Promise to Keep

Promise to Keep by Jessica Wood

Book: Promise to Keep by Jessica Wood Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jessica Wood
Tags: Romance
shouting from down the hall, “Hey, Dad! Can Sarah stay for dinner?”
    I wasn’t sure why, but my stomach lurched when I saw the doorknob twist. A second later, the door swung open as Jackson looked in. Mr. Pierce got up from the couch and appeared to be brushing off some dust from his shirt. “Yeah, sure, Sarah can stay for dinner. Your friends are welcome here anytime.”
    For a split second, there was an odd expression on Jackson’s face as he looked over at me and then at his father. But then it disappeared. “Great! You should stay too, Clo! We’ll get a couple of large pizzas. My Dad can finish helping you with your application and then Sarah and I can act out the scene we’ve been practicing for you guys. It’ll be like dinner and a show.”
    I stood up and fumbled for my papers. “Actually, I can’t stay tonight. Sorry. I promised Aunt Betty I’d be home for dinner.” I walked quickly to the door where Jackson stood. “In fact, I’d better get going now.”
    “What about your letter of recommendation?” Mr. Pierce asked.
    As much as I needed the letter, at that moment, something inside me just wanted to get out of there. I wasn’t sure why I felt that way, but I felt like I’d just done something wrong and was caught in the act.
    “Thank you for the offer, but I didn’t realize it was already so late. I guess I’ll have to skip it.”
    “Don’t be ridiculous. I’ll still write it for you and you can pick it up tomorrow. You have everything going for you, Chloe. There’s no reason you shouldn’t get to go to Penn and make the most out of your life.”
    “Thanks.” I flushed. I suddenly felt bad for feeling awkward around Mr. Pierce. He wasn’t a bad man. Maybe I was just upset about Jackson getting it on with Sarah upstairs and it put the thoughts of sex on my mind. What I thought had just happened between me and Mr. Pierce was nothing more than my own imagination. Still, the idea of coming back to get the letter from him made me a little uneasy. If only there was a way to make sure Jackson would be here, too.
    “Sounds great. What time will you be home from football tomorrow, Jax? Maybe we can hang out when I stop by.” I looked at Jackson expectantly, hoping I sounded casual.
    “Sorry, Clo.” He shrugged. “Can’t. We’ve got late practice every night until the playoffs. If you want, I can just bring the letter with me to school tomorrow and give it to you that way?”
    “Perfect!” I sighed with relief.
    The next day in homeroom, when Jackson handed me Mr. Pierce’s letter of recommendation, I felt like the worst person in the world for not wanting to personally get it from him in person. Every line of the letter of recommendation made me sound like a far better person than I knew I was. It was very generous and kind of him to have spent the time to write this recommendation and I knew I should really show more appreciation and gratitude for all his help.
    As I tucked the letter of recommendation neatly between the pages of my biology textbook, I made a promise to myself: If I get accepted into Penn, I’ll really need to properly thank Mr. Pierce for help. I’ll owe him big time.

    June 2003
    Eighteen Years Old
    I waved Jackson down as I saw him searching the crowd for me outside of the high school auditorium. When our eyes met, his face lit up and he immediately walked over to where I stood with Aunt Betty, Uncle Tom, and my cousin, Charlie.
    “That was a great graduation speech, Jackson.” Uncle Tom patted Jackson on the back when he came over.
    “Harvard’s going to be lucky to have you going to school there,” Aunt Betty chimed in as she pulled Jackson in for a warm hug.
    Jackson smiled, beaming with pride. “Thanks. I’m excited to finally graduate high school and start college.”
    He then glanced over at me with his familiar boyish grin and winked. “Congrats, Clo.”
    “Congrats, Jax.” I smiled back. “Uncle Tom’s right. That was

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