It’s some girl, isn’t it? Not one of your hookers. A real girl.
I saw it when I was checking out at the grocery store. She looked half guilty. I unfolded it and looked at the front page.Laura, I said. I didn’t mean to say it out loud, but seeing her picture caught me by surprise. I got a sick feeling in my stomach whenever I thought about it.
New leads in the Laura Hilberson case, I read. The paper said that one of her credit cards had been used at a gas station in Mississippi. Since the gas station had no video surveillance, they weren’t able to get a shot of who was using the card. The teenager behind the counter was high at the time and didn’t remember anything at all.You dated her, Olivia said. I nodded. She pushed her textbook aside and rested her head on her fist. So, what was she like? Do you think she would just disappear? Do you think someone took her?I scratched my belly. It was like a week. I didn’t know her very well. That isn’t true. Why am I lying?
Olivia knew I was lying.There’s nothing to tell, Duchess.
Caleb, you’re one of the most perceptive humans I’ve ever met. Are you really telling me that you have no insight into this situation?
My brain locked and I wasn’t sure which way to send my tongue. This was such a touchy subject. I was about to tell another lie — or maybe it was the truth, when Cammie came barreling into the room, saving me.My marriage is worth more than something as thin and insubstantial as papers. You cannot end something with that vile word. Caleb is a man used to getting his way. Not now. I will fight him on this.
We can go to counseling. For Estella.Caleb shakes his head. You need someone to be able to love you the way you deserve to be loved. I’m so sorry — He clenches his jaw, looks at me almost pleadingly, like he needs me to understand. I can’t give you that. God, I wish I could, Leah. I’ve tried.
I think about that, I do. I think about the time I caught him looking at Olivia like she was the only f**king thing that mattered on the whole f**king planet, and the time he kept her ice cream/finger in the freezer for two years. What type of love was that? Obsessive? What had she done to get his brain wired to her circuit board? I am so out of breath after I am done thinking these things that I spin for the doors that sit off the kitchen and shove them open. The air outside is thick and still. It feels like jello, and I feel like every bone in my heart is breaking. I pace the patio, and in seconds, I can feel my shirt sticking to my back. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Caleb follow me outside. He has his hands in his pockets, and he’s biting his upper lip.I rifle through my bag of tricks. I look at his face: hard, determined, sorry. I don’t want his sorry. I want what Olivia has. I want to be enough for him.
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