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Tijan - Ryans Bed - (ang)

Dodano: 5 miesiące temu
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Julka_15 Alfabetycznie literatura różna- romanse, rom.hist,powieści, krymi T
Użytkownik Julka_15 wgrał ten materiał 5 miesiące temu. Od tego czasu zobaczyło go już 98 osób, 19 z nich pobrało dokument.

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Copyrig h t © 2 018 T ija n A ll rig h ts re se rv ed . N o p art o f th is b ook m ay b e r e p ro duced or tr a n sm it te d in an y fo rm w it h out w rit te n perm is sio n of th e au th or, ex cep t by a r e v ie w er w ho m ay q uote b rie f p assa ges fo r re v ie w p urp ose s o nly . T his b ook is a w ork o f fic tio n a n d a n y re se m bla n ce to a n y p ers o n, liv in g o r d ead , o r a n y e v en ts o r o ccu rre n ces, is p ure ly c o in cid en ta l. T he c h ara cte rs a n d sto ry lin es a re c re ate d b y th e a u th or’s im agin atio n a n d a re u se d f ic tit io usly . Edit e d : J e ssic a R oyer O ck en Pro ofre ad : P aig e S m it h , K ara H ild eb ra n d, C hris O’N eil P are ce, A W E dit in g Form attin g: E la in e Y ork , Allu sio n G ra p hic s, L LC Cover im age: D ep osit p hoto s 1 5561905

Chap te r O ne Chap te r T w o Chap te r T hre e Counse lin g S essio n O ne Chap te r F our Chap te r F iv e Chap te r S ix Chap te r S ev en Counse lin g S essio n T w o Chap te r E ig h t Chap te r N in e Chap te r T en Chap te r E le v en Chap te r T w elv e Chap te r T hir te en Chap te r F ourte en Chap te r F if te en Chap te r S ix te en Chap te r S ev en te en Counse lin g S essio n T hre e Chap te r E ig h te en Chap te r N in ete en Chap te r T w en ty

Chap te r T w en ty -O ne Chap te r T w en ty -T w o Chap te r T w en ty -T hre e Chap te r T w en ty -F our Chap te r T w en ty -F iv e Counse lin g S essio n F our Chap te r T w en ty -S ix Chap te r T w en ty -S ev en Chap te r T w en ty -E ig h t Chap te r T w en ty -N in e Chap te r T hir ty Chap te r T hir ty -O ne Chap te r T hir ty -T w o Chap te r T hir ty -T hre e Chap te r T hir ty -F our Chap te r T hir ty -F iv e Chap te r T hir ty -S ix Chap te r T hir ty -S ev en Chap te r T hir ty -E ig h t Chap te r T hir ty -N in e Chap te r F orty Chap te r F orty -O ne Epilo gu e Dear R ead er Lin ks a n d R eso urc es Sneak P eek a t C hap te r 1 o f Falle n C re st H ig h

T his is f o r a ll t h ose h urtin g f ro m p ain s o d eep a n d s o d ark t h at y ou d on’t t h in k y ou’ll e v er b e r id o f it . This is f o r t h ose w ho s u ffe r w hile w atc h in g t h eir l o ved o nes s u ffe r a n d f e el h elp le ss t o t a k e t h at p ain aw ay. A n ote t o r e ad er t h at a ll t o w ns a n d lo catio ns a re fic tio nal.

