Trust. I don’t even know what it means. “What can you do?” I pull away from his hug and press my back against the wall. “No one can do anything.” A coil of fear unwinds like a snake inside me. I’m afraid of this fear snake. It’s mean, and when it shows up I say things, do things to people and hurt them. “What can you do, really?” His face shows surprise at my reaction. The snake uncoils, raising its head to strike.
“I’ll go with you. If you want to talk to the social worker lady, the police, whoever.”
My turn to snort. “Right, like I can trust them. I tell Brenda some stuff, and she blabs to Angela when I told her not to. Where does that get me? Brenda gets fired, and now Angela’s working her revenge on me. I count on Aunt Soph to help me, and she’s too afraid.” The kids in the next booth cheer when their food arrives. I look at my plate, at food I’ve hardly touched. “Even Cory turned on me.”
This isn’t true. I know that. I turned on her. Because I didn’t believe she was a real friend. One who would stick with me through everything. A friend who wouldn’t judge. Before she rejected me, I pushed her away first.
Declan is rigid beside me, his hands on the table, framing his half-eaten burrito. I catch the waitress looking at us.
He talks down into his plate. “You have to start trusting someone, Reg. Let someone in.”
“I do. Me.” I take a gulp of lukewarm coffee and shoot him a confident grin.
“I’m serious. You know what I mean. Someone who can help you.”
“Like who?” My eyebrow shoots up my forehead. “Trusting people hasn’t worked out so great for me in the past. I can’t even trust my mother to be a real mother.” My nose is running, and I can feel that tightness building in my throat.
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