Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams Read Free Book Online

Book: Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carolyn Lee Adams
fighting and leave. Once they leave, she can call the boy who is like the other half of herself. It’s been that way ever since he moved into the trailer on the Carver property. At first it was a whole family. A mom, a dad, two daughters, and a son. Then the dad left and the boy changed. He grew up in a hurry, becoming more of a man than his daddy ever was. The girl misses the free spirit the boy used to be, but at moments like this, she’s grateful for his seriousness.
    The girl is still in her horse’s stall, still hiding from her parents. The fight stops. The clicking of cowboy boots on concrete announces the departure of her father.
    â€œRuth, I’m going to the show office.” Her mom sounds tired, angry. “God knows it’s five miles from here, so it’ll be a while.”
    â€œOkay,” the girl says, trying to sound normal.
    She pulls her phone out of her back pocket. Her hand is shaking, and she feels betrayed by her own body. She never shakes like this. It takes two tries before she successfully calls the boy. The phone rings, and her throat closes up on her. What if she cries? The thought is horrifying. No one hears Ruth Carver cry. Not ever. Not even him.
    â€œHello?” He sounds concerned, as though he already knows something is wrong.
    She can’t say anything.
    Forcing a deep breath, she says, “Yes.” Except she doesn’t. It comes out as a gasp for air, a metallic hiss.
    The boy’s voice lowers. “Are they fighting?”
    â€œWell, I guess it’s the same old, same old.”
    All she can do is nod.
    â€œRuthie, what’s the matter?”
    â€œI can’t speak,” she whispers.
    The boy is quiet, trying to figure out what has her this upset. “Is it worse than usual?”
    â€œNo, it’s the same. It’s exactly the same.” The words come out with vehemence, frustration.
    Something clicks for the boy. “And you thought going to Worlds was going to change things.”
    â€œYes.” Her “yes” is nothing but a humiliated husk of a word.
    â€œDon’t be embarrassed. There’s nothing worse than getting your hopes up for nothing, especially when you have a whole heap of pressure on you.”
    â€œThank you.” His understanding is an exquisite relief.
    â€œLook. Me and Ma will be there Saturday. We’ll be there to watch you. Okay?”
    â€œOkay.” The girl feels a little better, knowing her best friend will soon be there.
    â€œI’ll say prayers for you. I’ll tell Ma to say some prayers for you, too. She’ll tell her small group and then you’ll have a whole heap of people praying for you and rooting you on, okay?”
    â€œThanks, Caleb.” A warm wash of love for the boy comes over her. His lack of judgment, his unwavering support, it all means so much.
    â€œAnd, Ruthie, it ain’t fittin’ for them to fight in front of you like that; it ain’t fittin’ at all.”
    And just as quickly, that love disappears. Why does he have to talk like a redneck? He’s smarter than that, should be better than that. It just shows why Caleb could never be a part of the Carver clan. The Carvers are about being the best. Caleb is so close to that, so close to great. But he’s not. He’s on the other side of the line.
    â€œThanks, Caleb,” she says again, her voice cold. “I gotta go.”
    His redneck ways have always been an irritant, but now, in the moment when she most needs him to be perfect, it brings home everything that’s wrong.

    THE WOLFMAN CONTINUES TO ROOT around in the kitchen as I lie facedown on the couch. Address memorized, I stare at the hunting magazines. N ever in a million years would I have guessed his name was Jerry T. Balls. What kind of a name is Jerry Balls? In a different world from this one it would be funny. Thing is, he doesn’t look like

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