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Vengeance Can Wait
by Carol A. Guy, Linda Zimmer

Category: Mystery/Crime/Suspense/Thriller
Description: Not all high school reunions bring back fond memories ... When Peg Mason opened what would become a Pandora's box while cleaning her attic one balmy day in March, she had no idea of the evil she was unloosing on her community. What she had envisioned was a class reunion filled with fun, fellowship and lots of reminisces. Peg Miller Mason had experienced the best that high school had to offer. She'd been the head cheerleader going steady with the captain of the football team. On prom night they had been elected king and queen. Unfortunately, she did not realize that, for some of her former classmates, the ghosts of the past should be left alone.
eBook Publisher: Mundania Press LLC/Mundania Press LLC, 2006 2006
eBookwise Release Date: June 2006

eBookeBook

5 Reader Ratings:
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Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [228 KB]
Words: 52534
Reading time: 150-210 min.


Prologue

Spring, 1981

Bedford High School

The minute James pushed his way through the locker room door, he was met by a barrage of familiar smells: sweat, dirty gym sneakers, musty towels, mentholated rub and the subtle, yet unmistakable odor of urine. Sports smells, male smells, gym locker smells. Usually he found them comforting, but not today. Not after the fight he'd just had with his steady girlfriend, Annette. Because of that argument, he was late for the baseball game and he knew from past experience that Coach Ellis would probably bench him.

As if that wasn't bad enough, he'd also encountered Annette's best friend, Marianne Fisher in the hallway. She'd wasted no time telling him how upset Annette was by his attitude. Attitude. He'd shown her attitude all right. More than she expected by the look on her face as he'd blasted her for her interference in their lives and told her that from now on if he and Annette had a problem she needed to stay out of things and leave them alone.

"Damn," he muttered, as he struggled with the combination to his locker.

This last pregnancy scare with Annette had taken its toll. James felt wrung out and exhausted. She said she was pregnant. Now, she says false alarm, sorry. Sorry. Why do I keep putting up with her games?

But, he knew why. She was in his blood. She was hot, wild, sexy. He couldn't keep his hands off of her.

Hurriedly donning his uniform, James sat on the bench and laced up his shoes.

She's got to quit trying to manipulate me. We're seniors, we'll graduate in a month and a half. I'm going to college, and medical school. I'll be facing a surgical residency after that. Annette has to grow up and think about her future. Our future.

James grabbed his hat and ball glove from the shelf in his locker and slammed the door shut.

Out on the field, his teammates were in position, ready to play. The stands were full and he spotted Annette in the bleachers. She waved and threw him a kiss, as though nothing had happened. Again anger surged through him and he felt his face grow hot.

As the breeze ruffled his thick, curly hair, he put on his hat.

"Well, nice of you to join us, Pearson," Coach E.T. Ellis said, slapping a meaty hand down on James's shoulder.

Stopping in his tracks, James started to explain, but the coach raised his other hand to stop the words.

"Don't bother. If this happens again, I'll start Kelly in your place. You're not the only pitcher on the team."

For emphasis, the coach gave James's shoulder a painful squeeze then pushed him in the direction of the mound.

Swearing under his breath, James glanced toward the bench just in time to see Dennis Parker throw a smirk his way.

What are you looking at, loser? Too fat to make the baseball team and too clumsy to qualify for football. Equipment manager. What a joke!

Looking back, he mouthed the word "loser" at Dennis, who returned a hateful glare.

They were playing Tyler today, a tough opponent and a big rival. Trying to concentrate on the game ahead, yet still burning with anger over what had happened between him and Annette, he pulled his glove out from under his arm and jammed his hand into it.

The pain buckled his knees and sent him to the ground screaming in agony. He could feel the warm gush of blood even before he saw it pouring down his wrist. Within seconds the ground around him was red. He grabbed his arm and squeezed it in an attempt to stop the flow.

Now he was on his side, writhing, trying to pull the glove off, yet unable to get it free of his hand.

Ned Mason, his best friend and team first baseman, was the first to reach him.

"Help! Oh, God, Ned! Help! It hurts! I can't move my hand! I'm bleeding to death! Help me!" James screamed as people began to run onto the field, among them Coach Ellis.

* * * *

When James woke up two hours later, he was in the recovery room at Bedford Memorial Hospital.

The bespectacled doctor standing on one side of his bed looked grim. His parents, standing on the other side looked worried.

His mother smoothed his hair then patted his cheek, finally resting her hand on his shoulder. "Are you in pain, dear?"

James tried to talk but all that came out was a croak. His mouth felt dry as the desert, his lips like sandpaper.

"Let him rest, Emily. He's all doped up," Clyde Pearson said heartily, smiling down at James.

"What happened? My hand..." James finally managed.

"There were shards of glass inside your baseball glove," the doctor said, "Any idea how they got there?"

James's mind began to clear and he remembered the pain, the shock and the smirk on Dennis Parker's face as they'd carried him off the field.

The police came to the hospital later and asked James some questions, but his drug-fogged brain seemed only partially capable of responding. What he did remember was that his mother was tearful and his father angry over this cruel act against their son.

In the end he heard the police officer say something about questioning the other students, but that they would probably never find out who did it unless the guilty party confessed.

Branding it a "prank taken too far" the cop finally left.

* * * *

"There's permanent nerve damage. Not severe, but I can kiss my dreams of being a surgeon goodbye," James told Ned the next day.

He was home now, recuperating under the watchful eye of his mother. She was allowing only two visitors: Ned and Annette.

Ned had come by around noon, bringing with him McDonald's hamburgers and fries. As the two friends talked behind the closed door of James's bedroom, he told Ned his suspicions.

"Dennis Parker is the only one with that kind of a grudge against me. He did it. I know he did."

Ned shook his head. "Man. That's a heavy accusation. You better not be saying that unless you have proof."

"What are you now, a cop or something? Proof--I just know. He's always been jealous of me. Maybe now that I beat him out for valedictorian, he decided to do something to put me out of commission!"

"I'm sorry about the hand, man. What are you going to do now?"

"Go to college. Go to med school. I just won't be able to be a surgeon. But I'll still be a doctor. It's my life's dream."


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