We'll Never Tell(10)

By: Jannine Gallant

Glancing over, a grin stretched across Juliette’s face, lighting her big brown eyes. Dressed in ballet shoes and a leotard, she flew across the polished floor and launched into Sam’s arms. The two women rocked back and forth in a tight embrace.

“I heard you were in town.”

“I got in early yesterday morning.”

Juliette stepped back and fisted her hands on her hips. Petite and enviably thin, her friend probably didn’t weigh a hundred pounds wringing wet. “And you’re only now coming to see me?”

“I slept half of yesterday and spent the whole morning hunting for a missing hiker.”

Juliette rolled her eyes. “You can’t take a break from work, even when you’re home? Did you find him?”

“Yep, but the hiker wasn’t the only thing that turned up.” She glanced over her shoulder as the last two dancers were herded out the door by a distracted looking mother. “Do you have time to talk?”

“I have a couple of hours before my next class. Want to grab something to eat?”

“I’d love to. Let’s pick up deli sandwiches and eat at the park. It’s too beautiful to sit inside.”

Juliette headed for the stairs. “I’ll change and be right down.”

Twenty minutes later, Sam dropped the sandwich bag on the picnic table and swung her leg across the bench. Juliette sat opposite, a smile curving her lips.

“What’s so funny?”

“Nothing. It’s just great to see you. Five months is a long time without my BFF.”

Sam unwrapped her turkey sandwich and took a bite. “Speaking of best friends,” she asked around a mouthful of tomato and cheese. “How’s Darby?”

“Busy with work. She finally dumped that good looking jerk she was dating. Last month I took a few of my older students to San Francisco to show them what a real ballet performance looked like, and Darby watched the production with us. She didn’t seem too heartbroken over the breakup.”

“What about you? Are you doing okay?”

A shadow dulled the warm glow in Juliette’s eyes. “Kim had her baby while you were gone, but at least Mike had the decency to tell me about it himself. Oh, I signed the final divorce papers not too long ago.”

Sam laid her hand over Juliette’s clenched fist and squeezed. “Are you sure you won’t let me beat the crap out of your ex?” She flexed her right bicep. “I could take him. He’s bigger than me, but I’m tougher.”

The shadows in her friend’s eyes faded, and she laughed out loud. “You’re everybody’s savior. That’ll never change.” Shrugging, she picked up her sandwich. “I’m over Mike. Honestly. It’s been over a year since I kicked his sorry, cheating ass out. The baby got to me a little, I’ll admit, but I’m fine. Really.”

Sam narrowed her eyes, searching for a lie on her face, then let out a sigh of relief. “Maybe you really are over the son of a bitch.”

“I said I was.” Juliette affirmed then frowned. “You looked worried when you said you wanted to talk. What’s going on?”

A familiar shiver ran down Sam’s spine. She dropped her sandwich onto the wrapper and pushed bits of lettuce around with one finger. “We found a body this morning.”

A gust of wind shook the firs behind them, and a soggy sheet of newspaper blew beneath the table. Sam stepped on it then raised her gaze to meet Juliette’s wide-eyed stare.

“I thought the hiker was okay?”

“He was. The body Ethan and I discovered had been buried for some time. Years, I’d guess.”

Leaning forward, Juliette planted her hands on the table. “Ethan? You were with Ethan Thorne?”

“We got paired up for the search. Don’t make a big deal out of it.” She hunched her shoulders. “Anyway, we’ve got way more to worry about than my five year old indiscretion.”

Juliette’s dark brows lowered. “Spit it out, Sam. You’re making me nervous.”

“I think the body might belong to the woman we saw in the woods that night.”

There was no need to explain which night she was talking about. Though they almost never mentioned it, Sam was certain her friends thought about that night as often as she did.

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