"We can hug later," Lenny says to me.

I shake my head. "Don't count on it."

I'm definitely on Dex's shit list, that's for sure. He shoots me these looks probably designed to make me feel bad, but they don't. After what happened with Maggie, I'm done with feeling remorse.

Dex tells us we'll be expected to complete a bunch of Victory Bound tasks that have us working together as a team. The first task is a puzzle we have to complete while three of us instruct three blindfolded members of our group on how to organize the pieces. The next task is a maze we have to wind through while attached to each other with rope. Then we have to build a race car using items found in nature. Maggie doesn't look my way the entire time.

After lunch, Dex leads our group into the woods behind the main office. He stops when we get to a thick oak tree with a small platform nailed to the trunk about a foot off the ground.

"This is a trust exercise," Dex explains. "I'll split you up into pairs. Each of you will turn your back to your partner while standing up on the platform, then fall into your partner's arms. Then we'll switch who falls and who catches."

He pairs Lenny and Trish, then Matt and Erin, then me and Maggie. I stand next to my frowning partner. "Don't look so depressed," I tell her.

"I'm not depressed. Didn't you hear him say this was a trust exercise?"

"Yeah, so?"

She shakes her head. "Forget it."

Before I can respond, Trish cries out, "Lenny will flatten me! I hope you have medical insurance, Dex."

Lenny laughs. "You're not a lightweight yourself, Trish. If I drop you, will your boobs burst when they hit the ground?"

Dex holds up his hand, which we've all learned by now is his special signal for "shut up." "You can all do this, I assure you. You'll be attached by a bungee cord secured to the tree, which will lessen the weight load. Lenny and Trish, you two go first."

"No, way, Dex," Trish says. "What if he drops me?"

"He won't."

"How can you be so sure?"

"Because the entire group is counting on him, and he won't let us down. Right, Lenny?"

Lenny's eyebrows are furrowed in confusion. "Is that some psychobabble bullshit you're using on me?"

"Yes. Now stand on the platform and attach the bungee around your waist. Show Trish how easy it is."

Lenny does as Dex instructs. With the bungee taking the brunt of the weight, Trish has no problem catching him. They switch places, and to our relief Lenny catches Trish and doesn't test his theory about her boobs.

"Okay," Dex says, moving on. "Caleb and Maggie, you re up.



step to the edge of the platform, hook the bungee cord attached to the tree around my waist, and look down. Caleb is standing there with his arms out, ready to catch me.

Suddenly, somehow, this exercise goes beyond whether I believe he'll catch me or not.

That's why I've been so angry with him since that night last week ... the thought brings me up short. I haven't been mad at him since just that night. I've been mad at him for eight months. Since I found out he lied. Since he left without telling me the truth.

I think of all the things left unsaid ... all the things I should have said. There's so much dishonesty between us. I back myself against the tree and wrap my arms around myself. "I can't."

"Why not?" Caleb asks.

Everyone is staring at me, waiting for an explanation. And while I don't want to talk about this in front of the group, I'm so tired of the secrets. I desperately want to say what I'm feeling right here and now because I might just lose the nerve to say it later.

I unhook the bungee cord and step off. "I just don't want to do it."

"I'm not gonna let you fall," Caleb says. "I promise."

I look into his piercing blue eyes, which get darker when he's upset.

"It's not about whether you're going to catch me or not," I tell him. "It's about the accident."

Caleb looks wary and confused, and I'm pretty sure his mood is about to get even worse when I tell him, "This whole exercise is about trust. The truth is, I don't trust you.

"This is gettin' good," Lenny says, rubbing his hands together. "And all along I thought you two were gettin' it on while nobody was watchin'."

Caleb shoots the guy a glare. "Shut your mouth for once, Lenny, or I'll shut it for you." His hands are now in tight fists at his side and the muscle in his jaw is twitching. I think he's ready to take Lenny on, but this isn't about Lenny. It's about us.

Dex holds a hand up, but I don't think Caleb cares.

"After all we've been through, I think you owe me trust," Caleb says to me.

He doesn't get it. Oh, how I want him to tell me the truth about the accident on his own. It's the only way we can move past this. I need to move past the lies and deceit.

Thinking about the accident and all that's happened since makes my body shiver. I'll never be the same physically. I'll always be looked at as a cripple. I wanted to believe Caleb wanted me despite my injuries, but maybe it was just a tactic to encourage me to keep my mouth shut.

The only person who can bring the truth out in the open is standing here with me now.

"Face the cold, hard facts, Caleb. You don't trust me, either." I can't stop now. Tears roll down my face as I walk right up to Caleb and jab my finger at his chest. "You lied to me! You deceived me! The least you could do after we started getting close was be honest."

He stares at me, his eyebrows drawn tight over his confused eyes.

"Tell me the truth about the accident, Caleb. I dare you.

I see the moment he gets it and stiffens, shocked.

