“Are they here?” asked Heather’s father.
“Jillian’s here. Sleeping I figure. And Rich stayed all night with a friend.”
“Have you talked with him today?” he asked.
“No, but that ain’t unusual,” she answered, a slightly worried note now tainting her voice.
“Could we speak with Jillian for just a minute?” asked Heather’s mother.
“Whaddya want?” called Jillian’s voice from behind her mother. She had walked up, undetected, and was now standing behind Mrs. Devereaux, who turned sideways to allow Jillian to stand in the doorway as well.
Heather looked intently into her friend’s face. Jillian seemed cold and unnaturally pale. Maybe it was the gloomy gray of the cloudy day washing out her features. Maybe it was just Heather's imagination.
“I . . . um,” Heather stammered. “I just wanted to see if you’re okay.” Jillian’s lip curled slightly.
“I told you last night I was,” she retorted. “Why are you making a federal case out of it? And why did you call the police?”
“Something happened, Jillian. He . . . Gage did something to Rich, and he was doing something . . . terrible to you.”
“What’s she talking about?” Mrs. Devereaux asked. Her daughter rolled her eyes.
“Nothing happened, Mom,” she answered. “She’s just jealous. She caught me and Gage kissing. She must have told Rich, who found us and yelled at us. Then Rich just went off to some friend’s house like he always does. And I didn’t see Heather after that. After Rich left, I looked for her and finally gave up, so I came home.”
“That’s not what happened, Jillian!” Heather exclaimed. “He wasn’t kissing you. He was hurting you. And I think he . . . I think he killed Rich.”
“What?” gasped Mrs. Devereaux. She locked her eyes onto Jillian’s face. “What really happened, Jillian? Where’s Rich?”
“He’s fine!” Jillian’s voice began to rise in volume and temper. “Listen to me, Mom! He’s fine!” She turned back to the Constance family. “Look what you’ve done! You’ve got her all over my case! Over nothing!”
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