Triangles

Triangles by Ellen Hopkins Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Triangles by Ellen Hopkins Read Free Book Online
Authors: Ellen Hopkins
sign. By the time I get to the bar, Grant is already there, better-looking than I recalled. As I nestle beside him, a waitress saunters over with mojitos. I break a smile. “You remembered.” He licks his lips, catlike. Of course.
    You are unforgettable. Ka-ching. I was 128/881
    beginning to think you weren’t going to call. But I’m really glad you did.
    WE SHED ALL PRETENSE QUICKLY
    Before we finish the first drink,
    it’s clear we’re both here for sex.
    When the under-the-table foreplay
    becomes too intense, Grant pays
    the bill and we walk down the street to a cheap motel. Okay, it’s a dive.
    It doesn’t have hourly rates, but by the look of things, it should have.
    The room smells of Lysol, and its
    elderly carpet is stained with God-
    only-knows-what. “Not exactly
    five-star. Better check the sheets.” They look okay, are perfumed
    with bleach. Guess that’s really all that matters. I make sure the door
    is locked, and when I turn around,
    Grant is already out of his clothes.
    His body is thicker than I expected, and hairier. Just two of the things I have to get over as I strip to skin, crawl into bed next to him, starved for specialized attention. Instead, what I get from this stranger is the 130/881
    same sex waiting at home. Missionary.
    Ordinary. He comes. I don’t. Done.
    I leave him there, dozing. Walk back to my car, past hookers and drug
    deals. Feeling cheaper than the room.
    SEX WITH A STRANGER
    Is an eye-opening experience.
    Just when you think you know all
    there is to know, come to find out
    you ain’t learned everything yet.
    No
    strings
    means doing things your way,
    but only if you happen to be
    the top. When you’re not, it means
    accepting the particular brand of
    sex
    you’re being offered, mostly
    without complaint. That’s when
    things can get sticky, and not
    just literally. Saying stop
    can
    be
    problematic when your partner
    is headlong into orgasm. Asking
    for longer or gentler or once more, with feeling, is quite often
    disappointing.
    Sex with a stranger can fill in
    the blanks, but whether or not
    you like the turn of phrase
    132/881
    depends on the stranger.

    Marissa
    SWIM THERAPY DAY
    Is Shelby’s favorite day of the week.
    I’d take her more often if I could, but not only is it expensive, it’s hard to get her there by myself. Once
    upon a time, Christian helped.
    But now it’s pretty much up to me
    to load her into the van, strap her into her special bed, drive twenty
    miles to the one gym that allows
    special therapy programs in their
    heated indoor pool. The water
    must be very warm because kids
    with SMA have lower muscle mass
    and tend to chill easily. No chills allowed, and absolutely no head
    dips below the surface. Water in
    the lungs would be disastrous.
    But in the pool, helped only to
    float, Shelby is a manta. She can
    134/881
    move on her own, something
    she can do hardly at all, lying flat on her back. When she swims,
    she gains the tiniest bit of control.
    She transforms. Spreads her wings.
    SOMETIMES I SWIM
    With her. But today, her physical
    therapist instructs her to lift her knees, straighten her legs, bring her arms up in the water. Shelby has no clue
    that she is being assessed for progress or failure. All she knows is she’s having fun.
    Hello, again. The voice falls over my shoulder, a shadow. How are
    things? Your daughter looks happy.
    It’s Doug Schneider, another SMA
    parent. When Shelby was first diagnosed, and we were struggling to make sense of it all, he and his wife, Ally, were so helpful—
    sort of an unofficial support group of two.
    “Shelby’s happiest when wet, and she loves Vivian. Hey there, Joey. You ready for a swim?” Joey, who’s type 2 and so less severely impacted than Shelby, nods and holds up a hand. High five.
    The gesture comes easily for him,
    though the words are difficult.
    136/881
    “Way to go, little dude. Hey, where’s your mommy today?” Joey shrugs,
    and his grin narrows. Doug leans in close to me,

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