Two Truths And A Lie Page 32


’’Oh!’’ Emma said. ’’Uh, hey, Thayer.’’ What was he doing here? Hadn\'t he just said that morning that Mr.

Mercer had warned him away?

’’Don\'t stop on my account,’’ Thayer said in a sarcastic voice, arms crossed over his chest.

He walked slowly across the front yard. Even with his limp, he had that specific kind of confidence that seemed easy. ’’So. What\'s up?’’

’’We\'re just hanging out,’’ Emma said foolishly, fumbling for words.

’’We?’’ Thayer\'s pale eyes flickered next to Emma.

When Emma turned her head, she saw Ethan stepping quickly off the porch. His sneakers kicked up gravel as he trekked across the driveway toward his car.

’’Ethan?’’ Emma called. ’’Where are you going?’’ Ethan didn\'t answer as he strode away. It was like he couldn\'t get away fast enough. His hands fumbled with the keys as he let himself into his car. He hit the gas, and in a flash, he was gone.

Emma stared at the disappearing cloud of exhaust.

What the hell was that all about? Next to her, Thayer made a tsk sound with his tongue. ’’Why don\'t you and your friends leave that poor guy alone?’’

’’What do you mean?’’ Emma snapped.

Thayer threw his hands up in surrender. ’’Don\'t jump all over me!’’ He put a sneaker on the porch and leaned forward, flexing his calf. ’’Seriously, Sutton. First it was that prank where the poor kid lost his science scholarship, and now you\'re faking a relationship with him?’’ Emma stared at him, trying to understand. Slowly, it sunk in. Thayer assumed if Sutton was kissing Ethan, it had to be a part of some prank she and her friends were pulling for the Lying Game. Emma opened her mouth, wanting to make it clear that she and Ethan definitely were a real item, but she remembered how hurt he\'d looked in the parking and didn\'t want to rub it in.

’’So what are you doing here?’’ Emma said, deciding to change the subject. ’’I thought you were scared of my dad.’’

Thayer shrugged. ’’Laurel gave me the all clear. I came to hang out with her it\'s been forever since we talked.’’ He moved toward Emma to walk in the house and paused briefly by her side, as if he wanted to say more. He was so close that Emma could smell his pine soap and fresh-smelling clothes. His bare legs were long and muscular. His white soccer sneakers were scuffed and caked with dirt, as though he\'d just come off the field. He reminded her of all the hot, unattainable jocks Emma had ever gone to school with, the ones who\'d never given her the time of day.

She quickly snapped back to reality. Okay, so Thayer was cute. But Ethan was her boyfriend.

Suddenly, a prickly feeling danced across the back of Emma\'s neck. She turned around, sure she was being watched. A breeze rifled through the leaves of a tall weeping will ow. Birds shot up in a cluster, calling to each other with tiny squawks. Emma looked all around, finally noticing a face in the window. It was Laurel, staring at her and Thayer from the living room. Emma raised her hand in a wave, but Laurel just kept glaring. Her light eyes sent a chil straight to Emma\'s bones. She looked furious enough to kill.

EPILOGUE

As I watched Laurel glare at Emma, a flash of my last memory swarmed my vision. I saw myself hiding in the brush after Thayer had been run down. I\'d felt so distraught, so overcome with guilt and fear for his safety. And then I saw two eyes lock with mine. Laurel stared at me with burning rage. Everything in her look said that she blamed me for what happened to Thayer. And I had a strange feeling she was going to do more than just glare at me. Her look said she wanted to reach through the brush and teach me a lesson for all the ways I\'d ruined everything.

She looked like she wanted to hurt me and she looked like she wanted to do the same to Emma now.

In moments, Laurel\'s face disappeared from the window. Thayer slipped inside the house to see her. My twin remained on the porch, reeling from everything that had just happened, too afraid to admit what she\'d just seen.

But I couldn\'t help but mull it over in my mind. Yes, I\'d ruled Laurel out as a suspect. She\'d been at Nisha\'s sleepover all night on the night I died. But there was something about that fact that didn\'t add up. If Laurel had rescued Thayer from Sabino Canyon, then she hadn\'t been at Nisha\'s the whole night. Either Nisha was mistaken ... or lying ... or Laurel had snuck out without her knowing.

And if Laurel had snuck away from Nisha\'s, why couldn\'t she have snuck away from Thayer, too? Dropped him off at the hospital, then returned for me while he was in surgery. She\'d looked so mad. I had ruined her beloved\'s life. I had had a secret tryst with him, a tryst she wanted to have. I had gotten everything she wanted ... always.

I hated to think my own flesh and blood could have done such a thing. But that was the wrinkle: Laurel wasn\'t my flesh and blood. Sure, we\'d grown up under the same roof, lived by the same rules our parents had imposed, but there was always a big chasm between us. I was adopted;she wasn\'t. We never let each other forget that. The only real flesh and blood I had was Emma.

And Emma needed answers, fast. Because it looked like my killer could be closer than either of us realized maybe even under the very same roof.


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