T he fir s t tim e I s n uck in to R yan J e n se n ’s b ed w as a n a ccid en t. I’d b een ly in g in b ed n ex t to th is g ir l I’d b een i n tr o duced to tw elv e h ours earlie r at a co m pan y p ic n ic . M y fa m ily had ju st m oved to Ports id e, O re go n, fro m Sch illin g, A riz o na, becau se of m y d ad ’s p ro m otio n, s o t h e w hole p ic n ic h ad b een n ew f a ces, new nam es, an d th at fe elin g of bein g th e n ew bie o n th e sc en e. P orts id e w asn ’t h uge, b ut it w asn ’t sm all eit h er— may be aro und tw en ty t h ousa n d peo ple liv ed in th is su burb outs id e of M errid ell. Robbie w ould k now . M y b ro th er c o uld s p it o ut s ta tis tic s b ecau se h e w as th e f a m ily g en iu s. W illo w w as th e fa m ily artis t. She ex celle d at alm ost e v ery th in g c re ativ e, o r it se em ed th at w ay. P ia n o. D an ce. P ain tin g. O nce, s h e m ad e a s ix -fo ot p ap ie r- m âch é d ra go n t h at w on a s ta te c o m petit io n. Tru st m e. T hat w as a b ig d eal. S he w as o n th e l o cal n ew s. May be t h at w as w hen it s ta rte d . M ay be s h e f e lt a s if s h e h ad t o c o m pete w it h R obbie . I’d fo und em pty bottle s of la x ativ es in our

sh are d bath ro om , sm elle d th e drie d puke in th e to ile t, a n d a c o uple o f tim es, I’d w oken u p to fin d her e x erc is in g in th e m id dle o f th e n ig h t. W e w ere th e o nly tw o s is te rs , s o it m ad e s e n se w e s h are d a bath ro om . W e’d sh are d th e b ed ro om to o u ntil o ur pre -te en y ears , a n d th en w e g o t fr e eeee-d om ! (I’m sa y in g th at in th e best Bra veh ea rt yell I can muste r.) I d id n’t k now w hy s h e f e lt s h e h ad to c o m pete wit h R obbie . No o ne c o uld c o m pete w it h th at k id . H e w as a walk in g, ta lk in g, an d eatin g co m pute r. Robbie wasn ’t e v er g o in g t o b e n orm al, b ut W illo w a n d m e —we w ere . O r I w as. I w asn ’t t h e b est a t a n yth in g. Willo w h ad b een p opula r in A riz o na. I h ad n’t. Well, I h ad n’t not b een p opula r. I w asn ’t in th e to p tie r o f th e so cia l h ie ra rc h y, b ut I w as lik ed . Every one knew m e. E very one w as nic e to m e, th ough , th in kin g b ack , th at m ig h t’ v e b een b ecau se of W illo w . If so m eo ne c am e a t m e, th ey c am e a t her. A nd s h e w as not o ne t o b e m esse d w it h . Sam e th in g w it h gra d es. I did okay. M y B + av era ge m ad e m e b eam w it h p rid e. N ot W illo w . It was A + o r th e e n d o f th e w orld . T here ’d b een ta lk at o ur o ld s c h ool a b out r a is in g o ur G PA f ro m a 4 .0 to a 4 .2 s c ale . W illo w w as a ll f o r it . Not m e. T hat m ean t I’d h av e to tr y h ard er. N o way.

May be t h at w as m y r o le in t h e f a m ily . I w as t h e sla ck er. Yes. I lik ed th at. I’d b een th e sla ck er in th e fa m ily — or m ay be I w as th e la zy o ne. T here w as a dif fe re n ce b etw een b ein g a s la ck er a n d b ein g la zy. One sla ck s, a n d th e o th er e x cels a t sla ck in g. T hat se em ed t o f it b ette r. Yes, th at w as m e, a n d I h ad b een o nce a gain fu lf illin g m y ro le w hen I m is se d P each ’s d oor a n d tip to ed in to th e w ro ng ro om . I w en t in s e arc h o f a gla ss o f w ate r a n d g o t lo st tr y in g to fin d h er ro om again . I t w as e asy t o d o. T he p la ce w as a m an sio n. I d id n’t re aliz e it a t th e tim e. B oth b ed ro om s were c o ol, w it h fa n s fo rm in g a b re eze , a n d la rg e, co m fo rta b le b ed s. T hese p eo ple w ere r ic h . Wait , n ot r ic h . They w ere w ealt h y. A cco rd in g to m y sis te r, th ere w as a d if fe re n ce. I’d m et R yan a n d P each a t th e c o m pan y p ic n ic —or, ra th er, I m et Peach . I assu m ed sh e w as nic k nam ed f o r h er f u zzy r e d h air . F re ck le s a ll o ver her fa ce. B lu e e y es. B le n din g. T hat w as w hat sh e did , ju st lik e m e. I b le n ded in to t h e c ro w d, w here as Willo w n ev er d id . It w as th e s a m e w it h P each a n d Ryan . S he b le n ded , a n d h er b ro th er d id n’t. I w asn ’t actu ally in tr o duced to R yan , b ut h e did n’t n eed it . I n otic ed h im a n yw ay. H e w as th at kin d o f g u y. P eo ple n otic ed h im , e v en a d ult s . Gold en b ro w n h air lo ng e n ough th at it flip ped

