Chapter 24: Lost on the wrong side of the river
Ricky broke off a branch and tossed it into the water below. They both watched it disappear in the current, pop up again, and disappear for good.
“We don’t have any choice but to go back."
Jaci swallowed hard, tears threatening for the umpteenth time that day. "Okay," she said, trying to keep her voice steady.
"Come on." Ricky's fingers grazed her sleeve. "Rest here a moment. I’m gonna teach myself to fish.”
He winked at her, and she gave him a weary smile before plopping herself down beside the river. She watched him run back, dodging branches and jumping over rocks. He was different when it was just the two of them. He didn’t act all cocky and full of himself. Well, maybe a little.
And he kept touching her, brushing her arm, pulling on her shirt, yanking her ponytail. If she didn’t know about him and Amanda, she’d actually think he liked her.
She moved to a spot where she could reach the water. She’d rinsed the mud from her face and arms quickly that morning, but now she had time to clean more thoroughly. She glanced down at her muddy sweater and hesitated. Casting a quick look over her shoulder, she yanked it off and swished it in the water. She was so anxious to get it back on that she didn’t even bother rinsing it, just pulled it back over her head.
Her mind flashed back to the crush she’d had on Toby last year. He’d been so mean to her. Nearly every day Callie met her in the bathroom, helping her wash her face after a crying spell. She’d have given anything for him to treat her like Ricky was.
The thought of Callie made her heart ache. She sank into the dirt and dropped her head onto her knees, rocking back and forth.