Haven Page 35

“So, what did you do, Bodo? Did you sleep with her? With Kirsten?” Please say no!

“No, of course I didt not sleep with her!” Bodo was looking me in the eyes now, grabbing my hands. “I didt not do dat! I promise you.”

I pulled my hands away. “But you did something. What was it?”

He tried to reach for me again, but I stepped back. His hands fell to his sides. “Okay, I will tell you. But it is important dat you remember dat I was a prisoner.”

“How could I forget?” I asked, getting angrier by the second.

“Dare was one time. Or a couple times maybe, dat Kirsten came to talk to me. And I wass feeling very sad about you and about losing my home and Nina and all da things … all da things dat I hadt once and now I don’t have. And when we talked, it wass like we were da same person. We made a connection, like for friends.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Friends?”

“Yes. Friends.”

I sighed heavily, now on the verge of crying and screaming both. “Bodo, please don’t try and bullshit me into believing that all you did was have a conversation with Kirsten, okay? I’m not that naive. I may not be the most experienced girl in the world when it comes to guys, but I know guilt when I see it. You did something with her - maybe it wasn’t sex, but it was something. Just tell me and get it over with.”

“But I don’t want to lose you.” Tears fell from his eyes and ran down his cheeks.

The same happened for me. But I hardened my heart to his beautiful face and trembling smile. Truth needed to happen here. Without the truth we could never move forward.

“You won’t lose me. Not as a friend or a family member. We’ll always be that so long as you want to be.”

“But I want more dan dat.”

“Then be honest with me.”

“Okay. I will do it. I will tell you. I kissed her, okay? I did dat. Two times. Maybe three times. But dat’s all.” He stepped forward, intending to take my hands again, but I moved once more.

My gut was twisting and burning. I wanted to vomit. Anger turned my neck and cheeks bright red.

“I can’t believe you.” I was speaking through gritted teeth, trying to keep the rage controlled.

“I was a prisoner! You can’t blame me! Dare was drugs!”

“But you gave me so much shit for kissing Paci, and I only did it once and I thought you were dead! You knew I was alive! You knew I was waiting for you!”

“You could be dead too! You were in da fight too!”

I shook my head at him. “I think you’re lying about the drugs. And you’re lying about how many times you kissed her, too. Who knows … maybe you’re lying about sleeping with her!”

Bodo lunged for me, getting near enough that he could grab my hands in an iron grip and pull me close to him. “No! I did not sleep with her. I swear on my life, I did not do dat!”

My blood ran ice cold. I yanked my hands from his grip. “No denial of anything else, though, I see.” I turned to leave.

“Where are you goingk? We need to talk. I want you to forgive me.”

I had taken about ten steps, but I stopped in my tracks and turned around. I was rapidly losing my cool. “I’m going inside, Bodo. I’m going to be with all the people who are counting on me to keep my shit together and make their world a happy, safe place. I’m going to pretend you didn’t just stab me through the heart with a knife. And I’m going to pretend for a just a little while longer that you haven’t been crucifying me for a single kiss when all signs said you were dead, while all along you were guilty of worse. But very soon, I’m going to stop pretending. And hopefully by then I’ll be in the right frame of mind to decide what to do about us.”

“Maybe you don’t have all dat time.” He was being arrogant now. “Maybe you haff to decide soon or I will make dat decision.”

“Do what you have to do, Bodo. I’m done here.” I walked away, quickly putting distance between us so I wouldn’t be tempted to go incapacitate him. He so deserved an eye-gouging right now. Or a palm thrust to the adam’s apple.

Friggin hypocrite! How dare he come down on me for kissing Paci when he did so much worse! I’ll bet he messed with her the entire time he was there. And then a more disturbing thought came to mind. Maybe he really didn’t even try to escape. I ran to the latrine and made it there just in time to throw up in the hole in the ground.


Peter found me outside as I was stepping out of the smelly latrine enclosure.

“Here you are. I’ve been looking all over for you. The Amazons are anxious to be on their way. They have something to discuss with you first, though.”

“Yes, I know. I’m coming.” My voice was hoarse from the heaving and the tears I’d been crying. I knew my face looked like hell.

“Oh, sweetie, what’s wrong?” Peter had finally noticed my eyes. “You’ve been crying.” He reached up to wipe my cheeks.

“And barfing, so don’t get too close.”

He jerked his hand away and reached into his pocket, taking out a cloth. He used that to wipe my cheeks instead, giving me a weak smile. “Better?”

I nodded. “Thanks.”

“What happened. Was it Bodo?”

“Yes. Bodo.” Even saying his name hurt.

“What did he do? Was it bad? I know you two are having troubles.”

“It’s worse than bad.” My voice broke. “I can’t talk about it now, though. Later. I have to meet with Kirsten before she leaves and takes her stuff with her.”

“Want me in on that meeting?” He took my hand and walked with me towards the building.

“Yes. That would be great if you could spare the time.”

“Always have time to spare for you, ball-biter, you know that.”

“If you call me that again, I’m going to have to bite your balls.”