over his fa ce an d still lo oked ad ora b ly ru m ple d , haze l e y es, a s q uare ja w , a n d a d im ple in h is rig h t ch eek — Ryan h ad a fa ce gir ls sig h ed o ver. E ven wit h him sit tin g at a pic n ic ta b le , it had been ap pare n t h e w as ta ll w it h a le an b uild an d w id e sh ould ers . S in ce h is sh ir t h ad fla tte n ed a gain st h is arm , it w as a ls o o bvio us t h at t h ere w as g o od m usc le defin it io n u ndern eath . The g u y w ork ed o ut. And ju dgin g b y th e lo ok o n h is f a ce, h e’d b een bore d o ut o f h is m in d. He’d b een sit tin g o n a p ic n ic ta b le w it h tw o frie n ds, n ot d oin g a n yth in g. H e w asn ’t ta lk in g o r sh outin g or w av in g his arm s aro und. H e w as lit e ra lly ju st sit tin g w it h his fe et re stin g w here peo ple would norm ally sit , an d he’d dra w n atte n tio n. H is e lb ow s h ad b een b ra ced o n h is le gs, an d th ere w as a n a ir a ro und h im . H e’d e x uded a nonch ala n t c h aris m a. I w asn ’t th e ty pe o f g ir l to n otic e a g u y a n d sta lk h im f ro m a fa r. N o, n o, I w as t h e t y pe t o n otic e a g u y a n d th en n otic e th e h ot d og sta n d b ey ond him . W illo w w ould g o fo r th e g u y, a n d I w ould g o fo r t h e h ot d og. Prio rit ie s, r ig h t? But e v en t h ough I h ad n’t t a lk ed t o R yan e arlie r, I k new h e w as p opula r. A p ers o n ju st k new , a n d m y hunch w as c o nfir m ed w hen tw o g ir ls w alk ed p ast him . T hey ’d p au se d , h an ds in fro nt o f th eir fa ces,

an d w his p ere d t o e ach o th er. O ne o f R yan ’s f rie n ds had ta p ped h is le g a n d g estu re d to th e g ir ls . H e’d lo oked , a n d th e g ir ls h ad e ru pte d in g ig gle s b efo re ru nnin g a w ay, t h eir f a ces f la m in g r e d . Mean w hile , W illo w r e fu se d t o c o m e s o I w as o n my o w n, s it tin g a t m y o w n t a b le , f e elin g lik e a lo se r while I s ta re d a t a ll t h e o th er k id s t h ere . They ’d all se em ed b eau tif u l o r re m ark ab le in so m e w ay. A nd th ey ’d all m an aged to fin d each oth er, lik e w it h m y lit tle b ro th er. H e’d b een a t a ta b le w it h tw o oth er boys an d a gir l. A ll w ere fo cu se d o n th eir iP ad s. I w as p re tty s u re th ey w ere sp eak in g n erd la n gu age, a n d if I ’d w alk ed o ver, th e co nvers a tio n betw een th e ele v en -y ear- o ld s would ’v e g o ne o ver m y h ead . Again , I w as th e s la ck er o f th e f a m ily . I s h ould be ab le to co m munic ate w it h an ele v en -y ear- o ld , but n o. I’d b een to o th er o utin gs w it h R obbie . I knew th e ro utin e. H e’d fo und his cro w d, an d I co uld t e ll h e w as h ap py. Then again , Robbie nev er en dure d what an oth er g en iu s e le v en -y ear- o ld m ig h t. He w as n ev er b ullie d b ecau se h e w as s m art. H e was a lm ost w ors h ip ed . P eo ple t h ough t h e w as g o in g to b e th e n ex t S te v e Jo bs, a n d h is c la ssm ate s h ad cau gh t o n, a lr e ad y s u ck in g u p to h im . Y eah , m ay be th ere w as a je alo us k id e v ery o nce in a w hile , b ut Robbie n ev er t a lk ed a b out it . I f h e w as p ic k ed o n, I wondere d if h e w as e v en a w are o f it .

