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Collide: A Riverbend Novel (Book 1 of the Riverbend Series)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

COLLIDE

 

A Riverbend Novel (Book #1)

 

By

 

J.L. HACKETT & SARA DANIELL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit the authors on Facebook:

 

J.L. Hackett

https://www.facebook.com/pages/JL-Hackett

 

Sara Daniell

https://www.facebook.com/saradaniellauthor

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2015 J.L. Hackett & Sara Daniell

 

This book is a work of fiction. Characters, places, and things that happen are all fictional. This book may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.

 

All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To all the misfits.

Rock on.

CHAPTER ONE

 

HAVOCK

 

Fallout Boy. That’s whose voice was blaring through my earbuds as the bad omen stepped out of the back of her driver’s black shiny piece of plastic that probably cost more than my parents house. I tried not to stare as she self-consciously tucked a few strands of her long dark curls behind her ears, but I couldn’t help my stupid self. It’s a shame something so fine was kept in hiding for so long. The skirt she was wearing showed enough of her legs to make my imagination run wild. If only it were a tad shorter. . . I felt an elbow plow into my side. I pulled my earbuds from my ears and frowned.

“Damn, Havock. You’re gonna bite a hole in your lip. What has your attent-” Jude stopped mid-sentence when his eyes landed on her ass. He inclined his head just enough to get a better view. He smiled in appreciation. “That my friend is the definition of perfection.”

“Or insanity.” The bell rang and we grudgingly headed towards the school building. “She’s like something expensive on display. So shiny you can’t help but stare, but if you touch it your mom will beat your ass. She’s bad news, man.”

“Ah, you don’t believe all that shit do you?”

“No, but I plan on staying as far away as possible. That girl is nothing but trouble. Talk about family drama…” I opened my locker, got the few books I needed, then looked at Jude who had a neighboring locker. I started to say something to Jude but low and behold there she stood in front of us, apparently lost.

She whispered below her breath to herself.

I couldn’t help but laugh. “Talking to yourself won’t help your already shattered rep in this town,” I said before reminding myself that I’d made a promise to myself earlier in the year to do better about filtering the things that came out of my mouth.

A tear fell down her cheek as she clutched her books tightly against her chest causing her cleavage to show a little more from her v-neck shirt. Of course the universe would put something so perfect on this Earth that was too crazy to get close to. It was punishment to men everywhere. She only made eye contact with me long enough to make me feel like a total dick then started down the hall.

“She’ll never survive in this school,” Jude said as he shook his head. “They’ll chew her up and spit her out before the week is over.”

“Before the day is over,” I concluded.

I walked into Speech and saw her sitting at the back nervously drawing on the back of her notebook. I groaned a little when I noticed I’d be sitting right behind her. It wasn’t her fault that she had such a bad rep. She was the daughter of the Mayor who went mysteriously missing, and her mother was murdered when we were in elementary school. And there she was. Untouched. I agree, something seemed odd about that, but something also told me she was innocent. But my intuition sucked and definitely wasn’t enough for me to want to be anywhere near her. And dammit, now I’d have to sit behind her.

I took my seat and watched from behind as she continued to scribble. I was sure she’d use up all the ink in that pen before first period was over. And damn. Did she really have to smell so good? I leaned back in my seat and looked toward the front as Mrs. Sanders started to teach.

“Just a few reminders about your debates coming up in a few weeks. I will split you into teams before class is over. I think it’s going to be a really good experience for you guys. The debate topic will be about school uniforms. One team will be given the task to oppose them while the other will be for them,” Mrs. Sanders smiled at us all then turned to write our daily discussion question on the board.

As she wrote, Janzy turned around to look at Reese. “You must be brilliant. Being able to get away with murder and all.” Reese continued to draw, never looking up. “So why don’t you play nice and just tell the police where our Mayor is. Or do you enjoy this game of hide and seek? Did you bury him? Is he locked in a dungeon somewhere?” Janzy giggled.

I rolled my eyes and started tapping my pen against my desk. At least school would be somewhat entertaining now. And I’ve only undressed Reese six, no eight times, in my mind since we’ve been in class. I chewed on my bottom lip. I messed with my lip ring with a slight grin on my face. This year might not be so bad after all.

The bell rang and I grabbed my things, slinging one strap of my backpack over my shoulder. I stopped and waited for Reese to pack up her things so I could leave. She was blocking the way, and I really needed to sneak a smoke before my next class.

“Any day now would be nice,” I mumbled.

She never paid me any mind and continued taking her precious time. I scoffed.

“Seriously, Princess? You won’t be treated like royalty here. You could at least let me go around you.”

She never responded. She finally moved out of the way, and I cursed as I walked around her. Who the hell did she think she was?! There was no way I’d get a smoke in before the next class. I sulked into my math class and sat at the back.

The teacher announced to pass the homework to the front. Just as the paper slid from my hand, my name was called over the intercom. What had I done now?!

“Havock Satterly, you are needed in the office.” I raised a curious brow. I grabbed my things and left the class. When I entered the office, Mrs. Wells held the phone out toward me. I pointed to myself. She nodded. Weird. I didn’t have a missed call on my cell phone.

I held the phone to my ear. “Hello?” I asked with hesitation.

“Hey, sweetie. It’s mom. I lost my phone and well, I couldn’t remember your cell number. Bad mom of the year award goes to me, I know,” she giggled. “Listen, I need a huge favor.”

I leaned against the desk. “O-kay?”

“You know the Mayor’s daughter?”

I groaned. “Who doesn’t?”

“I need you to bring her home today after school.”

I laughed in shock. “To our house?”

“Yes. Poor thing was placed in the system when her father went missing a week ago. She needs a place to stay where she’ll feel loved and be safe until her father is found.”

“Shouldn’t you be asking Garrett to do this?”

“He can’t. He already has plans. I’ll explain later. I need to get back to work and you need to get back to filling that brilliant brain with knowledge. Love you, Havock.”

I hung up. I was speechless. I’d have to invite the bad omen into my old as hell Chevy and into my home. Mom had that high pitched, you’re not gonna like this but you can’t talk me out of it, tone and it had me worried. I decided not to go back to class. I needed a cigarette in a bad way. I went out the back door near the gym and stuck my hand in the side pocket of my backpack, pulling out my pack of cigarettes. I set my bag down and leaned against the wall. As I inhaled, I held the smoke in my lungs. I thought about all the possible scenarios of why this girl would be coming home with me. Just as I exhaled, the door opened and long dark curls came running past me. I dropped the cigarette on the ground and put it out with the sole of my shoe. I barely got two hits in. That girl was determined to keep me from smoking.

“Hasn’t anyone told you that you can’t run from your problems?” I called after her as I snatched up my bag and caught up with her.

I watched her hands grip the straps of her bag tighter causing her knuckles to turn white. I should have been more sensitive to her shattered emotions. She had been through a lot. She could thank my snarky attitude to the lack of nicotine in my system. When the color left her cheeks and she swayed on her feet a little, I caught her just in enough time before she hit the ground. She started apologizing in a whisper as I steadied her back on her feet.

“Maybe I should take you to the nurse?” I offered as she hugged herself tightly.

She shook her head as she continued to apologize over and over again.

“Are you sure? I mean, you just almost face planted in the dirt.”

She blinked her eyes a few times before actually looking at me. “I…I didn’t eat,” Is all she said as she looked away.

I could have pressed her for more answers. Like, why was she running? And, where exactly was she going to run to? Instead I shook my head and held out my hand. “Havock Satterly.”

She took it tentatively, her hand shook. “Reese Johnson, but you probably already know that. I’m also known as Murderer and Bad Omen,” her voice not much more than a whisper as she spoke to me.

I wondered if she knew I’d be the one taking her home. I wondered if she knew why. But starting the conversation was hard for me. She was already acting like a freak show and if she knew nothing about the arrangement, she’d freak even worse.

“We should get back in there. They take skipping school pretty seriously.” Not that I cared but it was a good reason to get her back inside.

She looked at the door and her grip tightened on the strap of her bag again. A tear slid down her cheek as she walked past me to go back into the building.

Once in, she turned to the left, the opposite way I was heading, and kept her head down saying nothing to anyone.

The school counselor flagged me down before I could make it any further down the hall. “Mr. Satterly, I need to see you in my office.”

I followed her and sat down in the leather chair across from her messy desk. She sat down and picked up a file.

“Since Reese will be living with your family I’d like to talk with you. I’ve already spoken with Garrett.”

“What?!”

She didn’t flinch. “She is an emotional wreck. The only people she knows are gone. This morning she became a ward of the state and when your mom heard, she immediately started the paperwork to let her stay with you guys until she graduates or until her father is found.”

I blinked a few times. How convenient it was that mom was a social worker for DHS. Was she crazy? That girl was trouble.

“Are we done here?”

“I want to tell you I’m here if you need to talk. This isn’t going to be easy. All of you are going to have to make her feel as welcome as possible.”

My mother was the Betty Crocker of Riverbend. She’d overwhelm her with being too welcoming. My dad too. I raised a brow.

“I’m talking about you and Garrett mainly.”

I nodded. “Welcoming. Got it. Anything else?”

“I’ll be breaking the news to her shortly.”

“Why do you say it like that?”

“She doesn’t do well with strangers.” She started working on her computer, and I took that as my okay to leave.

Doesn’t do well was an understatement.

 

CHAPTER TWO

REESE

 

After I sat down in the leather chair in front of the counselor’s desk, I waited. I just wanted out. Out of the office. Out of the school. I needed to be looking for dad.

My hands shook when I put my hair behind my ears. Finally, she entered the office and sat down at her desk. I held my hands together to hide the tremors. Not eating didn’t help my diabetes at all.

“Am I in trouble?” I asked quietly as I avoided her eyes.

“No, not at all. I wanted to meet with you to go over a few things.” I watched as she moved a file thicker than the others on her desk. I noticed my name written in black across the tab. She smiled as she leaned forward, resting an elbow on her desk. “How are you doing?”

My hands shook worse, and I tried to steady them. “Okay,” I said quietly.

“I’ve been assigned to meet with you every day for your first few weeks here at Riverbend High. If I see that you are doing well, I will lessen the days.”

She opened my file and scanned a few pages in it. Looking up she said, “I see here that you have diabetes. The nurse has been notified and will meet with you later to go over your routine of insulin shots and blood testing.”

“I know what to do,” I said as I looked at my clasped hands.

“I suspected you would say that. We just want to help you and make sure you are taking care of yourself. I’ve read about your several attempts at suicide, Dear.” She raised a brow and frowned. “Your social worker said you have to meet with the nurse daily to make sure you are taking care of yourself.”

A tear fell down my cheek. “I just want my dad. I want to go home. I want Charlie.”

“I know, Reese. We all want that for you but Mayor Johnson is missing and now it’s our job to make sure you are taken care of. You’ve been assigned to a foster home until your father is found.”

My eyes widened. “I can’t go home?” I asked as tears filled my eyes. I didn’t want to stay with strangers. I wanted to go home and wait for my dad. He’d be home soon. I knew it. They’d find him soon.

“I’m sorry, you can’t. Your home is under investigation.” She looked through my file some more.

I looked down at my hands again. “Who…” I swallowed hard. “Who am I staying with?”

“Mrs. Johanna Satterly. She is also your case worker. You may know her two boys. Garrett and Havock?”

“I met Havock earlier, and I know Mrs. Johanna. She came to the hospital last weekend,” I said as my thoughts went to my last suicide attempt. Yeah, not the smartest idea. I can’t explain it but at the time it had seemed like a good idea. The pain would end and the nightmares would stop if I just died. I sighed.

“Good. Then you know how precious she is. Havock…Well, just be patient. Those boys are…well…you’ll figure it out.” She smiled a little. “I’ve been told that Havock was told to give you a ride to their house. So, he should be finding you after school.”

“All right,” I said as I wiped my tears. I didn’t really care if someone was there to pick me up or not. I wanted to go to my home, not to someone else’s.

“If you need to make any changes to your schedule let me know, and I’ll take care of it for you. You have second lunch which is,” she looked down at her watch, “In two hours. If you’re not comfortable eating in the cafeteria you can eat in my office. I won’t be here, but I’ll leave it unlocked for you.”

I nodded then grabbed my bag. “Thank you,” I whispered.

“Come see me between first and second period every morning, alright?”

“Yes ma’am.”

She smiled and started cleaning off her desk. “See you tomorrow.”

I stood up and headed out of her office. Once outside, I went to my next class. I avoided everyone’s eyes and sat at the desk in the back.

I just wanted to go home. I got out my notebook and started drawing.

