Every Day Page 10

I’m about ten steps away from the classroom when someone grabs me.

I turn, and there’s Owen.

Owen, bleeding.

“Shh,” he says. “Just come with me.”

“What happened?” I ask.

“Just shh, okay?”

He’s looking around like he’s being chased. I decide to go along. After all, this is more exciting than Beowulf.

We get to a supply closet. He motions me in.

“Are you kidding me?” I say.


There’s no arguing. I follow him in. I find the light switch easily.

He’s breathing hard. For a moment, he doesn’t say anything.

“Tell me what happened,” I say.

“I think I might be in trouble.”

“Duh. I heard you called to the principal’s office. Why aren’t you down there?”

“I was down there. I mean, before the announcement. But then I … left.”

“You bolted from the principal’s office?”

“Yeah. Well, the waiting room. They went to check my locker. I’m sure of it.”

The blood is coming from a cut above his eye.

“Who hit you?” I ask.

“It doesn’t matter. Just shut up and listen to me, okay?”

“I’m listening, but you’re not saying anything!”

I don’t think Leslie usually talks back to her older brother. But I don’t care. He isn’t really paying attention to me, anyway.

“They’re going to call home, okay? I need you to back me up.” He hands me his keys. “Just go home after school and see what the situation is. I’ll call you.”

Luckily, I know how to drive.

When I don’t argue, he takes it as acquiescence.

“Thanks,” he tells me.

“Are you going to the principal’s office now?” I ask him.

He leaves without an answer.

Carrie has the news by the end of the day. Whether it’s the truth doesn’t really matter. It’s the news that’s going around, and she’s eager to report it to me.

“Your brother and Josh Wolf got into a fight out by the field, during lunch. They’re saying it had to do with drugs, and that your brother is a dealer or something. I mean, I knew he was into pot and everything, but I had no idea he dealt. He and Josh were dragged down to the principal’s office, but Owen decided to run. Can you believe it? They were paging him to come back. But I don’t think he did.”

“Who’d you hear it from?” I ask. She’s giddy with excitement.

“From Corey! He wasn’t out there, but some of the guys he hangs out with saw the fight and everything.”

I see now that the fact that Corey told her is the bigger news here. She’s not so selfish that she wants me to congratulate her, not with my brother in trouble. But it’s clear what her priority is.

“I’ve got to drive home,” I say.

“Do you want me to come with you?” Carrie asks. “I don’t want you to have to walk in there alone.”

For a second, I’m tempted. But then I imagine her giving Corey the blow-by-blow account of what went down, and even if that’s not a fair assumption to make, it’s enough to make me realize I don’t want her there.

“It’s okay,” I say. “If anything, this is really going to make me look like the good daughter.”

Carrie laughs, but more out of support than humor.

“Tell Corey I say hi,” I say playfully as I close my locker.

She laughs again. This time, out of happiness.

“Where is he?”

I haven’t even stepped through the kitchen door and the interrogation begins.

Leslie’s mother, father, and grandmother are all there, and I don’t need to access her mind to know this is an unusual occurrence at three in the afternoon.

“I have no idea,” I say. I’m glad he didn’t tell me; this way, I don’t have to lie.

“What do you mean, you have no idea?” my father asks. He’s the lead inquisitor in this family.

“I mean, I have no idea. He gave me the keys to the car, but he wouldn’t tell me what was going on.”

“And you let him walk away?”

“I didn’t see any police chasing after him,” I say. Then I wonder if there are, in fact, police chasing after him.

My grandmother snorts in disgust.

“You always take his side,” my father intones. “But not this time. This time you are going to tell us everything.”

He doesn’t realize he’s just helped me. Now I know that Leslie always takes Owen’s side. So my instinct is correct.

“You probably know more than I do,” I say.

“Why would your brother and Josh Wolf have a fight?” my mother asks, genuinely bewildered. “They’re such good friends!”

My mental image of Josh Wolf is of a ten-year-old, leading me to believe that at one point, my brother probably was good friends with Josh Wolf. But not anymore.

“Sit down,” my father commands, pointing to a kitchen chair.

I sit down.

“Now … where is he?”

“I genuinely don’t know.”

“She’s telling the truth,” my mother says. “I can tell when she’s lying.”

Even though I have way too many control issues to do drugs myself, I am starting to get a sense of why Owen likes to get stoned.

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