Monday, March 5, 2012

Hemlock Excerpt

“Are you sure you don’t want to go to the hospital? You were walking like they hurt your ribs.” I reached for Jason’s T-shirt and started to haul up the blue cotton, trying to get a good look at the bruises on his torso.

“First she invited me up to her apartment, and then she tried to undress me…”

I rolled my eyes. “Don’t flatter yourself,” I muttered, letting his shirt fall back into place.

He shook his head. “I’m alright. Besides, if I go to the hospital, they’ll call my dad. He already dragged me to the shooting range on Sunday, so I think I’ve used up my allotted quality time this week.”

I sighed. “Why is it that quality time in your family always seems to involve injuries or guns?” I never could figure out why Jason’s father was so obsessed with firearms when he could afford to pay people to conceal and carry for him.

“Not entirely true,” corrected Jason. “Some quality time involves making piles of money and having torrid affairs with the household staff.”

He caught my hand. “Thanks for taking care of me, Mac,” he said, giving me a small grin. It wasn’t his old smile; it was the sad, half-smile he sometimes wore after he had been drinking. Lately, it seemed like the only time Jason smiled was when he was at least a little drunk.

And that was becoming more and more of the time.

Everything was messed up without Amy around.

I bit my lip. Amy was the one who had died, but I sometimes had the feeling that she wasn’t the only one I was losing. “Jason…” I gently freed my hand. “She wouldn’t want—”

He cut me off. “Don’t, okay? We can talk about her tomorrow, if you want. Just not tonight.” He rubbed his temple. “Alright?” He shivered, even though it was warm in the apartment. Any time I tried to bring up Amy, Jason started shaking.

I nodded, though I knew we wouldn’t talk about her tomorrow. We never did.
Source: Kathleen Peacock

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