Summer Confessions: Excerpt #3

Jeb

No matter how bright his smile was, when he was pissed, those blue eyes turned their targets to stone. Today, I happened to be the target. “W-what’s the matter? Is everything okay?” All I could think about was Rachel and if she got caught.

He crossed his arms and tilted his head. “Why wouldn’t it be?”

“That’s what I’m wondering.” I tucked my hands under the table to hide their shaking. “Something on your mind?”

He stared. His eyes so frosty–no, they were empty. Deep and empty.

I didn’t want him to see just how much I wanted to run to Papaw screaming, and so I reached across the table and gave his shoulder a nudge. “Stop looking at me like I’m your next meal and talk.”

He smiled a bit, his eyes getting harder. “You know what makes me madder than anything?”

I swallowed. “What?”

“Being lied to.” He leaned his elbows on the table. “You’d never lie to me, would you?”

I looked toward the basement door, willing Papaw to come up. Jeb had never scared me before, but this… This was different. “‘Course not, Jeb.”

He slid my half-eaten muffin to the side with his fingertips, and then held out his palms, the still-bruised knuckles of his right hand flashing. One more look at the basement and I placed my hands in his, mine sweaty and shaking, his dry and still.

“Why’re you shaking? You don’t have nothing to hide, do you?”

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