The World is a Stage

The World is a Stage by Tamara Morgan Read Free Book Online

Book: The World is a Stage by Tamara Morgan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tamara Morgan
know I owe you a lot, but I can’t really look at you right now. I just want to be alone.”
    Gone. Molly wanted her gone.
    “Sure thing.” It was shameful and weak, but she wanted herself to be out of there almost as much as her sister did. It was too hard, seeing the baby and Molly like this—the only way they could ever be together. “Will I see you? I mean, will you be home later today? Before work?”
    “No. Eric invited me over for this afternoon.” She said it as a challenge. A dare.
    Rachel clamped her mouth shut again and flipped the volume on her iPod—the Bitchin’ Workout Mix—as high as it could go.
    Running and loud music were all that was left to her. She wasn’t allowed to scream her frustration into the air like Molly, and her own inadequacies as a human being meant she could never find a way to give voice to all the things she felt.  
    Don’t go , she wanted to plead. Don’t let that man do what the others have done. Use your brain for once. Use it for the four-months-too-early child frozen in the ground.
    Her sister’s judgment in men was awful. Not just break-her-heart awful, but break-her-bones awful. Break-her-body-and-her-spirit-and-the-tiny-little-soul-growing-inside-her awful.
    Rachel couldn’t understand why Molly kept turning to the same type of guys, why she kept turning into the same type of girl with them. She was irrevocably drawn to bad boys, and no amount of begging and pleading on Rachel’s part could change her mind or give her the backbone she needed to stand up to them. And the worst part was, she expected Rachel to do nothing more than stand by and watch her make the same mistakes again.
    Didn’t her sister have any idea what that did to a person?
    This new guy, Eric, was the poster boy for everything that wasn’t good for Molly: big and mean and much too old for her. And his giant Nordic demon of a friend wasn’t helping matters any. Brainless brutes, the pair of them, targeting Molly because she was sweet and trusting and completely clueless when it came to guys like them.
    As Rachel made her way along the trail out of the cemetery, one of the little old men raised a hand in farewell, his papery hand cheerful despite the fact he hunched over the grave of a wife gone ten years.
    Add it to the list.
    Caffeine. Alcohol. Drugs. Love. Men.
    Rachel didn’t need any of it. Especially that last bit.
    “Nope. No way. No how. Never again.”
    Michael tested his leg before lifting the empty wooden keg. So far, so good. Other than a tightness along the back of his knee, he was fine. With a roar, he hefted the barrel so it was level with his chest and started running, making it a good fifty feet through the shorn field before turning around and heading back.
    “Good speed on that one, Mikey,” Julian said. Then he promptly stepped up and beat Michael by at least ten seconds.
    “Show-off,” Michael said with a laugh. “I was hoping all that sitting for magazines in your underwear you’ve been doing now that you’re some fancy Scottish Games mascot would slow you down. Some guys have all the luck. You’re up, Peterson.”
    “Won’t you even think about it?” Peterson stretched his arms and bent at the knee to get his arms around the full width of it. The barrel wasn’t in the lineup of their usual tricks—the hammer throw, the caber toss and the weight over bar—but it was one of the events in the upcoming Top Warrior Race.
    Also, it was really fun.
    “Wait—wait.” Michael paused, watching Peterson make his round, the barrel falling to his feet about halfway so that he had to resort to a roll for the rest of the lap. That was ten points off. Already, Peterson was slipping.
    “Okay. There. I thought about it.”
    “Still no.”
    Julian laughed as he watched the way Peterson’s face fell. “I still don’t understand how you could have failed that bad, Mikey. What exactly did you say to this woman?”
    “It wouldn’t have mattered. I was

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