Home > Where We Belong(9)

Where We Belong(9)
Catherine Ryan Hyde

A pause. And then I guess she must have walked away. Because I never heard another sound after that.

After I got dressed again and dried my hair with Aunt Vi’s blow dryer, I wandered out to see where everybody was. I could hear Mom and Vi talking to each other in low voices.

When I stuck my head into the kitchen, they both stopped talking and looked up at me. Like I’d caught them doing something wrong.

“Why didn’t you tell me the police came?” my mom asked. Like it was my idea they should come by.

She didn’t say anything about my lip, but maybe it was just the light. The light from the living room was bright behind me, and probably she just didn’t see.

“You didn’t ask,” I said.

I guess that was a bad-attitude thing to say. I didn’t mean to have a bad attitude. I was just tired. I can live through everything or I can answer for everything, but sometimes both is just too much for one day.

Nobody said anything, and nothing happened, except it got real clear to me—real fast—that they weren’t going to finish their talk with me standing right there listening. I ducked out of the kitchen again, and through the living room toward the front door.

I heard Aunt Violet say, “I just don’t think—”

And my mom cut her off and said, “Please, Vi. Please, I’m begging you. We need a little more time. We’d literally be out on the street if—”

That was when I slammed the front door. With me on the other side. It was dusky and cool out, and I felt free somehow, being out in it. Or freer, anyway.

I looked at the house next door, pulled in a long, deep breath, drew my shoulders back, and marched over there. And knocked.

I heard big, impossibly deep woofs from Rigby. Just three.

The door opened.

The man was wearing pajamas and a nice burgundy-colored shiny bathrobe, even though it wasn’t too late. Rigby was swinging her tail back and forth like she’d known me all her life. Her tail kept hitting the back of the guy’s thighs, but he didn’t act like he noticed.

His eyes narrowed when he looked at me. Just a little, but still…

“Yes?”

I almost lost my nerve.

I had to fill up with breath again. I had to re-straighten my shoulders.

Before I could speak, he asked, “What happened to your—”

I didn’t let him finish.

“That was a mean, horrible thing to do.”

He chewed on his lower lip for a moment. Just studying my face. Then he said, “I apologized, so I thought we’d be through with that.”

“That’s not what I mean, and you know it.”

“I don’t know as much as you seem to think.”

“You know what you did.”

“I honestly don’t.”

“Calling the police on us like that. When you knew I was doing my best with her. It was mean and awful.”

“I didn’t call the police.”

That fell to the stoop and just lay there a minute. I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I didn’t really believe him. But it’s pretty strong stuff to call a grownup a liar. That’s a pretty radical thing to take on.

“Well, who did, then?”

He stepped out onto the stoop, and Rigby came out with him. She sat down near my left side, and I put my hand on her back, and it made me feel better.

“Look around,” he said, pointing up and down the street. “What do you see? The surface of the moon with just these two houses on it? Or neighbors as far as the eye can see?”

Then I felt incredibly stupid. Because it should have occurred to me that anybody could have called the cops. Just because I hadn’t met any of the other neighbors didn’t mean they couldn’t hear the ruckus.

“You really didn’t do it?”

“Let me tell you something about me. When I think something is the right thing to do, I do it. And if you ask me if I did it, I’ll tell you the truth, because I thought it was the right thing. I’ll tell you I did it, and I’ll tell you why I did it. I won’t do something and then lie about it. I did not call the police. I put in your earplugs, and read the news online instead of watching the TV news, and had a roast beef frozen dinner with mashed potatoes. And that’s all.”

“Oh,” I said. And when I said it, all my tiredness caught up with me, all at once. I almost could have melted into a little puddle on his stoop. “I’m sorry. Seriously. Very, very sorry.”

“Apology accepted.”

“This is a really nice dog,” I said, rubbing her enormous shoulder blades.

Recommended
» Breakable (Contours of the Heart #2) read online
» Allegiant (Divergent #3) read online
» Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) read online
» Twilight (Twilight #1) read online
» Unseen Messages read online
» Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) read online
» The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) read online
» The Darkest Seduction (Lords of the Underwo read online
» Easy (Contours of the Heart #1) read online
» Insurgent (Divergent #2) read online
» Fallen Too Far (Rosemary Beach #1) read online
» Midnight Sun (Twilight #1.5) read online
» Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) read online
» Eclipse (Twilight #3) read online
» Rush Too Far (Rosemary Beach #4) read online
» Breaking Dawn (Twilight #4) read online
» Forever Too Far (Rosemary Beach #3) read online
» Never Too Far (Rosemary Beach #2) read online
» Divergent (Divergent #1) read online
» I Am Legend read online
» New Moon (Twilight #2) read online