Page 20 of Small Town Secrets

My head spins. I have to apologize for my thoughtless actions and explain how I feel about Carrie. After what happened in the kitchen, he deserves to know the truth.

With a stab of anxiety I wonder whether Dad is capable of disowning me, and I wonder whether all this is worth it. But then I imagine myself ten years from now at some garden party with Clarissa at my arm, beautiful but empty, and reality becomes crystal clear. As I turn into Dad’s driveway, I know I’m making the right decision.

But oh shit, someone’s here. As I walk into the designer kitchen, I see Dad and Elaine sipping coffee at the oak high table, and stop in my tracks. Dad’s jaw tightens as he sees me. He’s still angry, of course.

“Henry,” I begin in a calm voice. “I need to speak to you.”

“I don’t know what you could possibly have to say,” he growls.

“I want to apologize. I owe you an explanation,” I try, keeping my voice neutral.

“Why don’t I leave you boys to talk,” says Elaine, rising from her chair. “It’s about time I go home and have a talk with my own daughter anyways,” she adds, sighing. She goes over to Dad and they hug, but I notice they don’t kiss. Then she takes her bag and she’s gone.

I take a deep breath and join Dad at the table, ready to get an ass-whupping. But this time, I’m not going to back down because it’s my life at stake … and I want Carrie in it.

Chapter Thirteen

Carrie

I stand in the shower, still sobbing, the hot water mingling with my tears. I saw Mom and Henry get into his car and drive away shortly after Conor left. She didn’t tell me where they were going, and I didn’t bother to ask. I cried some more, then picked myself up and decided to shower it all away, letting the memories wash down the drain in the hopes I would be feel refreshed and renewed.

But I’ve been standing here for about ten minutes now, and I only feel worse. Mom will have a fit when she sees the water bill. I don’t care. I won’t ever be able to look her in the eye again anyways. My chest heaves, and I realize I haven’t even reached for the soap yet.

As I grab the bottle of liquid soap, I make a conscious effort to stop sobbing. My sharp inhalations of breath are causing me to snort the suds, and as much as I feel like disappearing right now, I figure death by poisoning is probably a little too dramatic.

It helps. As I turn off the tap I feel my sobs subside a little, and with pitiful hiccups, I towel myself dry.

Back in my room and dressed in my PJs, I resolve to go back to college early and start packing my bags. I don’t know when Mom will be back, but I don’t want to be here when she does. I know she hates me for what I did, and frankly, there are no excuses. I had sex with a man in her kitchen while she and her fiancé waited outside. Even worse, I was having sex with my future stepbrother and loving every second of it, accepting his dick in me eagerly while moaning up a storm.

So what is there to say? Even if I did tell Elaine the truth, it would be too humiliating. I wonder vaguely whether she will go on with the wedding plans, but the thought of her calling it off because of me makes me feel terrible, so I just swallow heavily and focus on packing. Fall semester is still two weeks away, but I’ll be able to hang out in my dorm until then. The thought of spending some time away from Riverbend and the memories of the last few weeks is almost irresistible.

My bags packed and my mind made up, I suddenly find myself exhausted and sitting in the dark. The sun went down without my noticing and I haven’t turned on any lights yet. Mom and Henry aren’t back yet, and I’m surrounded by a peaceful quiet. Suddenly overcome by a wave of exhaustion, my chest hurting from the violent crying, I decide to have a good night’s sleep before I leave tomorrow. And yet despite all that’s happened, it’s Conor’s handsome face that floats before my eyes before I fall into a deep, dreamless sleep.

As exhausted as I am, I wake up only an hour later to the sound of the kitchen door opening downstairs. With a surge of hope, I wonder whether it’s Conor come back for me, but then I realize I’m being silly. It’s over. I’ll never see him again except for family events, where I’ll be expected to treat him as a stepbrother. And that’s if I haven’t ruined Mom’s wedding plans already.

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