Tripp

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Book: Tripp by Kristen Kehoe Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kristen Kehoe
that.”
    “Everything all right?”
    Since I have no idea, I nod to keep it simple. “Yeah, just things that can’t be avoided.” And that’s the problem. I wanted to yell at Rachel, to make her see that this can’t happen, but the reality is that the only way it’s going to stop is if Marcus escalates enough to show just how dangerous he is. Again.
    My blood chills. I remember the last time Rachel was cornered by Marcus Fucking Kash—the rage that comes each time I remember she was alone, terrified, and subject to the whims of a psychopath who’s never been denied anything in his life.
    Huey slaps me on the shoulder again. “Let me know if there’s anything I can do, big T. And if Coach asks, you were puking your guts out from a burrito at lunch.”
    I nod my thanks and go back to practice. The entire time I’m running my drills, I’m thinking of Rachel and wondering if I’ll forever be scared for her safety.
     

9
    Past
    “Tripp, where are you going?”
    “Where the hell do you think I’m going?”
    “Tripp, don’t. It’s over.”
    “No, it’s not. But it’s about to be.”
    “Tripp—”
    “He pushed you into a wall , Rachel. There are bruises on your hip. He made you cry.” The words rip out of me, and I have to take a deep breath, knowing that she’s been through enough today—she doesn’t need me to yell at her, too. But Jesus Christ, over ? No, it’s not close to over. That asshole started a war, and he’s about to see exactly what kind of pain I can bring him.
    She shifts on the couch where I laid her earlier, wincing only slightly, but it’s enough to make me clench my hands into fists. She’s seven months pregnant, and even though her belly just really started showing last month, I know she gets sore—she gets tired. There are things that she used to be able to do that she just can’t right now. Handling Marcus Kash is one of them.
    “Tripp, he’s not dangerous—he just wanted to scare me, to make me think he is so I won’t make him claim responsibility for the baby. Since I wasn’t planning on doing that anyway, there’s no need to make a big deal out of this.”
    “This is a big deal, Rachel. I don’t give a flying fuck what his motivation was. He threatened you. He put his hands on you. I could kill him for that alone.”
    Her eyes fill again, the look of desperation and fear—and something more, so hard to see. I give in enough to sit next to her, but my anger won’t fade completely away. “What do you want me to do, Rachel? You won’t go to the police. You won’t tell your mom what he’s been saying. You won’t tell anyone that he’s now threatened you. Do you really expect me to sit back and do nothing after someone’s hurt you? I can’t—” She looks up at me. “I can’t let this go, Rachel. Don’t ask me to.”
    Our eyes stay locked. Though I can see the hurt and exhaustion in hers, there’s something else there too—a sadness that isn’t what it was a moment ago when she was talking about Marcus. I want to ask her about it, want to run my fingers over her cheek and into her hair and pull her close, but I ignore those wants because Rachel is my best friend, not my girlfriend. She’s someone I love, but can’t be in love with.
    “Okay, but I’m texting Tanner and Griff. You’re taking them with you. I don’t want you going at all,” she says when I attempt to argue. “But if you really think that this is what needs to be done, if this is the only thing you’ll accept, fine—but your brothers are going with you.”
    I nod and stand, being careful not to touch her when I do. “Get some sleep. And I still think you should tell your mom and Stacy—at least enough they know where Marcus stands. I don’t want you hurt again,” I tell her. She nods that sad smile back.
    “Tripp,” she says when I’m halfway to the door. I turn and look at her, waiting while she stands slowly. Her hands go to her belly for a second and I have to swallow,

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