 

~~~

 

I came out of that nightmare they call a school and looked around for Havock. Some girls bumped into me knocking my bag to the ground. It opened, and my art notebook fell out.

As I bent down to get it, I saw a pair of black and white converse. Havock reached down and got the notebook. He handed it to me.

“Ready to go?”

I stood up and nodded. I looked at Havock. Actually looked. Earlier I was too distraught and didn’t take in anything about him. Now I did. He had dark brown hair that almost touched his shoulders. His appearance was disheveled like he didn’t care and like he just rolled out of bed. It suited him. He had a lip ring on the left side of his bottom lip and dark eyes. Dark eyes that looked like they were hiding something. Eyes that pulled me into them. I scrunched my eyebrows at that thought and held my art book tightly to me as we made our way to an old truck. I smiled a little as I saw it. I always wanted an old truck like this. Actually, any vehicle would’ve been nice.

He threw his bag into the back and opened his door. It creaked loudly. “Piece of shit,” he mumbled under his breath as he got in. I tried to open my door, but it wouldn’t open. He looked irritated and got back out. “I forgot. That door doesn’t open. You’ll have to get in on my side.” He moved out of the way to let me in.

I tried to climb in without showing off too much. My skirt had risen up some. Once in, I buckled up. “I like your truck,” I said softly. Not intending for him to hear

“A princess like you?” He laughed as he cracked his window and lit a cigarette. He held the cigarette between his lips as he cranked the truck. It only took three tries before the engine started.

A smile formed on my lips as I watched him drive. I’ve always wanted to learn, but dad never would let me. “Is this a standard? Is it harder to drive than an automatic?”

I hadn’t been this chatty all day, but even though Havock was a jerk, I felt comfortable with him. Well, more comfortable than I had all day. Maybe it was because it was just the two of us.

“Is it a standard?” He laughed as he moved the stick thingy then started smoking again. “And what might have given that away?” He rolled his eyes and flicked ashes out the window.

“It was just a question. I’ve never driven before,” I mumbled as I looked out the window.

“Of course you haven’t.”

“Why did you say it like that?” I asked as I looked at him in confusion.

“S-p-o-i-l-e-d.” He flicked the ashes from his cigarette out the window again and turned up the radio at the same time. He continued to drive with his knee as he pulled out his phone and started texting.

I didn’t respond. I stopped watching him drive because it was going to give me a heart attack. As we drove by my house my heart clenched, then I froze. Charlie? “Charlie!” I yelled. “Stop! Stop the truck!” I begged. I tried the door knob, but it wouldn’t open.

He slammed on his breaks cursing. I noticed him slapping his knee then saw the cigarette burning through his jeans. “DAMMIT!” He shouted as he hopped out of the truck, forgetting to put it in park. I jumped out his door right before his truck drove itself right into a tree.

“Nooo! Shit, shit, SHIT!” Havock hurried over to his truck and got in to cut off the engine.

He pulled his phone from his pocket. “Garrett?!” I heard him say as he started walking down the road.

I didn’t care. I took off running towards my house. I froze when I got closer and saw Charlie, my lab, dead on the front porch. I looked around and saw the police tape surrounding my house.

Tears fell down my face. “Charlie?” I backed away and my whole body shook as my eyes stayed locked on my baby. My best and only friend besides my dad.

I noticed Havock with his upper body inside the driver side pushing the truck away from the tree. Once he got it far enough away he popped the hood. Smoke filled the air from the engine.

He looked up at me then at Charlie. He rolled his eyes then started working on his truck.

I stormed over to his truck and pushed him away from the engine. I may have not known how to drive, but I could fix most problems in a vehicle. I leaned over, and only after a few adjustments, the truck was fixed.

“You didn’t know if my truck was a standard or not, but you can fix it? I’m confused.”

“I was making conversation,” I said as I started to walk off.

About that time a super clean nice Ford pulled up. A guy rolled down his window. “Reese Johnson?”

I kept walking. Tears started to fall down my face and my heart clenched. As long as Charlie had been alive, I had believed dad was too. Dad had gone out hunting that morning taking Charlie with him. But Charlie lay dead on the porch. My eyes cut to the guy as I tried to focus on what was happening around me, not the pain that filled my heart.

His eyes found Havock and he laughed. “Let me guess, my little bro was being an ass?”

“No, he was fine,” is all I said as I kept walking. I looked down at my greasy hands and noticed them shaking.

He followed in his truck slowly with his arm hanging out the window. “Get in. I’ll bring you to the house. Havock and his piece of shit can follow.”

“It’s a nice truck,” I mumbled then looked back at the porch. I closed my eyes and tried to block out the sight but couldn’t. I covered my ears as I hit the ground. Tears poured down my cheeks. I couldn’t do this. I wanted my dad! I wanted this nightmare to end.

I felt hands on my shoulders and could smell a light scent of nicotine. Havock didn’t speak. He probably wasn’t sure how to handle someone like me. I felt myself being lifted then placed into a truck. The door banged shut, and I felt heat coming from the vents on my hands and face. The truck slowly eased into motion, and I could tell we were driving away. The engine was too quiet. I knew I had to be with Garrett.

“You can relax, you know. You’ll be safe with us,” Garrett said in a calm tone. His voice carried a southern drawl heavier than most around this redneck town.

I could hear the loud roar of Havock’s truck following closely behind us. “I just want my dad,” I whispered, pain etched in my voice. I opened my eyes and looked out the window and wiped the tears as I tried to get control. He didn’t respond. The awkwardness was too much for him to handle. It was for everyone.

“It was my fault Havock hit the tree,” I said softly as I tried to take some of the awkwardness away.

His lips curled then a wide smile spread across his face. He started laughing. “I highly doubt that. Mom named him well.”

I tried to smile a little, but it didn’t take. “I think I scared the shit out of him.”

He looked at me and smiled. He turned his attention back to the road then flipped his blinker towards the right. Garrett was tall. The dark haired, shockingly handsome type of guy. The one girls probably acted ridiculously stupid over.

He pulled along side the curb in front of a two story blue house.

“It’s not what you’re used to, but its home.” He got out and came around to help me out.

I frowned at him. I didn’t understand why people kept saying things like that. Like Havock calling me princess. “I like it,” I said softly as I got out of the truck. I pulled at my skirt making sure it was down all the way.

Garrett towered over me like Havock did. I inherited my mom’s genes. Short and curvy.

We started to walk in. I looked over my shoulder and saw Havock smoking as he leaned against his truck with earbuds in. He used his free hand to drum a beat on the hood of his truck.

“He’s a loner. He doesn’t like people. Just ignore him,” Garrett said as he unlocked the door.

“That I understand,” I mumbled as I entered the house. I looked around taken in by the homey feel of the place. I loved it. Honestly, although I loved my dad dearly, our home felt so cold. Especially, when he would be gone, and I was alone. It was honestly my own personal prison. I cursed myself in my head for thinking that. Dad just wanted to keep me safe and after mom died, he let it all go to hell. He hurt too badly.

Garrett chucked his backpack near the door then kicked off his shoes. “I’m going to raid the fridge. Mom said you get the guest room. It’s up the stairs, first door on the right.”

I nodded then slowly made my way up the stairs. I opened the door and walked in. I slowly sat down on the window seat and looked around the bright room.

It was very beautiful and clean. The comforter was white with red roses on it. The walls were white with the same type of roses etched around the ceiling.

There was a bookcase filled with books and a built in entertainment center with a TV and DVD player. I loved it, but it wasn’t mine. All my stuff, all my clothes, my pictures, weren’t here.

I sighed and slipped off my shoes. I crossed my legs and adjusted my skirt. If I didn’t do something to occupy my mind I was going to break down again. I pulled out my books and started working on my homework.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER THREE

 

HAVOCK

 

I felt dad kick my leg from under the table. I didn’t acknowledge him. He did it again. I cut my eyes at him. He smiled and my face remained emotionless. This was stupid. Inviting a girl that had so many demons locked away and now she was bringing the shit into our home. And what if someone wanted her dead? They’d find out she was here and we’d all be in danger. Mom didn’t think this through. I stabbed my fork in my steak and stared at as it stood on its own.

“Garrett how was school today?” Mom asked trying to distract everyone from me.

“Pretty good,” he said with his mouth full.

“Havock?” Mom asked hesitantly.

I looked at her and raised a brow. “Seriously?” I wasn’t in the mood to play a scene from Full House.

“Answer your mother without the attitude,” dad said in a warning tone.

I put a fake smile on my face. “It was awesome!” I said with fake enthusiasm.

Dad face palmed.

Mom’s cheeks reddened with embarrassment. She looked at Reese sympathetically. “How are you, Dear? You doing alright, considering?”

“I’m okay, thank you for asking Mrs. Johanna,” she said quietly, politely, and with a small smile. She looked back at her plate and pushed her food around. “Mrs. Johanna?”

“Yes, dear?” Mom pushed her plate away and scooted her chair a little closer to Reese. Mom couldn’t get enough of helping others. She craved it.

“I don’t mean to be a bother, but what am I supposed to wear to school tomorrow?” She asked as her face turned red. She avoided looking at anyone.

I laughed out loud because of the inappropriate thoughts running through my mind. I had a suggestion, but I doubted anyone at the table would appreciate it.

“A few of my friends and I went shopping for you on our lunch break. You may not like a thing we bought, but it’ll get you by until I can take you shopping.” Mom’s face lit up with excitement.

“Thank you,” she said softly. “I’m sure it’s all fine. I’m not very picky.”

The daughter mom never had. How exciting. I rolled my eyes.

“May I be excused? I need to finish my homework.” Reese asked without looking at anyone.

“But you’ve barely touched your food.” Mom’s face was pitiful. “Was it not good? I can cook you something else if you’d like.” Mom was already standing to her feet to head to the kitchen. Reese’s wish was her command. It was nauseating.

“No it was fine,” Reese said. Her face reddened. “The medicine keeps me from being very hungry. I’m sorry.”

Mom sat back down. “That’s right. Sorry sweetie, I forgot. But that does remind me. I stopped by the pharmacy today and picked up your prescription. I left everything in the top drawer in your room. You should be set for a while.”

“Thank you.”

Princess was on meds. I was sure it was a high dose of Xanax or some other medication that helped the crazy.

I smiled inwardly as I caught a glimpse of her ass as she walked out of the kitchen. Dad gave me a warning glare. I smiled back at him. Looking wasn’t hurting anything. And if I was going to go along with all this I’d have fun while doing it.

Garrett must have got the same view by the expression on his face. He gave me an approving nod. I laughed.

Mom looked confused. “Did I miss something?”

“Need help cleaning the kitchen?” Dad asked, quickly changing the subject.

Mom nodded as tears filled her eyes. “Could you please act like I raised you right while she’s with us?” She asked me. “She needs normal right now.”

“Normal? Not sure if she even knows what normal is, mom,” I scoffed. Could this get any stupider?

“Just try to make this easier on her. Please,” she begged.

I groaned and nodded slightly.

Mom smiled. “Not the enthusiastic response I’d like, but I’ll take it.” She stood, grabbing a few plates on her way to the sink. Dad followed after her.

“At least she’s not ugly,” Garrett snickered as we headed to the living room. No she wasn’t. She was so damn gorgeous, and it annoyed the hell out of me because I knew I couldn’t touch her. Ever.

I heard soft footsteps on the stairs and looked to see Reese coming down. She went into the dinning room and grabbed the rest of the dishes then headed into the kitchen.

I plopped on the couch and propped my feet up on the back. “Mom has a new best friend. They’ll be doing hair and nails. It’ll be fabulous,” I said in a girly tone.

Garrett burst out laughing at me. “She’s scared as hell. Mom is right; we need to be on our best behavior. Well, you need to be.”

“That doesn’t sound like fun.”

He laughed and shook his head. “Just try, idiot.”

He turned up the TV and zoned out. I looked up at the ceiling. I wasn’t a bad person. I just didn’t do fake or cover up my feelings for the sake of someone else. I was real.

I needed to smoke in a bad way. Mom would bitch if I did it while she was up. She knew that I smoked, but she said she never wanted to actually witness the cancer stick in my mouth. Mom gave up telling me what to do a long time ago. I pierced my own lip after she told me I couldn’t get it done, she signed for me to get a tattoo when I threatened to find some bootleg tattoo artist to do it, and she stopped telling Garrett to quit buying cigarettes for me because she knew I’d get them from someone else anyway.

Okay, so maybe I was a troublesome teen. I laughed.

Reese came out of the kitchen and looked at the TV for a moment before heading back up the stairs.

My phone vibrated in my pocket.

 

Jude: Heard through the grapevine you have a new sister.

 

Me: Gotta love a small town…

 

Jude: WTF dude?! That is so messed up.

 

Me: Yeah, well…

 

Jude: What are you gonna do?

 

Me: ?

 

Jude: With her?

 

I grinned.

 

Jude: Wait don’t answer that. I opened myself up for that one.

 

Me: lol

 

Jude: is she a spoiled bitch?

 

Me: Can’t answer that yet. It’s the first day.

 

I stuck my phone back in my pocket and sat up. I ran my hands through my hair and stared blankly at the TV. My foot started tapping impatiently. Mom would just have to bitch.

I slipped on my shoes and went out to my truck. I should’ve grabbed my hoodie. It was freezing.

I opened my glove box and grabbed my lighter and cigarettes. I sat on the hood that’s all bent and stared down at the hole in my jeans reminding me that Reese was nothing but trouble.

I looked up towards her window and saw her bare back. She had forgotten to shut her curtains. Thankfully.

She slipped off her skirt next. I changed my mind about this whole arrangement. Mom was my favorite person right now.

I watched as she bent over and pulled on a pair of sweats. She slipped on a t-shirt then a hoodie. She opened her window next and climbed out. She sat on the first story roof and looked at the stars, her knees pulled tightly to her chest. She put her head on her knees and cried.

I finished my cigarette. I’d be damned if I let her ruin another one for me. She quit crying and noticed me watching her.

“Don’t mind me.”

“Shit!” She yelled then almost fell off the roof.

I laughed as she got herself re-situated safely back in her spot.

“You know, if you wanted to give me a strip tease, you could’ve just invited me up to your room. I wouldn’t have said no.”

Her mouth opened like she was going to say something then she closed it. Her face turned even brighter. She locked eyes on me. “I…I…”

She shook her head then climbed back into the window. She closed it and the curtains, but not before looking at me one last time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR

 

REESE

 

I laid awake for hours while everyone else slept. I had slipped into sleep a few times, but was awoken by the nightmares. I got up and put on a pair of blue jeans, socks, boots, a t-shirt, and hoodie. I walked outside and looked Havock’s truck over. I found some tools and got to work. I worked for a few hours until I was satisfied that it was going to run better and got the passenger door to work.

I hurried inside, took a quick shower then started cleaning. If I couldn’t sleep, I may as well help the people I’m staying with. I deep cleaned the house and started breakfast when Mrs. Johanna came down the stairs and into the kitchen.

She gasped as she looked around.

“Did I do something wrong?” I asked as I became nervous.

She smiled as she walked over to start coffee. “No. I’ve just never had anyone do something so kind. House full of boys.” She laughed to herself and started scooping coffee into the filter.

“I’m usually the one who cooked at home. Dad can’t cook to save his life.” I stopped talking and cleared my throat as tears filled my eyes. I turned away and went back to finishing up breakfast.

She impatiently stared at the coffee maker while it did its job. “I’d have an IV drip of this stuff 24/7 if I could.” She came over and nudged me out of the way with her hip. “Has the counselor at school met with you?” she asked as she finished breakfast.

“Yes, Ma’am. I met her yesterday. I have to meet with her everyday between my first two classes. I have a thick file,” I stated as I sat down and started to read one of the books I got out of the bookcase upstairs. “I like coffee as well, but I like it with all the stuff in it that I’m not supposed to have.”

She sat down across from me, setting a plate filled with eggs, bacon, and toast in front of me. “I spoke with your doctor and he said it’s all about moderation and eating well most of the time. He did say it was okay to cheat a little as long as you keep up with your readings and take the right amount of insulin.” She handed me a fork.

I took the fork and started eating. I’m always hungry in the morning, but not most of the rest of the day.

Havock sleepily walked into the kitchen with nothing but his pajama pants on. A tattoo of words in a thick font wrapped his whole left shoulder. He opened the fridge and took a drink of the orange juice straight from the container.

I stood up and walked to the sink. I washed my dish as Havock sat down and started eating. I had to keep my mind occupied. I tried to keep it off of that sexy tattoo and his six pack. I also tried to keep it off of how messy his hair was and how I wanted to run my fingers through it.

What. The. Hell? My heart started beating faster just thinking about him.

Johanna cleared her throat.

He looked up. “What?” He asked with his mouth full of toast.

She looked at his bare chest. I looked at his six pack. He looked at me. “Does this bother you?” He asked after he swallowed his food.

I shrugged like I saw a body like that everyday, when in fact I felt like I was going to pass out. Dammit, he was hot. I looked out the window to get focused. I stood on my tiptoes as I saw a lab running around the yard with puppies in tow.

“You have dogs?” I asked with excitement. It was actually my first bit of excitement in a while.

“Against my will, yes. Havock found them wandering in the rain on his way home from school last week.” She gave him an irritated look.

“It was my good deed for the week,” he teased taking a bite of bacon.

About that time, Garrett walked in wearing nothing but his pajama pants. Damn, what did they feed these boys? Of course, as I looked at him my heart didn’t speed up, and I didn’t feel the urge to get closer to him. Weird. Personality wise you would think I’d go for Garrett not Havock. Huh? Strange.

Their mom sighed. “Okay. New rule. You must be fully clothed when you leave your room.” She got up and started fixing herself a cup of coffee.

“May I go outside?” I asked as I looked back out the window.

“Of course, dear. You don’t have to ask.”

“Thank you,” I said as I hurried out the door. I sat down on the ground and waited for the dog to come to me. A chocolate puppy ran over and jumped on my leg. I picked him up and played with him. I laughed as he licked my nose.

“Don’t get attached. Mom called the dog catcher and he’s picking them up today. She’ll help anyone but she doesn’t like animals.”

Havock walked over to his truck. He crawled in through the driver side to get his cigarettes, I assumed.

I frowned as I looked down at the puppy. I pet his head until he curled up next to me and went to sleep.

Havock pulled the hood of his jacket over his head and lit a cigarette. “Want one?” He asked as he exhaled.

I shook my head and pet the puppy.

“Sorry about your dog.”

“Dad got him for me when I was ten, and I asked for a friend,” I said quietly.

“You’ve had a hell of a life so far, Princess.” He smiled when he noticed the irritation spread across my face.

“You don’t know anything about me,” I said with a frown.

His eyes locked on mine as he let the smoke leave his mouth slowly. “So, your dad isn’t really missing and your mom wasn’t killed when you were a kid?”

I looked away from him and continued to pet the puppy.

Garrett walked out dressed for school. “You riding with me or him? I need to leave early today.”

The idea of getting to school early made my stomach drop. “I’d prefer not to get there any earlier than I have too, but thank you.” I’d also prefer not to ride with Havock. I didn’t know if I liked how those eyes made me feel.

He nodded then slipped a ball cap on and got in his truck.

“I’m picking up a friend on the way,” Havock said as he put the cigarette out on the bottom of his shoe.

“I can walk,” I said still petting the puppy.

“My mom would kill me if I let you. Go get your stuff. We’re leaving in ten minutes.”

I scrunched my eyebrows and picked the puppy up. He opened his eyes and licked my nose. I smiled sadly at him then put him back down. I stood up, dusted my pants off then walked inside to grab my bag.

I wiped a tear that fell as I grabbed my bag and my medicine for later. I headed down stairs and looked at Mrs. Johanna. “Bye, Mrs. Johanna.”

She grabbed her purse. “Bye, sweetie. Have a good day.” She started to leave but stopped. “Oh shoot! I forgot to give this to you last night!” She dug in her purse and pulled out a cell phone. “Here. It has my number, Rick’s, Garrett’s and Havock’s just in case you need to get in touch with us.” She smiled as she handed it to me.

I looked down at it. “Thank you.” I put it in my pocket and gave her a weak smile.

“Don’t give anyone that number. The police are doing their best to keep you hidden until they find out who’s responsible for your father’s disappearance.”

“I won’t. I don’t have anyone to give it to.” I thanked her again then walked out. The puppy followed behind me, he grabbed my pant leg and wagged his tail at me

Havock honked the horn.

I picked up the puppy and placed him a safe distance away then hurried to the passenger side. I opened the door and climbed in, buckled my belt and watched sadly as the puppy barked and whined. I had to go back to hell and he was going to the pound. Our lives both sucked.

Havock looked at me shocked. “How did you just open that door?”

“I pulled the handle.” I watched the puppy. “Can we go before the baby gets to close and you hit him?” I asked quietly.

He started the truck on the first try. “What the-?”

I hid my smile and looked out the window. I bet he didn’t get shocked often. And for some reason, shocking him was fun.

Havock turned down a road, and I saw a guy waiting by the curb. “That’s Jude.” He slowed down. “Scoot to the middle.”

“Can I sit in the back of the truck?” My stomach dropped to my feet at the thought of being in such a closed in area.

He laughed as he stopped the truck. “That would be a no.” He motioned for Jude to get in on the passenger side.

I sighed, unbuckled, and moved to the middle. I buckled back again then grabbed my bag and held it close to my chest.

Jude got in. “When did the door start working?” Havock shrugged and started driving.

Jude held his hand out to me. “Jude Byars.”

I let go of my bag and shook his hand. “Reese Johnson.” I gave him a slight smile then held my bag tight to me and watched Havock drive. I watched his eyes cut to my chest. I looked down, blushed then loosened my grip on my bag so it didn’t press so tightly to my chest.

As he switched gears his hand slid off the gear shift and hit my upper thigh. He grinned showing off a dimple on his right cheek.

“Oops.”

Jude laughed as he lit a cigarette and cracked his window.

“Who taught you how to drive?” I asked quietly as I ignored what he just did. I ignored how it made my heart jump a little as well.

“The Princess doesn’t like to be touched. Duly noted.”

Jude leaned in close to me. “He doesn’t play well with others. Ignore him.”

That jump in the heart just crashed. No survivors. “Don’t call me that, please,” I asked politely. “And you didn’t answer my question.”

“My brother.” He smiled a little. “Princess,” he mumbled under his breath. Jude reached over me and shoved his shoulder.

“Do you think he’d teach me?” I asked as I frowned at him.

“He might if you ask him nicely. And I call you that because you fit the role.”

I scrunched my eyebrows at him. “Do you see a crown on my head?” I asked quietly. “I’m not a princess,” I mumbled.

“Your dad kept you locked away like you were too good to mingle with the common folk of Riverbend. You were driven around in shiny cars. You had a maid. You don’t need a crown to fit the role, Princess.”

“One, I didn’t have a driver. I didn’t leave the house. Two, I didn’t have a maid,” I said in aggravation.

“Or you did have a driver and you killed him and the maid too? Therefore, leaving you with neither. Damn, your life sounds like the game Clue.”

“Yes, that’s exactly what I did. Maybe you should be concerned since I’m living in your house right now,” I said as I tried not to cry. Dammit, he wasn’t going to make me cry!

Jude laughed at my comment as he sent his cigarette butt flying out the window. After he rolled the window up, he put his hands up to the vents to warm them. Havock didn’t say anything else.

We arrived at the school, and after he parked, Havock got out along with Jude. I just sat there.

I gripped my bag tightly to me and stared at the building, not moving.

Havock leaned into the truck. “If you don’t get out, I will drag your ass into the school.”

For some reason, I believed him. I sighed and got out of the truck. He slammed the door and I flinched. I gripped my bag tighter then stopped. “Dammit!” I swore as I pulled out my blood sugar tester. I put my bag down and took my blood sugar. It was rather high. I placed my test back in my bag and grabbed my insulin shot. I lifted my shirt a little and gave myself the insulin shot. When I was finished, I put the safety cap on and put it in a pocket on the side of my bag. When I looked up, Havock and Jude were looking at me funny.

“What?” I asked as I grabbed my bag again.

“What the hell did you just give yourself?!” Jude asked while Havock gagged a little.

“Weak stomach. Hates needles. You should’ve seen him the day Red Cross came and he got talked into giving blood.” Jude laughed.

“It’s insulin. And I’ll remember not to do that in front of you again.”

“What, lift your shirt? I’m completely okay with that.” Havock laughed.

I rolled my eyes then headed off to class.

 