I wondere d how th in gs would be fo r him . . . a fte r. R obbie h ad a lw ay s se em ed h ap py. Would s o m e o f t h at b e g o ne? I h oped n ot— sto p. Min d, b ack u p h ere . M en ta l re v ers e , a n d b ack to R yan a gain . I sh ould ’v e know n so m eth in g w as dif fe re n t fro m t h e m in ute m y h ead h it t h e p illo w in h is r o om . I fe lt w arm , at ease , an d m y body re la x ed . It sh ould n’t h av e. I s h ould ’v e re m ain ed a w ak e lik e I had b een w hile I w as in P each ’s b ed . T hey s a id I ’d be ‘ b ette r o ff ’ n ot b ein g a lo ne t h at n ig h t s o I ’d b een in a str a n ger’s b ed . I w as te n se a n d g rip pin g th e sh eet w it h w hit e -k nuck le d h an ds, re p la y in g in m y head w hat h ad h ap pen ed a t m y n ew h ouse e arlie r over a n d o ver a n d o ver. But n ot in R yan ’s b ed . He w as a s s u rp ris e d a s I w as w hen w e w oke t h e nex t m orn in g. He je rk ed u prig h t. “ W hat? ” h e a sk ed , h is m outh gap in g o pen a t m e. I g ra b bed fo r th e c o vers , m ad e s u re th ey w ere pulle d tig h tly o ver m e, a n d I g aw ked b ack a t h im . That w as it , r e ally . M y b ody w as s till r e la x ed . O nly my m in d w as a la rm ed , b ut th en m y m in d lo st th e battle . T here w as o th er sh it u p th ere th at I d id n’t wan t t o s tir a n d t h in k a b out, s o I g av e in a n d le t m y ey elid s d ro op a gain . “I m ust’ v e g o tte n lo st,” I m urm ure d . Ryan an d I had n’t ta lk ed — not at th e pic n ic

earlie r w hen o ur p are n ts gre ete d each o th er, an d not w hen R obbie an d I w ere ush ere d in to th eir hom e th at n ig h t. E very th in g w as h ush -h ush w hen we g o t t h ere . M rs . J e n se n h ad w his p ere d s o m eth in g to P each , a n d sh e g asp ed , h er h an d c o verin g h er mouth a s h er e y es f ille d w it h t e ars . I lo oked a w ay a t t h at p oin t. M y c h in h ad s ta rte d to tr e m ble , a n d I d id n’t w an t to s ta rt. I f I s ta rte d , I did n’t k now if I c o uld s to p. So t h ere in t h e d ark ness w as t h e f ir s t t im e R yan an d I t a lk ed , a n d it w asn ’t r e ally a c o nvers a tio n. H e lo oked to th e d oor lik e h e s h ould te ll s o m eo ne, b ut I s a id , “ P le ase d on’t. I c o uld n’t s le ep u ntil I c am e in h ere . I d on’t k now w hy, b ut I c an n ow . I ju st wan t t o s le ep .” His ey eb ro w s pin ch ed to geth er. H is dim ple dis a p peare d , an d slo w ly he la y back dow n. H e did n’t s a y a n yth in g. A m in ute p asse d , a n d I r e aliz e d he w asn ’t g o in g to . H e w as g o in g to le t m e sle ep , an d t h an kfu lly , t h at w as e x actly w hat h ap pen ed . I s le p t. “I don’t know , M om . I w oke up an d sh e w as th ere .” I c o uld h ear R yan o n t h e o th er s id e o f t h e d oor. “W ell, I d on’t g et it .” “I d on’t e it h er,” h e g ru m ble d . “I th ough t it w as w eir d w hen sh e d id n’t c o m e

