On Best Behavior (C3)

On Best Behavior (C3) by Jennifer Lane

Book: On Best Behavior (C3) by Jennifer Lane Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jennifer Lane
Tags: Romance
“What’s her personality like?”
    “Nice. She’s really nice. She’s fast, but she doesn’t make fun of people who just started swimming, like me. Her times are way faster than mine, but she still talks to me.”
    “She sounds kind-hearted. And you’re attracted to her too. So what’s the problem?”
    He squirmed. “My boy Dylan got me to admit I was into her, then he went behind my back and kind of asked her if she liked me. He said she got all nervous, and she told him she liked me as a friend. Then he asked her if she liked me as more than a friend. Like, if we could start talking. But she said she wasn’t interested.”
    “How disappointing. Did she say why?”
    He stared at the floor. “She said she didn’t want to date a pothead.”
    “That sounds very hurtful.” Dr. Hunter’s voice was gentle. “Especially since it’s not true.”
    He looked up.
    “Just because you smoked pot doesn’t make you a pothead. That’s like calling myself a failure just because I’ve failed a time or two. Slapping a negative label on yourself based on isolated behaviors doesn’t make it true.”
    “You’ve failed?”
    “Of course. Many times.”
    “How?”
    Dr. Hunter hesitated. “I made some choices I regret, when I first came out. It was a wild time in my life…I did some dumb things. Even now, when I argue with Bradley—uh, the ‘dude’ as you call him—I have trouble keeping my cool. Sometimes I say mean things.”
    “But that’s nothing. Everybody does that.” He fidgeted. “I’ve done much worse.”
    “You’re saying your failures are bigger than mine? I don’t believe that.”
    “Believe it.” He hated the way his voice shook.
    “Ben, I think you have something on your mind…something you want to share, but you’re nervous to tell me. Am I right?”
    He squirmed. “I guess.”
    “What’s making it hard to tell me?”
    He looked at his feet. “You’ll tell my mom.”
    “Hmm. Not necessarily.”
    “Then you’ll turn me in.”
    When Dr. Hunter didn’t respond, Ben peeked up at him.
    “This is about a crime?”
    “Yeah.” Ben’s head dropped again. “I’m a criminal.”
    “I can’t call the police unless you or someone else is in imminent danger.” Dr. Hunter paused. “Sometimes you remind me so much of Grant, the way you get down on yourself. It’s okay, Ben. It’s all right to tell me. I know how frightening it is to talk about some things, but I sense you need to let it out. The truth shall set you free.”
    He breathed out through his teeth. “That’s the same thing Sophie said.”
    “She’s a smart woman, quoting me.” Dr. Hunter grinned.
    He fiddled with the shoelaces on his black sneakers. “You know…you know how you asked me about the last time I saw my dad?”
    “At the video game place. Logan showed up unexpectedly.”
    “Yeah.” He played with the frayed end of one shoelace, twisting it in his hand. “You asked me what we talked about.”
    Dr. Hunter nodded. “I remember you were angry with him because he didn’t bring you a birthday gift.”
    “That’s not the real reason I was mad.” He let out a slow breath. “My dad caught me at Aaron Caldwell’s house. He’d seen me there. He must’ve been following me or something.”
    “Uh, who’s Aaron?”
    His head dipped lower. “A drug dealer.”
    “I see. Your dad caught you buying drugs?”
    “No.” A frustrated edge cut through his voice. “I was selling drugs. Aaron was giving us our cut.”
    “Oh.” Dr. Hunter hesitated. “That must have been a…tough time in your life.”
    He grunted.
    “Your dad saw you selling drugs?”
    “Well, no. We got some X from Aaron and sold it to losers at school. But my dad saw me at Aaron’s and put two and two together.”
    “Ecstasy pills, huh?” When he nodded, Dr. Hunter said, “More evidence that your dad was smart. He figured out what was happening. But why…why did you get angry with him?”
    Ben felt his lip tremble and cursed,

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