I whisper back, “Eff talking. Kick him in the nuts!”
That makes Lillia laugh, and she quick puts both her hands up to her mouth so no one hears it.
We listen to Mary lead Reeve through the conversation. And I’m like, why isn’t this dummy apologizing to her, once and for all?
Instead we hear Reeve say, “Go f**k yourself.”
Suddenly I’m burning a thousand degrees inside. Fucking Reeve Tabatsky. He’s as much of an a-hole as he was before his accident, if not a bigger one. I start heading over to rescue Mary and to take out Reeve’s other leg, but Lillia grabs my arm.
“Kat, don’t. Give her a chance to stand up for herself.” Her eyes are big and hopeful. Either that or she’s nervous.
I don’t want to, but I do what Lillia says, because I know deep down that she’s right. Mary hasn’t had a chance to tell Reeve off. She’s basically been in hiding from him since coming back to Jar Island. Hopefully, she’ll do it, right here, right now. It’ll help her. I know it will. I say a prayer that she does, ’cause I’m a nun and all.
Lillia and I both stop breathing as we listen to Mary fall into her bad habits.
“I’m sorry,” she says.
Lillia closes her eyes and drops her chin to her chest.
And then we see Mary sprint past our alley.
I go to race after her, and Lillia makes a move like she’s going to come with me, but I shake my head. “No. Stay with your friends. We shouldn’t let anyone see the three of us together!” She doesn’t listen. She runs right alongside me.
“Mary!” We’re both screaming her name, pushing people out of one way. I see her pink-streaked hair a hundred feet or so ahead.
Finally we catch up. Lillia grabs hold of Mary’s shirt. “Mary!”
Mary spins around. She’s crying. She tries to tell us what happened, but she can’t get the words out.
“We heard it. We heard everything.” Lillia gently pushes some of Mary’s hair out of her face. “You look amazing, by the way.”
The compliment doesn’t even register on Mary’s face. It’s blank. Like she has PTSD or something.
I turn her by the shoulders and make her look me in the eye. “What do you need?” I say, quick. “Just tell us.”
I think she’s going to answer me, but instead she breaks free and runs off.
We let her go.
“This feels wrong,” I say, and chew on my finger.
Lil’s perfect ballerina bun has unraveled. Strands are falling out of the coil, but she doesn’t seem to notice. “We’ve got to give her space if that’s what she wants.”
“I guess . . . But what if she does something to herself?” Lillia looks unsure now too. “We’ll go over her house tomorrow and check on her.”
I nod my head. That’s a good idea. “I’ll text you in the morning.”
“Great.” Lillia takes a deep breath and sighs. “Poor Mary.”
I don’t even know what I’m doing, but I lean in, like I’m going to give Lillia Cho a hug. And she leans in, like she’s going to give me one back.
“Lillia! Lil! We’re lea-ving!”
“Go,” I whisper. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Lillia frowns, but she walks backward away from me.
As I head toward the maze exit, some ghost gets in my face. I’ve got so much anger inside, I shove him and say, “Enough already.” A few people look at me like I’m insane. And that’s exactly how I feel. Insane with worry for my friend.
I head toward Ash’s voice and run into her and a few of other girls from the squad. She’s all tipsy and happy, and she shrieks my name and threads her arm through mine. I guess because Rennie’s hasn’t caught up yet, she can be as friendly as she wants and act like nothing’s wrong. Ugh. But whatever. I’ll take what I can get.
Ash and Deb are giggling about some zombie guy who accidentally touched Ash’s boob, but I stay silent. I can’t stop thinking about Mary. I hope she’s okay.
Everyone’s heading for the parking lot, and then we’ll drive over to party in the big cemetery in Canobie Bluffs. Since we have off the next two days for a teacher conference. It’s the oldest cemetery on the island; there are gravestones that go back to the 1700s. All the old Jar Island families have plots here. Lots of weird names like Ebenezer and Deliverance and Jedidah.
In the lot, people are starting to pile into cars, and I spot Reeve alone, leaning against Alex’s SUV, staring off into space. Just the sight of him makes me sick.
I can’t help myself. I break away from the girls and march right up to him and say, “Hey. Reeve.”
Reeve turns to me and smiles. Freaking jerk actually smiles. “Hey, Cho. Are you headed to the cemetery?”
My voice shakes as I say, “You’re cruel. I knew you could be mean sometimes, but I never knew you could be so incredibly cruel.”
Bewildered, he says, “What are you talking about?”
“I heard you,” I say. “I heard what you said to that girl in the maze. ‘Go eff yourself’? Seriously?”
“Wait a minute—”
“What did she do to you to deserve that?” My voice is getting louder and louder.
His face goes hard. “Don’t worry about what girls I talk to. That’s none of your concern.”
“I’m not concerned—”
“Then mind your own business.”
I want to scream, It is my business! but I can’t and still protect Mary. So instead I say, “You know what? I’m glad you broke your stupid leg. I’m glad you can’t play football and that no college wants you on their team anymore. You deserve everything you’re getting, because you’re a bad person.”
Reeve goes the color of a sheet, but I don’t let myself feel bad for him. Instead, I give him the dirtiest look I can conjure up, and then I turn on my heel and run toward Ash’s car.
I tear through the open field, weaving between rows of parked cars and clusters of people, trying to put as much distance between me and the maze as I can. My heels keep getting tripped up by field rocks and the soft ground, and at some point I end up falling to the ground in between two cars.
I want to get right back up, to keep going, because the woods are only a few feet away. But I can barely breathe. Luckily, there’s no one around to see me. So I sit there on my knees in the dirt and cry. I cry my eyes out all alone.