back la st n ig h t.” A s ig h . I r e co gn iz e d P each ’s v oic e, b ut I c o uld n’t p la ce where it c am e fro m . T hen it d id n’t m atte r. I w as asle ep a gain . The b ed s h if te d u nder m e, a n d I h eard a w his p ere d , “M ack en zie .” A h an d to uch ed m y a rm a n d s h ook. “H ey. A re y ou a w ak e?” It w as R obbie . I ro lle d o ver an d o pen ed o ne ey e. “ W hat? ” He’d b een c ry in g. T he te ars w ere d rie d o n h is fa ce, a n d I c o uld s e e tw o f re sh o nes c lin gin g to h is ey ela sh es. He w ip ed a t o ne, e m barra sse d . “ A re y ou g o in g to s le ep a ll d ay ?” “If I ’m lu ck y.” He fro w ned a n d th en g la n ced to th e d oor. “ I don’t w an t to be out th ere alo ne. I don’t know th ese p eo ple .” I s c o ote d b ack u ntil I f e lt t h e w all, f lip ped b ack th e bed co ver, an d patte d th e pla ce nex t to m e. “Sco otc h in .” He lo oked to th e d oor a gain , in decis io n o n h is fa ce, an d th en le t out a sm all bre ath . H is tin y sh ould ers s lu m ped a s if h e’d lo st w hat lit tle f ig h t h e had . H e s a n k in to th e b ed , c la sp in g th e c o vers tig h t over h is sh ould er, a n d lo oked a t m e, ly in g o n h is

sid e. I moved clo se r, mir ro rin g him so our fo re h ead s a lm ost t o uch ed . We d id n’t ta lk , b ut a fre sh te ar w elle d , p oolin g on th e brid ge of his nose . I re ach ed over an d sm ooth ed it a w ay. “M om a n d D ad a re g o in g to b e g o ne a ll d ay to day. I c h eck ed t h eir p hone c ale n dar.” How R obbie c o uld d o th at, I h ad n o id ea, b ut I wasn ’t s u rp ris e d . “W hy a re n ’t y ou c ry in g?” h e w his p ere d . “I c an ’t.” He nodded as if th is m ad e perfe ct se n se . “I wis h I w ere lik e y ou s o m etim es. Y ou’re th e s tr o ng one, K en z.” Str o ng? W as t h at m y r o le in t h e f a m ily ? I tr ie d to m uste r a s m ile , b ut I k new I fa ile d . I pro bab ly lo oked lik e th e Jo ker in ste ad . “ C an y ou sle ep ?” “I’ll t r y . C an w e s ta y h ere a ll d ay ?” “I’m g o in g t o t r y .” That s e em ed o kay w it h h im . H e c lo se d h is e y es an d a se ttle d lo ok cam e over him , one th at re se m ble d p eace. B ut I k new it w as a lie . T here w as no p eace. N ot a n ym ore . “H ey, K en z,” h e w his p ere d a m in ute la te r. “Y eah ?” “H ap py b ir th day.”

It w as d ark w hen I w oke a gain , a n d R obbie w as go ne. T he d oor w as o pen , an d I co uld h ear th e so und of silv erw are sc ra p in g again st pla te s. T he sm ell of fo od m ust’ v e w oken m e, an d fo r a mom en t, I w as c ro ss. They c o uld ’v e c lo se d t h e d oor . B ut t h en t h e f o g le ft m y b ra in , a n d I r e aliz e d it w as p ro bab ly R obbie who’d le ft it o pen . H e h ad a h ab it o f d oin g t h at, a n d it a lw ay s a n noyed W illo w . Willo w . . . The s m all g rin th at h ad tu gged a t th e c o rn er o f my m outh f e ll a w ay. God. I d re w in a r a sp in g b re ath , a n d t h is t im e, I k new I c o uld n’t k eep t h e t h ough ts a t b ay. It h ad b een a w eir d s m ell. A ric h , ru sty s m ell, lik e wet m eta l. It m ad e m y sto m ach cra m p, an d I’d been bit in g m y lip ev en befo re I open ed th e bath ro om d oor. W illo w ’s arm h ad go tte n sc ra p ed earlie r w hen w e w ere m ovin g boxes aro und th e house . I f s h e’d o pen ed h er b an dage a n d d um ped it onto th e c o unte r, I w as g o in g to b e p is se d . S he w as alw ay s y ellin g a t m e f o r le av in g m y to oth bru sh a n d paste o n th e c o unte r. E very th in g h ad a p la ce in h er world , an d fo r th e lif e of her, sh e co uld n’t unders ta n d w hy I d id n’t r e m em ber t h at. My an sw er w as alw ay s th e sa m e: becau se I