Caleb shakes his head and steps away from me. "Don't do this."

"Tell everyone here what really happened that night." I open my arms wide and look up at the sky. "Scream it out loud and set us all free from the lies!"

Lenny holds his hands up as if he's in church. "Hallelujah!"

Caleb rushes Lenny, and tackles him. And punches him. Lenny punches back. I'm scared, and I'm screaming for them to stop wrestling, especially because Caleb is a trained wrestler and Lenny doesn't stand a chance against him. In an instant, Damon pulls Caleb off Lenny and starts yelling for Caleb to calm down. Caleb is in a rage now, and I'm not sure he can hear anything though his anger.

"Caleb, get a hold of yourself," Damon orders.

Caleb breaks free of Damon's hold. His hands are in fists, ready to fight. "No!"

"This isn't about Lenny!" I yell, trying to get his attention. "It's about you and me."

Caleb looks at me. His breathing is ragged and his eyes look intense and fierce. He's not ready to back down, not by a long shot.

"I'm the one who got hit by that car, not you," I tell him. "Don't act like you're the victim here. You made choices I didn't ask you to make. I'm not sure anyone asked you to make them." I'm screaming the words, not caring that the entire world can probably hear me. "You think I like limping everywhere I go? I don't. I'm the victim! Be honest with me! You didn't care about me enough to trust me. I gave you my heart, but it wasn't enough." I start to walk away, the leaves crunching hard beneath my shoes.

"Let's get one thing straight, sweetheart," he says from behind me. "I never asked you to be my girlfriend."

I stop and turn back to him. "No, you didn't ask. But you sure did everything in your power to make us a couple. You kissed me by the tree in Paradise Park. You were the one who told me at Mrs. Reynolds' house that you wanted to be where I was. You were the one who..." My throat feels like there's a lump the size of a baseball inside. "You said what we had was real, but it was all a lie. Admit it."

"What do you want me to say, Maggie?"

"The truth! That's all I've ever wanted."

"I can't."

"Can't or won't?"

"What's the difference at this point?"

I swipe my eyes with the back of my hand because tears are blurring my vision. I don't care at all about our stunned audience. "You're nothing but a coward! Every guy in my life has disappointed me. First my dad, now you."

He looks at me like I'm the enemy. "I'm nothing like your dad. Don't insult me by putting us in the same sentence."

I give a short laugh. "He left me. You left me. He betrayed me by leaving and never turning back to see if I was okay. You betrayed me by leaving and never turning back to see if I was okay. He lies to me. You lie to me. You're exactly like him."

"You have no fucking clue, Maggie."

I continue limping away, heading for the office, or the van, or ... I don't know where I'm headed except that I know I need to get away. Maybe if I put some space between Caleb and me this crushing pain in my heart will subside.

"Lies are easier to swallow than the truth, Maggie," Caleb yells. He doesn't follow me this time.

I stop but I don't turn around. "You're wrong."

"The truth is that I didn't want to have anything to do with you when I got released from jail and came back to Paradise. I blamed you for being the reason I went to jail. I blamed you for ruining my life. And even through all the blame and all the resentment, I fell for you. Your damn humming, your damn insecurity, your damn vulnerability ... and that time you cried in my arms and held onto me like I was your pillar of strength, I was lost because I knew whatever was brewing between us was real. I hated myself for falling for you."

"So you left."

"What did you want me to do? We had to hide our relationship from your mother, my mom was on drugs, my dad was a damn doormat, and my sister ... well, you saw her. She looked like death warmed over."

"If you just told the truth-"

"The truth sucks!" Caleb yells, anger and frustration dripping off his words.

"So you've decided to hide behind the lies, right?" Now I turn to face him across little patches of grass and dirt and leaves. I look him right in the eye. I'm not backing down.

Tense seconds tick by.

Caleb pounds his fist hard into the tree trunk. His knuckles are bleeding from the force, but he doesn't seem to notice as he storms up to me.

"The truth is that I didn't hit you with that car! I went to fucking jail for a whole fucking year for something I didn't fucking do! And you know what? It sucked. I resented every moment in juvie because I wasn't supposed to be there in the first place!"

His eyes go wide, his breathing is fast and furious. He turns around and focuses his attention on an outwardly shocked Damon, then scans the other members of our group, all of whom are equally shocked.

Caleb squeezes his eyes shut and winces, as if he wants to take back every truthful word he just spouted. When he opens his eyes, there's no emotion in them anymore. He's masked it.

"Happy now?" he growls.



f my life wasn't complete shit before, it's definitely shit now. I just gave away the secret I promised to take to the grave. I betrayed my twin sister, and myself, all because I couldn't stand the way Maggie looked at me as she peered down from that damn platform. Her eyes were like glass, and the disappointed furrowing of her eyebrows made me want to scoop her up and take her to a place where nobody would deceive her or hurt her. A place where even I couldn't hurt her.