Survivor's Guilt - Page 2

“Well,” I said with a laugh that I thought sounded pretty natural. “It's not like it could have been anyone else. Johnny was the smart one, Jenny was the pretty one, Mark was the strong one, and I was the . . .” I felt my happy mask slipping, so I dropped my eyes and lowered my voice and hoped she wouldn't read too much into it. “The other one,” I finished, feeling my face starting to flush again.

“I do not understand,” she said in a soft voice that made me want to hear her say more.

Since I was being vague and I knew it, I decided to forgive her for not understanding. Just like I had already decided to forgive her for having such a killer body, the kind that could stop traffic. The standard white lab coat she wore over her equally standard white Institute jumpsuit was doing the best it could to conceal it, but everything about her was slender and toned, and the rare times she moved it was with a grace so perfect that she didn't even bother to notice it. If she'd been wearing glasses, she could have taken them off, unbound that beautiful dark, dark hair of hers, and caused air traffic to stop with one toss of her head.

I figured she must have danced her way through school, and as tiny and perfect as she was, probably made a fortune in tips.

“Let me put it this way,” I sighed as I realized with a guilty start that I'd been staring at her instead of saying anything. “Let's just say that the four of us were only a van and a talking dog away from traveling the country and solving mysteries together.” I couldn't stop the smirk forming on my lips as I added, “And though by looks I'd have been the one in the orange sweater, in practice I would have been the one that ended up hanging out with the dog.”

She didn't smile this time, and I don't think she got it. She just sort of indicated with her gorgeous green eyes that I should elaborate, so I gave up on trying to be funny. “We'd all grown up together, you see?” I explained. “Johnny and Jenny had been an item since middle school, one of those annoyingly pretty 'do everything together' couples, and Mark and Jenny were super tight, being Irish twins and all.”

That one she got, and she frowned just a little.

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