she could and tripped over her feet as she stumbled out onto the road. She shut the door and the sound made Jesse stop and look up before he could shut the truck’s door. His mouth dropped open.
“I heard you were on parole.” She brushed a sweaty hand across her forehead. “I … I—”
“I’m not allowed to see you,” he interrupted, taking a step back. But he had nowhere to go except the truck. His hand lingered on the open door. “I’ll be sent back to prison if I attempt to contact or see you. I’m not even sure I can see you after my parole is over. It might be long time.” He looked at his hands. “I have a hearing next week. I’ll find out more then.”
Even from across the street, Naomi could see the muscles in his jaw tightening with anger. She knew it wasn’t aimed at her. “But you aren’t attempting,” she said. “I’ve taken that initiative, so it’s not your fault.”
“Yes, but if my parole officer finds out about this, he won’t be happy. I was lucky enough to be released to my father. If you’re found here, I’ll be in more trouble than you can imagine.” His face was stiff, his body tense. Naomi realized what a mistake she had made, but there he was, right in front of her. It was too much. She took a step forward, relieved the road was quiet with no traffic at the moment. Jesse glanced down the street, then back to her. His expression softened as she walked toward him. Each of her steps were heavy, as if she didn’t believe she would ever reach him.