“Okay, Bryn. I will not be calling you that name ever again, I promise. Bryn. Bryn it is. Miz Mathis. Queen Bryn.”

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“I’m serious, Peter. I don’t have it in me to fight fair right now.”

He leaned towards me and kissed my cheek. “This is a bad day, but it will get better. All you need is a little Buster and Fuzzybeans cuddle therapy and you’ll be as right as rain in the morning.”

“I wish it were that simple.”

“It is, trust me. You have friends and family who love you and a whole new world to plan and execute. You are going to be too busy to have a broken heart.”

I put my arm around his tiny waist. “That sounds good to me. Come on. Let’s go see if we can negotiate for some drugs.”

“Oh, we’re going to do drugs now too? I’d better add that to my list.”

“Go ahead. It’s probably the only thing not on there right now.”

Peter pinched my butt but didn’t break his stride.

Kirsten was coming out of the door as we arrived at the front of the building.

“There you are. I was starting to think you’d run away. Did you find Bodo?”

“Yes, I did, and he was full of information for me.” I tried not to, but I knew I sounded bitter. I took a deep breath and started over. “We’ll begin the meeting without him. Where do you want to talk?”

She shrugged. “Right here is fine. I’m getting ready to leave. One of my girls is getting your gift.”

“I like presents.” I tried to smile, but it probably came out like a grimace. All I could think about was how pretty Kirsten is and tall - like a friggin’ Barbie Doll. No wonder Bodo fell for her. And she’s uber smart and powerful, too. Add the fact that she has a whole tribe of sexy women doing whatever she tells them to do, and I came up very, very short in comparison.

When I thought of it like that, I realized it was kind of stupid for me to think that Bodo wouldn’t have fallen under her charms. He is a man after all. I couldn’t imagine many resisting. Except maybe Paci. I laughed bitterly to myself. Maybe I should test all future boyfriends by sending them to the Amazon’s lair for a week.

“Good, I’m glad you like gifts. Who doesn’t, right? So anyway, you know about the EWS and you want to be a contact point. That’s great because we want you to be one too. All we need is you guys and another in the Keys and we’ll be all set for a good portion of the state.”

“It’s really that extensive?” asked Peter.

“Yes. And it’s going to get better, too. I just need to know who your code reader is going to be.”

Bodo chose to walk up at just that moment. “I’ll be da one.”

I clenched my teeth for three full seconds before I could trust myself to speak. “No, it won’t be Bodo. I’ll get someone else for you.” I took Peter by the shoulder and turned him with me so that we could talk in private.

“Who can we trust to communicate with the outside world? Someone with a good memory and not a target for the canners.”

“Everyone’s a target for them.”

“Not everyone. Find me someone skinny and invisible.”

“Like me.” His voice had gone extra soft.

“Yes, but not you. You already have too much going on.”

“What about Jenny? She’s skinny, smart, and kind of like a ghost sometimes. And she’s healthy enough now. I think she needs something to do.”

“Go ask her.”

Peter took off without another word.

When I turned around, I faced an angry Bodo.

“Why not me?” he asked, his face red.

“I need someone I can trust for this job. Someone who doesn’t hide things. You don’t qualify.”

His nostrils flared. “Dat’s not fair.”

“Oh, it isn’t?” My voice was sweet, but my intentions were not. I turned to Kirsten. “Kirsten, Bodo had some interesting things to say to me about his stay at your place. But I was wondering if you could fill in some of the blanks for me.”

She looked from Bodo to me and then back again. When she finally settled her gaze on me once more, she stood straighter and her chin went up. “I’ll tell you whatever you want to know.”

“Did you sleep with Bodo?”

“I told you we didt not have sex!” Bodo shouted.

“No, he’s telling the truth. We didn’t go that far.”

Her choice of wording nearly stopped my heart.

“How far did you go?” I almost couldn’t get the sentence out. My throat had nearly closed up.

The door to the front of the prison opened up and Ronald stuck his head out. “We all okay out here?”

I waved him away. “We’re fine, thanks!” I couldn’t smile, though. That would have been impossible at this point. My heart was too busy breaking into a bunch of pieces because we were definitely not fine out here. Not fine at all.

“We had several intimate moments that included kissing and fondling.”

“Fondling?” I coughed a couple times to get the word out of my mouth. “Bodo?” I just looked at him.

“Drugs.” He said it fiercely, but he was looking at the ground.

“No, there were no drugs involved,” said Kirsten, sighing sadly. “I know he wishes that were the case, so that he could deny culpability, but the truth is that he came to me willingly.”

I just stared at Bodo, trying to resolve in my mind how the boy I loved and trusted could have pulled the wool so fully over my eyes. I had to be the biggest idiot left on the planet.

His voice was anguished. “It’s not like dat, Bryn. It’s not! You haff to listen to me. She is being tricking right now. She is not telling you da whole story!”

Something in me clicked, and I went from desperately sad to deadly calm. This would be the end of my one and only love affair. I was so glad I hadn’t gone all the way with him. He so didn’t deserve to have that part of me.

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