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The Cool One

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Ryan stared up at the loop of string pulled tightly against the ceiling. "Why did we decide to put a teenager in the attic again?"

"It was the only place there was space," Cate said matter of factly.

Ryan sighed, wrapping his arms around Cate and burying his face in her hair. "When did I stop being the cool one?"

"I'm thinking it was when you took away her car keys," Cate said.

"She, Tasha, and Jones went off to Eugene with a concert without telling us, what was I supposed to do?" Ryan sighed, straightening up.

"I would've grounded her for a month on top of it," Cate said. "And Baze was threatening to lock her up in the attic until she graduated. Once she calms down, I think you'll still be the cool one."

"It could've been worse," Ryan said, releasing her, but moving one hand down her arm to take her hand. "At least she was out with high school students."

Cate shuddered. "Don't remind me."

Ryan started leading her to the kitchen. "Cocoa?"

"I could definitely go for cocoa," Cate said. "Think we should try to lore down Lux?"

"I think kids who sneak off to Eugene don't get cocoa," Ryan said, putting the kettle on the stove.

Cate smiled. "OK, that one's not going to get you back in Lux's good graces."

"What about your good graces?" Ryan asked, smiling.

"That's always been kind of tough for you," Cate said.

"What can I say? I love a challenge." Ryan leaned down and kissed her tenderly.

"Lucky for me," Cate said when they finally broke apart.