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Gentry stormed into the office and disappeared amongst a group of talking Student Leaders.
“That sounds so fun!”
“Oh my God yay Homecoming!”
He easily snaked through the crowd, which stayed in the hallway chatting as he slipped into an open door gently clicked it closed. Once inside the office, he drew the blinds then eased into the large leather chair.
“What are you doing here?”
Gentry’s wrist clenched back, fingers curling through a childish reflex.
He flicked his hands across they keyboard, and kept his eyes fixed between the “g” and “j.”
“You aren’t. Knowing you, you’re probably here to break something.”
That didn’t stimulate so much as a murmur of denial. Undeterred, Mr.Johnson leisurely circled the table, the metal sole on his shoes making a muffled sound on the cheap blue carpet.
“I put together what you did with Nilla.”
He leisurely leaned over his son’s shoulder.
“And is this Mikey Carmichael your next victim?”
“No one’s a victim.”
“You’ll get caught if you keep settling things the way you’re used to… but this time, I’m under no obligation to bail you out. Think before you leap.”
Gentry peered back for a moment at those deep dark eyes, and upon seeing nothing unpredictable in their depths, glanced back at the screen. His face remained even, even as his father’s breath caressed the side of his neck. Even when a pair of lips kissed the nape, he didn’t jerk away or even blink. Instead, with his own dark gaze blankly fixed on the computer screen, he spat:
“Stay out of my secrets; I’ll stay out of yours.”
Mr. Johnson pulled away and heaved back a sigh, and rested an arm on the office chair. Although he recognized the freckled skin and dark amber eyes, the young man sitting before him was unsettlingly unfamiliar.
“I’m not here to stop you. I’m surprised you’re here at all.”
“You shouldn’t be.”
Who could have thought that little angel who once hid in the shadows and ran barefoot across blades of grass in leafy fields would have grown up so quickly, or so differently?
“You’re right. You are my son, after all.”
Gentry furrowed his brow in disgust, but quickly remembered he was being monitored. So instead of giving in to the dangerously comfortable gut reaction, he leaned back and asked with a dismissive tone,
“She’s doing all right.”
Gentry gave a curt nod and stood up, heading for the door. A flicker of light moved across the room, illuminating the dust.
“Did she take up smoking again?”
“Yes. She did. But we’re working on it.”
Gentry bit back a heated reply, and Mr. Johnson watched that hesitation with a comfortable satisfaction.
In a proud albeit unsteady reaction, Gentry raised a hand and clutched onto the doorknob. His mind raced with thoughts, and feelings mingled together, like grains of sand swept up in a rolling wave. Could he afford this? Could he afford to stand proud, speak out, or even walk away?
No. Not if he wanted a morsel of truth.
“Does she talk about me?”
“Yes. She does; everyday.”
He turned the doorknob but didn’t open the door, hungrily waiting for more information to be fed to him; for the man in the corner to tell enough to occupy his thoughts, and fill him with warm memories on a cold day.
Instead, all he received was a patient stare, one he knew all too well. Cold as a fish, waiting for the quivering sigh and the inevitable question it brought with it. Always say please.
It was evident by now: He could not gain anything without giving away too much. Gentry’s resolve tightened along with his grip on the doorknob. He shoved it open, letting the distant murmurs from the hall flutter in. Then, without looking back, he walked out the door and clicked it shut behind him.