Mr. and Mrs. Harwood are in and out the next morning getting all of Rory’s shit. When I come down for breakfast, I ask why. “We thought you’d feel more comfortable,” Mom says, eyeing Rory’s parents. “We just wanted t - ”
“But he said sorry,” I added. “I mean, it’s not like he was the one told me to boil myself.”
“Jackson – ”
“Sorry, sorry,” I say, my eyes dropping to the floor. “I mean, it happened. And he apologized.” I look around, trying hard to make this sound real. “He’s been sleeping on the couch for three days.” I lick my lips. “If you don’t think saying sorry is enough, then move him back to the couch.”
Mom and Dad looked touched, but also didn’t look convinced. Mr. and Mrs. Harwood looked relieved that I said it. "We'll talk it over, okay, Jack?" asks Dad.
I nod, go get pancakes, eat them at the dining table while they talk on the back patio, and then go upstairs.
Rory slides up to me in the kitchen while I make a sandwich the next day. Mom and Mrs. Harwood’re watching some daytime soap opera on TV just a few feet away. “What’d you say to them?” he whispers.
I look at him. “What’re you talking about?”
“My mom just told me I can sleep in the same room with you again.” Rory shrugs. “What gives?”
I smirk and glare. “What do you think this is?” I shrug. “It’s best served cold.”
His eyes narrow. His hands twitch on the counters. “You bastard.”
I smile and bite into my sandwich. “What’re you gonna do about it?” He opens his mouth to say something, but nothing comes out. Leaning forward, I whisper, “And who’s gonna believe you, too?” I sneer and move my glass right in front of him. “You’ve had this coming for fucking years, Harwood. For example.” One swoop of my arm and the glass falls over, its edge cracking on the counter. “Rory!” I shout.
Mom stands first, followed by Mrs. Harwood. “Jackson, are you okay?”
“Sweetheart, are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” I sniff, struggling to pick up my plate. Mom gives me a strong hug.
“Our room. Now, ” Mrs. Harwood warns, glaring.
Rory begins to follow, but then looks back to me. He looks concerned, scared even. But then I flip him off while Mom holds me, and Rory’s pissed again. I grin and the door to Rory’s parent’s room slams shut.
“You okay, sweetie?” asks Mom, pulling back.
“I’m okay,” I stutter. She doesn’t seem that convinced until I turn and remind her that I need to eat something. I’m not that hungry anymore, but it’s enough to get Mom off my back for a little bit.
Mrs. Harwood joins Mom back on the couch a while later. They go back to their soap opera.
Rory comes over and says loudly, “I’m sorry for knocking over your cup.” His eyes are on the women behind him. “Are you okay?” Rory’s words don’t sound genuine, and I fucking love it.
My eyes move to Mom and Mrs. Harwood, too. “Y-yeah, I’m okay.” But then I look back at Rory and grin. “You should’ve stopped when I tried to call the truce last year. I need to ask, was that before or after you pushed me off the boat?” I whisper.
“This isn’t over.”
“It will be when summer’s done.”
Rory glares and straightens up. “Fuck you, Rivera.”
“Back at you, Harwood.” I frown at him. And then announce, in a very innocent-sounding voice, “Rory, can you move a little? I wanna see what’s happening. On TV.”
His nostrils flare. Rory steps back once, and then runs upstairs, slamming the bedroom door hard.
He’s writing in his journal.
And I’m totally ready to use it against him.