Revealing the Secret, Part 5

[Apologies for the brevity of the last couple of posts — I’m traveling for the holiday, and with no Wi-Fi and at 95% of my monthly data limit, I need to cut somewhere. But today, I’ll conclude my response to The Daily Post prompt Envelope Pushers]

“So you are Rune are dating.” Rex decided it was time to get back to the reason Annie had requested their meeting. He waved a hand in the direction of the Bark Bay High School cafeteria, where the fencing club’s practice had just concluded. “And you don’t think you can keep it a secret — ”

“I don’t want it to be a secret.” And with those words, Annie’s agenda finally became clear to him.

“But Rune does.” Annie nodded, a hint of sadness in her eyes. “And you’re worried about how he’ll react, when word gets out.” Nod. “Double-J?”

Annie sighed, rolled her eyes. “I don’t care what Double-J thinks.”

Rex stuffed as much sarcasm as he could muster into his smile. “Wasn’t asking about his opinion.”

“It’s been over since summer.” Her eyes were wide with indignation. “Before summer, even. June, no, Memorial Day weekend — ”

“I get it.” He’d raised his palm in the stop position again. “Had to ask.” He rubbed his nose between the index and thumb of his right hand, his long fingers looking like a pair of needle-nose pliers. “So you’re telling me now, before the rumor comes my way.”

“That’s right.” She spoke with an air of expectation, like a teacher prodding a student to complete an answer. And suddenly Rex knew exactly how to respond, as if he were on strip against an opponent who was defending too far into six, leaving him a delicious opening at four.

“You’re that concerned about how Rune will respond? When he knows we’ve found out about you two?”

Her eyes had the defiant acceptance of a vanquished opponent. “Yes.”

Rex sighed. He thought about asking if she’d told Coach Dan yet, but knew instinctively that she had not. “Well, if you don’t mind me saying — I’m going to be too busy staying in school, and looking out for my family, and fencing, to worry about anyone else’s private life.”

Annie nodded, a satisfied smile on her face.

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