~~~

 

I stood in the bathroom looking at myself in the mirror. Some bitch poured soda all down my hoodie. I pulled it off and started trying to clean it up. I wiped at the tears as they fell. Once I got all the soda out, I dried it the best I could. I went out to my locker and opened it just as Garret came over.

I hung the hoodie in my locker. I was shivering. I was so cold. The building was freezing. I grabbed my books without looking at him. I didn’t want him to see I had been crying.

He leaned against the neighboring locker. He touched the hoodie and frowned. “What happened?”

“Some girl poured soda on me,” I shrugged as I tried to show it was no big deal.

He lightly held my arm and looked both ways before pulling me into the guys bathroom.

A few guys at the urinals covered their business with shocked looks.

Garrett laughed and pulled me into a stall.

He took off his long sleeved shirt and slipped it over my head. He opened his backpack and grabbed a t-shirt and slipped it over his head.

“Work out clothes.” He smiled.

“Thank you,” I said as I gave him a small smile. “But why did you bring me in here?”

“Dude! Get her out!” One of the guys yelled.

Garrett laughed and opened the stall. “I wasn’t going to pull my shirt off in the middle of the hall.”

“Sorry,” I whispered to the guys as I hurried out of the bathroom. My face turned bright red as I got back to my locker. I grabbed my stuff then looked at Garrett.

“So, you gonna tell me who did this to you?”

“It’s no big deal.” I looked around. “I need to head to my last class.” I had just started to walk off when I stopped and looked at Garrett. “Could you teach me how to drive?”

“Sure. Ride home with me after school?”

I nodded then walked to my last class.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER FIVE

 

HAVOCK

 

As the school day went on, the shittier I felt. Jude said he heard the flu was going around and even threw in an, I told ya’ so, about me not getting a flu shot. I never got sick. Feeling bad was new to me. I leaned against my truck and waited for Reese to come out of the school.

A half hour and four cigarettes later, I started getting worried. I looked around the parking lot and noticed Garrett’s truck gone. I dialed his number.

“Is Reese with you?” I asked as I got in my truck and cranked it up so I could get the heat going. Man, I felt like shit.

“Yeah. You sound pleasant. What’s up?”

“Sick. Tell her thanks for making me wait.” I hung up the phone and headed home.

When I got in the house, I fell onto the couch. I didn’t plan on leaving the couch for the rest of my life. I’d die there. That’s how bad I felt.

About half an hour later I heard doors slam shut. Reese and Garrett walked into the house.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you,” she said quietly.

“Whatever,” I mumbled.

She sighed. “Do you need anything?”

“Death.”

“Damn. That bad, lil bro?” Garrett seemed concerned. I figured it was just a show for Reese.

“Worse,” I groaned.

“Well, I guess we could continue the Clue game,” Reese mumbled.

I wanted to laugh, but if I did, I was risking throwing up from the movement. “Just make it quick and not painful.”

Reese smirked a little. “I’ll go do some research now,” she said as she left the room.

When I sat up, my stomach churned. I hurried up the stares to the bathroom and made it to the toilet just in time. After I was done, I shut the door and turned on the shower.

I stayed in the shower until the water ran cold and even stayed longer because the cold water felt better than the warm.

I turned off the water and grabbed a towel as I stepped out. I wrapped it around my waist and put my dirty clothes in the hamper, I brushed my teeth then walked out into the hall, running into Reese. My towel fell to the floor and her eyes widened when she looked at me. That would have been hilarious if I didn’t feel so bad. I picked up my towel, wrapped it back around my waist and went in my room without saying anything to her.

I put on a pair of boxers and climbed into bed. Just as I was about to drift off to sleep, I heard a voice outside my door.

“Come in,” I mumbled into the pillow.

“I brought you some medicine,” Reese said as she came into the room.

“Did mom send you up here?”

“No, she’s not home yet,” she said as she placed a cup of water on the table next to my bed. She felt my head. “You’re burning up. Here take this medicine. I promise it’s not poison.”

“Wouldn’t care if it was. It’d put me out of my misery.” I took it then laid back down.

She stood up and left the room. It wasn’t long and she was back. She put a cold washcloth on my head.

“That should help some,” she said, her fingers lingered on my skin a little before she pulled back.

“Do you need anything else?”

“Will you read me a bedtime story, tuck me in, and turn on the nightlight?” I said, making my eyes big and pouty like a toddler.

“I was just trying to help. You don’t have to be an ass,” she said as tears filled her eyes. She stood up and walked towards the door.

“Holy shit! Are you seriously crying, Princess? I was kidding. Damn, loosen up.”

She stopped walking for a moment, but then walked out of the room shutting the door behind her.

 

~~~

 

I woke up a few hours later to a noise outside. I stood up and looked out the window. Reese was bent over the engine of my truck, working on it.

I opened my window and whistled. I was already feeling better. Must’ve been a short lived bug, or maybe it was the nice view taking my mind off being sick. She hit her head on the hood of my truck then turned and looked up. She rubbed the back of her head then blushed.

I put the window down, threw on a hoodie, pajama pants, and shoes. I went outside and opened the door to get my cigarettes.

I sat in the passenger seat with the door open and smoked while I watched her work.

“I didn’t mean to wake you,” she said quietly as she continued to work.

“It’s fine. I’m feeling a lot better. But I have to ask, what the hell are you doing fixing my truck at three in the morning?”

“I couldn’t sleep and I thought since I made you run into a tree, I’d fix your truck.”

I laughed. “This thing has always been a piece of shit.”

“It’s not a piece of shit. It just needs some love.” She shut the hood as she finished up, looking up at the sky. “Well, see you in the morning.”

I shut the door and hurried after her. “Wait up.” She stopped and waited for me.

I stepped in front of her. “How do you know so much about vehicles? You don’t seem like the type.”

“Dad told me that if I could build a car he’d teach me how to drive. So I learned.” She looked down at her hands.

My head started pounding, and I knew I needed to lie back down. I half grinned.

“Night, Princess.” I walked inside and headed up to my room.

I laid down but falling back to sleep wouldn’t be happening. Dark eyes and long dark hair consumed my mind. There was something mysterious about Reese that I found undeniably attractive. As much as I’d like to tell myself to stay away, I liked the idea of having something I shouldn’t way too much.

After being around her the past two days, I realized she wasn’t crazy. She was wounded.

I got up and sat down at my desk. I picked up my pen and grabbed a piece of paper. It had been a few months since I had wrote anything. I didn’t have any inspiration, but I think I found my muse.

I spent the next few hours writing about dark hair and dark eyes. Her lips and her curves. I painted her entire image with words. I pulled the curtain back as the sun rose and looked outside to see the ground blanketed in a sheet of snow. I knew today would be different somehow. I didn’t know if that was a good or a bad thing.

I still wasn’t feeling my best, but I was much better than I was yesterday. I got ready and headed down to the kitchen to grab something to drink. Reese was there asleep with her head on the table.

I shut the fridge door loud enough to wake her. “Morning,” I said as I took a long drink of my water.

My new found interest in her wasn’t enough to change my snarky attitude. I smiled when she looked at me.

She blinked and sat up rubbing her eyes.

“You riding with me or Garrett today?”

“Who’s leaving last?” She asked as she rubbed the back of her neck.

“I don’t know. Not sure if he’s leaving early today or not.” I sat across from her. “So, the incident in the hall last night…” I smiled when her cheeks turned red. “You should really watch where you’re going.” I meant to pick with her about it the night before but I felt too bad.

“I should go get ready.” She literally ran out of the room.

Garrett walked in looking behind him. “What was that all about?”

I shrugged and took another drink of my water.

 

CHAPTER SIX

 

REESE

 

I woke up from more nightmares. I looked out the window at the snow falling as I thought of something to draw. I looked down at the unfinished drawing and realized it was Havock.

I rolled my eyes and turned the page. I had lived there for three weeks now and the cops still didn’t have any leads on my dad. I put my head to the window and tried to ease the headache.

With my eyes closed, I saw my dad. Then I saw my nightmares. Him covered in blood screaming my name. It changed suddenly to Havock screaming out my name. He was in pain.

“The time is coming for you to choose,” a dark voice purred in my ear.

I jerked awake with a scream. I fell off the window seat as tears fell down my face. My door flew open and Mrs. Johanna was standing there looking around the room. Once she found me on the floor, she hurried over to me and held me as I sobbed.

“Shhhh, it’s going to be alright,” she said calmly as she held me.

Once I was calm, she pulled away but stayed seated next to me on the floor. “Do you want to talk about it?”

I shook my head no and wiped my eyes. “Just nightmares.”

“I’ll go get you something to drink.” She kissed my head and left the room.

I heard her coming back up the stairs then heard her talking to Garrett in the hall.

“I’ll take it to her,” he said quietly. “You go back to sleep.”

His mom agreed then my door opened. Garrett walked in with a cup of water.

He knelt down next to me and brushed the hair out of my eyes. “Here,” he said as he handed me the water.

“I’m sorry I woke you guys up.”

He got the throw blanket off my bed and wrapped it around my shoulders.

“It’s okay.” He sat down next to me. “Want me to stay with you until you fall asleep?”

“Please,” I said quietly.

He helped me into bed and laid down next to me. That nightmare really shook me up, and I didn’t want to be left alone.

He wrapped his arm around my waist. “You’re safe here, Reese.”

“I’m scared, Garrett. Not for me, but for my dad.”

“They’ll find him,” he whispered as he played with a strand of my hair. He twirled it around his finger and kissed it. He smiled when our eyes met.

I gave him a small smile then closed my eyes. What the hell was that? I wondered as I slowly drifted off to sleep. I was just too tired to think about it.

 

~~~

 

I opened my eyes as the sun came through the window. I groaned and buried my head against the pillow.

I pushed myself up and stumbled to the bathroom. After getting dressed, I headed downstairs, sat at the table and hit my head against it. I didn’t have the energy to fix my hair and my curls were everywhere.

“Morning, Princess. Rough night?” Havock asked as he came in.

When I looked up at him I noticed his right eye was slightly bruised. He turned when I noticed to keep me from seeing.

“What happened to you?” I asked then groaned as the movement made my head hurt.

“What’d I tell you about drinking, Reese? You’re too young!’” He teased as his mom came in.

Mrs. Johanna rolled her eyes then kissed her husband’s cheek when he walked in. “Morning, babe.”

He kissed her. “Morning.”

Havock motioned for me to follow him. I got up and followed him out. I rubbed my head as we walked.

“They are about to announce a family vacation. They do this close to Christmas. They pull us out of school even though we get a long break and take us on a trip. Garrett and I dread them. They want to bond and well, it’s lame.” Havock straightened up and smiled when his mom came in. “Hey, mom.”

She sat on the couch and pulled her legs underneath her. She drank her coffee and shook her head at him. “Not suspicious at all, Honey.”

Garrett walked down the stairs and I noticed his lip busted. Havock grinned evilly.

“What did I miss?” I asked as I looked at them both. Then what Havock said sunk in. By law I wouldn’t be able to go with them. I wondered where I would stay.

