Page 60 of One Perfect Lie

Now she was fresh out of ideas. Jordan was sulking in his room, angry that she had confiscated his phone, which rested on the table in front of her. She’d taken his laptop too, so he couldn’t text or G-chat. She didn’t want any more online shenanigans until this mess was sorted out. She was beginning to hate the Internet altogether.

Heather sipped her coffee, which had turned cold, and her troubled gaze fell on the Friendly’s sign outside the window. TRY OUR FRIBBLE MILKSHAKE FRESH AND FROTHY! She’d never eaten in Friendly’s, though she could’ve recited every item on its menu, including made-up words like FRIBBLE and FISH-A-MAJIG, which appeared regularly on the sign. Maybe when this was over, she and Jordan could go over and have a Hunka Chunka PB Superfudge. Or maybe she could go over there with Coach Hunka Himself. Chris, her Inappropriate Crush.

Suddenly Heather got an idea. She could call Chris about the pictures. She wasn’t even using it as an excuse. If Evan had really sent these photos to everybody on the baseball team, then somebody on the coaching staff should be made aware of it. Heather had never met Coach Hardwick and she felt intimidated by the horrible stories about him. But she knew Chris. It would make sense to contact him, though it wouldn’t be the romantic beginning she’d been hoping for—Hey Chris, did you see the dirty pictures the team is looking at?

Suddenly Jordan’s phone rang, and she reflexively looked over at the screen. It read, Evan Kostis calling, and impulsively, she picked it up. “Evan, this is Jordan’s mom.”

“Oh, Ms. Larkin, is Jordan there? Can I speak to him?”

“Actually, no you can’t, not yet.” Heather thought Evan sounded upset. “Before I tell Jordan that you’re calling, I need to deal with something. I’ve called your mother but I haven’t heard back from her yet. May I speak with her?”

“Uh, I’m not home.”

“Okay, well then.” Heather hesitated. “I happened to see an inappropriate picture you sent to Jordan, and I’m very concerned. I think—”

“Mrs. Larkin, I’m really sorry, I already talked to my mom and dad about it, and they’re angry, too. I know I never should’ve done that, and I’m very sorry. I apologize to you and Jordan.”

Heather felt a pang of sympathy, but she wasn’t about to let him off the hook. “Evan, I’m glad you feel remorseful, but this is a very bad thing. I don’t even know the implications myself. There might even be legal issues—”

“I know, I know, my mom said the same thing, and I’m really sorry. Can I talk to Jordan?”

“No, you may not.” Heather thought Evan was trying to rush her off the phone. “I would like to understand the situation better. Who else did you send the picture to?”

“Just the team.”

Heather rued the day that Jordan finally made varsity. Winner’s Circle, my ass. “Who’s this girl in the photo? Is it your girlfriend? Does she know that you sent this picture around? Evan, this is a terrible thing to do—”

“Mrs. Larkin, my parents are all over it, so you really don’t have to worry about it. Now can I please talk to Jordan?”

“No.” Heather didn’t like his attitude. “You can talk to Jordan when you’ve answered my question. You sent my son a photograph that can get him in trouble with the law. I want to know what you did—”

Suddenly the call went silent, and Jordan came rushing into the kitchen. “Mom, was that my phone? Was that for me?”

“Yes, it was Evan, and you’ll be happy to know he sent that photo to the varsity players only, so only the best players will be going to prison.”

Jordan’s eyes flared. “Mom, did you just talk to him right now? Did you yell at him?”

“I didn’t yell, but I told him ‘no,’ and if you ask me, it’s about damn time.”

“Mom, what are you doing? You’re not his mom!” Jordan’s mouth dropped open.

“His mom didn’t call me back and neither did Raz’s.”

“You called her, too?” Jordan threw up his hands. “Mom, you can’t do this! You’re telling on everybody! Why did you do that? Evan’s going to be so pissed at me!”

“First off, that shouldn’t be your main concern, and second, Evan’s parents already knew.”

“How do you know?”

“He just told me.”

“Mom, give me my phone, please.” Jordan held out his hand for the phone, but Heather tucked it into her back pocket.

“You’re not getting your phone or laptop ’til we figure this out.”

“Mom, it’s my phone.”

“Not anymore.”

“I paid for it. I bought it with my own money.”

“It’s under my roof, and so are you.”

“Give it to me!” Jordan took a step forward, but Heather stood her ground, realizing for the first time that she wasn’t big enough to stop him if he needed stopping. She realized that she and her son were crossing a parenting point-of-no-return. She looked him in the eye as fiercely as she could, for a woman who was accustomed to waiting for a living.

“And don’t even think about trying to take it from me.”

“You’re ridiculous!” Jordan yelled, then walked out of the room.

Heather exhaled, wondering if other mothers had their sons walk out on them on a regular basis. She picked up her own phone and redialed Mindy. It was the right thing to do since she had just yelled at Evan. The call rang and rang, then went to voicemail, so she left a message: “Mindy, this is Heather, Jordan Larkin’s mom, calling again. Could you please call me when you get a moment? It’s very important.”

Heather hung up, followed it up with a text, then phoned Susan.

Chapter Forty-three

Mindy sat on her bed with her laptop, scrolling through Facebook, but this time she wasn’t posting or reading feeds. She typed Cynthia Caselli into the SEARCH window, and a long list of thumbnails of young girls, older women, and even a Maltese puppy came up. She scanned for local entries and found Cynthia Caselli, who went to Rocky Springs High.

Mindy clicked the thumbnail. Cynthia’s face popped onto the screen, a gorgeous, blue-eyed blonde with a dazzling smile. Mindy thought of the baby and how pretty he or she would have been. Her grandchild. Mindy had looked forward to the day when she’d be a grandmother, since all of her older friends at the club talked about their grandchildren all the time. They said it was an experience like no other.