“You’re hysterical.” Dwayne had to admit the girl had his attention. This petite firecracker of a girl just pulled him into a diner and told him half his life story. The hysterical part was her saying she was repeating the same day over and over and that somehow Dwayne was the key for breaking out of it.
“How would I know everything I just told you?” she asked.
“Kara, you seem like a sweet girl, and you’re plenty attractive. If you want to go out with me, you don’t have to Google me to build up this elaborate ploy.”
She scowled. “Don’t be such a conceited turd.”
Dwayne laughed. “Did Cooper put you up to this?”
Kara blew air through her teeth. “You’re exasperating. Can’t you think for just a minute about what I’m telling you?”
Dwayne sat back. “Look. If you really want to impress me, tell me something only I would know, not a bio you stripped off one of my web forums.”
“Okay. Give me something.”
“I’m not going to tell you.”
“It’s for next time.”
“Oh.” He laughed and rolled his eyes. “Right.” He nodded and gave her a smug grin. “Okay.”
Dwayne thought for a minute. “Tell me I hid Benny’s rabbit’s foot behind the loose kick board.”
“You’re hysterical.” Dwayne had to admit this little firecracker had his attention.
“It’s true.” She leaned forward and grabbed his arm. “Now listen to me. You hid Benny’s rabbit’s foot behind the loose kick board.”
Dwayne raised his eyebrows. Now he was impressed. “Clearly Benny put you up to this. Did he say how he figured it out?”
“I don’t know Benny. You told me that last time we did this.”
“Look, you’re kinda cute. You don’t need this elaborate pl—”
“Can it, loverboy.” She shook his arm. “You told me it would impress you enough to convince you.”
“How in the world would I know that, Dwayne?”
“Like I said, you obviously worked it out with Benny. He knew more than I thought he did.”
Kara let go of his arm and clenched her fists. “I… don’t… know… Benny.”
“Look, if you really want to amaze me, tell me something that only ever involved myself.”
Kara sighed. “Okay. Give me something for the next time.”
Dwayne smiled and nodded. “R-i-i-i-ght.”
He tilted his head and thought for a moment. “What did I name the sparrow I rescued from the Mumfords’ cat?” He folded his arms and waited.
Kara leaned forward. “You need to tell me.”
“Oh, right-right-right.” He chuckled. “Okay, keep in mind I was seven at the time.” Dwayne looked her in the eyes, not sure he was prepared for this level of intimacy with a stranger. “Keekeepoo.”
Dwayne caught a slight grin forming on her face, but she suppressed it.
“Okay. See you again next time.” She got up and walked toward the door.
“Hey, wait. You want some breakfast?”
She shook her head and waved.
“You’re hysterical.” This little firecracker impressed him, though she obviously had help.
“This isn’t a game,” she said. “I’ve lived this day more times than I can remember.”
“Is seeing me every morning so bad?” Dwayne half suppressed his impish grin. “It’s been incredible for me.”
Dwayne furrowed his brow. “What?”
“That’s the name of your sparrow. The one you saved from the Mumfords’ cat.”
Dwayne burst out laughing, then looked at her with new eyes.
“That’s not the name of a sparrow,” he said. “It’s the password I insisted my little brother use to get into the tree fort.”
Kara’s jaw dropped. She threw up her hands. “I can’t believe you. You wasted a day feeding me bullshit?”
“I wouldn’t call it wasted. There’s nobody in the world I know but myself with that sense of humor.” Dwayne hitched his mouth and nodded. “I believe you.”
Kara’s face radiated relief.
“So now what?” he asked.
“Now we have a day to solve the puzzle before it starts all over again.”
“Okay. Mind if we get some breakfast?”
She smiled and nodded. “You really think I’m plenty attractive?”
“Um. Where’d that come from?”