“Have you checked your blood sugar lately?” Mrs. Johanna asked.

“I haven’t yet this morning,” I answered. “I haven’t been sleeping well, though.”

She reached over to the end table and got the glucose meter she kept downstairs just in case. She motioned for me to come over.

“You slept just fine last night, didn’t you?’ Havock said, and Garrett nudged him in the side with his elbow.

I stood up and moved over next to her. “After the third time I woke up. Yes.”

She took my finger and pricked it. After the test was over, she frowned. “Insulin. Now,” she said pointing towards the stairs. She showed me how high it was.

I groaned and stood up. I headed up stairs and grabbed my shot then gave myself the insulin. I laid down on the bed and waited for it to work. I fell asleep.

What felt like a few minutes later I heard someone yell my name and shaking my shoulders.

“Reese?!” Havock shook me again and when my eyes focused on him, he let out the breath he was holding. “Shit! You scared me! Mom told me to come check on you when you never came back downstairs.”

“I don’t feel too good.”

“Where’s your blood tester thingy?” He asked as he looked around.

“Top drawer. Dresser,” I got out with difficulty.

He got it and hurried over. “How do I work this thing?”

I explained how it worked the best I could as I tried to keep myself from going back to sleep.

I felt him prick my finger. I then heard the tester beep.

“Is 692 bad?”

“Very.”

MOM!”

My eyes grew heavier and heavier, but I kept them opened and focused on Havock.

I heard her run into the room. Havock told her the number and she told him to call the ER to tell them we are on our way. She yelled for Rick.

“Load her into the van! I need to grab her insulin to take with us.”

I felt him lift me into his arms. With Garret’s help, they got me in the van. Garrett sat with me in the back on our way.

“I don’t feel good,” I mumbled.

“Almost there,” Johanna said from the front seat.

“I’m almost positive they will keep you over night. Havock is packing your things and is going to meet us there.”

“Garrett, do I even want to know what happened to your lip?”

“No ma’am.”

“We’re here,” Mr. Rick said, and I felt the van come to a stop.

My skin felt hot, I couldn’t focus on anything, and I needed water. A lot of water. Garrett carried me in and down the hall as the nurse showed us the way.

As soon as I was laid down, I felt a prick in my finger then almost immediately a shot in my stomach followed it.

“Reese, are you feeling any relief?” The nurse asked as she laid a cool wash cloth on my forehead.

“A little,” I got out in a whisper. “I’m really thirsty.”

She smiled and patted my hand. “I’ll get you some ice chips. You don’t need to drink a lot right away. I don’t want you throwing up.”

I nodded then groaned as my head throbbed. She left and Garrett came to my side. He was about to say something when the doctor walked in.

“Let’s take a look at you,” he said in a friendly tone. Garrett moved out of the way.

The nurse came in with a cup. She stuck a spoon in it and handed it to me. The doctor helped me sit up. While I chewed the ice chips, the nurse re-tested my blood.

The doctor looked at it. “Still high, but much better. Girl, you were knocking on a diabetic coma’s door.”

“What?!” Garrett snapped.

The doctor looked up at him from his stool. “Garrett Satterly? Played a good season kid. You playing for a college next year?”

“Yes, sir. Florida State.”

“Good.” The doctor looked at me. “I’m gonna have some tests run just to make sure everything is all right. You hang tight. Lab will be here in a bit.” He stood and left.

“A coma?!” Garrett said as he came over and sat next to the bed.

“No wonder I didn’t feel good,” I said as I gave him a small smile. I laid back against the bed, and my head pounded like it had a drum in it.

Johanna came in with Havock following behind her with my bag. She nudged Garrett out of the way and cupped my face. “You scared me! Did you not take your insulin when you went upstairs?!”

“I did. I promise.”

I watched as Havock set my things down. He gave me a strange look then took a seat in the corner of the room.

“Then what happened?” She asked, her voice shaking.

“I don’t know. I took it, and I just felt tired so I laid down.” I shrugged. “Apparently, I was knocking on a coma’s door.”

She pulled the syringes of insulin from her purse and stared down at them. “Maybe…” She shook her head. “I’m going to go let the doctor take a look at these.” She left the room in a hurry.

“A coma? Really?” Havock asked.

“Really,” Garrett answered.

I rubbed my head with my fingers. “So, what happened to you two?”

Before they answered, Mrs. Johanna came back into the room. While she talked to the boys, I fell fast asleep.

 

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

 

HAVOCK

 

Garrett and I walked out into the hall while the doctor talked with Reese. I leaned my back against the wall and drummed my fingers on the wall. I needed a cigarette. Reese had scared the shit out of me, and I needed to calm my nerves.

I looked at Garrett who was cutting his eyes at me. And I couldn’t mistake the look of war in his eyes. That same look he would get when we were kids and we happened to walk in the kitchen at the same time and there was only one cookie left. It was on. He wanted Reese. I wanted her more. We both already knew that when I punched him in the lip last night when I caught him coming out of Reese’s room. He returned the punch, but I’d sport that damn black eye any day. The satisfaction I felt when my fist busted his lip felt too good.

And I was sure she wanted me too. Why else would she have drawn a picture of me? I found my face sketched perfectly, lip ring and all when I was packing her bag for the hospital. At first it scared me a little. I wasn’t sure if I wanted a girl to feel something for me. I had traveling to do. I had goals after high school that I fear would change if I got involved with someone and we’d have to figure out how to reach both our goals. I was selfish.

We both turned when mom and dad walked up. Mom scanned both our faces and sighed.

“Look, I don’t know what’s going on between you two, but cool it. Alright?”

I grinned evilly and Garrett did too.

The doctor stepped out and smiled. “She can go home. There’s no need to keep her. But I wrote her a refill on insulin. The lab looked at what you brought from home, and it was the wrong prescription. What pharmacy do you use?”

“Griffin’s,” mom said in shock. “They could have killed her!!”

Dad put a calming hand on her shoulder. She shrugged it off.

“Mistakes happen, but I’d be just as upset as you. Just make sure that you double check what you’re leaving the pharmacy with before you leave.”

Mom nodded as tears fell down her face.

“Can we go home please?” Reese asked as she came out of the room carrying her bag.

“What’s wrong?” She asked mom tiredly.

She walked over to her and wiped her tears.

“Don’t cry,” she said softly.

Mom looked at dad and Garrett. “Take her home.” She looked at me. “You’re driving me to the pharmacy.”

“I don’t really think that’s a good idea.” Mom glared at me. “Okay, okay!” I got my keys out of my pocket.

As we walked out to the truck mom said, “No smoking.”

“Yes ma’am,” I mumbled as we got into my truck.

“Why didn’t you have dad drive you?” I asked as I drove.

She laughed. “He wouldn’t have brought me.”

I pulled up to the pharmacy and noticed them flipping the sign to closed. They closed early on Saturdays, but I knew that little sign wasn’t stopping her. Mom got out of the truck before I could cut the engine off. Alrighty then. I knew I should probably go with her.

I got out and followed her. She banged her fist against the glass door so hard I could hear the bells on the door inside.

The pharmacist opened the door and managed to smile. “Good afternoon, Mrs. Satterly. Can I help you?”

Mom reared back her purse the size of a boulder and probably as heavy as one too and knocked him upside his head. “You almost killed her you moron!!” That caused a few cars to slow down as they passed the drug store.

The pharmacist rubbed his head. “What are you talking about?!”

Mom’s hands shook as she pulled the paper for a refill out of her purse. She slammed it against his chest. “You gave her the wrong insulin!”

He took the prescription in his hands. “I’m so sorry.”

I knew he truly was and so did mom. It was a mistake. A bad one. But by the look on his face I knew he wouldn’t make it again.

“I’ll go fill this. Why don’t you two come inside where it’s warm?” He held the door as we stepped inside.

I sat next to mom in the waiting area. She wiped her eyes as more tears fell. “It’s my responsibility to keep her safe. I can’t believe this happened.”

Mom needed Garrett or dad here to comfort her. I was never good at sympathy. I was the suck it up and move on type of guy. There was no doubt she had scared the hell out of me, but she was fine. Everyone needed to calm down.

I stood and walked outside, reached in my truck and got out my cigarettes. Just as I lit one I heard a horn honk. I nodded at Ruth Ann in her lime green Camaro. She winked and sped up. She was the slut of Riverbend. If it had a dick she’d sleep with it. I wasn’t that desperate. If I wanted sex, I could get it. That was never a problem for me.

Mom walked out. “Put that thing out!” she said grabbing the cigarette from me and stomping on it. She pulled hand sanitizer out of her purse and rubbed it into her skin.

We got in the truck. “What did I tell you about doing that in public?! Ha?! The lip ring and tattoo is enough to ruin my rep as a social worker! If I can’t control my own kids what will make people think I can help with others?!”

“Sorry,” I grumbled.

“No you’re not. Just take me home.”

She was right. I wasn’t. And I knew I was wrong for that, but it didn’t bother me enough to change. I drove us home.

We walked in the house not speaking. I had to admit, what she said kind of hurt a little. I normally didn’t mind the truth even if it hurt. But today, knowing she was already upset, it shook me up a little.

Dad met mom at the door as she took off her jacket. “She’s resting upstairs. She’s fine, honey.”

Mom nodded. “I’m going to start lunch.”

Mom walked off and dad stopped me before I could go upstairs.

“How’d it go at the pharmacy?”

I smirked. “Before or after she hit the guy with her purse?”

Dad pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. “I’ll go talk to her. I’m sure she’s embarrassed.”

I nodded. “Good idea. Is it alright if I go out?”

“Sure. But please stick to your curfew. Your mother has dealt with enough today.”

“Yes, sir.”

I put my jacket back on and walked back out to my truck.

CHAPTER EIGHT

 

REESE

 

I looked down at my painting of the Satterly family and smiled. The art teacher stared at it over my shoulder. “Very nice. Johanna will love it.”

Art was my favorite class and the place I hid out. I’d just put up my work when Havock walked in. “Hey,” I said as I covered the paintings I had done. I’d made one for him and Garret as well. I smiled sadly at him. I had been having a rough day. Some days I was fine, others, not so much.

Today was a bad one. I had been picked on relentlessly until I hid in the art room and the counselor was calling Mrs. Johanna to voice her concern that I was still suicidal. Which I wasn’t.

“What are you doing in here?” I asked as I cleaned up my supplies.

He sat on a stool. “Coming to see why you didn’t come to lunch.”

I shrugged. “I wasn’t hungry. I ate a granola bar, though.”

“Want to walk to English with me?”

“Let me finish cleaning up,” I said as I wiped down my area.

After I finished, I picked up my bag and walked out of the art room with Havock. I avoided looking at the faces of the other kids because they always had anger in their eyes when they looked at me. “Why do people hate me?” I asked him quietly.

“Because they think you did it,” he said referring to my mother and dad. Havock wasn’t one to sugar coat things.

“I was seven when mom was killed,” I said as I moved closer to him as a particular girl who had made my life worse than a living hell walked by.

Havock put his arm around my shoulders.

I heard someone whisper murderer as they walked by, and I couldn’t take anymore.

“I…I need to go to the restroom.” I moved away from him then hurried into the bathroom.

I went into a stall and locked it. I slid down the door and wrapped my arms around my knees as I buried my face against them and cried. I just wanted my dad.

I heard the door open and saw Havock’s converse. He knocked on the stall. “Reese?”

I wiped my eyes, stood up and unlocked the door. “You shouldn’t be in here,” I said as I wiped my eyes.

“No, I shouldn’t. But that didn’t stop me.” He wiped my tears. “Ignore them,” he whispered.

“I’m trying. It’s hard.” I smiled weakly at him.

“Ready to go to class?” he asked taking my hand.

I nodded. “Are we almost to Christmas break yet?”

“Yup. And our family pre-Christmas vacation starts this weekend. Mom pitched a fit until the judge said you could go.” We walked out of the bathroom.

A smile appeared on my face. “Really?!”

He smiled showing off his dimple. “Really.”

We walked into class and he followed behind me until I got to my seat. He then went to his seat.

I hadn’t been seated long when my name was called over the intercom, and I was asked to report to the counselor’s office. I grabbed my bag and left the room.

I opened the door and walked in. “You wanted to see me?”

“Mmm hmm. Have a seat.”

I sat down in the chair and placed my bag on the floor. By the look on her face I did something wrong. “Am I in trouble?”

I racked my brain as I tried to think of something I had done wrong. I had gone to the nurse like I was supposed to. I turned in my homework. I had been good.

“Just a rumor. Or at least that’s what I hope it is. Please tell me you weren’t taking pills in the bathroom with Havock?”

“No ma’am. I was crying and he came to get me out. We weren’t even in there very long,” I said as I looked her in the eyes. “And why would I take pills?”

“He’s been known to pop pills with girls in the bathroom, then they…” She shook her head. “That’s confidential. I can’t believe I let that slip.” She smacked her forehead. “Why were you crying?” She asked, changing the subject.

I shrugged. “I’m just tired of being called a murderer.”

Thoughts raced through my head as what she said sunk in completely. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around what she let slip. Havock, what the hell were you in to? I wondered as I sat there.

She started writing something down. “Who has been calling you a murderer?”

“Everyone but Havock, Garrett and Jude,” I said as I picked at my nails.

She set her pen down and looked at me. “Is school too much for you? Do we need to get someone to home school you?”

“I don’t want to leave the Satterly’s,” I said as I started to panic.

We had talked about homeschooling before, and they had said I’d have to go to a special place for that.

“So, you’re willing to tough it out here?”

I nodded as I grasped my hands to keep them from shaking.

She nodded and wrote something down.

“You’re free to go. See you in the morning. Oh and Reese?”

“Yes ma’am?” I asked after I stood up and grabbed my bag.

“Havock’s name suits him well. Just be careful. And you didn’t hear that from me.”

I nodded and opened the door. I gave Havock a weak smile as I saw him standing there waiting.

“You should be in class,” I said softly as we walked into the hall.

“She doesn’t like me,” he said with a humored grin. “I heard what she said about my name. She’s right. I’m terrible.” He laughed.

“I’m not much better. At least you’re not-” I stopped myself and shook my head. “Never mind.”

He stopped and leaned against some lockers. “Not what?”

I looked at him and shrugged. “I had to go see her because she heard we were popping pills in the bathroom together.”

“Oh.” He chewed on his bottom lip. “Well, do you want to?”

“No,” I said firmly then started walking again. He didn’t understand. I didn’t do that stuff for fun. There’s only one reason in mind to do that, and I didn’t want that right now.

He caught up with me. “I was kidding.”

I closed my eyes. “You can’t kid like that with me. Okay?” I begged as I looked at him.

He held back laughter. He nodded. “I’m going to smoke before my last class. Want to come with me?”

I shook my head. “I’m staying after school to finish my art project. Just so you know.” I tried not to be angry. He didn’t know about the things I had done or tried to do. There was no reason to be angry at him. I gave him a weak smile then went to class.

