The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni

The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni

Author:Peter Bognanni
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: Penguin USA, Inc.


18.

Divide and Conquer

WHEN MY EYES DECIDED TO OPEN AGAIN, I WAS LYING on my back on a sofa. I was buried under a musty blanket, and there was a teeming glass of juice next to me on an end table. Also, Meredith Whitcomb was standing over me. I didn’t see her at first, all the way at the end of the couch, but my sleep-blurred vision instantly cleared when she came into view. I didn’t speak. I wasn’t sure what to say. I felt feverish, and everything came at me at once: the sound of loud music upstairs, the clamber of pots and pans in the kitchen, the warmth of the room. I took a sip of juice. Meredith sat down on the arm of the couch.

“You’re not in a coma,” she said. “I guess that’s a good thing.”

She looked sagely out the front window.

“How long was I sleeping?” I asked.

She held up five fingers.

“Five hours?”

She nodded.

“I can’t believe it.”

“My mom thinks you’re suffering from malnutrition or something. She’s cooking all the vegetables in the house. I can smell the onions in my room.”

“How did I get in here?”

“I wasn’t finished,” she said.

“Okay.”

She cleared her throat. “I was going to say that you’ve only been here an afternoon and you’re already screwing everything up and ruining our lives. All right, now I’m done.”

“How did I get in here?” I said again.

“We carried you. You weigh more than I thought you did. I would watch the carbs. You might be getting fat.”

I felt my neck reddening.

“I’m just kidding. You weigh like five pounds.”

She laughed. “You have a temperature, but not a high one.”

“Have the police come to look for me?” I asked.

She didn’t answer, and when I looked over, her smirk was gone.

“It was you, wasn’t it, you asshole?”

“It was me, what?”

She sighed. “You made those calls to my private line.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Don’t try it. I figured it out after you left last night.” “You kept looking at the window when we were in my room. How else would you know about that?”

The music upstairs suddenly stopped and we both looked up at the ceiling. Jared was stomping around, shouting something.

“I don’t think it’s okay,” she said. “I want you to know that.”

Her voice was quieter now.

“Which part . . . specifically?”

“I don’t think it’s okay to invade someone’s privacy. And lie to people and say things you don’t mean!” she said.

“I meant what I said.”

“You don’t know what you mean,” she said right away. “You’ve probably never met another girl. You don’t know me. And you can’t just go around saying things like that to people. It’s not some dumb joke.”

Meredith got up and started toward the kitchen.

“Wait,” I said.

“No,” she said. “I’ve said what I want to.”

I sat up, and the quick motion made me feel faint again.

“Why were you watching me in your underwear?” I asked.

She stopped in the doorway. “Look,” she said. “I’m sorry you got tossed out on your ass. Just don’t talk to me.



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