Light from a Distant Star

Light from a Distant Star by Mary Mcgarry Morris

Book: Light from a Distant Star by Mary Mcgarry Morris Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mary Mcgarry Morris
Glickstein said. “It’s his own fault for leaving it on the front walk like that.”
    “Kids, they think—” her mother started to say.
    “You got some here.” Mrs. Glickstein pointed to the dark stain on her forehead.
    “Sorry.” Her mother dipped a cotton pad into a jar, frowning as she dabbed at the spot.
    “Last time it didn’t come out for two days.”
    “I’m sorry.” She leaned closer, rubbing. “So what’re the police going to do?”
    Nellie’s eyes burned as a jackhammer drilled between her temples.
    “Nothing they can do, I guess. Not as long as the grandson keeps denying everything. I’ll tell you, though, he’s a bad seed, that one.”
    M R . K RUGER BROUGHT Henry home at six. Never had she been so glad to see her brother. Maybe it was the news of Bucky’s grilling by the police or maybe Henry had just saved his vomiting for the privacy and comfort of his own toilet, but when Nellie went to bed he was in the bathroom again, gagging.
    S HE’D SPENT THE next afternoon searching for Bucky. She’d even left a note in his grandparents’ mailbox. His face, now inches from hers, gleamed with sweaty flecks of grime. They were on a bench in the park.
    “What the fuck did ya cut the damn tires for?”
    “I didn’t cut any tires,” she snapped back.
    “Yeah, right. So now I got the stupid cops on my ass all the time.”
    “You shouldn’t’ve stolen the bikes in the first place.”
    “Oh okay, Miss Law and Order, like you didn’t know, right?”
    “Right! I thought you were getting them from people to fix up.”
    “Oh, Jesus! C’mon! And the moon, you probably think that’s just some guy up there.” He was jiggling a rock in his hand.
    “You know what your problem is? You don’t have any respect for anybody.” On message, she was moving in for the kill, which seemed to amuse him.
    “I respect you.” He grinned.
    “Like what you did to my brother, that was so disgusting.”
    “What? What’d I do to your brother?”
    “You know what you did.”
    “Tell me.”
    “No!”
    “They’re sending me back to New York.”
    She looked at him. This wasn’t going according to plan. “When?”
    “Soon as they find some place that’ll take me.”
    “What about your parents?”
    “That didn’t work out.” He sidearmed the rock off the side of the bandstand. “My mom’s a cokehead.”
    “I thought she was a soap star.”
    “That, too. She just likes her drugs better’n me, that’s all.”
    “Did you ever ask her to stop?”
    “Like a million times.”
    “Wow. That sucks.”
    “I tried it once.” He picked up another rock and threw it at the trash barrel. It pinged off the metal like a gunshot. “In her bathroom, that’s where she does it, the lines, on the counter. I rubbed some on my gums, but all it did was sting. I thought of doing it here.” He pressed his finger to a nostril and sniffed. “But … I didn’t.”
    “What if you got addicted? I mean, think of it, your whole life’d be ruined. You’d probably end up in jail or—”
    “Or what? Dead?”
    “You could.”
    “Would you feel bad?”
    “No. Not if you were stupid enough to do drugs.”
    “I’d feel bad if it was you.” He threw another rock. “I wish I could stay. I really don’t wanna go back there.”
    “Ask your grandparents. Tell them you won’t get in any more trouble.”
    “I did, but they said only if I tell who slashed the bike tires and put them behind the church. Then they’ll let me stay.” He leaned close, his leg jammed into hers. Her heart thumped as he moved closer. His mouth had to be almost touching her ear as he whispered, “But I don’t wanna get you in trouble. I really like you a lot, Nellie. And not just in a friend way.”
    She jumped up. “I gotta go.”
    “I really mean that,” he yelled after her.
    Just in case he was following her, she took all the back alleys until she came to the hardware store. She didn’t like the way she felt, guilty and angry and sad

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