Liar

Liar by Justine Larbalestier Read Free Book Online

Book: Liar by Justine Larbalestier Read Free Book Online
Authors: Justine Larbalestier
Tags: Ebook, book
corner, as I turn, I glance back and see her. Finally I’m around a corner waiting.
    Sarah turns and there I am staring at her.
    â€œOh,” she says, taking several steps back, looking away. “Oh.”
    â€œHmmm,” I say.
    â€œI,” she begins, looking at me briefly, slipping her hands under the straps of her backpack, resting her left foot on the curb.
    â€œYou,” I say, mocking her. She blushes and looks down.
    â€œI was . . .”
    To increase Sarah’s discomfort I continue to stare at her.
    â€œI was going to . . . ,” Sarah says. “I was just . . .”
    Sarah hasn’t found the rest of her sentence yet, so I give it to her: “You were just following me?”
    â€œYes,” she says, incurably honest. “I wanted to see where you live.”
    â€œWhy?” I ask. She’s still not looking at me.
    â€œI heard that he’d come visit you.” She slides her right hand out from under the backpack strap, wipes it on her skirt, and then slips it under again. “I wanted to see.”
    â€œTo see what? Him with me? He’s dead, remember?
    Sarah shakes her head, her heavy loose curls swaying.
    She’s still looking down.
    â€œWhat did you want to see, Sarah? The outside of my apartment building? The inside? My bedroom?”
    She looks up. Her eyes are wide and wet. “Yes,” she says. “No. Maybe. I don’t know. I didn’t think it all the way through.”
    â€œCome on,” I say, turning on my heel. I am tempted to run flat out and leave her in my wake. Instead I march fast up Second Avenue. She has to scurry to keep pace.

    AFTER
    â€œYour desk is so big,” Sarah Washington says, looking around. “It’s bigger than your bed.”
    It’s not that the desk is big, more that the room is small. In any other city in America it would be a closet, not a bedroom. The desk, the chair, the bed, the crate beside it are the only furniture. I sit down on the bed, cross my legs underneath me. I prefer to sit on the floor, but Sarah is standing on the only floor space.
    She picks up the silver packet of tiny pills by my bed, holds them in her hand and stares at them, then holds the packet out to me. Her eyes are too wet. A tear leaks out and then another. I wonder what it’s like crying so easily.
    â€œYou were sleeping with him, weren’t you?”
    â€œThey’re for my skin,” I tell her.
    â€œYour skin?” She drops them back on the crate as if they might contaminate her. “You take birth control pills for your skin ?”
    I nod. It’s odd how often telling the truth feels like lying and lying like the truth. “I have acne. When I take those pills I don’t have acne. You can look it up.”
    â€œSo you never slept with him?” she asks, emphasizing each word.
    I hadn’t said that. “No,” I answer.
    â€œThen why do you have his sweater?” she asks, much louder this time. She squeezes past my bed to where it hangs on the back of my desk chair. She holds it to her nose. She can smell him, too. Her eyes leak more water. She better not cry on the sweater.
    â€œI was cold.” I am never cold.
    I only let Sarah into my room to stop her from bothering me. She’s one of those people who cannot let things be. I thought about hiding the sweater. I thought, too, about wearing the sweater. But I don’t want to lose his smell.
    â€œPut it down,” I tell her.
    She does. I can smell salty fear on her. She is afraid of me. She is afraid of everything.
    â€œI don’t have anything of his,” she says. “Not one thing.”
    â€œWhat about the chain around your neck?” It’s thin and gold. It would be easy to break. “Or that ring on your finger. He gave you those.”
    â€œHe bought them. They don’t . . .” Sarah trails off, glances at the sweater again. “They weren’t ever his .”
    She

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