The Graduation

Read The Graduation for Free Online Page B

Book: Read The Graduation for Free Online
Authors: Christopher Pike
Tags: Fiction, Crime, Young Adult, Final Friends
could have picked her up with one hand, she was so light—and folded the wheelchair and put it in the trunk. It was a tight fit but he was able to close the lid. He climbed in beside her and started the engine.
    “Nice car,” she said.
    “Thanks. The Rock sold it to me cheap.”
    “The Rock—I remember him.”
    “I bumped into him in the parking lot when I was leaving school this morning. He told me to tell you he’d like to see you. Mike also said he was looking forward to seeing you again.”
    “Good old Mike. Is he still searching for a murderer?”
    There was an edge to her question, but not of sarcasm; she really wanted to know. “He doesn’t talk to me about it,” he said, feeling uncomfortable. He wanted to touch her, kiss her, and comfort her, but he could have made the trip for nothing. She was still a hundred miles away, wrapped in a cool protective shell.
    “I bet he is,” she said.
    “Are you?” He hadn’t shifted the car into gear yet. He hadn’t intended to ask that question. Maria looked over at him. He noticed a faint two-inch scar near her right eye. She’d had some plastic surgery; she’d need more.
    “Yes.”
    “And you want me to help you find the murderer?”
    “You’ll help me,” she said, implying with her tone that he didn’t understand what she was talking about, which was true.
    “How?”
    She smiled, slow and calculating. “You’ll know when the time comes.”

Chapter Six
    Sara hated L.A.’s downtown bus station, located in one of the worst parts of town. She always felt relieved to get in and out of it without being molested. The whole world was full of perverts. Society was sick. It still infuriated her how the courts locked Russ away for a crime he had not committed. She wished she’d sent him an airplane ticket. Then she could have driven to Los Angeles airport instead. She had suggested the idea in her last letter, but he hadn’t answered her last letter, so that had been the end of that.
    He didn’t answer my letter before that, either.
    It didn’t matter. He wasn’t into writing letters. She couldn’t stand to write them herself. The only reason she had sent him so many was that she’d had nothing else to do—only get good grades, keep her mother and father from killing each other, and run the whole school. Actually, she was going to give him hell for not answering her—immediately after she determined if he still liked her. She was worried he might have found someone else.
    In a juvenile hall full of boys?
    One could never tell. They probably had a buxom secretary or two working in the warden’s office. She’d always had the impression Russ could go for an older woman, or a teenybopper for that matter. God help him if he had been unfaithful to her.
    He was supposed to be on the one o’clock from Sacramento. She was on time and waiting at the right gate, but when all the people had passed by. there was no Russ. She couldn’t believe it. The bastard had missed his bus and hadn’t had the decency to call her house and leave word that he’d be on the next one arriving at—she glanced up at the schedule board—three o’clock. Three o’clock! She couldn’t wait till then. She was ASB president and this was her last and most important day on the job. That insensitive son-of-a-bitch had dragged her all the way down here after getting himself thrown in jail where she couldn’t see him at all, and now he had stood her up.
    She reached in her bag for her handkerchief. Life sucked. She hated this trying not to care when all she felt like doing was crying. She dabbed at her eyes. Well, that was the end of that. Jessica would get Bill tonight, and there would be no one there to save poor Sara from being raped by Bubba.
    Sara blew her nose and headed for the exit. If she’d known for sure he’d be on the next bus, she would have waited, her important speech notwithstanding. But he had decided not to come, she realized, because he didn’t want to see

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