Somebody I Used to Know

Somebody I Used to Know by David Bell Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Somebody I Used to Know by David Bell Read Free Book Online
Authors: David Bell
the time. But I didn’t know Candace.
    “Candace,” Andrew said. “She’s the new babysitter.”
    I waved to her. “Hi. I’m Nick. I’m Andrew’s . . . stepdad. I know Steve and Linda Yarrow. I used to live here.”
    But Candace looked nervous. Her eyes narrowed, and she twirled the ends of her blond hair with greater ferocity.
    “I came by to see Gina,” I said. “But she’s not home.”
    Candace stepped back into the Yarrows’ house. I hoped she just heard the teakettle starting to boil or something like that.
    “Are you staying for dinner?” Andrew asked. “They’re showing the Reds game on TV. It’s just spring training, though.”
    “No, I can’t stay,” I said. “I just wanted to talk to your mom.” Through the Yarrows’ kitchen window, I saw Candace with a phone pressed to her ear. She was talking with a concerned look on her face, and her hair was being twirled within an inch of its life. “I should go if she’s not here. I’m really not supposed to be—”
    “Let me just show you one thing.” Andrew reached up and took my hand. He started tugging me toward the Yarrows’ yard, where his friend Donal Yarrow stood holding a football. “We worked out a cool trick play.”
    “I can’t, buddy.”
    “It will only take a minute. Please? One minute.”
    His small body managed to pull me toward the neighbors’ yard, and my feet followed along. I wanted to go. I wanted to lose myself in a silly trick play, the kind of thing that could only be dreamed up by a nine-year-old.
    “You’ll like it,” Andrew said. “First you snap the ball. Then the quarterback fakes—”
    I stopped. “I can’t. I have to go.”
    “It’s only a minute. You never come around.”
    “I know. But I will.” I looked at the house. Candace was off the phone, but she stood near the kitchen window, staring out at me. She’d stopped twirling her hair. “It’s a little complicated right now with me and your mom. But we’ll figure it out. That’s what I wanted to talk to her about tonight. I had kind of a long day, and I thought—”
    “Are you moving back?” Andrew asked.
    “Oh, buddy.” I sighed. “Jesus. I doubt it.”
    Andrew looked crushed, like I’d dropped a ton of emotional weight on top of his soul. Tears welled up in his eyes.
    I pulled my hand away from his, and then bent down closer to him. I sighed again. “It’s not about you. It’s about your mom and me. But I can’t just come here anymore whenever I want.”
    “Or you’ll get arrested again?”
    “I didn’t get arrested. But, yes, I could get in trouble.”
    Andrew looked away from me, trying to hold back his tears. I remembered that feeling as a kid, those years between being young enough to feel hurt but also feeling too old to cry. “I just want to see you,” he said. “You and Mom don’t care.”
    “Don’t say that.” My voice came out with a harshness I hadn’t intended. Andrew looked up at me, his chin quivering. “It’s not true,” I said, lowering my voice. “It’s not true of either of us. But I have to go.”
    I gave him a quick kiss on the top of his head, and then walked off toward the car. Candace stood at the window, so I gave her a friendly wave. I wanted to let her know I was leaving, that everything was okay. Back to normal. Nothing to see here.
    But when I reached the front of the house, Gina pulled into the driveway. She came out of the car quickly and walked around the front, her big, dark eyes wild. I suddenly knew who Candace was talking to on the phone.
    “What the fuck is going on, Nick?” she asked.
    “I came to see you.”
    “And you tried to take Andrew?” she asked.
    “What? No. He wanted to show me a football play. But I told him I couldn’t stay. Did that babysitter say . . .”
    Gina slumped back against her car, lifting her hand to rub her forehead. Her body was trim and sleek from her years as a college swimmer, and a strand of brown hair fell across her face. “She just

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