A woman hanging on the edge of the group watched silently. She looked older. Much older than the five years it had been. But there was no mistaking her—at least not for Jeff. Shannon turned up the corners of her mouth into a slight smile. She shifted from foot to foot and looked around. Jeff blinked. Yes, Shannon still stood there.
Creases feathered around her blue eyes. Despite the smile, she stayed on the fringe of the group and didn’t approach. No one looked her way, but then, no one at the party knew her except him and his parents. Taryn had seen her picture; he didn’t know if she’d recognize her.
No one but him had spent so much time looking at that face. Trying to decipher it. Read it. Elicit some feeling from its owner, mostly to no avail. Shannon’s guard was always up and, the last few times he’d seen her, reinforced by dulling drugs that made her unknowable.
Now, here she was.
Jeff walked in her direction and beckoned her to the side behind the large oak in his yard.
“What are you doing here? How do you even know where I live?”
“Hello to you, too.”
“You want pleasantries? Don’t show up out of the blue at my house.”
“Pleasantries?” Shannon smirked. “That’s what your family is all about, isn’t it?”
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