Jesus Freaks: The Prodigal (Jesus Freaks #2)
Author:Andrea Randall

Matt and I turn toward each other again before Matt addresses his dad. “But, you told me you and Roland connected at a conference ten years ago.”

 

Buck shrugs. “I was helping him get off the ground, Matthew. I didn’t want to get too comfortable talking about his past when he wasn’t sure how he wanted to handle it.”

 

Roland’s face greys. “Buck was on the basketball team with me, and tried to keep me away from the drugs, but …”

 

“They were stronger for him than God was at the time,” Buck enters.

 

“And,” Roland continues, “he was a good friend to your mom during that time and after I left school.”

 

Suddenly it’s the adults who don’t know where to look, and Matt and I are left seemingly in charge of the next move.

 

“Food?” I shrug, tilting my head to the side.

 

Matt laughs a little too hard at my non-joke, highlighting the tension he must be feeling toward his dad. “Please.”

 

“We’d like food,” I repeat to the three adults in front of us who each look a little lost in their own way. “And not this stuff.” I point to the untouched table of deli meats.

 

“If you don’t mind,” Mom says, snapping out of the past first, “I’d like if Roland and I could talk to Kennedy for a little bit alone.”

 

Sigh.

 

I know she wants to investigate “Picturegate, Part Two”, but I desperately want lunch with my friend. Time to act like the teenager I still am.

 

I sigh audibly this time. “Do we have to do this now?”

 

“Actually, I’d like to have some time with my son one-on-one, since I couldn’t make it to Parents’ Weekend,” Buck so unhelpfully adds.

 

I click my tongue and roll my eyes toward Matt. “See you in OT class tomorrow?” My resignation is swift as I’m mentally preparing for the dicey situation ahead.

 

Matt shrugs, giving me a half frown-half grin. “Guess so. Take it easy on the news tomorrow, okay?”

 

“I will.”

 

As Buck and Matt walk stiffly out of the room, Matt plays with his phone, and a second later my phone vibrates with a text. Despite myself, I smile as I swipe my phone to read it.

 

 

 

Matt: We’re gonna need to talk.

 

 

 

Me: I’ll say. Don’t know what’s going on with you and your dad, but keep your head on, okay?

 

 

 

Matt: You too K. Sawyer.

 

 

 

Still grinning like a fool, I slide my phone back into my pocket.

 

“All set there?” Mom asks dryly, slinging her handbag over her shoulder.

 

I roll my eyes and fight the urge to ask them what the deal is with Matt and his dad. If either of them knows, I don’t want to hear it from them.

 

“Where do you want to go for lunch?” I ask, hoping Mom will say anything except what I fear she’s about to.

 

“We need to go to Roland’s, I think,” she answers. “There are a few things we still need to discuss.”

 

Damn.

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER FIVE

 

 

 

 

 

Wake Me Up

 

 

Kennedy.

 

 

 

 

Roland heats up left over pizza, and Mom wastes no time getting down to business.

 

“What’s the deal about this picture Kennedy tells me about, Roland?”

 

I bury my face in my hands.

 

Roland turns slowly from the counter. “Picture? The one from Joy?” Naturally, Roland is focused on the most recent picture scandal, given he hasn’t a clue she would be talking about anything else.

 

Mom huffs impatiently. “The one you told Kennedy I sent you on her fifth birthday, when I never did such a thing.”

 

Roland shoots his eyes toward me and I shrug. “She says she doesn’t know …” It’s repeat information, I understand, but it’s all I have.

 

“Excuse me for a second.” Roland moves swiftly to his office and returns less than fifteen seconds later, handing an envelope to Mom. “Take a look. I was certain it was from you.”

 

Of course he’d still have the picture, though I feel very naked with it being examined in front of me.

 

Mom carefully pulls the picture from the envelope, pausing for a moment to smile at the image before shaking her head. “I was still far too angry at you for anything like this.”

 

“I figured that’s why you included the note you did.” Roland shoulders up next to Mom as he unfolds the paper, laying it bare in front of her.

 

“That’s Dan’s handwriting,” she blurts out before covering her mouth with her hand.

 

“What?” I rush over to them, snatching the letter from Mom’s hand.

 

Sure enough, just like Mom, I recognize the writing in a second. Dan’s handwriting scrawled across the page sends my head spinning. The words are cold, void of any feeling whatsoever. Yet, the man who apparently wrote this has been nothing but encouraging of my relationship with Roland in the years since this picture was sent.

 

“What?” I reiterate. “Why … What? And you didn’t know about this, Mom?”

 

“Look at me,” she demands curtly, drawing attention to her ruby-hued cheeks. “Does this look like the face of someone in the know?”

 

I drag both hands through my hair. “No. No!” My heart races as I take a few steps back.

 

“Kennedy,” Roland says slowly. “What’s going on?”

 

No. No. No.