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Ruby between the cracks, p.37
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       Ruby Between the Cracks, p.37

           P.D. Workman
 
It was lunch time before Justin had an opportunity to talk to June. She’d been kept in all the way through recess, not just for the first few minutes. Once the lunch bell rang and they were both outside the classroom, they immediately joined hands.

  “What did she say?” Justin questioned.

  He gave her hand a squeeze and then let go, not wanting to look like a sissy in front of the other boys. June shook her head. Her eyes filled with tears again. “I didn’t get my worksheets done,” she explained. “And the stuff that I did was wrong… I just didn’t understand it.”

  “Which worksheets? Math? Phonics? I’ll help you.”

  “All of them,” June shook her head and wiped at the corners of her eyes.

  “All of them? I’ll help you…”

  June sighed deeply. “I don’t even want to do them,” she said.

  “But… you have to do them,” Justin pointed out.

  They got into the cafeteria and looked around for seats. Justin pulled June over to a pair of free seats that were side by side, and they sat down and opened their lunch bags.

  “I don’t want to do anything, Justy. I just can’t do it.”

  She put her face in her hands, elbows on the table. Justin studied her, frowning to himself. Something was very wrong. He’d known for a while now. There was something she wasn’t telling him. And it was getting worse.

  “Don’t cry at school,” he murmured to her, giving her back a quick rub.

  “I’m not.” But clearly she was. Her body jerked with her sobs.

  “Come on, June. It’s okay. It’s just schoolwork.”

  She shook her head.

  “What, then?” he demanded.

  “I don’t know. I can’t say.”

  Justin’s stomach knotted. Guilt washed over him like a wave. Why couldn’t she tell him what was wrong? They shared everything. “What?” he persisted. “Come on. Tell me.”

  June shook her head again. She rubbed her eyes and lifted her face out of her hands. Without looking at him, she unwrapped her sandwich and poked the straw into her juice box.

  “June,” he prompted.

  She took one glance at him, her face screwed up in an attempt not to cry, and then looked back down at her lunch. Justin held her arm.

  “Is it because you’ve been sick lately?” he questioned. “Is that why you’re having trouble with the school work? It’s okay!”

  June shrugged. “I don’t want to talk about it anymore,” she said.

  Justin let it go. He ate his lunch without tasting it, watching her movements covertly. June sniffled a few times, but had nothing more to say. She drank her juice, but only took a couple of bites of her sandwich.

  “I’m not hungry,” she said, offering it to him.

  “You need to eat,” Justin said tentatively.

  “I don’t feel good.”

  Justin touched her face with the back of his fingers, but she didn’t seem hot. “Your stomach again?”

  June nodded. Justin took the sandwich from her. She put her head down on her folded arms on the table, and closed her eyes.

  “Do you want to go to the nurse’s?”

  “No.”

  “Do you want to go home?”

  June opened her eyes and looked at him, not answering.

  “Do you?”

  June nodded. “Yeah. But they won’t let us.”

  Justin shrugged. “It’s lunch time. They can’t stop us from leaving.”

  June sat up again. Her eyebrows went up hopefully, eyes widening. “We can go home?”

  “Sure. Let’s go.”

  They both got up, leaving the rest of their school lunches on the table, and headed for the door. A supervisor stopped them.

  “Where are you guys going?”

  “June’s sick. I’m taking her to the nurse,” Justin said.

  The supervisor looked at June, and decided it was okay. She motioned to the door, and the children left.

  “I don’t want to go to the nurse,” June complained.

  “We’re not. I just told her that. Come on.”

  They left their schoolbags in the classroom, and just headed out the nearest door. They had only gotten a few steps out the door, when Justin heard a voice calling his name.

  “Justin Simpson.”

  He turned quickly, and was relieved to see it wasn’t a teacher, but one of the other boys, affecting a deep voice. Justin shook his head.

  “Thought I was in for it!” he complained. “What’s up?”

  Robbie nodded at him. “Where are you going? Looking for some action?”

  Justin motioned for Robbie’s cigarette, and when Robbie handed it over, took a quick drag on it, hoping it would help to relax the knot of worry and guilt in his stomach.

  “Just headin’ home,” he explained.

  “Why don’t we get some of the boys together and do something? Who wants to go home?”

  Justin glanced aside at June. “I gotta look after my kid sister. She’s sick.”

  Robbie took the cigarette back, looking June over. “She looks okay to me.”

  “She’s sick,” Justin repeated. “I’ll have to catch you tomorrow, okay?”

  “She can go home by herself.”

  Justin shook his head. He took June by the arm, and headed across the playground toward home.

  “I’m not your kid sister,” June muttered.

  Justin grinned. “You’re twenty minutes younger. I can call you my kid sister if I want.”

  ~ ~ ~

  June and Justin, Book #2 of the Between the Cracks series by P.D. Workman is coming soon!

  About the Author

  FOR AS LONG AS P.D. Workman can remember, the blank page has held an incredible allure. After a number of false starts, she finally wrote her first complete novel at the age of twelve. It was full of fantastic ideas. It was the spring board for many stories over the next few years. Then, forty-some novels later, P.D. Workman finally decided to start publishing. Lots more are on the way!

  P.D. Workman is a devout wife and a mother of one, born and raised in Alberta, Canada. She is a homeschooler and an Executive Assistant. She has a passion for art and nature, creative cooking for special diets, and running. She loves to read, to listen to audio books, and to share books out loud with her family. She is a technology geek with a love for all kinds of gadgets and tools to make her writing and work easier and more fun. In person, she is far less well-spoken than on the written page and tends to be shy and reserved with all but those closest to her.

  ~ ~ ~

  Please visit P.D. Workman at pdworkman.com to see what else she is working on, to join her mailing list, and to link to her social networks.

 

  ~ ~ ~

  If you enjoyed this book, please take the time to recommend it to other purchasers with a review or star rating and share it with your social networks!

  Also by this Author

  Mystery/Suspense:

  Looking Over Your Shoulder

  Young Adult Fiction:

  Breaking the Pattern:

  Deviation

  Diversion

  By-Pass

  Between the Cracks:

  Ruby

  June and Justin (Coming Soon)

  Stand Alone

  Tattooed Teardrops

  Don’t Forget Steven

  Those Who Believe

  Cynthia has a Secret (Coming Soon)

  Acknowledgments

  I wish to personally thank the following people for their contributions and knowledge and other help in creating this book:

  Beta readers, Nichole Betourney, Lisa Comin, and Hazel Grusendorf.

  Tom Grusendorf for editing.

  Angie pro_ebookcovers for the cover design.

 
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