Page 99 of Jillian's Gold
by Levi Montgomery
Reprinted with Permission: © 2009 Levi Montgomery, All Rights Reserved
Jillian has lost her mother, her home, her favorite aunt, and every friend she's ever known. Now she's found Royal. But is he the most perfect boy ever made, or is he a serial killer with a grudge?
lecture that he’s obligated by every rule of teachership to deliver to her.
He’s grinning a big wide grin, and he says “Headed for lunch? In a hurry to get to that nice, nutritional lunch, huh?” rubbing his hands together and heading down the hall a step like come on, let’s walk. She stands her ground like no way am I walking with you! and he stops.
“Jillian, I’ve been meaning to talk to you, anyway.”
Come on, let’s just get the it’s-unsafe-to-run-in-the-halls lecture over with.
There’s an outside door nearby, and he moves that way, saying “Let’s step out of this crowd, ok?” and out of this crowd with him is exactly where she doesn’t want to be. There’s a big window in the door, though, and a narrow one on either side, and people in here will still be able to see her, so she follows him, but her hands are starting to get sweaty. She’s got a big binder that won’t fit in her backpack, and she hugs it to her breast like armor.
He’s still got that big smile on. Daddy says a smiling wolf is not a sheep, it’s a wolf with a smile, and there is no way she’s being Little Red Riding Hood for this creep. As the door closes behind them, he does that come on, let’s walk thing again, and she stands as still as she can, watching his shirt button as he moves backward toward the parking lot. If she stares hard enough at that button, she can either stop him with the sheer drag of her gaze, and make him say what he’s got to say right here, or push him away from her so she can go eat with Royal.
None of the girls she has much contact with trust him. The boys all think he’s great, with all his high-fives and back-slaps and half-hugs, and there are some girls in that crowd, too, but all the ones she’s gotten to know say to look out for him. They say there’s something disturbing about a grown man who wants that much contact with a teenage girl. Her own thoughts are that nobody can give that many high-fives, bump that many fists, unless he’s reaching for something. Nobody can show that many molars unless he’s hiding something.
When he glides though the morning halls on his skateboard, ducked down low so he won’t stand out like a penguin in a hen-house, the boys all line up to hide him. The girls move to the other side of the hall, watching the floor, studying their nails.
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