Trust Me
rested her hands flat on the table. /^^usjij'/shouldn’t have come/ oh God/ want to be/
    The thoughts came through fuzzy. The emotions-the anger, the sadness, the hopelessness, the happiness-came through fuzzy, too. So many fingerprints on the table. So many people going through so much. How many of them-Mr. Fascinelli, loaded down with vending machine snacks, sat back down in front of Rae, pulling her away from her thoughts. “Go for it. You’re on the clock.”
    “Okay.” Rae clasped her hands, not wanting to be distracted by any thoughts but her own. “Okay, first, I’m not from a religious group or anything.”
    “Then who are you?” Mr. Fascinelli asked, his fingers frozen on the soda can he’d been about to open.
    “I’m a friend of your son’s,” Rae answered. “Anthony,” she added quickly, remembering Mr. Fascinelli had at least one other son.
    Mr. Fascinelli jerked to his feet. “I’m ready to go back in,” he called to the closest guard.
    Rae stood up, too. “I just want to talk to you for a minute,” she pleaded. “Anthony’s been wanting to find you for a long-”
    “Don’t bring him here. If you do, I won’t see him,” Mr. Fascinelli interrupted. He scooped up the bags of chips and nuts and the cans of soda as the guard stepped up to the table.
    “You sure you’re ready-” the guard began.
    “Get me away from her,” Mr. Fascinelli answered.

Chapter 6
    So I called your house last night. You weren t there. And I didn’t hear any kind of cocktail party going on.
    Yeah, that’s exactly what Anthony was going to say to Rae. If he didn’t just grab her and scream, “Why the hell are you lying to me?” Not that he was going to be able to do either if she didn’t get her butt to group. The session was supposed to start in less than five minutes, and Rae was still a no-show.
    Anthony leaned against the front wall of the institute, the brick hard and itchy against his back. Has something
    already happened to her? he wondered. Has whatever it is she’s been hiding gotten out of control?
    Crap. Hadn’t the girl figured out how dangerous it was to try to handle a bad situation with no backup?
    “Anthony,” a voice called. He whipped his head toward the sound and saw Ms. Abramson, the group leader, heading toward him. “Come on. Time to get inside,” she told him. He pushed himself away from the wall and followed her into the building. What else could he do? When they reached the therapy room, he took a seat in the metal chairs in the circle like a good boy, nodded to Jesse, then locked his eyes on the door. Come on, Rae, he thought. Come on.
    As if he had willed it, the door swung open and Rae hurried inside. She slid into the closest chair, looking terrible-sweaty and gray faced. All Anthony wanted to do was rush over to her and just… he wasn’t even sure what he wanted to do. Accuse her of lying. Put his arm around her. Ask her if she was all right. Call her a freakin’ idiot.
    “Okay, gang, time to start,” Abramson announced. Which meant for now, Anthony wasn’t going to do anything at all.
    “Let’s begin by going around the circle and hearing updates,” Abramson continued. “Matt, why don’t you go first this time?”
    Anthony reluctantly turned his gaze toward Matt. Abramson would be all over him if he didn’t at least look like he was paying attention. It was part of “respecting the group.” But he only half listened as Abramson pried out a response from Matt one word at a time. The other half of his head was totally occupied by Rae. He cut a quick glance at her. She was blotting the sweat off her forehead with a Kleenex, but it wasn’t helping. New droplets kept popping up. She looked like any second she could puke.
    “Ms. Abramson,” Rae called out, interrupting one of Matt’s long silences. “I’m not feeling well. My dad’s in the parking lot. Can I-?”
    “Of course. Go on,” Abramson answered, making little shoo-shoo motions with her hands.

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