 

~~~

 

I finished the last painting, and it was dry. I’d just finished cleaning up my brushes and area when Garrett came in. “Hey, I figured you’d be at home by now.”

He walked over to the sink and wet a paper towel. He wiped my nose and cheek. “I stayed to work out in the gym. And then one of the guys told me you were in here, so I wanted to come see if you needed a ride home.” He threw the paper towel in the trash.

“Yes, thank you.” I grabbed my backpack slung it on then grabbed the four covered art pieces, or tried to. “Mrs. Jacobs was going to drive me home, but it’s out of her way,” I said still trying to balance everything.

He caught one of the paintings before it fell. “Let me carry all that for you.” He laughed.

“Just don’t look. And thank you.” After I said bye to Mrs. Jacobs, we headed to Garrett’s truck.

He placed the paintings carefully in the back. He climbed in and started the truck. “Why can’t I look?”

He pulled out of the parking lot and tugged on the bottom of my shirt for me to scoot to the middle.

“Because.” I smiled a little as I moved over.

“I like surprises,” he smiled as he took my hand in his. “Can we drive around for a bit so we can talk?”

“Sure,” I said nervously. “Am I in trouble?”

“No. I want to talk about us…”

Us? I scrunched my eyebrows at him. “Okay,” I said as I waited to hear what he had to say.

“I like you, Reese. And not just as a friend. It’s more than that for me.”

I had no idea what to say. I liked Garrett a lot, but I liked Havock too. I also knew nothing could come of either of them. “You can’t,” I said as I removed my hand. “They’d make me leave, Garrett.”

“They won’t know.”

“Who won’t? Your parents, brother, school counselor, teachers? I’m on watch by all of them.” I ran my hand through my hair. “You don’t need to like me. I’m not stable, Garrett.”

“But I could be that stability you need, Reese.” He stopped the truck on the side of the road. He looked at me as he touched the side of my face. “No-one has to know. Not my parents, my brother, the teachers, no-one.”

A tear rolled down my cheek. “I don’t know. Part of me wants to say yes. Right now I think there’s just too much going on in my head.”

“So, that’s a no?”

“It’s a not right now or at least let’s just see where it goes. Could you do that? If not I understand.”

“I can do that.” He smiled and kissed my cheek softly. He held my hand the whole way home but didn’t say anything else.

I liked Garrett a lot. He was stable which I desperately needed. And I really cared for him. There was just something holding me back. Honestly, I don’t know if it was Havock, Garrett’s parents, my issues, fear or a combination of it all.

When we got home, everyone was sitting at the table waiting for us.

“A phone call saying you’d be late would’ve been nice,” Johanna said as she cut her eyes at Garrett.

We put down the covered art. “It’s my fault. I wanted to finish my paintings. Sorry.”

Havock scoffed, stuck his earbuds in and started drumming his fingers on the table. Garrett sat down and handed me a plate.

“Havock, take those things out of your ears now,” Mr. Rick said firmly.

Havock pulled out one. “Better?”

His dad sighed heavily. “Whatever.”

Johanna started passing food around. “So, we leave first thing Saturday morning to head to the mountains! Denver is so pretty this time of year.”

“Awesome,” Garrett replied with a smile.

“Yay,” Havock said with little excitement.

“Oh, come on! It’ll be fun! Skiing is a blast.” Mrs. Johanna smiled at Mr. Rick. “Isn’t it?”

“I like staying locked up in our room better,” Rick said with a wink.

Havock put his other earbud back in when his mom giggled and smacked his dad’s hand.

“Get that look of your faces boys. How do you think you got here?”

Garrett choked on his drink. “I’d rather not go there, dad.”

I laughed.

Havock didn’t hear a word. He was busy eating and listening to his music.

I chewed on my lip excitedly. “I’ve never been to the mountains,” I said excitedly.

“Oh, Sweetie, you’ll have the time of your life!” Mrs. Johanna smiled.

Havock heard that and grinned. I didn’t want to know what he was thinking.

My leg started bouncing. I wanted to give them their gifts now. “May I give you guys something?” I asked.

“Um sure,” Johanna nodded.

I jumped up excitedly and grabbed Johanna’s first. It was of all of them. It had several pictures in one. Some of her and the boys now, some when they were little, and some of her and Rick. I handed it to her and chewed on my lip as I grabbed Rick’s. It was a picture of him and the boys. Half were him and Garrett playing football the other were him and Havock working on the truck. Johanna covered her mouth as tears filled her eyes.

“Oh, they’re beautiful,” she said as she ran her fingers over the picture. She turned it around to show the guys.

Rick looked shocked. “This was really kind of you. You’re really talented, Reese.”

“It’s a Christmas gift. You guys took me in and gave me a home when you didn’t have to. It’s my way to say thank you.” I smiled then looked at the boys. I grabbed theirs.

Garret’s had four pictures in one. One of him and his brother. They’re both laughing about who knows what. One of him and his mom. One of him and his dad and the one in the middle is of him leaning against his truck smiling. Both dimples showing.

Havock’s was the same as Garret’s except it was him leaning against his truck, his right dimple showing and a mischievous glint in his eyes.

“Somebody’s been snooping in family albums,” Havock teased.

I shrugged and blushed.

“They’re great!” Johanna squealed. “Rick, you and the boys will be hanging these up as soon as we’re done eating.” They all set their paintings down and continued eating. Johanna talked about my talent the whole time we ate.

“What college do you want to go to?” She asked as she pushed her empty plate away.

“I don’t know. I’ve never thought about it.”

“Garrett is going to Florida State to play football,” she said proudly.

“That’s great!” I said as I smiled. I scrunched my eyebrows together. I’d never thought about college. Every time I had tried to bring it up to dad, he’d tell me that I didn’t need to go then changed the subject. “And what about you, Havock? Have you picked a school?” I asked as I tried to get my mind off of what I couldn’t have.

“I don’t plan on going. I want to travel the world. Figure out what I want out of life before I decide on a career.”

His dad lowered his eyes at him.

“Sounds logical if you don’t know exactly what you want out of life yet.” I smiled.

“What, that not what you wanted to hear dad?” Havock laughed coldly.

His dad stood. “I’m going to get the tools to hang up the pictures.” He left the table.

Johanna kept on smiling. “Reese, help me clean up?”

I nodded and stood. I grabbed the boys plates then headed to the kitchen.

“Sorry about that,” she said as she washed and I dried.

“Don’t apologize. Families are supposed to fight, right?” I asked. A pain filled my heart as I thought about the fact that the last words I said to dad had been in anger.

“Yeah, I guess.” She smiled as she washed the last dish.

Rick came in with a hammer and nails. “Show me where you want them.”

I sat on the couch and laughed as Rick and Johanna argued about where to put them. I looked at Garret who was laughing. I held a book on my lap.

“Garrett, where’s Havock?” Johanna asked as she pointed to a spot on the wall.

“He went outside earlier.”

I closed my book, giving up reading. “Do you want me to go get him?”

“That’d be great. I want to discuss our trip some more.”

“Okie dokie.” I hit Garrett on the side with my foot then took off towards outside when he tried to grab my foot. I looked around outside and spotted Havock. “Hey your mom wants to discuss the trip,” I said as I came over to him. I chewed on my lip. “Did you actually like the picture? You’re honest enough you’ll tell me.”

He looked at me and smiled a little. “Yes.”

I smiled. “Okay, so inside,” I said as I motioned towards the house.

“I was thinking about going for a drive. You should come.”

“Can’t we go after you talk with your family?”

He laughed and got in his truck. “Coming or not, Princess?”

I looked back at the house and chewed on my lip. “I want to, but I can’t. Sorry.” I stepped back and smiled. “Be safe.”

“You can’t?” He raised a brow and laughed. He shook his head and closed the door. He drove off with his music blaring.

I walked inside, my feet freezing. I headed into the living room and sat down. “He went for a drive. Sorry,” I said as I tried to warm my feet up. “What? I forgot shoes,” I said to Garrett as he looked at me funny.

Garrett pulled my legs onto his lap and covered them with a blanket. He rubbed my feet while we watched TV. Slowly my eyes closed, and I fell asleep. At least until the nightmares hit.

CHAPTER NINE

 

HAVOCK

 

I walked into the house quietly so I wouldn’t wake anyone. But there sat mom in dad’s chair reading a book. I should have known she’d be up waiting on me.

“Sorry I lost track of time.” I kicked off my shoes and pulled off my hoodie.

“Can we talk? Like we used to?” She asked so quietly I almost didn’t hear her. When I got closer I saw her face was wet from tears.

I sat across from her on the couch. “About?”

“Tell me whatever you want.”

“My favorite food is still Thai food.” I shrugged. I didn’t know what she wanted me to say.

She laughed. “How are your grades?”

“All A’s.”

She smiled. “That’s my smart boy.”

I just stared at her. This was weird.

“Can I go to bed now? I’m tired and I have a big test tomorrow.”

“She’s been having nightmares all night.” More tears fell from her eyes. “I want her to be happy here, Havock. Tell me, what am I doing wrong?”

“Ummm…”

She wiped her eyes. “Sorry. I know you can’t answer that.”

“You aren’t doing anything wrong. She’s got a lot on her plate.”

She nodded. “I know that. I was watching the news and they were talking about how they still didn’t have any leads on Mayor Johnson. I just have a feeling he’s not alive. I don’t know how she’ll handle it if he isn’t.”

“I think she needs closure. If he’s dead she’ll cope eventually. At least it wouldn’t be the constant worry and wondering where he is.”

“Are you okay with her staying here? Garrett and her seem to be getting along great. You haven’t said a word about her to me.”

What mom didn’t know is I’d thank her for the rest of my life for letting her stay. I’d never admit that out loud, though. “She’s nice.”

“She is. Absolutely precious.”

Reese screamed from upstairs then there was a loud crash.

Mom went to get up, but I stopped her. “I’ll go.”

“If you need me come get me.”

I nodded then hurried up the stairs. I went into her room and saw her getting up and looking around confused. Hair was stuck to her face that was wet with tears. A bruise was forming on the side of her face where she must have hit the end table. Garrett came in behind me before I could do anything to comfort her.

He moved past me and wrapped her in his arms. He looked at her cheek. “Havock go get ice.”

I went downstairs and mom met me in the kitchen while I put ice in a Ziploc bag.

“Is she alright?” she asked as she yawned.

“She bumped her cheek and she’s shook up, but she’s okay.”

“I think we’re gonna leave in the morning to go to Denver. I think we all need a get away. Especially her.”

“We have big tests tomorrow, Mom.”

“You can make them up.”

“I’ll go tell them.” I hurried upstairs and handed her the ice pack.

“Thanks,” she said her voice shook as she moved away from Garrett and sat on the window seat. She looked out not saying anything.

“Mom said we’re leaving for Denver in the morning. She said we could make up our tests.”

Garrett sat next to her and rubbed her back. “Okay. Go get some sleep, bro. I’ll stay up with her.”

“Did she say she wanted you to?” I snapped.

“Please get out. Both of you,” she said softly and quietly. She kept her eyes locked out the window. Her voice was hollow.

Garrett shoved past me on his way out, bumping my shoulder with his. I smiled. I looked at Reese before walking out.

When I made it out in the hall Garrett shoved me against the wall. “What the hell!”

“Don’t be stupid, Garrett.” I shoved him away from me.

“You’re not good for her. She doesn’t need someone like you.”

I raised a brow and laughed. “And you are what she needs?”

“Maybe when she’s ready I will be. But right now she needs friends!”

I didn’t reply. I walked into my room and slammed the door.

A little while later I heard a quiet thud. It sounded like a window opening.

I went to her room and saw the window wide open. I looked down and saw her running towards the sidewalk. Well, shit. We had an escapee. I didn’t want to cause a scene so I climbed out of her window. I took off after her and was glad I hadn’t taken off my shoes yet. But I was in just a t-shirt and jeans. I was going to freeze my balls off.

When I caught up with her I could tell she didn’t want me to stop her so I just ran with her. “Where are we going?” I asked, extremely out of breath.

She stopped and put her hands on her knees. She looked at me. “I need something. Please, let me go,” she begged as tears fell down her face. She wiped them then took off running again.

“Does it require running or can we walk?”

She stopped running but walked swiftly. She didn’t say anything just walked.

“We could’ve taken my truck. I would’ve even let you drive.”

“I didn’t plan on anyone knowing I was gone. And I don’t drive well.” She continued to walk until we arrived at the front of her house. I looked at her like she had lost her mind. That place creeped me out.

“I’m afraid to ask you why we are here.”

“I need something.”

“Please tell me it’s not inside.”

“You don’t have to go,” she said as she looked at the house.

There was no way I’d let her do it alone. “I know I don’t but I’m going if you’re going.”

She nodded then walked around the back of the house. She then started to climb up the terrace.

I needed a whole pack of cigarettes and to smoke them all at once. My nerves were shot. I climbed up behind her. Tomorrow, I’d be able to add this to my list of stupid ass things I’d done in my life. It’d be number a million. My hands felt numb they were so cold, but I continued to climb.

Finally, we arrived on a balcony. She found a hidden key and unlocked the doors. We walked in to a room. It was bland and very cold feeling.

“Whose room was this?”

“Mine.”

“Cozy,” I said sarcastically.

She ran over to a dresser and opened a drawer. She pulled out a large book and held it tightly. She grabbed a bag, put it in there then went to the other side of the room. She pulled up a loose board and pulled out three books and four drawing notebooks. She put them in the bag and put the board back. I watched as she put a few more things in it then came over to me. “I’m ready.”

“Do we get to act like bad ass spies again or are we gonna use the door like normal people?”

“I don’t have the key to the front door.”

“But we are inside the house. Can’t we just simply walk down there and open it from the inside?”

“No, all the doors require keys to open them.”

And that just made the house even creepier. I nodded. “Alright. Let’s go.”

She secured the bag and we went outside. She relocked the door and hid the key, then climbed down. Once we were down, blue lights started surrounding the house. Mom came running out of one of the cop cars.

“Go,” she said before they saw me. I stood there. I wasn’t going anywhere.

Mom ran over as she yelled to the cops she found us. She hugged us both tight then cupped Reese’s face in her hands. “What on Earth are you doing here?!”

“I wanted some of mine and mom’s things.”

“And I would’ve got them for you! You didn’t need to come here! Do you know how unsafe it is?!”

Mom looked at me and poked her index finger into my chest. “You didn’t give her any drugs did you?!”

“What?! No…” I said in annoyance.

“He came to make sure I was safe. I didn’t take anything,” Reese said looking ashamed.

I was more than pissed that mom would say something like that. I had been clean for over two years.

“Let’s get you two home.”

We followed mom to one of the police cars.

“It’s not you Havock. It’s me,” Reese said quietly.

I didn’t respond. She didn’t know a thing about me or what I put my parents through. I got in the back of the car with her and mom.

Reese held tightly to her bag as if it was buried treasure.

We pulled up to the house. The cop turned and looked at Reese. “I need to look at what you took.”

Her shoulders sagged and she hesitantly handed it over.

Mom leaned forward. “Please, don’t take it from her. If it was so important that she’d risk her safety for it, it must mean a lot to her.”

The cop looked through it then handed it back to Reese. “I’m not supposed to give that back.”

“Thank you,” Reese said as she held it tightly to her.

We got out and I noticed dad and Garrett’s trucks gone. Mom started dialing on her phone.

“I found them. Call Garrett and tell him to head back home. Love you.” She hung up then unlocked the door to the house.

Reese looked like she was in another world. Her face was blank.

Mom stepped back as we walked in. “Get some sleep. We are leaving for the airport by seven.”

I followed her up the stairs and turned and looked at her before I walked into my room.

“Thank you. I’m sorry,” she said then she went into her room. She didn’t shut the door.

I hesitated. I wanted so badly to go into her room and ask her why she drew a picture of me. I wanted to know if she felt what I felt. But Garrett was right. She needed friends and most definitely not a guy like me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER TEN

 

REESE

 

I didn’t sleep at all. I sat next to Garrett on the plane drawing.

“I’m sorry about last night,” I whispered to him.

“It’s okay. I’m just glad you’re alright.”

He rested his chin on top of my head. “What are you drawing?” He moved my hand out of the way so he could see the whole page.

“It’s your home.”

He kissed the top of my head and moved his hand so I could continue drawing. “You’re hair smells good,” he laughed.

I smiled a little. “Thanks. I like your home. It’s homey.”

“I like it too.”

“Mine’s cold.”

“I’m sorry.” He took my pencil from me and turned to a blank page. He scribbled some words and then moved his hand so I could read it.

 

Have you thought anymore about us?

 

Yes. I’m not ready. You don’t deserve someone broken. Some broken princess.

 

I focused my eyes out the window so he couldn’t see how broken I really was.

 

I want you, Reese and all the broken pieces.

 

A tear fell down my cheek, and I wiped it away.

 

What if it doesn’t work? I don’t want to lose my friend.

 

You could never lose me. Ever.

 

Promise.

 

Promise.

 

I held the pencil in my hand, thinking.

 

Let’s see how the trip goes. Then I will tell you for sure.

 

I laid my head on his shoulder and yawned.

“Okay,” he whispered in my ear.

 

