Down to the Liar

Down to the Liar by Mary Elizabeth Summer Read Free Book Online

Book: Down to the Liar by Mary Elizabeth Summer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mary Elizabeth Summer
rails back there, but I’m not confessing that to her.
    “I wasn’t being reckless. I needed his help and I got it.”
    “It is as if you are trying to punish yourself, or prove some sort of point.”
    “I’m not punishing myself.” Though I deserve it, and then some. “I’m just doing my job. And anyway, you’re the one trying to prove something.”
    “What is that supposed to mean?” she growls.
    My heart is hammering, and some part of my brain is screaming at me to shut my stupid mouth. But I’m not famous for doing the right thing. I’m about to say something I know I’ll regret. I say it anyway.
    “You saved me from Petrov. Your promise to my dad is done,
finito,
over. But you’re still here. And you still think it’s your duty to protect me. Just so we’re clear, I never asked you to.”
    She’s silent for the rest of the trip to the Ballou, which to be fair is only a few minutes. But still. You could melt an iceberg with the heat scorching the car. I’m mad at her for being mad at me, but there’s a significant amount of guilt churning in my gut as well when she pulls up to the door.
    “You are right,” she says, sounding resigned. “You did not ask. But I was not doing it for you.”
    “Dani—”
    “Enough. It is your life to risk as you want. Just as it is my life to risk in your place.”
    “That’s not—”
    “All I am trying to say is that you do not have to suffer to earn forgiveness.”
    My breath seizes in my lungs like I’ve been tackled. She has no right to say that to me. No right and every right. She’s the only friend I have left who’s not just sticking around because she owes me a favor. How much longer until I drive her away, too? Or worse, get her killed?
    I mumble something and bolt out of the car. I pass Yaji again without a word and climb the stairs to my office. When I get to my desk, my history book is still open to the textiles chapter. I put my head on my arms and cry like I haven’t since Tyler died.
    —
    The next day after school, Bryn and Murphy and I reconvene at the Ballou office to lay the bait for the honeypot. Bryn and Murphy read over my shoulder as I type a private Facebook message from my own fake account to one of the bully accounts:
Psst. You really want to go after that skank Skyla? I found her boyfriend’s phone and downloaded some naked pics. Check out this link….
    “Can’t you say ‘boobs’ in there somewhere?” Murphy asks.
    “No, I cannot. Perv.”
    “I’m just saying it would sweeten the pot.”
    “I think ‘naked’ is sweet enough.” I paste in the link Tog sent me and send the message. “Now we just have to wait for the mark to click the link.”
    “What does the page say when the attacker clicks it?” Bryn asks.
    “It just throws up an error message,” Murphy says.
    “You don’t think that seems suspicious?”
    “Doesn’t matter,” I say. “As soon as someone clicks the link, we’ll have their IP address.”
    “And then what?”
    “Then I look up who it belongs to and make them rue the day they ever heard of the Internet. The details depend on who it turns out to be.”
    “Why are we not telling Skyla about this?”
    “She doesn’t want to know who it is. Besides, she might accidentally let the plan slip to the wrong person.”
    I type a quick, insulting acknowledgment to Tog. It’s our thing now—I take out all my pent-up, grief-fueled rage on him, and he reads the thank-you between the lines.
    “How long will it take the attacker to click the link?”
    “Hard to tell. It seems like the mark is posting every other day or so. It could be sooner than that, though, if they’re set up to receive notification emails.”
    “Well, I hope it’s worth the six thousand dollars you’re going to bill her.”
    “Me too.”
    Bryn takes off to pick Skyla up at her boyfriend’s place, leaving me and Murphy to sit and twiddle our thumbs.
    “How’d your come-to-Jesus with Dani go?” Murphy asks from his desk a

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