The Truth About Forever

Author: P Hana

Page 49

   

Bethany’s face flushed, while Amanda’s mouth opened, then shut again.

“Shh,” someone said from the next row over.

“Oh, you shush,” Kristy said, dropping her hand from my chin. “Macy,” she said, her voice serious, “If that’s ideal, they can have it. Right?”

Hearing this, I had no idea what to say.

“Then it’s decided,” Kristy said. “You’ll take lunch, because you’re human and you’re hungry and most of all, you are not intimidated. We’ll meet you outside at . . . what, noon? Is that when you get off?”

“Yeah,” I said. Monica was walking across the library toward the front door now, a couple of books under her arm. “At noon.”

“Cool. We’ll see you in fifteen minutes.” She glanced around again before leaning in closer to me, her voice softening. “I mean, you have to get out of here, right? Even if it’s just for an hour. Too much time in a place like this could really do a person some damage. I mean, look what it’s done to them.”

But I was thinking about what it had done to me. Being here, miserable, day after day. In so many ways, I was realizing, the info desk was a lot like my life had been before Wish and Kristy and Wes. Something to be endured, never enjoyed.

“I’ll see you outside,” she said to me, dropping her sunglasses back down to her face. Then she squeezed my arm and started toward the front doors. As she passed underneath the huge central skylight, the sun hit her, and for a second, it was like she was sparkling, the light catching her hair and glinting off, winking. I saw it. Bethany and Amanda did, too. So when I came back from lunch an hour later and walked up to the info desk to find them waiting for me, chairs aligned perfectly, it didn’t bother me that they asked, haughtily, if I’d enjoyed lunch with my “friends” in such a way that I could hear the quotation marks. I didn’t care that they snickered when I answered yes, or spoke in hushed tones. Because now, I didn’t care what they thought. It wasn’t new, this realization that I would never be like them. What was different now was that I was glad.

Chapter Eleven

“You know,” I said, for what had to be the hundredth time since I’d gotten to Kristy’s house two hours earlier, “I just think maybe I’ll go home.”

“Macy.” Kristy turned around from the mirror, where she was examining the side view of her outfit: a short red skirt, a black strappy tank, and a pair of sandals that could only be described as ankle breakers. “I told you, there’s no commitment for you here. It’s just a bunch of us going out, not a big deal.”

This was her latest version of the night’s events. Every time I objected, it got more and more suspiciously innocuous. The basic gist was that Monica and Kristy had met a couple of guys at a day catering job while I’d been at the library who were, while not extraordinary, in Kristy’s words, “promising.” Both the guys worked delivering pizzas, so they could only meet up after curfew, which meant we had to wait until Stella dozed off in front of the TV, then sneak out. I’d gotten recruited that afternoon after we’d worked a job, when Kristy invited me over to spend the night. It wasn’t until I was already there, under the impression we were actually going to stay in, that I’d been informed that the guys were bringing a third and had asked Kristy and Monica to do the same.

“I told you,” I said, “I’m not interested—”

Monica, who was sitting by the window, about to light a cigarette, turned her head. “Now,” she said, nodding out the screen at something I couldn’t see. Kristy immediately moved over to stand behind her chair, bending down to peer out as well, waving her hand to indicate I should come join them.

“What is it?” I said, looking over Monica’s head. It was barely getting dark, and all I could see was the end of the sunset and the side of Stella’s garden, several rows of lettuce and some daylilies, with a path running between them.

“Just wait,” Kristy told me, her voice a whisper. “It happens every night, right about this time.”

I expected to see a bird, or maybe some unusual flower that only bloomed at dusk. Instead, after a second of staring, I heard something. A thump, thump, thump noise that was so familiar, and yet I couldn’t quite place it. But I knew it. It was—

“Mmm-hmmm,” Monica murmured, just as Wes came into view on the path. He was running, his pace quick and steady. He was in shorts, his shirt off, staring ahead as he passed. His back was tan and gleaming with sweat.

Beside me, I heard Kristy sigh, a long one that lasted all the way until he disappeared through a row of trees and around a turn, where I could see his own house in the distance. “Good God,” she said finally, fanning her face with her hand, “I’ve seen it a million times, but it just never gets old. Never.”

“Come on,” I said, as Monica nodded, seconding this. “It’s Wes.”

“Exactly.” Kristy turned and walked back to the mirror, bending in to inspect her cleavage. “I mean, there aren’t a lot of benefits to living out here in the middle of nowhere. But that is definitely one of them.”

I shook my head, exasperated, as I went over and sat down on the bed. Monica lit her cigarette, reaching up to dangle it halfway out the window, the smoke curling up past the panes.

“Is that why you are being so difficult about tonight?” Kristy asked as she flopped down beside me, glancing through the open doorway down the hall at Stella. An hour earlier, when she’d settled in front of the TV, she’d begun dozing immediately. Now, by the looks of it, she’d moved on to full snooze.

“What?”

She nodded toward the window. “Our Wesley. I know you guys have some sort of weird thing going on, with that game you play and everything—”

“It’s called a friendship,” I said. “And no, it has nothing to do with that. I told you, I’m on a break. I’m not interested in hanging out with some new guy.”

“Unless it’s Wes,” she said, clarifying.

I just looked at her. “That’s different. He’s in a relationship, too, so it’s not weird or anything.”

Her eyes widened. “Oh, my God!” she said, slapping a hand over her mouth. “I totally get it now.”

“Get what?”

She didn’t answer me. Instead, she leaned over the bed, rummaging beneath it for a few seconds. I could hear things clanking against each other—what did she have down there?— and glanced at Monica, who just exhaled, shrugging. Then Kristy lifted up her head.

Loading...