At the Country Club

Chapter 2

After lunch, the men disappeared to the Men's Parlour while the women relaxed at the spa. April accompanied them but got bored and went to put in some laps in the pool. She had a lot of nervous energy to burn.

In the locker room, she overheard two women talking about the Wesleys. It seemed, Charlotte Burton was even quicker in spreading rumors than April had thought but possibly her mom had helped. She pulled her phone out of her bag.

Can we meet tomorrow? I have something to tell you.

She sat down on a wooden bench and waited. She felt foolish. She had no way of knowing what Sterling was doing or if she even had her phone with her. For all April knew, she cou--

We (Blair and I) will be at Yogurtopia tomorrow. Can you meet us there? 2ish?

Yogurtopia? On Shepard?

It's Bowser's side-hustle.

April blinked, she wasn't even sure she wanted to know about how a bounty hunter had a 'side-hustle' where he sold yogurt.

I'll be there.

You still at the club? came another text from Sterling.

April wasn't sure she wanted to talk right now, not like this. If they got into a whole conversation - as they usually did - she might spill the beans about what happened. She had to do this in person.

I can't really talk right now, I'll see you tomorrow. Never in her whole life had she felt worse for lying. Sterling had called her a life-line the other day but truth was, the feeling went both ways. And now, her dad tried to stir up trouble again, and again it affected her relationship to Sterling. She almost felt something akin to hate for her father at that moment and felt even worse for the feeling itself. How could she!

April took a deep breath. Her phone chimed again and she started as she hadn't really expected an answer.

I miss you.

"Fuck," April cursed under her breath.

"Are you okay, honey?" One of the women who were separated from her by a row of lockers asked.

"Oh, yes, I'm so sorry, m'am. I lost my footing there for a moment," April said.

"No reason to use bad language," the voice chastised her.

"Of course not, I'm very sorry, m'am. It won't happen again."

"It better not."

April rolled her eyes. Southern etiquette could be very trying at times and it didn't matter how often she apologized, the woman might still tell her parents about it. April hoped she didn't know who her parents were though there was little chance of that.

I miss you too, she quickly typed a truth which hopefully canceled out her lie and then put the phone away before she could be tempted to keep responding to Sterling's texts.

It was late when the Stevenses drove back home. They'd spend the whole day at the club, something usually only new members did. April didn't even want to think about how many people her father had shared his rumor with. She was staring out the window but saw none of the scenery.

"You're quiet, honey. Everything all right?" her dad asked her from the driver's seat. Her mom was dozing beside him, she'd been drinking.
"Sure, just tired. I had a lot of exercise."
"It's been a while, I know. But there's no reason why we can't be back there tomorrow to get 18 holes in." He smiled at her in the rearview mirror.
"I can't tomorrow. I'm doing a project with..." she almost said Hannah B before remembering that Mrs. Burton had mentioned that Hannah was staying with cousins this weekend. "Dora. I already bailed on her today so we need to get some extra hours in tomorrow."
"Oh, I see. You could've said, you know."
"It's no big deal, I always plan in more time than we need, just to be on the safe side."
"That's my kid!" he said proudly.
He wasn't wrong. She was his kid and her work ethic certainly followed his.
"Maybe we can go back one evening this week?"
"Sure, dad. That would be great."
They drove in silence for a few minutes.
"Listen, April. About what you heard today?"
"About the Wesleys, all that talk of Sterling's accident. I wouldn't want you to repeat any of that in school, okay?"
April blinked. "Of course not," she answered immediately.
"Because Anderson and Debbie could get into serious trouble if a rumor like that got spread."
April didn't say anything. Her dad made eye-contact with her in the rearview mirror, his expression earnest.
"I know you and Sterling don't get along but this is serious, padawan."
"I know," April said, stunned. Her heart began to ache, she could hardly breathe, and she felt tears threatening behind her eyes But she kept it together.
"Good. You're a great kid, April. I don't tell you that enough."
She gave him a smile, a big one, a fake one. But he seemed satisfied. April wasn't, she was heartbroken.
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