A Straight Line to My Heart

A Straight Line to My Heart by Bill Condon Page B

Book: A Straight Line to My Heart by Bill Condon Read Free Book Online
Authors: Bill Condon
Tags: Juvenile Fiction
have two or three little snots and they’ll make up some crappy nickname for me, like Inky, and I’ll still be here in Gungee.’
    â€˜How much of that vodka have you had?’
    â€˜Not enough.’
    â€˜Well you’re mad. You don’t have to stay here. You can leave anytime you want.’
    â€˜I’ve got no cash, no car, and my mum is pregnant and she needs me – she always needs me. You tell me how I’m–’
    â€˜Stop. Just stop, Kayla. Things will change. Life is going to work out fine.’
    â€˜How can you say that? You don’t know what’s gunna happen.’
    â€˜Sure I do. I’ll become rich and famous and I won’t forget you.’
    â€˜Thanks.’
    â€˜No problem. I’ll hire you as my maid.’
    â€˜That’s right – make a joke of it. You think everything’s a joke, Tiff, but it’s not.’
    â€˜Huh? I was only trying to lighten things up.’
    â€˜Yeah, I know – and I gotta tell ya, it is so annoying when you do that. I don’t need you to lighten up what I say – I need you to understand!’
    â€˜Okay, okay. I understand!’
    â€˜No! You don’t!’
    â€˜Fine! Whatever you say, Kayla.’
    The silence batters us. It builds to a crescendo. She breaks first.
    â€˜Damn you, Tiff. Now look what you’ve done.’
    â€˜Me? What did I do?’
    â€˜You’ve made me feel guilty for being so mean . . . I’m sorry.’
    â€˜You were just being honest.’
    â€˜No I wasn’t. I was being jealous.’
    â€˜No way! Of me?’
    â€˜Yes, you. Your job . . . and now I feel awful, because I know you’d never be jealous of me.’
    â€˜Don’t be so sure.’
    â€˜Oh, I’m sure all right. You never get jealous.’
    â€˜Wrong, Kayla. Dead wrong. I just never show it.’
    â€˜You’re kidding me, right?’
    â€˜No. I’m dead serious. Everyone likes you, Kayla. You fit in anywhere you go. You can eat anything you like and not put on weight – which isn’t fair, but you can’t help it – and you’re pretty and generous and–’
    â€˜Are you trying to make me throw up?’
    â€˜All I’ve got is a smart mouth.’
    â€˜That’s not true.’
    â€˜And like you say, that gets very annoying. I don’t know why you have anything to do with me.’
    â€˜Good point. I don’t know either. Why should I bother with someone who says such absolute garbage?’
    â€˜It’s true about you not putting on any weight . . .’
    â€˜Okay. From now on I’m stocking up on chocolates and ice-creams. Watch this space. Skinny me is gone!’
    â€˜I don’t want you to do that. You can be skinny. No one’s perfect.’
    â€˜Hey.’ Her pinky finger nudges mine. ‘I love your smart mouth. I don’t want you to change anything.’
    I lean back against the cold stone and gaze around me. In among the dead there must be girls who were once like me and Kayla. They probably lived this very scene before us; asked the same questions about friendship, about life; wondered if it was all worthwhile. I think it is. Hope it is.

On saturday, while he had the Gunners for company, Reggie forgot about being sick and old. I took a ton of photos of him at the barbecue after the game: in his short shorts with his toothpick legs; tackling a giant beer like an ambitious sparrow; telling anyone who would listen what they did wrong and how he would have done it so much better. No one got upset with him. Reggie’s a legend, that’s what they all said. I don’t think he wanted that day to ever end.
    But now it’s Monday. He’s dressed up in his brown suit coat and pants and shiny black shoes. Wearing his natty felt hat, too – the one with the yellow feather stuck in the brim. He wants that with him when he’s

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