~~~

 

I looked down at the skis on Garrett’s feet. “Not happening,” I said as I looked over at Havock with a snowboard. “Nope. I’d break something.”

“Put them on, Princess. We’re wasting daylight,” Havock rolled his eyes and pulled a toboggan over his ears.

Garrett grinned. “I’ll teach you. You’ll be fine.”

Havock put his sun glasses on and laughed. “You could go hang out on the bunny slopes.”

I groaned. “This is going to be painful.” I slipped on the skis and strapped them in place.

We went up the ski lift and Garrett held my hand as we reached the top of the mountain.

“It’s easy. Just let the ski lift push you onto the mountain. Let your feet drop. You ready?”

“No!” I said as I shook my head. “This is a horrible idea!”

He laughed and pulled me with him as he slid off. I tripped around until I caused us both to fall into the snow. Havock slid past us and headed down the mountain. Garrett laughed and wiped snow off my face. He leaned down and pressed his lips to mine.

It shocked me but it wasn’t a bad shock. Actually, it was rather nice. “I don’t think that has anything to do with skiing,” I whispered against his lips. He kissed me again then moved off me. He stood then helped me up.

I slid some and he stopped me. “I’m going to die,” I said as he laughed.

“You won’t if you follow my directions. And I like you way too much to let anything happen to you.”

“Okay let’s do this.”

 

~~~

 

I followed his directions and still ended up on my butt or face more than my feet. After two hours, I laid back in the snow not moving. I’d just fallen really hard and didn’t want to move.

He sat next to me and patted my thigh. “Skiing isn’t your thing.”

I groaned. “You go ski. I’m going to lay here.”

“I don’t think so.” He helped me up.

“So, what next?” I asked as my body protested to movement.

We were at the bottom of the mountain near all the restaurants and ski resort. “Are you ready for lunch?”

“Shit! I haven’t checked my sugar.”

“Back to the resort then.”

“But…this sucks.”

“Let’s go check it then I’ll take you out to lunch.”

“Okay.” I pouted as he helped me get my skis off. Sore did not describe my body.

He bent down a little and motioned towards his back. “Hop on.”

“Are you serious?” I asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Naw, I’m just hunched down like this to look at my feet.” He laughed. “Hop on.”

I laughed then hopped on. When we got to the resort he put me down then slid his key in the door. He opened it and let me in first. I went into my room. I grabbed my glucose meter and tested myself.

He peeked his head in. “Are you alright?”

“It’s a little low but nothing lunch won’t fix.” I smiled. “But since its low I get some chocolate.” I clapped excitedly.

“Only under one condition…”

“Yes?” I asked as I looked at him suspiciously.

“Come closer so I can tell you.”

His dimples showed as his smile widened.

I moved closer. “What?”

He slid his hands slightly under my shirt where his fingertips touched the skin right above my pants. The warmth from his hands felt nice and made my skin tingle. He leaned down and met my lips with his.

I smiled against his lips. “That’s nice.”

“Now you can have chocolate.”

I laughed. I grabbed my art book and his hand. “Come on. I’m hungry.”

We were about to walk out when Garrett’s eyes widened at the sight of something behind me. “Reese, look out-” he yelled, but then stopped mid-sentence. “Whoa.” He rubbed his eyes and shook his head.

I looked behind me then at him. “Are you okay?” I asked, my eyebrows furrowed.

He nodded and looked at me with confused eyes. “I think so.” He scratched his head. “I think…I mean…I saw…” He shook his head again. “Never mind. I think the altitude is getting to my head.”

I chuckled then kissed his cheek. “Let’s go eat. Maybe it’ll help.”

On our way out he kept looking over his shoulder. I looked over my shoulder.

He rubbed my back. “You see something?”

I saw a shadow. Following us. I turned my head and smiled. “Besides a lot of people and snow, no. Come on. If I don’t eat soon my blood sugar will get all screwed up.”

He looked one more time, so did I, but it was gone. He blinked his eyes a few times but that was it. He didn’t mention it anymore.

Garrett let me pick the place. We sat at a small round table and after ordering our food, he sat and stared at me as I drew.

“What are you drawing now?”

“The mountains. They’re beautiful.” I didn’t tell him that I was drawing him as well. Him on his skis.

His cell phone beeped and he pulled it from his jacket pocket.

“It’s dad checking on us.” He texted back then stuck it back in his pocket.

I looked up when I heard a chair scooting across the concrete. Havock pulled up a chair and sat at the table with us. “Here you two are. I was worried you got lost on the mountain somewhere.”

Garrett shook his head. “Reese can’t ski.”

“No, it was very comical. You missed a good laugh.”

“I bet.” Havock laughed then waved at a waitress to come over. He scanned the menu quickly then ordered.

I closed my art book, stretched, and groaned. “I hurt everywhere.”

“I bet we have some Advil or something back at the room,” Garrett said as he took a drink of his Dr. Pepper.

“That and a hot bath will help.” Havock grinned when Garrett cut his eyes at him.

I shrugged. “It would be nice. You guys can go back to ski and snowboard while I go back to the room.”

Garrett shook his head. “I don’t feel comfortable leaving you alone.”

“She’s short, but she’s not three, Garrett.” Havock rolled his eyes.

“Under the circumstances she doesn’t need to be alone, Havock.”

“We’re at a ski resort I’ve never been to. What’s the worst that could happen?” I asked.

“No,” Garrett said sternly. “Mom and dad would kill me.”

 

“You’re going to be so bored.” Havock added.

“No I won’t. A nap actually sounds nice.” The waitress brought our food out.

I watched as Havock loaded his fries in ketchup and mustard. He then took a fry and stirred it around until the ketchup and mustard were all mixed together.

“That looks disgusting.”

He half grinned then took his massive cheeseburger, opened it and scooped fries on it then replaced the bun on top. He took a bite.

Garrett laughed. “He has issues.”

Some of the mustard-ketchup mixture was left on his bottom lip near his lip ring. He licked it off in a seductive manner as he kept his eyes locked on mine. He cracked up when I started blushing.

Garrett smacked him on the back of his head. “Seriously?”

Havock couldn’t stop laughing. “Sorry,” he said between breaths as he continued to laugh. “It’s just so good it got me all excited. I forgot I was in public.”

“You are so weird,” Garrett said as he started to eat his food.

“Would you like me to leave?” Havock asked as his laughter started to calm a bit.

“It wouldn’t hurt my feelings.”

Havock nodded, grabbed his food, and walked off to a table by himself.

I shook my head and dipped a piece of my personal pizza in ranch and took a bite. “You two are a mess.”

“Don’t feel sorry for him. He likes to be alone.” Garrett laughed.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

 

HAVOCK

 

I couldn’t get her out of my mind. All I could think about was her. I tossed and turned in my bed until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I had to see her. Even if all we did was say hello, that would be enough for me. Being near her is more addicting than any drug I’ve tried. I got out of bed and gabbed a hoodie off the floor. I walked down the hall until I stood at her door. I turned the knob quietly and eased the door open.

I walked in and closed the door quietly behind me. I noticed her sleeping and smiled. She was beautiful and the one who consumed my mind every waking and sleeping moment. I was used to having control of my life but that all changed when she walked into it. More like crashed into it. I looked around her room and found her drawing book. I opened it and scanned the pages. I saw more pictures of me but I also saw some of Garrett. My hope was shattered right then and there. I thought maybe, just maybe it was me she was interested in, but that was a stupid assumption. She just liked to draw. Plain and simple. I closed it and decided to leave. I was wasting my time.

I had just put my hand on the knob when I heard her whimper in her sleep. She then started saying no over and over. I walked over to the side of the bed and sat next to her.

“Reese,” I whispered as I shook her a little.

“No! Havock!” She yelled out in her sleep.

“Reese,” I said a little louder and shook her a bit harder.

She jerked awake and looked wildly around the room. Her whole body shook. I wanted to hold her until she calmed down but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Instead, I placed my hand on top of hers. “Hey, it’s alright. Nothing can hurt you here.”

Her eyes locked on mine. “Are you okay?” She asked, her voice shook with fear.

“Shouldn’t I be asking you that question?”

She put her head in her hands. “It was so real.”

“What was?”

She shook her head and started sobbing.

I swallowed hard and tried to look away from the strap of her tank top falling off her shoulder. She needed me, and all I could think about was sex. I shook my head to clear my thoughts.

“Tell me what to do to help.”

“Make it stop. Please. I want them to stop!”

I didn’t know what she meant. “Make what stop, Princess?”

“I want the nightmares to stop! I just want to sleep. Please,” she begged.

I didn’t know what to do except to lay down with her until she fell asleep. I got under the covers with her and held her close to me. I had to move my body off hers a little. Being pressed up against her like that had my imagination racing with all the things I’d like to do to her. I could make her forget those nightmares really quick, but she was too innocent to have a guy like me. I convinced myself I would be the good guy that moment and just hold her.

“Is this helping?” I whispered close to her ear.

She nodded. Her body shook a little with her silent cries. I fixed her strap on her shoulder so it would stop tempting me to yank it off completely. “Goodnight.”

“Night,” she whispered then drifted off to sleep.

 

~~~

 

I woke up with my arm still around Reese. The sun was just starting to peek through the curtains, and I knew if I didn’t get my ass out of this room, I’d be dead. Good thing I didn’t give a shit. I closed my eyes, enjoying the way she felt next to me.

“Have you seen Havock?” I heard my mom ask from outside the door.

“No. He’s probably out on a mountain somewhere,” Dad answered.

“The ski lifts don’t start loading until after nine. It’s only seven.” Moms tone grew more worrisome.

“Call him.”

“Good idea.”

My phone started ringing from the floor beside the bed. I didn’t remember bringing it in her room with me, but there it was revealing my whereabouts. Mom opened the door, and her phone fell to the floor when she saw me in bed with Reese.

“Morning.” I smiled.

Reese didn’t move. The dark circles under her eyes showed how much she needed sleep.

“She was having bad dreams. It’s not what it looks like so calm down. She’s not my type,” I lied but I knew mom didn’t need to have a heart attack this morning. Reese mumbled under her breath but stayed asleep.

“Just get out! It looks so wrong!”

I laughed. “Alright but if she wakes up it’s your fault.’

“Out!” Mom almost shouted.

I got up and reached down to get my phone. I walked out of the room and shut the door behind me.

“Havock Satterly, you better not start having feelings for that girl! She is a guest in our home and if the state thinks for a second that we’re allowing that they’ll take her away!”

“Mom, chill. Nothing happened and it won’t. I was just helping her sleep. She was scared.”

Mom touched her hand to her forehead and closed her eyes. “Alright. Sorry. I just don’t want her to be thrown into the hands of the state. She’ll get lost in the system and-”

I touched mom’s shoulder. “It won’t happen. Calm down.”

“Havock, why don’t you go lay down. You’re not usually up until after lunch when you’re out of school.” Dad laced his fingers with mom’s and led her out of the hall.

There was no way I’d be able to fall back asleep. I needed a cigarette. I threw my hoodie over my head and slipped on my shoes. I walked out onto the back porch and sat down.

I smoked as I read a text from Jude.

 

Jude: Something weird happened last night. I was leaving work and when I got out to my car someone had keyed it with the words, bring her to me. WTF dude!

 

I knew it was early, but I had to text him back.

 

Me: Did you call the cops?

 

Jude: It’s early asshole.

 

Me: Tell me about it. So did you call them or not?

 

Jude: Yeah, and the night manager looked at the surveillance cameras that looked out to the parking lot. We never saw anyone. The cops didn’t do shit either. They took a picture of it and told me to stay safe.

 

Me: I’m sure it was some of the girls from school being bitches. They hate that Garrett has accepted Reese. They have been joking all week at school about burning her at the stake and saying that she’s insane. They were saying crazy shit to me since I’m friends with her. I’m sure it wasn’t anything to worry about. Just girls being stupid.

 

Jude: Probably.

 

It pissed me off that people could be so cruel. I finished my cigarette and headed back inside. I saw Reese awake and sitting at the table with mom. She still had dark circles under her eyes and she looked miserable.

“Are you okay?” I asked as I walked to the fridge to get something to drink.

She nodded then put her head on the table.

“So, I was thinking we could all just do whatever today. I want to do some shopping and your dad wanted to do a little sightseeing.”

I sat at the table with a bowl of cereal. “Sounds good.”

Garrett walked in and pulled up a chair next to Reese. I watched as he spoke quietly to her. I tried with great difficulty not to throw my cereal at him.

“Reese, would you like to go shopping with me today?” Mom asked.

Reese picked her head up. “I’d actually get to go?”

“Of course.” Mom was taken back by what Reese said. “Have you not ever been shopping?”

Reese shook her head no.

“You’re not missing anything.” I took another bite.

“I guess I’ll go hang out with dad,” Garrett said then he and dad exchanged a high five. My family was so annoying. Everyone looked at me.

“Us or them,” Reese said not giving me much of a choice.

“I’m gonna stay here. Veg in front of the TV or something non-productive.”

“Loner,” Garrett coughed.

Mom cut her eyes at him. “Be nice.”

“But why would you want to be alone?” Reese asked confused.

“I don’t answer personal questions this early in the morning.”

Reese frowned at me, shook her head, and then stood. “I’m going to go check my sugar.” She smiled at Mom then went to her room.

“Do you have to always act like that?” Mom asked as she fixed her coffee.

“Like what?”

“Like you’re some big mystery to the world.”

I stood. “I’m going to take a shower.”

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

 

REESE

 

I looked at myself in the full length mirror. I was in an off white knit knee length sweater dress and black tights. To top it off, I also had on some high heeled black boots. I tugged at the dress until Mrs. Johanna came up behind me and put her hands on my shoulders.

“Beautiful! I’m buying it for you!”

“You don’t have too,” I said as I blushed. I liked the outfit a lot, but I didn’t want her to waste her money on me.

“Yes I do! You can wear it when we go out to dinner tonight!” She giggled excitedly and shooed me back into the dressing room to take it off so she could buy it.

I changed back into my clothes and handed the clothing and boots to Mrs. Johanna. I had some money that the judge had released to me. Not a lot, but enough to get some new art supplies. “May we go to the art supply store down the street?” I asked as she bought the outfit.

“Sure.”

I had enjoyed being with her today. We walked out of the store and down the street. “Thank you.”

“You’re so very welcome, dear. It’s nice. I’ve always been surrounded by boys.” She looped her arm through mine as we walked.

“I like being with you. It’s like having a mom,” I said quietly. I blushed when she looked at me. “Sorry. That was probably inappropriate.”

Tears filed her eyes. “No, I’m glad you did.” She wiped her eyes. “I knew your mom. She would have been so proud of you.”

“I miss her. I don’t remember her a lot, but what I remember is home. After she died, the house wasn’t a home anymore. It was cold.” I shrugged and wiped the tear that fell down my cheek.

“She adored you. She and I were actually best friends in school. Then life happened and we drifted apart.” She smiled softly. “You look so much like she did at your age.”

“That’s what dad always says. I have pictures of her.” I put hair behind my ears as we walked. “Dad put them all away. I kind of got some from him without him knowing.” My shoulders sagged. “I love my dad. We have had our problems, but I’m his baby girl.” More tears fell down my cheeks. “You don’t think he’s alive, do you?”

“I sure hope he is.”

I nodded. “Me too.” I wiped my tears with my free hand. “I don’t understand everything he did but I know he loves me.”

