Authors: Angela Fristoe
Lie to Me
A Touched Trilogy
by Angela Fristoe
Copyright 2012 Angela Fristoe
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“I want to see them.” Zoe winced and a hoarse croak
struggled from her lips. Hours of laboring had ravaged her throat. She fought
against the urge to close her weary eyes. “I want to see them. I need to.”
Michael went to the door and spoke to a nurse outside the
room. Zoe gazed at his strong features when he returned to her side. “They’re
bringing them now.” Even as he said the words, three nurses entered the room
rolling the carts.
He handed her the first baby and she cradled the infant in
her arms, smoothing a hand over short raven curls. “Phoebe, my little truth
teller.” The baby’s eyes opened and the deep blue twinkled as Zoe whispered, “I
love you.” She knew.
“Truth teller?” Michael asked. He nuzzled Phoebe’s hand
which had wrapped itself around his finger.
“She knows I’m telling her the truth. It’s her gift. To hear
the truth of the words.”
Phoebe would be a challenge for Michael. Her gift was rare
and a difficult one to understand. Zoe smoothed a finger along the baby’s soft,
gently wrinkled face. Little Phoebe was so at peace knowing her mother spoke
with love, and truth. She would be spared what was to come and Zoe was grateful
that at least one of them would be. She gave Phoebe another kiss on the
“Tomorrow and always, I’ll be with you.” Zoe looked up at
Michael, his face lined with worry. “Don’t worry. Everything is fine.”
Phoebe’s little face scrunched up and she gave a small
He carefully lifted her and put her back in the rolling
crib, then picked up the next baby, placing her against Zoe’s chest.
“Chloe, my sweet seer.” Their eyes met and Chloe gave a cry
filled with fear and sadness, her fingers clutching desperately at Zoe.
This time she ignored Michael’s questioning gaze. She
couldn’t share with him what Chloe had seen. It hurt too much. She pressed a
kiss to Chloe’s head and passed her to the nurse, then leaned over to take the
last baby from Michael’s arms.
“Lily,” she said, placing her over her heart. Warmth flooded
Zoe and she smiled weakly. “My healer.” Lily’s little heart beat fiercely and
Zoe rubbed her hand along Lily’s back as she began to wail. “I’m sorry little
one. You’re not strong enough yet.”
Gradually Lily’s wail subsided into a soft mewing and her
eyes fluttered closed. Michael lifted her from Zoe’s arms, placing her back on
her mobile bed and the nurses wheeled the babies out of the room. Zoe wanted to
scream and cry for them to come back, to let her hold her girls just one more
time, but there was no strength left in her. This time when her eyes closed she
didn’t fight. She let them fall as a last tear slipped down her cheek. A hand
gripped hers and a panicked voice began shouting. Michael. Girls. Be strong.
The note sailed through the air, rushing past me on the way
to its destination. I turned my head to the side, watching the perfectly formed
square land on his desk. He palmed the note and glanced up. His grey eyes made
contact with mine for just a moment before he leaned forward to look around me.
I sighed in boredom, sinking back in my seat. Twenty minutes to go then I never
had to worry about sitting through another of Mr. Mason’s lectures again.
Unless, of course, he decided to teach senior level Spanish next semester.
I blinked, trying desperately to clear the haze forming
before me and focused on the guy next to me. I met those steely eyes again and
in spite of my lack of embarrassment, heat rose in my cheeks. Not that I let
that stop me from looking. This wasn’t the first time Nathan Lauer caught me
staring and considering the way he’d been bulking up at the gym, it wasn’t
going to be the last time. My lips twitched as the red flush on his cheeks over
shadowed my own pink face.
“Phoebe,” Tonya hissed from behind me. I ignored her, enjoying
Nathan’s discomfort too much to acknowledge her.
My desk jerked, and I turned to glare at my best friend. She
gave me one of those are-you-an-idiot looks and nodded to the front of the
“Ms. Matlin?” Mr. Mason’s voice filtered through the remaining
haze. “Ms. Matlin?”
I spun around.
“Yes?” I said, hating that everyone was watching me.
He gestured to the door. “You’re needed in the office.”
I threw Tonya a smirk, knowing she was dying to leave the
class as much as I was. Gathering my things, I shoved them in my backpack,
making sure I took everything. Even if they only needed me for a minute, I
wasn’t coming back for the rest of Mr. Mason’s lecture.
The hallway was quiet as only a few students lingered at
their lockers. With it being the last day before Christmas break, I wasn’t
surprised to see people leaving early. Hell, I wished I was one of them. Most
of my classes were only half-full, but after Dad caught me skipping the
previous week, I knew I couldn’t risk it.
I made a pit stop at my locker, which was on the way to the
office. Twisting the lock, I banged the side of my fist against the orange door
to loosen it enough to pull open. I unzipped my bag and pulled out my cell
phone. New message flashed across the screen. I shoved my bag into the locker
and, closing the door with one hand, started pressing buttons to get the
Where r u? C
A groan slipped out and I glanced around to see if anyone
heard. Thankfully, the closest person, a guy halfway down the hall, looked more
interested in his own cell than my moaning. I tried to remember what I’d
obviously forgotten. Chloe might be obsessed with texting, but she only used it
with me in extreme situations.
I fumbled with the buttons, trying to text her back. Walking
while typing wasn’t my forte, so a jumble of letters filled the screen as I
walked to the office. I paused outside the glass door and at the end of the
then hit send. It was safer to imply I was where I
was supposed to be than risk her asking why I wasn’t.