wasn ’t an an al, obse ssiv e co ntr o l fre ak . That usu ally a n gere d h er, b ut t h is t im e, I w as g o in g t o b e th e o ne to ex plo de. W illo w w ould n’t k now w hat was c o m in g h er w ay. I w as g o in g to w av e m y a rm s in th e a ir , s to m p m y f e et, a n d y ell lik e I ju st d id n’t care . She k new h ow m uch I h ate d b lo od. But t h en I w as t h ere , p ush in g t h e d oor o pen . I d on’t re m em ber w hen I re aliz e d w hat I w as se ein g. I su ppose I fe lt so m eth in g, becau se th ey to ld m e la te r th at I w en t in to s h ock . M y b ody s h ut dow n, an d I le ft it . T hey sa id th is co uld h ap pen when a p ers o n e x perie n ced a tr a u m atic e v en t, b ut all I k new w as th at I w atc h ed f ro m th e d oorw ay a s my b ody f e ll t o it s k nees. My h an d c o vere d m y m outh , a n d m y s h ould ers je rk ed lik e I w as th ro w in g u p. I le arn ed la te r I’d been s c re am in g. Then I w as s h ak in g h er, s lid in g o n th e b lo od o n th e flo or, becau se it w as ev ery w here . Thin kin g ab out it , I c o uld fe el it o n m y h an ds a gain . Warm . Liq uid s w ere su ppose d to b e re fre sh in g a n d c o ol. This w as h eav y. It fe lt n o d if fe re n t fro m m y o w n body te m pera tu re . I d id n’t lik e th at. It sh ould ’v e fe lt d if fe re n t. B ecau se it w as W illo w ’s , it s h ould ’v e fe lt p erfe ct. I sto od in th e d oorw ay as I w atc h ed m yse lf . And I k ep t sc re am in g, u ntil su dden ly , I sto pped . I ch oked o n a so b, a n d lik e th at, I w as b ack in m y

body. My fa ce: d ark e y es, g o ld en b lo nde h air , h eart- sh ap ed c h in . My b ody: sle n der arm s, lo ng le gs, an d p etit e fra m e. My h eart: b eau tif u l, b ro ken , b le ed in g. All o f it o n th e b ath ro om flo or in a b lo odie d pile . Feelin g a w eir d se re n it y , I g asp ed o n a b re ath an d m oved n ex t to W illo w . I sa t o n th e tile th e blo od had n’t to uch ed yet. B ut it w ould . It w as se ep in g o ut o f h er. I k new sh e w as a lr e ad y g o ne. H er e y es w ere vacan t, b ut I w an te d o ne m ore m om en t. M y s is te r an d m e. I la y d ow n, ju st lik e h er. On m y s to m ach . My f a ce t u rn ed t o w ard h ers . My h an d o n t h e f lo or, p alm u p, m ir ro rin g h er. I w atc h ed o ver m y sis te r o ne la st tim e b efo re we w ere d is c o vere d . There w as a f la sh o f lig h t. S om eo ne w as c o m in g in th ro ugh m y b ed ro om — Mom . I d id n’t lo ok u p a t her. I c o uld n’t h ear m uch . A d en se c lo ud c am e o ver me, d ullin g m y s e n se s, b ut I h eard h er s c re am in g, a s if s h e w ere f a r a w ay. She w as s h ak in g W illo w . Tim e s p ed a h ead . T im e s lo w ed t o a c ra w l. T im e was a ll o ver t h e p la ce, in p atc h es.

