Home>>read Somebody Else's Sky (Something in the Way #2) free online

Somebody Else's Sky (Something in the Way #2)(13)

By:Jessica Hawkins

"Did you know your sister's here?" Val asked, nodding through a doorway.

Tiffany sat on a kitchen countertop surrounded by boys I recognized from her grade. Most of them were in college now, not all of them, though. She still hadn't signed up for classes even though she kept saying she would. "No, but I'm not surprised."

"Five bucks says she's telling them about her big, bad prison boyfriend."

My heart seized and then released, an automatic reaction to anything Manning. "Now you're just tossing out 'B' words."

"I can think of a couple more."

Val and Tiffany didn't get along. Neither had Val and I at first. The principal had asked me to show her around campus her first day, and I would've rather stuck my head in a garbage bin after lunch, but as always, I'd done what was expected.

"Is this place a lot different than Seattle?" I asked Val between the math and science buildings.

"What kind of a question is that?" she shot back. "Seattle has music, art, and culture on every corner. This place is as new and shiny as a polished turd."

I gaped at her. "What?"

"Plus there's the whole rain versus sun thing." I must've looked pretty disturbed, because she added, "Well, don't cry about it."

I had cried in the bathroom twenty minutes earlier, and also during first period, and because of that, I really couldn't have cared less about this new girl and her attitude. "Like I'd cry over an insult my five-year-old cousin could've come up with. You don't need a tour. The campus is small. Good luck."

I walked the length of the math building before she caught up to me. "Sheesh. The principal promised you'd make me feel welcome."

"I'm sure he can assign you to someone else. I'm not in the mood for this."

"Then why'd you agree to it?" 

I picked up my stride, but so did she. "Because I'm trying for student of the month this year."

"It's only September."

"If they pick me early, I won't have to hear about not getting it all year from my dad."

"Oh. Well, if it makes you feel any better, my dad's dating someone five years older than me."

I wasn't sure why that should make me feel better, but I got the feeling she needed to say it. "Sorry."

"Is that why you were crying? Your dad? By the way, you seriously need some, like, cucumbers or something. Your eyes are really puffy."

I hugged my binder to my chest and turned a corner toward the amphitheater to show her where next week's pep rally would be. "Yeah. I guess."

It turned out I hadn't needed to show her the way to the amphitheater. We'd gone to the rally together. I learned that Val's idea of a good time was Vietnamese food with eighties romantic comedies, and if her mom was out for the night, a glass of rosé. I hadn't really known what I'd considered a good time but it wasn't any of those things-until Val.

"There's my girl." A familiar, deep voice boomed over the living room crowd. "Move aside, assholes. Let the ladies through."

Corbin and his sun-bleached hair stood inches taller than anyone else. Even if he weren't waving both hands overhead, I would've spotted him easily.

The crowd parted for Val and me. "Welcome home," I told him. His nose was pink and peeling, but he was bronze everywhere else. "How was vacation?"

"My brothers and I tore up the shores of Hawaii. It's unrecognizable now." He nodded at Val, then looked down her blouse. "What up, V? Nice, ah, necklace."

"Thanks. Are you the keg master or what?"

"No, but I can be." Corbin filled three beers. I didn't want one, but I'd learned if I didn't carry a red cup around parties, everyone would try to force one on me. "So let's see this infamous scar," he said.

I extended my arm, showing the faint, pink circle of raised skin near the inside of my elbow. He ran a thumb over it and shook his head, tsking. "What the hell were you thinking, Kaplan? You can't just pick up a stray cat."

"It was a kitten, and it was in pain," I said. In retrospect, yes, it'd been stupid. We'd been on a class trip to Laguna Art Museum and out front, under a lawn sculpture, had been a little, mewling furball. With teeth. I'd had to go to the emergency room-right away-but Lam, named after the museum-was alive, healthy, and had been adopted out. That didn't change the fact that I'd gotten an earful from my dad about my weird new hobby.

It had started with the running, and the running had started with a need to burn off the things that ate me up inside. Guilt over what I'd done. Hurt that Manning had neither written me back nor asked to see me. At seven o'clock on a Saturday morning, I'd been jogging by the pier and had nearly stumbled over a beached dolphin. After I'd run to call animal control and waited until they'd arrived to guide it back into the ocean, the handler had told me, "You did good."