Another horrifying possibility

I must have passed out.

I awoke to find Grant sitting on the edge of my bed, wiping my face with a cold cloth and talking softly. His voice sounded soothing, but the words sounded like some alien language I’d never heard before.

I sat up, groaning, squinting at him through swollen eyelids. My head hurt, my stomach hurt, and I was too mentally drained to comprehend anything he was saying. I could still smell the bacon Sandy and I had cooked for breakfast, and I suddenly hated that smell more profoundly than I had ever hated anything in my life.

“While Mom was telling you all the sordid details of her life in San Francisco in the swinging ’60s, I don’t suppose she got around to the part where she spent two months hovering over an incubator in a maternity ward, willing her infant son to survive, did she?” Grant was saying.

I looked at him dully. “I don’t understand.”

Grant sighed, shaking his head, and took my hand. “Oh, Sierra,” he said.

I snatched my hand away. “Don’t touch me.”

At that moment, Grant inexplicably did the worst thing he could possibly do under the circumstances: He burst out laughing. He laughed and laughed, his face contorted, tears trickling from the corners of his eyes.

I recoiled. Why was he laughing? Had he known all along? I shuddered, wondering how far he would have let things go if his mother hadn’t let the cat out of the bag. Then an even worse thought — if such a thing were possible — occurred to me: Maybe that wasn’t his mother at all. Maybe she was an actress he’d enlisted to play a horrible prank on me. Maybe he was setting me up. I’d trusted him with my past, and he was turning it into a sick joke. The thought of someone using my father as a punchline was almost too much to bear.

I wanted to hurt Grant. I wanted to claw his eyes out. I wanted to hit him. I wanted to tear out his windpipe, to silence that godforsaken giggling. I could feel rage building up inside. It scared me.

I think it scared Grant, too, because he suddenly stopped laughing and got very serious.

“I’m sorry, Sierra,” he said. “You’re right. It isn’t funny at all.” He reached out to brush a lock of hair away from my face. I backed away.

“Please,” he whispered. “Let me explain.”

“Go to hell,” I said, and the calm in my voice startled me.

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One comment

  1. Judy Wallmark · July 25, 2010

    What a cliff hanger. How can you leave it there? But……I can already feel that it’s gonna turn out OK or Grant wouldn’t be laughing.

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