Adam Koepp személy
Surprise flashed in his eyes, and next to me Owen sputtered. “What the hell, Libby?”
“Why are you flirting with that loser?”
The glare Owen shot me thrilled me more than words can describe. My heart thrummed again. I hadn’t meant to upset him, but I loved the anger rolling off of him. I hadn’t realized I could make him jealous.
I took a defiant stance and shrugged off his concern. “That was not flirting. I was merely stating a fact.” I waved a hand at the guy behind the counter. “Did you see his smile? It was so pretty it was practically a weapon of mass destruction.”
Avery’s bad-boy manager reared back, shocked by the compliment. “Seriously,” I said to him. “Smile more often. I guarantee your tip jar will triple, Coffee Man.”
“It’s Adam,” the guy blurted suddenly.
Why do girls always want douchebags? It doesn’t matter what type of girl—gorgeous, plain, nice, mean, insecure, confident, smart, dumb—they’re all the same. Stick a girl in a room full of guys, ask her to choose one, and she will inevitably fall for the cockiest, rudest, most selfish, arrogant, jerk present.
“Hope you’ve got a lot of space cleared,” he said as he pushed a dolly of coffee beans through the door I held for him. “The drop-off’s a lot bigger than normal.”
“Yeah, we’re switching brands of coffee, so we needed everything. Come on back this way. I cleared a spot for it all back in the break room this morning.”
As I reached the break room, I heard a loud moan on the other side of the door that didn’t sound like a cry of pain, if you know what I mean. I swung the door open, and my fear was confirmed. “What the hell!”
“Oh, damn,” Sam said, peering over my shoulder at Libby and Owen in their very compromising, mostly naked positions.
Libby was so startled that she fell off the couch and landed with a soft thud on the floor. “Sorry!” she squeaked as she scrambled to locate her misplaced shirt and bra.
Slapping a hand over my face, partly to keep my temper under control but also to stop myself from staring at parts of Libby I had no right looking at, I took a deep breath. “This isn’t a damn motel.” It was impossible to keep the anger out of my voice. “You both have one minute to get dressed and get the hell out of this store before I call the cops.”
“Avery!” Libby gasped. She pushed Owen off of her and tried to straighten her clothes and hair. “Hey! Hi! I didn’t think you were working. I didn’t see you when we came in.”
Avery’s little hands clenched into white-knuckled fists. “I wasn’t working today. I had other plans. With you. Remember?”
Libby frowned, clearly still forgetting about the science fair. Before Avery could say anything else, Grayson spoke up. “Dude,” he said to Owen. “I thought you had some family thing you had to be at all this weekend.”
“I did,” Owen said. “I mean, I do. I was…we were just…”
“Fornicating in the break room,” I offered when his voice trailed off.
Owen shot me a glare, but he was too embarrassed to want to start anything. His face flamed bright red, and he cringed as he met Grayson’s eyes. Grayson smirked at him. “You could have just told me you wanted to come see Libby this weekend. It’s not like Avery and I don’t know you guys have been dating for almost a year.”
Owen’s blush was so deep his face was almost purple. “We’re not dating,” he muttered. “We’re just…friends.” He cringed again.
As much as I’d been trying to keep a poker face, my eyes doubled in size. Libby had been seeing him for almost a year, and he wouldn’t even admit that they were dating? He wouldn’t even admit it to Avery and Grayson that he hooked up with her? The guy was worse than I thought.
“Friends?” I didn’t really have a place in this conversation—I didn’t even really know Owen or Libby, but I couldn’t keep my temper in check any longer. “If you were really her friend you wouldn’t come down here whenever you feel like it, take what you want from her, and then leave again without agreeing to any kind of relationship. You aren’t her friend. You’re just using her.”
“Adam, I’m so sorry,” Avery said again.
“What are you sorry about?” Libby snapped. “He’s the one causing the trouble.” She glared at me. “What’s your glitch, anyway? It’s not like we hurt anything.”
Didn’t hurt anything? Libby was too frustrating. Seeing the pain on Avery’s face, I couldn’t let Libby get away with any more of this garbage. I completely lost it. “Right. You didn’t hurt anything. Except your best friend. And your science team. Your partner is out there, sitting on a couch in tears right now, heartbroken because you blew her off today. How do you think she’s going to feel when she realizes she had to drop out of the science fair because you were too busy screwing a douche that doesn’t really care about you to show up?”
Avery plopped down onto the couch and got her sobs down to sniffles. I didn’t know what to do; I’m not great with emotional girls. I’ve only ever spent a lot of time with one girl, my kid sister Kate, and she’s tough as nails. She never cries. “You okay?” I asked, feeling sufficiently helpless. “You want me to go find Grayson for you?”
I grabbed a napkin from the counter and handed it to her. After she wiped her nose, she shook her head. “I’m sure he left with Owen. He’s going to try to talk to him, but I know it won’t do any good. Why would Owen change when he’s getting exactly what he wants? He doesn’t care about Libby. He just uses her, and she refuses to see it. I don’t know what to do anymore.”
Avery looked at her lap and quietly said, “I don’t blame you for thinking it.” When she pulled her gaze back up, she was able to speak with more force. “She’s not really like that. I swear she’s not. It’s just Owen. He makes her crazy. I thought the hair was bad enough, but missing the science fair for him? Breaking the law? She’s spiraling out of control.”
This conversation brought back so many memories. Dark memories from my childhood. Of my mother, when she had lost a grip on her life. “Maybe you should intervene,” I said.
“I’ve been trying. She won’t listen to me.”
“No. I mean stage an actual intervention.”
I knew the suggestion was a little crazy, but Libby sounded like she could benefit from a good twelve-step program. Avery didn’t laugh at the idea. She looked at me curiously, the wheels in her scientific brain starting to turn.
“I don’t mean to sound offensive,” I told her, “but Libby seems to have a lot in common with my mom.”
Avery grimaced, but nodded her head. “Yeah. Libby’s situation isn’t quite as serious as that, but I can see your point.”
“It is serious, Avery. Addiction comes in all forms. Maybe Libby’s not a raging alcoholic, but she’s hurting the people around her. She’s making terrible choices. She’s self-destructing, isn’t she?”
Avery sighed. “She is.”
“Unhealthy relationships are dangerous. You’re her best friend. She needs your help. After what happened today, now is probably a really good time to step in—especially if she wants to save her friendship with your science team. They looked pretty upset, but they’re still her friends. They’re probably just as worried about her as you are. I bet they’d help you.”
Avery thought about it for a minute and a look of hope washed over her face, bringing some of the life back to her eyes. “You’re right. She needs an intervention—an Owen intervention.”
Not that this was a laughing matter, but I couldn’t help chuckling at the excitement in Avery’s voice. “It’s too bad the science fair is already over. This sounds like it has social science written all over it,” I teased. I’d heard the story of The Avery Shaw Experiment several times now.
Avery blinked at me, and then burst into laughter. She threw her arms around me and squeezed so tight it hurt. “Thank you, Adam. You really are the best.”