Home > Cross My Heart, Hope To Die (The Lying Game #5)(10)

Cross My Heart, Hope To Die (The Lying Game #5)(10)
Author: Sara Shepard

But Emma didn’t hit the next one, or the next. Forty-five minutes later, Celeste had trounced her in five straight matches. Emma braced her hands against her thighs, panting, as the team stared in confusion, no one daring to clap against Sutton. Only when Maggie encouraged everyone did a few of the girls muster up halfhearted applause. Laurel and Charlotte crossed their arms over their chests, looking disgruntled. Nisha had done the same. Emma shuffled to the sidelines in humiliation.

“That was something else, Celeste!” Maggie cried, clapping loudly to make up for everyone else.

Celeste smiled, a thin sheen of perspiration glowing on her skin. She bowed her head to Emma. “Namaste.” Then she drifted off to one of the far courts. A few girls trotted behind her, and Emma could hear them talking about astrological signs and yoga poses.

Charlotte shook her head in wonderment. “Who does she think she is?”

Emma tried to look disdainful as she wiped the sweat off her face and shoulders, but a flutter of anxiety twisted her stomach. Her twin would have decimated that girl, she was sure of it.

“We’re done for the day!” Maggie called a few minutes later, guiding the girls to the locker room. Emma had never been more relieved for practice to be over. Steam billowed through the green-tiled room, the sound of the showers hissing in the background. Colorful shower poufs hung outside some of the lockers, laced through the combination locks to dry between uses.

Emma hooked Sutton’s basket of toiletries over her arm, threw a towel over her shoulder, and slid out of the aisle of lockers. On the end wall was an oversized display case that said HOLLIER HIGH CHAPARELLES MVP across the top. It featured the MVPs through the years, from girls with big eighties hair and massive earrings all the way to Sutton’s photo from last year, her dark hair sleek and straight, her eyes bright. Emma paused to look at it for a moment, suddenly sad. Someone stopped beside her and gasped.

“Who is this?” Celeste asked, her voice low and tremulous. She pointed at Sutton’s photo.

Emma stared at her. Was she joking? Was this some kind of game, an extension of the you-don’t-look-very-strong comment from earlier, her way of saying, There’s no way you’re going to be MVP this year. But Celeste’s eyes were round and ingenuous. She seemed to be looking right into Emma and struggling to understand what she saw there.

“Obviously that’s Sutton. Who else could it be?” Nisha had come up behind them to peer over Emma’s shoulder. She curled her lip.

Celeste shook her head, a pained crease between her eyes. “No, it’s not. The energy in this picture is nothing like yours, Sutton. You seem much … sweeter. Like you’ve lived a hard life and know what it’s like to suffer.”

Oh, great—since I’d died I’d had to hear time and time again what a bitch I’d been, and now I had to listen to the fact that my energy was mean, too?

Emma recoiled from the other girl’s gaze. It had been months since she’d been seen for herself by anyone except Ethan, and for better or worse she’d gotten used to being able to hide behind Sutton’s persona. Now she felt uncomfortably like someone was peeking behind her disguise, seeing how she really felt and what she really thought.

She gave Celeste a cold sneer. “Whatever you say,” she said, tossing her hair over her shoulder. “Excuse me, I need to shower.” She sauntered past the other girl, forcing herself not to look at her again.

Careful, sis, I thought. I didn’t believe in premonitions or astrology or auras either, back when I was alive. But then again, I didn’t believe in ghosts. Sometimes there are things in the world beyond what you can see with the naked eye.



Tuesday evening, the maître d’ of the La Paloma Country Club dining room hurried to the podium to meet Emma and her grandfather. Mrs. Mercer and Laurel had a mother-daughter community service meeting, so it was just Emma and Mr. Mercer for dinner that night.

“Oh, Mr. Mercer, your knee!” the maître d’ cried.

Mr. Mercer was propped up between two crutches, his knee buried in the straps and padding of a brace. He smiled ruefully. “You should see the other guy,” he said, wincing.

The maître d’ laughed mirthfully and waved for him to follow her to the dining room. Luckily, the room wasn’t crowded, so Mr. Mercer was able to maneuver easily around the tables. A piano tinkled in the corner, blending in with the low conversations and scrape of silverware. A few men in suits sat at the bar, talking golf, while women in designer dresses and pearls nibbled on colorful salads, the dressing in cups to the sides of their plates. The big floor-to-ceiling windows on the far wall offered a panoramic view of the Catalina Mountains. As they passed a large gilded mirror, Emma studied their side-by-side reflections. She’d inherited Mr. Mercer’s straight nose and jawline. She smiled at her own reflection and saw the matching smile on his face. It seemed so obvious that they were related, now that she knew to look for it.

“What happened?” a woman called out from a nearby table, glancing in concern at Mr. Mercer’s crutches. Mr. Mercer just smiled at her and passed on, but not before Emma noticed that a lot of the women in the dining room were eyeing Mr. Mercer appreciatively.

Ew, were they ogling my dad? Sure, he was good-looking in that salt-and-pepper way, dignified and handsome in his tan sports coat and Italian leather shoes. But he was here with his daughter, for crying out loud—well, really his granddaughter. And he was on crutches.

Emma helped Mr. Mercer into a chair at a large round table in the corner. “I’m so sorry again about your knee,” she mumbled.

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