The Boxer and the Spy

The Boxer and the Spy by Robert B. Parker

Book: The Boxer and the Spy by Robert B. Parker Read Free Book Online
Authors: Robert B. Parker
this property.”
    She tried to dodge around him again and he put a hand against her chest and shoved her. She staggered back and a branch scratched across her face. The pain made her madder. She tried to run past him. He pushed her again and she fell down.
    He said, “Bad things can happen to little girls in the woods, you know.”
    She scrambled to her feet. Her face felt hot. He put a hand on each side of her face and put his face close. He shook her head slightly.
    “Now,” he said, “what’s going on?”
    She hit him in the mouth with her right fist. It cut his lip and the blood spurted. He swore and let go of her face and she dodged around him and ran for the street. He stood for a moment, stunned that she had hit him, looking at the blood on his hands as if he couldn’t believe it.
    “You cut my lip,” he said.
    Then he started after her. He was faster than she was. But the stunned moment cost him and she reached the street before he could catch her.
    He screamed at her.
    “This isn’t over. I’ll get you. I’m gonna get you.”
    There were people on the street. A woman, seeing the boy emerge bleeding from the woods, stopped and spoke to him.
    “Are you all right?” she said. “Do you need help?”
    Kip Carter shook his head, looking after Abby.
    Abby kept going.

CHAPTER 35
    A fter school on Monday she walked down to the Wall to meet Terry. She had covered the long scratch on her cheek as best she could, with makeup. She wouldn’t tell him, she decided. It would upset him. It might even cause trouble. Kip Carter was three years older than Terry and much bigger. What if Terry felt obliged to fight with him? Plus she didn’t want to talk about it. She didn’t even like to think about it. Thinking about it made her want to cry.
    Terry was on the Wall when she got there. She sat beside him.
    “Hi,” he said.
    “Hi.”
    “What happened to your face?” he said.
    “Nothing,” she said.
    “You got a scratch right across your whole cheek,” he said.
    “It’s just a scratch,” she said.
    “I can see that,” Terry said. “How’d you get it?”
    She felt it coming. She tried to stop it. She couldn’t. She turned her head away and started to cry.
    “What?” Terry said.
    She cried harder. He felt something like panic.
    “Why are you crying?” Terry said.
    She shook her head.
    He slid off the Wall and walked around so he could look at her.
    “Why are you crying?” he said.
    She put her hands over her face.
    “Don’t look at me,” she said.
    “Why?”
    He didn’t know what to do. He put his hand on her shoulder. She felt how red her eyes must be, and puffy. Her nose had started to run. She wiped it with her sleeve.
    “Don’t look,” she said again.
    He went back and sat where he’d been and she cried with her back to him. After a time she fished a packet of tissues from her backpack and tried to clean up her face. Then she got out some makeup and a little mirror and did some damage control. Finally she got her breathing back under control and turned to Terry.
    “I’m sorry,” she said.
    “What happened?” Terry said.
    She shook her head.
    “Oh for god’s sake, Abby,” Terry said. “You can’t do that. You can’t have a major meltdown in front of me and not tell me why.”
    She clasped her hands and looked down at her thumbs for a time. Then she looked up at Terry and nodded.
    “No,” she said. “I can’t.”
    He waited. She took in some breath and let it out slowly.
    Then she told him.
    He listened in absolute silence. His body motionless. His gaze fixed on her face. He felt himself slowly getting colder inside, as if he were turning to ice. He thought, I’m going to have to do something about this. He felt threading through the cold a small wiggle of uncertainty. He wasn’t sure what he should do about it ... or could.
    When Abby got through, they sat in silence, until Abby said, “What do you think of that?”
    Terry thought about his answer.
    “I ... I can’t let

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