Chloe was the perfect one. Organized, precise, and peppy.
She was enough to make me puke. How we were sisters, let alone two-thirds of a
set of triplets, was beyond me. That we weren’t related was one of my greatest
I flipped the phone closed and looked up in time to see the
office door flying at me. I jerked back and my hand lashed out to stop it from
smacking me in the face. Deep blue eyes, identical to my own, stared back at
“Where’ve you been?” Chloe demanded. Her perfectly sculpted
brows arched with indignation.
“Shoveling shit.” I ignored her rolling eyes. “In class,
“You weren’t even supposed to come to school today. We’re
going to be late.” Milk chocolaty waves of hair flowed around her face as she
turned back into the office and waved to the secretary.
“It’ll be okay,” Lily said and stepped out from behind
Chloe. At just over five feet, she always managed to find the perfect hiding
spot until she was ready to speak. If it weren’t for her copper curls, she’d
probably be able to disappear entirely.
“Late for what?” I asked. The two of them just stared at me,
Lily with compassion, while Chloe’s face filled with horrored dismay. “What?”
“Oh, Phoebs,” Lily sighed. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t think
you’d be like this.”
She reached for my arm and even before she could touch me, I
felt the heat radiating from her. I stepped back, evading her grasp. “Like
Her head dipped and she let her hand fall. Guilt flooded me
before I shook it off. Lily was a master at emotions and manipulating them. Not
that she made me feel guilty, no that was my own conscience. Still, I resented
her attempts at controlling me even if she was doing it with the best
intentions. Her sole purpose in life seemed to be to make sure that everyone
felt okay. I can’t even say good, because when she touched you it was like she
sucked out all the bad stuff, and if there was nothing good to take its place
it was the most bizarre feeling of emptiness.
“Get over it, Phoebe.” Chloe grabbed Lily’s hand and started
dragging her down the hall, leaving me to follow. “You should have remembered.”
“Remembered what exactly?”
“Mom’s birthday.” She threw the words at me, knowing full
well what it would do to me. Every muscle in me tightened and I froze mid-step.
Lily stopped with me and Chloe had no choice but to do the same.
“Let’s go,” Chloe said. “Nanna is just getting there and
she’s wondering where we are.” Her eyes focused on me then fluttered for a
moment, looking into my future. “She has something for you. You’ll love it.”
I hated when she did that, even more than Lily trying to fix
“I’m not going. I never go. Why would you even think I’d go
this year?” I asked.
Chloe’s face scrunched in confusion. “I saw...”
I struck while she was down. “Well, maybe there’s something
wrong with you, because that’s something that’s never going to happen.”
Anger and pain burned my throat and my nose tingled. I
swirled around, intent on going back to class. Anywhere but here with the two
of them, or worse, there with her. I sensed Lily moving toward me and tried to
twist away, but her palm fell on my back. Soothing heat flooded me, drowning
the pain and anger with a numbing calm.
“Damn it, Lily, you know I hate it when you do that!” I
stomped off, no longer angry with Chloe for trying to direct my future or with
Nanna for wanting to use me as a substitute for my dead mother. Instead, my
forced anger was with Lily for not healing what was really wrong with me - my
lack of gift.
I reached Mr. Mason’s class, and yanked the door. It flew
open and crashed against the wall. I stood in the doorway under the intense
scrutiny of the entire class, Mr. Mason included.
“I’m back,” I said and breezed into the class, moving
straight for my seat. My friend Owen chuckled and I shot him a cocky smile. I
evaded Tonya’s curious look and concentrated on the swirling wood pattern of my
desktop. Normally, I talked to Tonya about pretty much everything, but not
this. Our family was different and even if I didn’t have a gift, Dad had
drilled into me the need to protect my sisters. Even when we were younger, I
was the one telling them not to freak people out. Not that they ever really
listened. Chloe would constantly make her little predictions, and Lily couldn’t
keep her hands to herself.
Mr. Mason droned on and I watched the second hand on the
clock tick slowly around the face. Five minutes. I could have skipped out
early, but the chance of getting sucked into Lily and Chloe’s plans was too
great. It was safer to die of boredom.
A twitch of black cloth out of the corner of my eye drew my
attention to Nathan. He was refolding a piece of wrinkled paper into its
original intricate square. He looked past me and nodded to the person on my
left side. Vivian, his girlfriend. I didn’t bother looking at her, mainly
because the sight of her caused me to gag more than Chloe did. He tucked the
last corner in and flicked his hand, letting the note fly to her.
As the note crossed in front of me, I reached out and
snatched it mid-flight. I wasn’t sure what possessed me to do it, but Nathan’s shocked
expression combined with Vivian’s gasp of outrage made it worth the effort.
I gave Nathan a smile and a wink, then blew him a kiss,
loving the answering blush. Owen and Tonya’s snickers almost covered Vivian’s
hiss. Mr. Mason shot them a look and I hid the note in the palm of my hand
until he’d refocused on the board. I peeled open the note, a smirk on my face.
I’d never been a note passer before and I wondered just what was so secretive
that they couldn’t just whisper. Most of the time Tonya and I didn’t even
bother to lower our voices when we wanted to say something.
I looked at the note. Vivian’s bubbly writing alternated
with Nathan’s scrawl. Her perfect script started the note:
~ Where were you last night?
~I thought you were coming over
~What about tonight?
~What the hell is wrong with you?
I need some space
~What does that mean?
I think we should break up