“Jordan’s been trashing you on her blog.”
The blood drained from my face, and my breakfast started working its way back up.
“You haven’t checked her blog?”
“I don’t have time for Jordan’s two-bit blog.”
“Jordan has nothing but time and she’s been pretty busy since yesterday afternoon. She Googled you and found out all kinds of stuff: your real name, your former swim teams, your stats, pictures, everything.”
“No,” I said. This couldn’t be happening.
“And she plastered it all over her blog.”
I dropped my head in my arms and collapsed on the table. It was worse than I thought. “And?” I lifted my head and looked at him. “What’s she saying?”
He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, pulled up Jordan’s blog, and handed it to me. I took it as though it would burn my hand and scrolled through her long-winded post.
Aerin Keane is a liar, she wrote. She pretends to be an ordinary swimmer when she’s really Margaret Keane, an Olympic hopeful. What other lies has she told?
Jordan had done some deep research and discovered my swimming records in the data base where every race I’d ever swam was documented. I was listed under my given name, Margaret Keane.
“Margaret?” Justin asked.
“Yeah,” I said. “I’m named Margaret Aerin after my maternal grandmother, who passed away before I was born. But my parents called me Aerin from day one. When my mother signed me up for club swimming she did it under my full legal name.”
I scrolled through the post, shaking my head at the photos Jordan had downloaded from the internet and used to help make her point, pictures of me wearing first place medals for the 500 free at last year’s varsity and club championships. Jordan had also added links to an article in a swimming magazine that talked about my prospects for the Olympic team.
Leave it to her to blow my cover.
Dozens of comments from teammates and others followed, none of them kind.
Tears stung my eyes. People I’d thought of as friends had written awful things about me. The consensus was I was a fake and a phony and didn’t deserve to live. I scrolled through the comments from the last twelve hours growing sicker and sadder. I handed the phone back to Justin.
“Well,” I said, my voice wavering. I wiped the tears away. “Guess I can’t do much about that.”
“Don’t worry. The school has an anti-bullying policy. Zero tolerance. Jordan will be in Principal Sorenson’s office first thing tomorrow morning.”
“That won’t change anything,” I sniffled.
“That will put a stop to her bullying. In a day or two, something else will happen, and this will be old news.”
“Whatever. I’m not going back.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m calling my father and telling him to come and get me. I’ll stay with him, go to school in his town.”
“You can’t leave Two Rivers!”
“Why not? Nothing here for me now.”
He looked stunned, then hurt. “I thought I was here for you.”
I didn’t think I could feel any worse but I was wrong. “That didn’t come out right. I know you’re here for me, and I appreciate it.”
I gave him a blank look.
“Because I thought we had something special and I wanted to see where it was going.”
That one sentence almost made up for all the hurt Jordan had caused me. “You mean that?” I whispered.
He nodded. “Please don’t call your father. We’ll work this out.”
“You’ve got a plan?”
“As a matter of fact, I do. An excellent plan.” He moved closer to me and reached for my hand. “This is what we’re going to do.”
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