 

~~~

 

After a long day shopping, I sat in front of Mrs. Johanna as she fixed my hair and put a little bit of make up on me. After we were finished, we headed to the restaurant where all three of the boys were supposed to be waiting for us.

I walked in and saw Garrett, Havock, and Mr. Rick. I liked Garrett. A lot. But my heart seemed to only speed up when Havock looked at me. Which was stupid because he didn’t even like me. He merely put up with me. Hell, half the time I didn’t like him.

I liked Garrett all the time and when he kissed me or touched me I enjoyed it. But him just looking at me didn’t make my heart want to jump out of my chest. I cursed myself. This wasn’t a fairy tale. I didn’t need fireworks. I wanted, no needed, someone stable. Someone I cared for and who cared for me. That was not Havock. Havock only cared for one person and that was Havock.

I tugged on my dress a little but Mrs. Johanna slapped my hand away. I really believed this was the shortest dress I had ever worn.

Havock was taking a drink when he saw me. His mouth dropped open causing his drink to miss his mouth completely, soaking his lap.

Garrett ignored him as he started grabbing every cloth napkin he could. Garrett smiled but didn’t say anything. We agreed we would keep us a secret if there ever was an “us”.

Garrett was dressed nice. He had on a dark pair of jeans and long sleeved button down shirt tucked in. His short hair was fixed like it always was.

Havock had on an ACDC t-shirt with a hooded leather jacket, jeans, and of course his converse. His hair was in a mess like he just stepped out of bed, but it looked good on him.

Rick pulled out a chair for me and Johanna. He whispered in his wife’s ear, and she giggled as she sat.

“Thank you,” I said as I took my seat next to Garrett.

Mrs. Johanna had straightened my hair making it look even longer than normal. “So did you guys have fun today?” I asked Garrett and Havock.

Garrett nodded. “Yeah. Dad and I went hiking. It was great. Saw some moose and everything.”

Garrett smiled, but Rick glared at Havock. It was obvious he was upset Havock didn’t come along.

“How about you, Lone Ranger, what’d you do?” I asked Havock as I put the new napkin the waiter brought in my lap.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Garrett do the same, but he only brought one hand back up. I wondered about that for a second before I felt it on my thigh.

That warm tingling feeling filled me with his hand there. Garrett made me feel cared for and safe.

“Oh you know, a few drugs….slept…” He smiled at his dad.

“Do you have to be so rude all the time?!” Garrett snapped.

Havock laughed. “Tell me, Garrett, is it exhausting living to please everyone or do you actually enjoy it?”

Rick slammed his fist on the table. “Enough!”

Johanna put her head in her hands. “Just one dinner. Just one could we please, “she looked up at her boys, “eat without a fight?”

Havock kept a cocky grin on his face but never agreed our disagreed. Garrett nodded.

Havock pulled out his cell but dropped it. He knelt down to get it and when he came back up, he raised a brow at me.

He stared at me with intense, fiery eyes for a few seconds then started texting on his phone. Garrett noticed and started talking to me to distract me from Havock.

“You haven’t looked at the menu yet. Have any idea about what you want?” He opened my menu in front of me.

“They have the best pasta,” Johanna said as she scanned her menu.

“Pasta isn’t a good choice for a diabetic,” Havock said never looking up from his phone.

“How do you know?” Garrett asked.

Havock’s lips curled. “I’ve done my research.” Havock put his phone back in his pocket when the waitress came over.

“Ready or would you like more time?”

“My brother,” Havock said as he pointed at Garrett, “can’t read. He has to look at the pictures.”

“Aww it’s okay, I’ll give you more time.” The waitress looked sympathetically at Garrett then walked away.

Havock laughed when everyone glared at him. “What? It was funny. She fell for it!” Garrett nor his parents were amused.

I sighed and shook my head then looked at the menu. I felt a prickle on the back of my neck. I looked around and saw a dark figure staring at me from the shadows. I stiffened, my eyes locked on the shadow. Then suddenly it disappeared.

“Reese?” Garrett said worriedly. “You alright?”

“What is it, dear?” Johanna asked as she closed her menu.

“Nothing.” I gave them a weak smile then looked back at my menu. I’m going insane.

The waitress came back over with a kid’s menu and handed it to Garrett. Havock burst out laughing. Johanna and Rick laughed too.

“He’d like crayons as well,” Havock said through his laughter.

The waitress looked embarrassed. “He was joking wasn’t he?”

“Don’t feel bad, he’s an ass to everyone.”

I said as I smiled. Garrett laughed.

Havock nodded. “It’s true.”

The waitress laughed. “Does that mean you guys are ready?”

I ordered a shrimp concoction and tried to get comfortable. I tried not to scan for the shadow. Tried not to be afraid, but it was hard. I’m so scared and for some strange reason, I wanted to be held by Havock. Dammit, I’m an idiot.

Havock got a text that made him look at me. He then looked at his mom. “Mom, can I talk to you alone for a second?”

My stomach dropped. Something bad happened. I felt it.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

Havock looked at me then down at his phone. “Mayor Johnson’s plantation house burnt to the ground a few hours ago.”

Garrett moved his hand from my thigh to my hand. He held it tight.

“Who told you?” she asked.

“Jude.”

I swallowed hard and closed my eyes. The waitress brought us our food. No-one seemed to have an appetite anymore.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

 

HAVOCK

 

My heart didn’t break when things went wrong. So why the hell did it feel like it was? Seeing her sitting in the cold outside as she thought about her shitty life, my heart hurt for her. It was weird. No-one bothered her. They all went to bed. Even Garrett.

She wanted to be alone. That was more than obvious. But I wasn’t okay with it. I’d be damned if I let her hurt alone.

I laughed at myself. This wasn’t me at all. I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d do once I was out there, but I needed to be with her regardless. I grabbed an extra hoodie and blanket then went out.

I handed her the hoodie. “Sitting in below freezing weather with that sexy as hell dress on is crazy, Princess.” She put on the hoodie but remained silent.

I sat down next to her and wrapped us both in the blanket. I sat closer than I probably should have, but considering I held her until she fell asleep the other night, this was probably okay. Maybe.

“I can’t stay with your family anymore,” she whispered.

“Why?”

“It’s not safe.”

“Mom won’t let you leave.” I wouldn’t let her leave.

A tear fell down her cheek. “Why are you so mean to your family?”

“If you haven’t noticed, I don’t fit in.”

“You try not to fit in,” she stated. “No matter where you go or do, Havock, you’ll only have one family. Once they’re gone you’ll regret everything.” She looked at her hands. “Trust me.”

“You’re probably right.” I pulled a cigarette from my pocket and lit it. “I just don’t care.”

She sighed and rubbed her arms. She looked at the stars. “My dad’s dead. I’ve lost everyone. I can’t let anything happen to you or your family,” she whispered.

I slipped my free hand around her waist as I smoked. “What’s going on with you and my brother?”

“He asked me to date him,” she answered honestly. She put her head in her hands.

“And?”

“And I said I’d tell him after the trip. I like your brother but…” She stopped and shrugged. “Why are we even having this conversation?”

“Because I saw where his hand was at dinner. I didn’t like it.”

She didn’t comment. “I’m a crazy broken princess.” She scoffed. “Nobody deserves that.”

I finished my cigarette and threw it out in the snow. “My crazy broken princess.” I looked at her. “You’re right. No-one deserves you. You’re too good of a person for the sad excuse we call people.”

“No I’m not,” she denied as tears fell. “And why are you talking like this? You don’t even like me half the time.”

“Is that what you honestly think?”

“I don’t know. My experience with people sucks. I know you like making me uncomfortable and blush. I don’t know,” she said, her eyes locked on mine.

“Because you’re so cute when you blush.”

She stared in my eyes like she wanted me to kiss her. Or maybe that was just my wishful thinking. I touched my lips to hers and only parted them enough to make us both want more. “Not yet,” I whispered.

“Not yet what?” She asked, her voice shook a little. She looked so confused. She pulled back from me and scrunched her eyebrows together. “Why do you make my heart do that? I need someone stable,” she said as she shook her head.

“Why do you make my heart do what it does? It’s annoying as hell.” I smiled a little. “And not yet as in I won’t kiss you or invest any more emotions in you unless I know you want me and only me.” I wanted her to look at me like I had something other guys didn’t.

She looked at me. “I understand that. But you need to understand something about me. I’m not stable at all.”

“And I am?” I laughed.

She closed her eyes. “I’m on watch just in case there are any signs I might commit suicide. I’ve tried three times.” She looked away and refused to look at me.

“Damn, really?” I didn’t like that she had hurt so bad that she’d consider taking her own life.

She nodded and wiped the tears that fell.

“I’d miss you. So don’t try again, alright Princess?”

She nodded and looked at her hands.

“It’s why your mom was worried you’d given me drugs.” She shrugged. “Pills were how I tried the first two times.”

“That’s a good reason, and now I get why my joking about the pills that day upset you so bad. Sorry about that.”

“You didn’t know.”

“So, after this trip, will your heart belong too my brother?” I hoped not even though he would be the better choice.

“No. As much as I like him, I can’t be with him. I thought maybe I could, but I can’t. I’m not what he deserves.”

I tried not to smile. “What are you gonna tell him?”

“The truth.” She stood up. “I should go talk to him.”

I stared at her legs and even sneaked a peek up her dress. Just when I thought she didn’t notice, the porch light showed off her red cheeks.

“You sure that’s a good idea? He’s sleeping.”

“Yes. I want him as a friend, but I think he’s going to be angry. I want to get it over with.” She looked at me. “Night, Havock.”

She started to go in but stopped and took off my hoodie. It caused the dress to be raised a little higher.

“Thank you.” She tossed it to me then disappeared inside.

I got up and went to my room. I stripped down to just pajama pants and put my earbuds in. I found Imagine Dragons on my phone and started writing words on a blank page.

The words felt like they were pouring from my soul. My deepest desires, thoughts, her…filled the page.

 

~~~

 

I looked at the time and couldn’t believe an hour had passed. I knew I should get some sleep. We would be boarding a plane to head back home early, and I wanted to stay awake for the flight. I loved to fly. Just as I was about to close my notebook, my door opened.

“I was expecting you.” I smiled. I had won.

Garrett shut the door.

He didn’t yell or come after me like I thought he would. He sat down on the edge of the bed.

“If you hurt her I swear on my life I will kill you.”

“I’m sure a lot of people would add me to their hit list.”

He looked at me seriously. “And I’m still her friend. I get to hang out with her without you getting all pissed off.”

“Now you’re pushing it.”

He laughed. “I’m serious, Havock. I care about her, and I can’t lose her as a friend because my brother is an ass.”

“Okay. Now apologize for touching her thigh.”

“You’re kidding, right?”

I shook my head.

“Now you’re pushing it,” he said with a smile.

I looked around at all of my clothes scattered. “I need to pack.”

“Need some help?”

I did if I wanted to get to sleep at a decent time. But I didn’t like people helping me. I know, I had issues. “Nah, I got it. Thanks, though.”

He nodded then left the room.

 

 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

 

REESE

 

I woke up at two and couldn’t go back to sleep so I drew. I had already packed so I didn’t have to do that. I looked down at the picture I’d been working on for hours and smiled. It was Havock. He was always what I drew when I let my mind have free reign. I had to really focus not to draw him.

My mind wandered to the nightmares I’d had. The shadowed man I had seen clear as day yesterday had been in them. I groaned. “I’m going crazy if my nightmares are becoming reality.”

I put the art book and art supplies in my carry on backpack and went into the kitchen. I put on some coffee for Mrs. Johanna and Mr. Rick. I then sat down with my cereal. I’d just started to eat when Garrett came in. “Hey,” I said as I gave him a hesitant smile. Please don’t be mad at me. Please don’t hate me, I begged in my mind as I waited for him to say something.

He smiled. “Hey.”

“You want some cereal?” I asked as I stood up to get him a bowl down. I stopped as I got dizzy. I closed my eyes and leaned against the counter.

“I did but now I don’t. Let’s go check your sugar. You just got really pale.” He helped me to my room and stuck my finger.

“It’s a little low. Do you need to just eat or take a shot?”

I looked at the number. “Eat,” I said as I got up and grabbed some peanut butter crackers from my carry on bag.

“I hate diabetes,” I mumbled as I ate a cracker and walked back into kitchen. Garrett helped me because I was still feeling dizzy. He sat down across from me with his own bowl of cereal. Mrs. Johanna and Mr. Rick walked in and immediately flocked to the coffee maker.

“Morning kids,” Johanna said sleepily.

“Morning.” I finished my cereal then put it in the sink. I looked towards Havock’s room without anyone noticing. I wanted to see him. I was such an idiot.

Garrett noticed and laughed. He nudged me and pointed outside where Havock was smoking a cigarette and talking on his cell phone. I blushed and cleaned my dish. I grabbed Garrett’s and shoved him when he kept laughing. I cleaned his, dried both, and put them up.

Havock came in and stomped the snow off his shoes on the rug. He ran his hands through his hair to get the snow out then looked at me.

I cleared my throat and blushed some more. “I’m going to go get my bags,” I mumbled then walked into the room. I grabbed my bags then froze. I looked at the window and saw the shadowed figure. I screamed before I could tell myself it wasn’t real.

I dropped my bags as the figure moved towards me. I pinned myself to the wall and my body shook. Fear like I’d never felt before filled me. Everyone ran into the room, and it vanished.

“What’s going on?!” Johanna yelled as she looked at my panicked expression.

I didn’t know what to say. I pointed then shook my head. “I thought…” I shook my head again.

Mr. Rick went and looked out my window. “I don’t see anything.”

“I’m sorry. I must have seen things,” I said, my voice shook. “I’m losing my mind,” I said under my breath. Tears of embarrassment filled my eyes. I cleared my throat and blinked them away. “I’m really sorry,” I repeated.

Mrs. Johanna wrapped me in a hug then told the guys to load the rental car. Havock hesitated and stared at me before his dad nudged him to go.

She sat on the bed with me and rubbed my back. “What do you think you saw?”

“A man. It was like he was just a shadow.” I rubbed my face with my hands. “I’m really sorry. I think I’m just tired.”

“Maybe. Do you want me to schedule an appointment with your therapist?”

I shook my head adamantly. “I don’t want them to take me away,” I whispered.

“They won’t. You may just need some medication, sweetie. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

“You promise,” I asked as I looked her in the eyes.

“Promise.”

I nodded. I grabbed my carry on then we headed to the rental car. I climbed in and sat in the middle of the boys.

Havock started laughing. “The irony of the way we are seated is funny.”

“Hilarious,” Garrett mumbled sarcastically.

I cocked an eyebrow at him. I shook my head then leaned back against the rental car seat. I closed my eyes. “Who am I sitting by on the plane?” I asked quietly. “Who ever it is, is going to be a pillow.”

“Who do you want it to be?” Havock asked knowingly.

“Shut up,” I whispered as I leaned my head on his shoulder and dozed off a little. I felt his hand slip up the back of my shirt. He touched the part where my bra latches together and started to undo it. I sat up straight, wide awake. I frowned at him then looked and saw we were at the airport. He put his hand in his lap and laughed.

After going through security, we arrived just in time to board the plane. I smirked as I saw that my seat was next to Havock. Mrs. Johanna thought it would be a good idea to switch up riding partners. She wanted Havock and me to bond. If she only knew. . . I yawned and sat down. I put my belt on and got out my art book. I started sketching while I waited to take off.

“I love flying,” Havock said while he looked out the window.

“I liked it the first time.” I yawned. “This is only the second time I’ve been on a plane.”

I sketched Havock as he looked out the window of the plane. I loved drawing him. It always made me smile.

There went my heart speeding up again. At least this time it was a good reason and not because I had been scared shitless.

He looked over at me. “What are you smiling about?”

“Nothing,” I said as I closed my art book. No reason to give him a bigger head than he already had.

“So…are we a secret or do we get to tell mom and dad?”

“I’m scared to tell them. I know it’s selfish, but I don’t want to have to leave.”

“Secret it is. This should be fun.”

My shoulders sagged. “I don’t like keeping things from your parents. They’ve been good to me.”

“Then I guess we shouldn’t be together.” He smiled because we both knew that was impossible.

I opened the art book and showed him the picture I just sketched. “This is what made me smile.”

“Damn, who’s that ugly guy?” He nudged me and laughed. “It’s sweet.”

I blushed. “I seem to draw you when I just draw to zone out. I have to really focus not to. I’ve never had this problem before.” I sighed.

I yawned again then closed my book. I laid my head on Havock’s shoulder. “Please, don’t try and unhook my bra while we’re on the plane and there are people around,” I said as my eyes closed.

