Cole Cameron's Revenge(3)

By: Sandra Marton



Cole hesitated, though he could already feel the blood pooling in his groin. "Their place" was a grassy bank hidden among the trees where he'd touched her breasts and come as close as he'd ever been in his young life to losing control.

"Are you sure?" he finally said, in a voice so thick he hardly knew it as his own.

Faith replied by leaning over and kissing him.

He drove to the lake, took a blanket from the trunk of Ted's car and spread it on the grass. Then he undressed Faith, undressed himself, and found everything he'd ever imagined as he took the gift of her sweet virginity.

"I'm going to marry you," he whispered as she lay in his arms and she smiled, kissed his mouth and drew him deep inside her again.

He had her back at the trailer park by midnight, which was her curfew even on this special night, this prom night... this night he'd finally declared his love and made Faith his, forever. Keyed up, too high on happiness to sleep, Cole drove into the hills overlooking the town and thought about Faith and how much he loved her, and of the life they'd share.

The first rays of morning sunlight were touching the hills when he drove Ted's car back to the big house that had never felt like home. He put the car into the garage and slipped, unnoticed, into his bed. He was deep in sleep when Isaiah flung open the bedroom door.

"You worthless fool," he shouted, grabbing Cole by the arm and yanking him from the bed. "Were you drunk or are you just plain stupid?"

Baffled, half asleep, Cole blinked his eyes and stared at his father. "What's the matter?"

His father slapped his face. "Don't give me that crap, boy. You broke into the Francke's house last night."

"What?"

"You heard me. You broke into their house and trashed the living room."

"I don't know what the hell you're talking about. I wasn't anywhere near the Francke's house last night."

"Francke's wife saw you. She was on the prom committee.

She saw you coming out the window just as she came home." "I don't care what she says. She couldn't have seen me because I wasn't there."

"She says it was you, all right, and you did it because she wouldn't give you what you wanted."

"The lady says you've been sniffing around her like a dog around a bone," another voice said.

Cole looked past his father. Sheriff Steele was standing in the doorway. "That's not true, either."

'No?'

"No," Cole repeated coldly. "If anything, it's just the opposite, Sheriff. She's pissed off because I won't do what shewants."

Isaiah raised his hand to strike his son again. Cole's eyes met his father's and the older man took a step back.

"The woman says she saw you, boy."

"She's lying." Cole looked at the sheriff. "I wasn't any where near the Francke place last night."

"Where were you, then?"

At the prom, Cole almost said, but he saw the little glint in the sheriff's eyes.

"That's right," the sheriff said softly. "I already checked.

You weren't at the dance. You weren't anywhere near the high school. Mrs. Francke would have seen you if you were. So, if you didn't go to her house and trash it, where were you?" With Faith, down by the lake. Cole opened his mouth, then clamped it shut.

The sheriff grinned. "Cat got your tongue, son?"

Cole stared at the men. How could he tell the truth without involving Faith? The whole town would start talking, making up stories that would get wilder as they spread. And the very

thought of the sheriff going to Faith for confirmation of Cole's story made his belly clench. Faith's old man was a drunk; he was mean. God only knew what he'd do if the law turned up to question his daughter.

"Answer the man," Isaiah barked.

"I said all I'm going to say. I didn't do what Mrs. Francke says I did."

"You got a way to prove that, son?"

Cole looked at the sheriff. "The only proof I can give you is my word."

"Your word," his father said, and laughed. "Your word is useless, same as you are. I don't know how I could have had two sons and one of 'em be not worth a damn."

Cole saw his brother's pinched white face appear just past his father's shoulder.

"I didn't do it," he said, as much to Ted as to anybody else.

"I know you didn't," Ted said, but it didn't matter. Things moved quickly after that. Francke had told the sheriff he wouldn't bring charges if he were paid for the items that had been smashed. The sheriff said he didn't see how anything would be gained if he locked Cole up. And Isaiah said he didn't give a damn one way or the other.

"You're not my son anymore," he said coldly. "I want you out of this house, tonight.

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