Half My Blood
Copyright © 2015 by Lauren Gilley
“What’s that?” he asked, nodding toward the tidy stack of handwritten pages she’d left beside the keyboard.
She was distracted a moment by his tongue curling around a grape and plucking it off the stem, then refocused. “It’s one of Ava’s stories. One of her old ones. Sam found a box of them while we were unpacking, and she said we could read them, if we wanted.” She gestured to the tomblike office around them. “We were having a quiet day, so…” She shrugged.
“Can she write worth a damn?”
Holly frowned. “I don’t have much to compare her to, really. But…” She pressed her lips together as she stared at the handwritten cover of the story. She’d worried, at first, that she’d be unable to identify with the characters in any story. Not that she wouldn’t like them or understand them, but that she would have no idea what they were talking about.
But on page one, she’d been sucked in. The office had faded around her as she tumbled into the life of a girl trying to find her place in a cruel, unsympathetic world. The phone had rung three times before she noticed it.
“I think she’s good,” she said, glancing back at Michael. “You could probably read it, if you wanted to.”
He shook his head emphatically and picked up his sandwich. “Nope. Not reading something somebody else’s old lady wrote.”
She laughed. “Why not?”
He sighed, elbows braced on the desk, sandwich dripping pink tomato juice onto the plate. “Because if she’s writing about…what she wants to do to Mercy or something” – he shifted in his seat – “and I read it, that’s…a violation, or something.” He frowned at his own awkwardness and Holly bit back her smile. “No.”
“Okay, fair enough.”