Moonstone

Moonstone by Jaime Clevenger Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Moonstone by Jaime Clevenger Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jaime Clevenger
first summer she’d been on the team when the whispered taunts would follow her to the starting block. She tried not to think about her mother’s words. She’d never talked to her mom about who she liked or who she didn’t and her mother had never brought it up before. Joy hadn’t told her mom that she wasn’t into guys. Somehow, she must have guessed. But her mom was wrong about Kelsey. Joy only liked to watch her swim. That was all.
    Kelsey was stretching in the warm-up area. She still had one more race—the last relay. Joy heard her mother’s words repeat in her head and kept her eyes down. She took the long way behind the timekeeper’s umbrella, hoping that Kelsey wouldn’t see her. If her mom had noticed that she was paying too much attention to Kelsey, there was a good chance that Kelsey had noticed this too. The thought of Kelsey thinking that she was attracted to her made Joy feel sick.
    Joy found a space to set her towel and rolled her shoulders, keeping her gaze focused on the water. She felt a hand touch her arm and nearly jumped.
    “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.” Kelsey grinned. “I only wanted to say good luck.”
    “Thanks,” Joy managed.
    “We’re close to winning this.”
    The loudspeaker boomed with the announcer’s voice. The next race was about to start. The sound of a gunshot was followed a moment later by the distinct splash of swimmers diving into the water.
    Kelsey continued, “You know Monte Vista’s got a girl swimming in your heat that’s already got a scholarship to swim at UCLA?”
    “Oh.” Joy cringed at her words. Oh? That was the best she could do?
    “Anyway, she was in my last race. The thing is, she’s getting tired. Iverson’s her last name. I think she’s swimming in Lane Four. Don’t push her really hard right at the beginning—just keep an eye on her and stay within a few lengths. As soon as she slows down, push as hard as you can to get past her. That’s what I did. She thinks she’s won the race before it’s over. She should stick to sprints.”
    Joy didn’t answer. She couldn’t manage more than a nod.
    “You can beat her no problem if you swim anything like you did in our relay. You made the rest of us look good. We were a half-length ahead before Kim even got in the water for backstroke. It was a cakewalk by the time it was my turn.” She paused. “After the meet some of us are going to Denny’s. Somebody started talking about pancakes and sausage and then it kinda became this thing. If you want to come…”
    “I’ve gotta study tonight.”
    “I probably should study too.” Kelsey glanced over at the bleachers. “But I don’t think I’m getting out of going to Denny’s. Sadie Padgett’s my ride home and she’s set on pancakes.” She turned to walk away and then said, “I saw Coach talking to you and I bet he was giving you the ‘I gotta be able to count on you to win this’ speech. Ignore him. He only cares about points. We’re doing way better than everyone thought we were going to do. Just swim your race. But make sure you kick Iverson’s butt. She thinks she’s hot stuff and bugs the crap out of me. Plus I know you can beat her.”
    Joy couldn’t help but smile. She watched Kelsey head back to the spot under the umbrella. The announcer’s voice boomed on the loudspeakers. Andrew O’Reilly had come in first. Joy made her way to the starting block, pushing Kelsey’s face out of her mind. She refused to steal another glance toward the umbrella. Instead, she focused on the nearly six-foot-tall Iverson. Iverson didn’t smile when Joy glanced her direction. Joy pulled on her goggles and stepped onto the block, waiting for the sound she loved to hear. She thought of Kelsey’s invitation to join them at Denny’s, then took a deep breath and exhaled. She knew why she’d said no even if she didn’t want to admit it. It had nothing to do with finals. She was too scared to say yes.
    “Swimmers, take your

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