Eleven Things I Promised

Eleven Things I Promised by Catherine Clark

Book: Eleven Things I Promised by Catherine Clark Read Free Book Online
Authors: Catherine Clark
Heather asked.
    â€œAt least three. I think it was actually four times,” said Fred.
    â€œShe never mentioned that,” I said. “Four times in a row?” That was so like her, to do something extreme and just not tell anyone. Her dad had some mantra he was always telling her and her brothers, “The pride is in doing it, not talking about it.”
    Me? I’d take out TV ads if I ever did something so amazing.
    Heather’s phone rang and I crossed my fingers, but it wasn’t good news about my phone. It was details about lunch. Just hearing Heather talk made me feel slightly hungry.
    â€œSo how is Stella doing? Is she healing okay?” Heather asked me when she finished the call.
    â€œUm, yes.” I nodded. “She’s sort of . . . she’s fine, actually.”
    â€œHopefully she’ll be able to do the ride next year,” Fred said, “and you two can come back together.”
    I tried to smile but couldn’t quite pull it off. There were so many things that had to happen before then.
    I bit my lip to keep from choking up while the Subaru buzzed past several riders, and I scanned them to see anyone from Sparrowsdale, but we were traveling too fast. We pulled into a small parking lot on the side of the road, outside a restaurant. “Okay if we let you out here?” Fred asked.
    â€œUm, sure.” I got out of the car and brushed my eyes with the back of my leather glove while Fred got my bike downfor me. He checked the air in the tires, added a little, then returned it with a smile. “See you at the road’s end!”
    I tried to smile back, but I was feeling pretty bad. Not only did I have a small hangover, I guess, but my will was pretty much gone. Still, I adjusted my helmet, reset my computer, and carefully made my way back into the pack of riders.
    Margo suddenly appeared at my side, pedaling beside me. “That’s cheating, you know.”
    I switched to a higher gear, pedaled harder. “You can keep on riding, you know.”
    â€œAre you injured?” she asked. “Because you’re riding like you’re not.”
    â€œI’m not. I lost my phone, so I tried to get them to go back and help me find it, but they wouldn’t,” I explained.
Not that I need to explain myself to you.
    â€œSeriously? Crap,” Margo cursed. “What are you going to do?”
    â€œI don’t know,” I said. “I really don’t.” I reached for my water bottle and took a few gulps. We rode together for a few minutes. It actually didn’t feel bad to be side by side. If everyone on this team supported me like this, I knew I’d be able to finish out the week, even if I hobbled in to the finish.
    Margo cleared her throat. “I was hanging back, wondering where you were,” she said. “But now I know you’re okay,so—I’m going ahead. I can’t ride this slowly for long. Makes my legs all jumpy.”
    â€œYou do what you have to do,” I muttered, wishing I could bop her with my water bottle, but she was already out of reach. I’d drift to the back where I was comfortable,
maybe too comfortable,
I thought as I watched her speed up and start passing people.
    Why didn’t anyone ride this like an actual team? In the Tour de France, which Stella has made me watch every year for the past three years, the teams all bunch together to support their best rider.
    Huh, maybe that’s it. I’m not the best, and I can’t keep up with the best, so I should probably stop comparing this to the Tour. This isn’t a tour. This is a gut-wrenching, muscles-burning journey. On my own.
    Stella wasn’t here to save me, the way she usually did when things got too hard.
    I started pedaling harder. As I pumped my legs, the bike weaved a little. I wobbled into the middle of the road.
    â€œHey, watch it!” a girl trying to pass me yelled. “On your

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