Poison Bay

Poison Bay by Belinda Pollard Read Free Book Online

Book: Poison Bay by Belinda Pollard Read Free Book Online
Authors: Belinda Pollard
wherever they brushed against it. Entombed in their sleeping bags inside the big orange plastic bags, none of them commented on the dampness.
    Callie became aware of another sound over the pounding rain. Sobbing. It was Sharon, lying between her and Rachel. Callie felt rather than saw Rachel’s arm emerge from her own sleeping bag to enclose Sharon in a hug, and the sobbing increased.
    “I loved him. And now he’s dead.”
    “Who?” said Callie.
    “Bry-y-an…” she wailed, frustrated.
    Rachel’s hand paused from hugging just long enough to jab Callie on the shoulder, hard, and she knew she’d be getting glared at if there was enough light to see by.  
    “Sorry, just being dense . ” But seriously, how could anyone fancy a weirdo like Bryan?
    “I always loved him. But he never looked at me. He just wanted Liana.”
      Rachel said gently, “None of us got a look-in with any of the guys while she was around.”
    “I hated her so much, and it’s my fault she died, and now I’m going to pay for it, like Bryan said I should.”
      Callie had trouble imagining gentle, smiling Sharon hating anyone. But if anyone could coax unworthy emotions out of someone so sweet, Liana would have been the person for the job. “How can it be your fault?” she said.
    “Do you remember how I’d saved up all year, so I could go to the Whitsunday Islands after graduation? She wanted me to give her that money, so she could get an abortion.”
    “I can see how that would make you feel bad,” Rachel said. “But she asked me for money too, and I said no.”
    “You don’t understand. She said she’d kill herself if I didn’t help her, and I said, ‘Good! Go and kill yourself.’ I actually said that to her! She had Bryan all to herself and she didn’t care how that made me feel. I would have loved to have his baby, and she just wanted to get rid of it—and even make me pay for it. I couldn’t stand it!”  
    There was a pause before Rachel spoke again. “Lots of people say terrible things when they’re angry. You probably didn’t think she’d do it. She was always being dramatic.”
    “I guess so. But I did have this daydream about what it might be like if she wasn’t around anymore—not dead exactly, but somehow just not there—so that Bryan forgot about her and noticed me. But then she really did it, and it wasn’t anything like the daydream. It was so awful. And all these years… I felt so hor-r-rible…” She dissolved into tears, long spasms of sobbing from deep in her chest. Rachel rocked her, making soothing noises, and Callie wished there was enough light so she could make eye contact with her friend, and gauge her reaction to these revelations. Had Bryan somehow known about that conversation? Did Liana tell him, or write it in a diary?
    Gradually, Sharon’s weeping exhausted itself. When she spoke again, her voice was flat. “Liana could have had any of the boys, but she went for Bryan because he had money. She didn’t love him. I never cared about his money. And I came on this horrible hike because I thought, maybe… But he still never thought about me. And now he’ll never think anything at all, ever again.”
    Bryan, someone in the world really and truly loved you, thought Callie, tears slipping across her face. If only you’d seen the value of this woman, and loved her back, how different might your life have been?

10
      Sunday, One Day Lost

    The storm had blown itself out and a non-committal sun lit patches of pale sky.  
    As the camp came to life, bleary and subdued, Callie thought how much she had been dreading the all-day drive back to Christchurch scheduled for today. How much would she give now to be on that bus, folded into a seat too small for her height? She headed to the river for water, and Jack followed.
    “I’ve been thinking about which way we could go from here,” he said. “There was another creek running down into this bay. We could head up there, see what we

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