A Grant County Collection

Free A Grant County Collection by Karin Slaughter

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Authors: Karin Slaughter
    'Y'all are pretty close, right?'
    'I suppose,' Sara answered, knowing there was more to it than that.
    He asked, 'Did you tell her I passed the test?'
    'Of course not,' Sara answered, surprised he had even asked. 'That's private.'
    He nodded his approval, keeping his eyes on the road.
    Their second date had ended with a kiss at the door and Sara asking Jeffrey to get tested for HIV. Granted, the request was a little late in coming – their frenzied first time hadn't exactly stopped for a frank discussion about the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases – but Sara had picked up on Jeffrey's reputation well before the news had hit the Shop-o-rama. For his part, Jeffrey had seemed only slightly insulted when she asked him for a blood sample.
    She said, 'I saw so many cases at Grady. So many women my age who never thought it could happen to them.'
    'You don't have to explain it to me.'
    'Hare's lover died of AIDS last year.'
    His foot slipped off the gas pedal. 'Your cousin's gay?'
    'Of course.'
    'You're kidding?' he asked, giving her an uneasy look.
    'He wasn't born with that falsetto.' 'I thought he was just joking around.' 'He was,' Sara said. 'Is. I mean, he just does that to annoy me. Everyone. He likes to annoy people.' 'He played football in high school.' 'Only straight people can play football?' 'Well . . . no,' he said, but he did not seem certain. They both stared at the road again. Sara could think of nothing to say. She knew hardly anything about the man beside her. In the three months they had dated, she had heard nothing about Jeffrey's family or his past. She knew he had been born in Alabama, but he was vague with the details. When they weren't in bed, Jeffrey mostly talked about cases he had worked in Birmingham or things that were happening in Grant. Now that she thought about it, when they were together it was Sara who did most of the talking. He seldom volunteered any personal information about himself, and if she pushed him too far with questions, his response was to either shut down completely or run his hand up and down her thigh until she forgot what she was saying.
    She chanced a look at him. His dark hair was getting long in the back, which was a little dangerous considering the Grant County school system routinely sent boys home from class if their hair touched the back of their collars. As usual, his face was clean-shaven and smooth. He was wearing a pair of worn jeans and a black Harley Davidson T-shirt. His tennis shoes looked high-tech, with extra padding in the sole and black waffle treads for running. The muscles in his legs were well defined under the denim, and though his shirt was not tight enough to show the firm abs underneath, Sara was more than familiar with them.
    Sara stared down at her legs, wishing she had worn something different. She had changed into an ocean blue wraparound skirt, but her white calves were the color of fat on uncooked bacon against the dark floor mat. Despite the air conditioning, she was sweating under the cotton shirt she wore, and if Sara could have waved a magic wand to stop time, she would have stripped off her constricting bra and thrown it out the window.
    'So,' Jeffrey said.
    'So,' she returned, trying to think of something to restart the conversation. All she could come up with was, 'You're a universal donor.'
    'A universal donor,' she repeated. 'You can donate blood to anyone.' Grasping another straw, she added, 'Of course, you can't accept from anyone. You can only accept from other O negatives.'
    He gave her a strange look. 'I'll keep that in mind.'
    'Your blood has antigens that –'
    'I'll donate some as soon as we get back.'
    The conversation was lagging again, and she asked, 'Do you want some chicken?'
    'Is that what I keep smelling?'
    Sara leaned over the backseat and rummaged around for the plastic bowl her mother had packed. 'I think there's some biscuits if Tess didn't steal them.'
    That'd be nice,' he said,

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