Desperately Devastated (Addicted To You, Book Nine)
Author:Covington, Lucy

Last year after I’d maxed out my senior schedule with AP classes, I filled in the blanks with a computer class. And I’d learned how to use Powerpoint, Photoshop, and Excel like nobody’s business.


“Thanks,” Carter said. “But it’s not really like that. There are going to be changes up until the last minute. I’m leaving for New York tonight, and I’ll be working on this nonstop until tomorrow morning.”


“Oh.” I swallowed. “Well, I could help you now.”


He shook his head again. “It’s kind of a one man job. Besides, I should probably get out of here, anyway.” He looked over to where a couple of women were standing in the corner, waiting for a table and shooting daggers at us. “Too many distractions.”


I wasn’t sure if he was talking about the people wanting his table, me interrupting him, or both.


“Okay.” I stood up and played with the strap of my bag. “Carter – “


“I’ll see you later.” He shoved his laptop into his bag and brushed by me, heading for the door of the bookstore.


I just stood there for a moment, marveling at how I’d managed to screw things up so badly. Obviously he was still mad at me. I wondered if he really didn’t need any help, or if he just didn’t want any help from me.


“Excuse me,” one of the women who’d been waiting for a table asked. “Are you going to be sitting here? It’s a four-person table, you know. It’s not meant for one.”


“I was just leaving,” I said.


I’d planned to maybe hang out and study a little bit, but the store was so crowded that after I’d paid for my study guide, I started to head back toward the dorms.


I was out of the store and about to cross the street when I saw Carter standing on the corner. He’d stopped to listen to a man playing the saxophone. The man had a long gray beard, and he was playing his little heart out. Unfortunately, he wasn’t that good.


The music sounded like a cat was dying. I watched as Carter reached into his pocket and tossed a dollar bill into the man’s open saxophone case.


It was a sweet gesture, and it reminded me of something important -- Carter was nice. I remembered how he’d taken care of me the day I almost fainted, the way he’d made sure my essay had gotten to Dr. Klaxton, how he’d listen to me complain about Justin.


Before I knew it, I was running down the street after him.




He turned around. When he saw it was me, he sighed. “Hey.”


“Hey.” I took a deep breath. “Listen, I don’t want things to be weird between us.”


“They’re not.”


“Obviously they are.” I readjusted my bag on my shoulder. “I’m sorry I was unprofessional. And I really hate that you were the one that had to deal with it. I shouldn’t have put you in that position.”


“Look, Lindsay, it’s not a big deal. It’s just that anything you do reflects on me. I vouched for you. I’m pretty much in charge of you. And if Dr. Klaxton had seen those flowers there, well…” He trailed off.


“I get it.” And I did get it. Dr. Klaxton was not the kind of man who’d take something like that as a funny little incident. He’d think it was ridiculous, and he’d be pissed that anything had happened to distract us from our work. From what I could tell, Dr. Klaxon didn’t like to think that anyone had a life outside of school. He perceived it as weakness.


“So we’re cool?” Carter asked. He sounded sincere, but he was glancing over his shoulder, like he was desperate to get away from me. A weird feeling of panic welled up inside of me. Suddenly it felt vitality important that I prove myself to him. Not just that he forgive me, but that I do something to prove how helpful I could be to him.


“Let me go with you,” I blurted.




“Let me go with you. To New York. I can help.”


He shook his head. “I’m leaving tonight. The kickoff meeting is tomorrow.”




“So it doesn’t make sense.”


“Why not? You need help. I can help you. Do you think Klaxton would go for it?”


He sighed. A breeze blew up and ruffled his hair. “I don’t know. You’d need a plane ticket.”


“I can get a plane ticket. Just send me the flight information.”


“That’s not how it works. The science department has to pay for everything so they can work it into the research budget at the end of the year.” But he was pulling his iPad out of his bag and scrolling through his email. “It’s Flight 2985. Out of Boston tonight.”


“I’ll book it,” I said. “You tell Klaxton. And the science department can reimburse me later.” I had no idea how much a flight from Boston to New York was going to cost, especially on such short notice. But I had a credit card my parents had given me for emergencies, and if this wasn’t an emergency, I wasn’t sure what was. I mean, my whole academic future was on the line here. Or at least my reputation.


“You sure?” Carter was looking at me skeptically.


“I’m sure.”


“Okay.” He grinned, and just like that, the tension between us dissipated. “I’ll text you what time the car service is picking us up for the airport.”


My mouth went dry. “Is Klaxton riding over with us?”


Carter laughed. “No way. He takes a limo.”