Home > We Were Liars(14)

We Were Liars(14)
Author: E. Lockhart

“Nowhere, yet.” This truth I can’t avoid. I am surprised they don’t know it already.

“What?”

“Why?”

“I didn’t graduate. I missed too much school after the accident.”

“Oh, barf!” yells Johnny. “That is horrible. You can’t do summer school?”

“Not and come here. Besides, I’ll do better if I apply with all my coursework done.”

“What are you going to study?” asks Gat.

“Let’s talk about something else.”

“But we want to know,” says Mirren. “We all do.”

“Seriously,” I say. “Something else. How’s your love life, Johnny?”

“Barf again.”

I raise my eyebrows.

“When you’re as handsome as I am, the course never runs smooth,” he quips.

“I have a boyfriend named Drake Loggerhead,” says Mirren. “He’s going to Pomona like I am. We have had sexual intercourse quite a number of times, but always with protection. He brings me yellow roses every week and has nice muscles.”

Johnny spits out his tea. Gat and I laugh.

“Drake Loggerhead?” Johnny asks.

“Yes,” says Mirren. “What’s so funny?”

“Nothing.” Johnny shakes his head.

“We’ve been going out five months,” says Mirren. “He’s spending the summer doing Outward Bound, so he’ll have even more muscles when I see him next!”

“You’ve got to be kidding,” Gat says.

“Just a little,” says Mirren. “But I love him.”

I squeeze her hand. I am happy she has someone to be in love with. “I’m going to ask you about the sexual intercourse later,” I warn her.

“When the boys aren’t here,” she says. “I’ll tell you all.”

We leave our teacups and walk down to the tiny beach. Take our shoes off and wiggle our toes in the sand. There are tiny, sharp shells.

“I’m not going to supper at New Clairmont,” says Mirren decisively. “And no breakfast, either. Not this year.”

“Why not?” I ask.

“I can’t take it,” she says. “The aunts. The littles. Granddad. He’s lost his mind, you know.” I nod.

“It’s too much togetherness. I just want to be happy with you guys, down here,” says Mirren. “I’m not hanging around in that cold new house. Those people are fine without me.”

“Same,” says Johnny.

“Same,” says Gat.

I realize they discussed this idea before I arrived.

26

MIRREN AND JOHNNY go in the water with snorkels and fins. They kick around looking for lobsters. Probably there are only jellyfish and tiny crabs, but even with those slim pickings we have snorkeled at the tiny beach, always.

Gat sits with me on a batik blanket. We watch the others in silence.

I don’t know how to talk to him.

I love him.

He’s been an ass.

I shouldn’t love him. I’m stupid for still loving him. I have to forget about it.

Maybe he still thinks I am pretty. Even with my hair and the hollows beneath my eyes. Maybe.

The muscles of his back shift beneath his T-shirt. The curve of his neck, the soft arch of his ear. A little brown mole on the side of his neck. The moons of his fingernails. I drink him up after so long apart.

“Don’t look at my troll feet,” says Gat suddenly.

“What?”

“They’re hideous. A troll snuck into my room at night, took my normal feet for himself, and left me with his thuggish troll feet.” Gat tucks his feet under a towel so I can’t see them. “Now you know the truth.”

I am relieved we are talking about nothing important. “Wear shoes.”

“I’m not wearing shoes on the beach.” He wiggles his feet out from beneath the towel. They look fine. “I have to act like everything’s okay until I can find that troll. Then I’ll kill him to death and get my normal feet back. Have you got weapons?”

“No.”

“Come on.”

“Um. There’s a fire poker in Windemere.”

“All right. As soon as we see that troll, we’ll kill him to death with your fire poker.”

“If you insist.”

I lie back on the blanket and put my arm over my eyes. We are silent for a moment.

“Trolls are nocturnal,” I add.

“Cady?” Gat whispers.

I turn my face to look in his eyes. “Yeah?”

“I thought I might never see you again.”

“What?” He is so close we could kiss.

“I thought I might never see you again. After everything that happened, then when you weren’t here last summer.”

Why didn’t you write me? I want to say. Why didn’t you call, all this time?

He touches my face. “I’m so glad you’re here,” he says. “I’m so glad I got the chance.”

I don’t know what is between us. I really don’t. He is such an ass.

“Give me your hand,” Gat says.

I am not sure I want to.

But then of course I do want to.

His skin is warm and sandy. We intertwine our fingers and close our eyes against the sun.

We just lie there. Holding hands. He rubs my palm with his thumb like he did two summers ago beneath the stars.

And I melt.

27

MY ROOM AT Windemere is wood-paneled, with cream paint. There’s a green patchwork quilt on the bed. The carpet is one of those rag rugs you see in country inns.

You were here two summers ago, I tell myself. In this room, every night. In this room, every morning.

Presumably you were reading, playing games on the iPad, choosing clothes. What do you remember?

Nothing.

Tasteful botanic prints line the walls of my room, plus some art I made: a watercolor of the maple that used to loom over the Clairmont lawn, and two crayon drawings: one of Granny Tipper and her dogs, Prince Philip and Fatima; the other of my father. I drag the wicker laundry basket from the closet, take down all the pictures, and load them into the basket.

There’s a bookshelf lined with paperbacks, teen books and fantasy I was into reading a few years back. Kids’ stories I read a hundred times. I pull them down and stack them in the hallway.

“You’re giving away the books? You love books,” Mummy says. She’s coming out of her room wearing fresh clothes for supper. Lipstick.

“We can give them to one of the Vineyard libraries,” I say. “Or to Goodwill.”

 

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