When I n otic ed th e s ir e n s, th e fla sh o f re d a n d whit e o uts id e m y b ed ro om w in dow , I r e ach ed o ver an d h eld W illo w ’s h an d. My fa ce. M y b ody. M y h eart— it a ll w en t w it h her, b ecau se s h e w as m e. My tw in sis te r k ille d h ers e lf o n Ju ne tw en ty - nin th . We w ould ’v e b een e ig h te en t h e n ex t d ay.

“ U h. H ey.” It w as n earin g ele v en th e n ex t n ig h t. R obbie a n d I h ad b een th ere a lm ost tw en ty -fo ur h ours . I h ad n’t le ft Ryan ’s ro om ex cep t to vis it th e b ath ro om , a n d I w as c u rre n tly sit tin g o n h is b ed , b ook in h an d. H e e d ged in to th e r o om , h is h an ds in h is p ock ets a n d h is s h ould ers h unch ed f o rw ard . I s h ould ’v e f e lt a ll s o rts o f w eir d ness, b ut I w as a t t h e p oin t w here I ’d s it o n t h e r o of a n d n ot g iv e a f ly in g fu ck w hat a n yone h ad to sa y. K eep in g m y f in ger b etw een th e p ages, I clo se d th e b ook an d w ait e d . “U m . . .” H e p au se d , s ta rin g r ig h t a t m e. He h ad n o id ea w hat to sa y. I co uld se e th e f lo underin g o n h is f a ce, b ut h e s h ook it c le ar a n d a s m all s m ile s h ow ed . H is d im ple w in ked a t m e. H e r a k ed a h an d t h ro ugh h is h air , le av in g it a s r u m ple d a s it w as y este rd ay. I k new w hy t h ose t w o g ir ls h ad s q ueale d . H e w as a ll s o rts o f d re am in ess. I w ait e d f o r th e s p ark to f lic k er in m e. I s h ould b lu sh ? G ig gle ? S ig h ? No. N oth in g. I fe lt n oth in g, a n d th en I re m em bere d h ow it

fe lt to la y in h is b ed , a n d I k new th at w asn ’t tr u e. I fe lt s o m e p eace a ro und h im f o r s o m e r e aso n. He s c o ote d fa rth er in sid e, g la n cin g b ack a t th e door b efo re le an in g a gain st h is c lo se t. “ T he w hole my-b ed th in g . . .” H e m otio ned to w here I w as sit tin g. “ D id y ou w an t t h e b ed a gain t o nig h t? ” I lo oked d ow n. I d id n’t w an t to se e h is e y es when I ask ed th is questio n. “A re m y pare n ts co m in g b ack ?” There w as sile n ce, an d it str e tc h ed past th e poin t o f n ot h av in g a n a n sw er. H e h ad o ne. H e ju st did n’t w an t t o s a y it . I sh ook m y h ead , le ttin g th e b ook fa ll to th e bed . W ra p pin g m y arm s aro und m yse lf , I tu rn ed aw ay. “ N ev er m in d.” He c le are d h is th ro at. “ F or th e re co rd , I’m n ot su ppose d t o k now a b out y our f o lk s.” I lo oked b ack . “ B ut y ou d o?” The hesit a n cy an d fe ar I’d se en on his fa ce melt e d a w ay to re v eal th e s o rro w , a n d h e n odded . “Y eah . I eav esd ro pped o n th e call. T hey ’re at a hote l. I gu ess your gra n dpare n ts are co m in g to m orro w .” “O h. O kay.” I c le are d m y t h ro at. “ T han k y ou.” “Y eah .” H e sig h ed . “ Y ou d on’t h av e to th an k me fo r a n yth in g, b ut I d o h av e to k now a b out th e bed . I w as tr y in g to te ll m y m om m ay be it w as m e —lik e, y ou c o uld s le ep w hen y ou w ere a ro und m e becau se o f m y t e en age p hero m ones o r s o m eth in g.”