Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, LGBT SUMMER CONFESSIONS By Lynn Vroman
Release Date: March 10, 2015 Published by: Untold Press
Other Books to Enjoy by Lynn Vroman
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"…and don't forget, y'all need to bring a dish for the Fourth of July planning party. My Jenny's makin' her sweet cornbread muffins." Pastor Bill gave his wife an adoring look and patted his big belly. "Until then, I'll see each and every one of you next Sunday."
I smiled. The torture was over.
In polite, orderly fashion, we all filed out of the small church that had been around since Papaw first moved here in the 1960s. I did my best to avoid the obligatory handshake with the man who ruined every Sunday morning, but he was quick for a fat guy. "Buenos días, Senora Diaz."
Pastor Bill's Appalachian twang hurt my ears. The way he butchered his Spanish, that damn accent making him sound like the hick he was, had me grinding my back teeth.
"Nice sermon, Pastor." Mama didn't understand a lick of Spanish, but she'd never let the good pastor know it. Didn't matter to him we were as southern as every other smelly country bumpkin in Pittman Center. "Why, thank you." His bloated hand covered hers. "Don't forget the party. I do love me some Mexican food."
Dumbass. We're Puerto Rican.
"I wouldn't miss it for nothing." She slid her hand out of his sweaty grasp, a forced smile on her lips. We walked down the old cement steps toward the mowed field everyone used as the parking lot, batting at the gnats buzzing around our heads. "When you gonna tell him we ain't Mexican?" "As soon as you can stay awake for the whole sermon."
Face still burning, trying to act as cool and laidback as my friend, I shrugged and looked at Rachel. "You going, too?" She smiled, her overbite hardly noticeable after three years in braces. "I'm being forced to by my big ape of a brother." She nudged Jeb, who kept his eyes on me the entire time. "He promised to take me into Sevierville on Friday if I hung out with y'all today." I cleared my throat, hoping I didn't sound as awkward as I felt. "What's doing there on Friday?" "Poetry reading. Y'all should come with." She put her hands on her hips and held up her dainty chin. "The theme is the feminine mystique." Ana and Jeb rolled their eyes, while I tried hard not to nod too fast. "Yeah, I'll go." Rachel beamed. "I'd like that." "Uh, hey, on second thought, maybe I'll skip the movie, tag along. I could add some male mystique." Jeb nodded in that way I'm sure he thought made him look sexy. He did have the looks, with all that blond hair and eyes as blue as the ocean. His sister had the same eyes…but bluer. So much bluer, like I could drown in them kind of blue. Ana snorted, bringing my mind back into the kitchen. My face grew hotter as I averted my eyes to focus on my white heels. "Sounds like a date, then." "I think it does," Jeb said. "All right, all right. Why don't you two go round up a few others? Macy and I will head over as soon as she changes." Ana shoved me toward the stairs, not waiting for a reply. "So, y'all will be along soon, right?" Jeb's deep voice followed, a hint of panic making it sound higher than usual. "Yes, yes, just go on, now." Ana waved him off with a laugh, and whispered, "I swear that boy can't be more obvious." "I don't have any idea what you're talking about." "Yeah, sure you don't." Ana leaned closer. "When you gonna break his heart and tell him you like his sister?"
All right, don't do it. Don't say nothing stupid. But the last thing I wanted to talk about was her brother. "You know how Papaw and I go deep sea fishing every year? Near the gulf?" Oh, damn. Too late. She tilted her head as I held out my hand for the sketchpad. After another second of hesitation, she plopped it into my hands. "Yeah?" I adjusted her back into the original pose and continued to draw. "Well, every year, when we're sitting on that boat in the middle of nowhere, I spend more time trying to get the right color blue on my pad than I do fishing." I kept my eyes on the drawing, my fingers shaking a bit. "You can't imagine how blue that water is. So clear, so deep…inviting. It takes all I got not to jump overboard and let it close over me. It's like a Siren. You know, how the Sirens sung those sailors to their death?" I looked up long enough to watch her nod. Her fingers weren't twitching to cover her mouth anymore. "Anyway, it's so perfect, the blue? Like nothing else I've ever seen." Here it comes, the nail in the coffin. "Except when I look in your eyes. That water's got nothing on your eyes, Rachel." I became hyperaware. I heard the boys fighting and Ana calling them names. Listened to Jackson burp and give his opinion on starting fires, too. I also heard Rachel's screaming silence. Nothing was as loud as that silence.
"All right, here goes nothing." She hopped off the rock to stand right in front of me. "You remember, after I told you, that Bubba didn't want to see me again?" "Yeah, and I gave him a what-for and threatened to tell Jeb if he didn't apologize." She laughed a little and brushed her hair back, her fingers still shaking. "I remember. He was so scared. But he had no reason to apologize." "Ah, yes, he did." "No. He didn't break up with me. I broke up with him." "Okay, I know you're going somewhere with this, but…" "Yes, just listen." She took a slow breath. "After we–you know–it felt…wrong. Not wrong like 'we shouldn't be having sex' wrong, but like wrong, you know?" Impatient was too soft a word for what I felt at that moment. "No, I don't know 'cause I never had sex before." "Well, I didn't know why either up until a few months ago." Another tear dripped from her left eye. I jumped off the rock before I could convince myself not to and hugged her. "You can tell me anything, Rachel. I won't tell." She hugged me back and buried her face in my neck. "Promise you won't hate me." "Now that's a promise I know I can keep." "It was wrong 'cause he wasn't…you."