“So, is that permission to do it when we’re alone?”

I smiled but remained silent.

 

~~~

 

I got into the car after spending two hours at my therapist. I handed Mrs. Johanna the prescription and rubbed my head. “Are we going home?” I asked as I buckled.

She looked at the prescriptions and set them on her lap. “After we run them by the pharmacy.”

I nodded. “Oh, my therapist is going to call you. She wants to make sure you monitor how many pills I’m taking.”

“Okay.” Her cell phone rang and she put it on speaker. “Hey, Garrett.”

 

“Mom!” His voice rang out. He was out of breath and I could hear a crowd yelling.

Johanna pulled over on the shoulder. “What’s wrong?!”

“Havock is fighting Tyler! At the gas station Tyler’s girlfriend said something about Reese so Havock said something to her and Tyler flipped.” The crowd got louder, then we heard police sirens.

I groaned and hit my head with my hand.

“Dammit!” Johanna yelled as she hit the steering wheel.

I’ve never heard her curse. Oh, she must be really mad if she cursed.

“Break it up, Garrett!”

“I tried. The cops have them both now. Here comes the owner. Gotta go.” Garrett hung up.

“I’ll call his dad to go deal with this.” She dialed Rick’s number.

I looked out the window. Havock you can’t be doing this. I looked up just as a truck slammed into the car. My head banged off the door, metal twisted, glass shattered, and then everything blacked out.

 

 

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

 

HAVOCK

 

I sat on the steps of the gas station and wiped my bleeding lip on my sleeve. I watched as the cops talked to Tyler and his parents. It would be my turn next. I couldn’t wait.

Garrett walked over and sat down next to me. “Alright, little brother. . . what did she say that upset you so bad?”

I shrugged. I didn’t want to talk about it. I just wanted to drop it and go home.

“You know mom is going to make you talk about it, right?”

“No one makes me do anything, Garrett.”

He laughed. “You go to school and make good grades and you come home at night. You apparently do follow some rules.”

“That’s by choice. I don’t want to be homeless. But if I didn’t want to make good grades, go to school, or come home, I wouldn’t.”

“There’s no way you’re going to talk to me about it is there?”

 

I just stared at him. Were seriously having that conversation? If I said no once, I’m not gonna change my mind. He knew that but he still insisted on pushing me. The more I stared without a word he finally got the point.

“There’s dad,” he said as dad’s truck pulled in.

“I wonder if he’ll take us out for ice cream?”

Garrett laughed and shook his head. “You are an idiot.”

Dad came over with the cops. They were just about to get my side of the story when they got called out to a wreck.

I’m glad, because my side of the story would’ve been a shocker. Yeah, I beat the shit out of him. His girlfriend is a bitch who should have kept her mouth shut. Can I go home now? I laughed at the thought of what their faces would’ve looked like. I watched the cops get in their car and speed off.

“You get in the truck and you drive straight home! Do you understand me?!” Dad yelled in my face. He went to yell more when his cell phone rang.

“Hello?!” He snapped. “What! No…On my way.” Dad raced towards his truck. Garrett and I caught up with him. I knew it was bad. He wouldn’t have been that dramatic over work. His job wasn’t that demanding.

“You’re mom and Reese were in a wreck. A gravel truck rear-ended them. I don’t know if they’re okay…just meet me there!” Dad got in his truck and drove off.

To save time I decided to ride with Garrett. We got in his truck and didn’t say a word the whole way to the hospital.

When we got there, we sat down in the waiting room. I wanted answers. I got up and walked around until I found someone sitting at a desk. She took one look at me and groaned. I’m sure I was a sight. Busted lip, blood on my shirt which was mostly Tyler’s, and a lip ring.

“Yes?” She said while she finished painting her nails.

“I’m here for Johanna Satterly and Reese Johnson.”

“Relation?” She said while concentrating on her pinkie nail.

“Johanna is my mom and Reese is staying with us right now.”

“They are back there but there is already someone back there with them. Only one person can be back there.”

“Are they alright?”

She looked up at me. “Do I look like a doctor?”

Garrett grabbed my shoulders and moved me away from the desk before I went postal on the lady.

“Dad is in the waiting room.”

I picked up my pace.

When we reached dad he had a disheveled appearance and his eyes were red. My heart constricted in my chest. Was I even breathing?

Garrett grabbed my arm for support.

“They’re fine. Thank God,” dad breathed out.

Garrett and I both let out the breath we were holding.

Dad sat down and I’m glad he did. I wasn’t sure he would be able to stay standing much longer. “They’re getting some tests run just to make sure everything is alright. They’re lucky, boys. Reese especially. She took the hardest hit since the truck hit her side.”

My heart did that constricting thing again.

“I need a cigarette.” I went outside but on my way I stopped by to pay a quick visit to the bitchy lady at her desk. She wasn’t there. I found her nail polish, opened it, and dumped it all over her desk. I walked away satisfied and went to the smoking area behind the hospital.

 

As I smoked I pulled out my phone. I had several text messages from a few of my cousins and Jude.

I didn’t text any of my family back. Garrett would be the good Samaritan that would do that. I did text Jude back, though.

 

Me: Fine. Both of them.

 

Jude: Good.

 

He texted back almost immediately.

 

Unknown Number: Whatcha doing?

 

I looked at the number and didn’t know it.

 

Me: Who is this?

 

Reese: Reese

 

Me: Wow. We must be official now. We’re texting. This is what couples do right?

 

Reese: Some do. Of course friends text as well. Turn around.

 

I took a hit off my cigarette and smiled down at my phone. I looked over my shoulder and saw my princess all bruised up standing behind me.

“You shouldn’t sneak up on people like that.”

“Sorry. I’ll wear a bell next time,” she said as she wrapped an arm around her waist.

I put my cigarette out and walked over to her. “Come here,” I whispered and held my arms open to her. She moved into my arms.

I held her tight. “You okay, Princess?”

“Sore, but okay. I’m a little high right now though,” she said as she buried her face against my chest.

I laughed. “On?”

“I don’t know. They gave me a shot for the pain. You smell good,” she said softly.

“I smell good? I don’t smell like a big ash tray?”

“I smell that, but I also smell you.” She looked up at me. “We should go. Your mom was getting released.” Her eyes looked heavy.

“I bet dad is getting her out to the truck. We’ll go find Garrett. He has to take me to go get my truck from the gas station.”

We started to walk. “And I shouldn’t go back in the hospital. I made a secretary mad.”

“If it was that mean lady it’s okay.” She scrunched her eyebrows. “We can walk around.”

“The one who looked like a cross dresser?”

She nodded. “She’s not nice,” she slurred.

I laughed. “Let’s get you to the truck.”

 

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

 

REESE

 

Four days after the wreck, and I still hurt. And the stupid meds the therapist gave me don’t work. They just made me feel blah. I looked out the window as the snow fell. I put my head against the window. I can’t sleep. I haven’t slept in two days. I slipped on a hoodie and silently headed to Havock’s room. I knew this was a bad idea, but I wanted sleep. He’d help me sleep. I knew it.

I quietly opened the door. “Havock?”

He was sitting at his desk and closed a notebook when he heard me.

“Sorry. I can leave.”

He stood and walked over to me. “No. It’s fine. What are you doing up?”

“I can’t sleep.”

“I can’t either.”

He walked back over to his desk and opened the drawer. He stuck the notebook in it and closed it.

He turned and leaned against his desk. “So, you came in here because?” This was the first time I was in his room. It was messy just like I imagined it would be.

I chewed on my lip. “I thought maybe…” I shrugged.

“Maybe what?”

“Well, I thought you would be asleep so I was just going to crawl in bed with you. You help me sleep,” I said as I played with my hair nervously. “I’ll just go.”

He stripped down to his boxers, turned off his light, and climbed in his bed. “Okay, let’s try this again.” He picked his head up to look at me. “Do I need to pretend to be asleep so you’ll get over here?”

I smiled and walked over to the bed. I crawled in and laid down next to him.

He wrapped his arm around my waist and the side of my shirt was showing my skin a little. Of course he noticed and started running his fingertips up and down my bare skin.

I sighed a little and closed my eyes. I liked being in his arms. I felt safe here. Of course, as he touched my bare skin other feelings were surfacing.

“Reese?”

“Hmm?”

“Can I ask you something without you being offended?”

“You can try.”

He laughed. He wasn’t a guy that cared if he was offensive or not, but I appreciated that he at least tried a little with me.

“Have you ever been with a guy?”

“No. I have been literally locked in my house for the past nine and half years,” I said with a smile. I turned so I faced him. “Why do you ask?”

“So, I knew to lie to you if you ever asked me if I had been with another girl.”

“Lying is bad. It always comes back to haunt you,” I said as I moved closer and touched his face.

“Do you want to know or is it something we are to never talk about?”

I thought about it for a moment. “I’d prefer not to know. I’m not an idiot, but I believe in, ignorance is bliss.”

“Are you mine, Reese?” he asked so sweetly that I wasn’t sure it was him. I knew he was capable of being sweet, sort of, but his voice was filled with so much emotion I didn’t recognize it.

“Yes. As long as you’ll have me.”

He touched my lips as he bit his. He was thinking. Lost in thoughts I wished I could hear. He brought his lips to mine and kissed me so carefully and so perfectly like he was taking in everything about our first kiss, writing it down in his brain, so he’d never forget what it felt like.

My hand cupped his cheek as I moved even closer to him. I needed to be close to him. My eyes closed on their own, and feelings I’d didn’t know I was capable of erupted in me.

He moved to his back and pulled me on top of him. I felt his hand slide up my shorts as he continued to kiss me. One hand rubbed my neck, the other my upper thigh. The only thing that was going stop us from going all the way was me.

“We’re in your parent’s house,” I whispered as he kissed my neck, and I ran my hands up his shirt. Yeah, my discipline sucked.

He didn’t stop. He pulled my shorts down and used his foot to slide them down my legs and off my feet. He then rolled me over on my back and moved my arms above my head. He slid my shirt over my head and brought his lips to my shoulder then my chest as he unhooked my bra.

There was a light knock on his door. “Havock? It’s Garrett. You awake?”

Havock rolled off of me and I jumped out of bed. I pulled my shorts and shirt on quickly. I kissed Havock one more time then opened the window and climbed out. After, I closed the window I walked along the roof to my window. I climbed in and shut the window just as I heard Havock open the door. I heard whispered talking.

I sighed in annoyance. I pulled out my art book and drew. I drew Havock. All of Havock. Every detail I’ve remembered since that towel fell in the hallway. I chuckled as I remembered it.

I looked at the time and noticed it was two on Christmas morning. Havock’s family was going to be coming today. All of them. I don’t know if I want this. What if they don’t like me?

I continued to draw for another two hours. I looked out the window and saw it was snowing hard. I sighed and put my art book away. I laid down and tried to sleep.

 

~~~

 

I woke up with a start when my door flew open. I blinked as I saw Garrett and Havock there. “What?” I asked confused.

“It’s Christmas morning!” Garrett smiled. “Get up sleepy head!”

“We’ll be down in a minute,” Havock said to Garrett. Garrett hesitated before leaving my room.

Havock shut my door and climbed on top of me before I could sit up.

“What are you doing?” I asked as I laughed.

“Coming to tell my princess Merry Christmas.” He kissed my neck then my lips. “So, Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas, Havock,” I whispered softly back. I smiled against his lips. “We should head down.”

“You should brush your hair first,” he teased. “It looks like you were up to no good last night.” He climbed off me and walked to the door. “See you in a minute.” He walked out.

I brushed my hair and teeth. I then put on a pair of comfortable sweats and headed down stairs. I smiled at everyone as I came into the kitchen.

“Merry Christmas!” I said as I took the glass of orange juice Garrett handed me.

“Thanks.”

I didn’t see Havock anywhere. When Johanna and Rick weren’t looking he pointed out the window. Smoking. Of course.

“You should talk him into quitting. Mom’s been trying since he was thirteen,” Garrett said quietly.

“I’ll try,” I said as I put some of my curls behind my ears.

“Is he being nice to you?” he asked but I couldn’t answer because Johanna and Rick came over.

I left the kitchen and headed into the living room. The tree was surrounded by presents. Dad, being the mayor, he was always gone celebrating on Christmas. It had always been me. I liked this.

“Be back.” I ran upstairs grabbed my art book I didn’t mind others looking at and hurried back downstairs. I then drew the scene before me.

Johanna opened the front door. “Havock, come in. We’re ready for presents.”

Havock came in and shed his jacket that was covered in snow. He kicked off his shoes and came over and sat right next to me on the couch. Too close.

I drew hoping Johanna didn’t notice. Garrett came over and plopped on the other side of me.

Garrett took the book and pencil and set it on the floor. “Present time.”

Garrett and Havock got up and started helping their parents pass out gifts. A pile was made for each of us.

“I have presents?” I asked excitedly.

“Of course you do! You’re family now. I consider you a daughter and the boys have a sister.”

Havock started coughing to cover up laughter.

Real smooth.

“Honey, you should really quit smoking.” Johanna said as she handed him the last present under the tree.

I laughed then.

Havock didn’t say anything as he put the small box on my lap. He purposefully put it up high on my thigh and smiled when I blushed.

He then took a seat in the floor resting his back on the couch.

I played with the bow on the box. “Do I open it now or wait?” I asked quietly.

“Now,” Rick smiled.

Everyone started opening their presents. I opened the box and gasped as I saw the charm bracelet with a crown charm on it.

“Thank you,” I whispered to him. It was beautiful and perfect.

Havock smiled up at me from the floor. “Welcome,” he whispered back.

I put it on then opened the gift from Garrett. It was a gift card for hobby lobby. I smiled. “Thank you.” I whispered to him.

“You going to take me to get art supplies now?”

“Whenever you want.”

“Watch it now,” Havock mumbled without looking up at us. I laughed and nudged Havock with my foot in his ribs. He grunted and kept opening his presents. I saw a pile of old records.

“What’s up with the records?” I asked.

“Come up to my room later and I’ll show you.” Havock grinned.

I opened the rest of my gifts and couldn’t believe what I got from Rick and Johanna. I got books, clothes, and art supplies. I also got a straightener and make up. “Thank you guys so much,” I said with a bright smile.

“There’s one more thing!” Johanna said as she clapped her hands. “Rick, go get it please.”

Rick went out the backdoor and Johanna followed. While they were gone Havock got up and stole a quick kiss.

“I’m in here,” Garret groaned.

“Don’t care,” Havock said in a sing song voice to Garrett. He kissed me again then sat back down when he heard the backdoor open.

I laughed and shoved Havock’s shoulder. “They got me enough,” I said.

Their parents walked in with a little yellow lab puppy with a giant red bow wrapped around its neck. Johanna set it down and it ran over to me.

I gasped and picked it up. Tears filled my eyes. “Really?!” I squealed.

“As long as you potty train it,” Rick teased.

Johanna laughed. “Yes, really, sweetie.”

“I can do that,” I said with a watery laugh. I wiped my tears then petted my new baby. “Thank you so much.”

“You’re welcome. Alright, boys. Help me clean up all this paper so we can have breakfast.”

Garrett petted the puppy before standing to help.

I petted and played with the puppy once the boys cleaned up the paper. After a while he curled up in my lap and went to sleep. I looked at Havock as he came back into the living room.

I smiled brightly at him as he sat on the floor next to me. I nudged him with my shoulder. “So, when will your family be here?”

“In a few hours. Garrett is picking up some from the airport after lunch.”

“I really love my gift. Thank you, Havock,” I said in a way I wanted to earlier. With my eyes locked on his.

“I only had to give up buying ten packs of cigarettes to get it. Damn, you must be special or something.”

I laughed. “Well, now that I know that remind me to thank you properly later,” I whispered. I then said something to him in French. Quietly.

“What the hell?” He said with a grin.

“Are you trying to impress me, Princess?”

I shrugged. “Not really. Just having fun saying stuff you don’t understand.” I smiled brightly.

“How do you know I didn’t understand it?”

I blushed bright red. “Because we’d be upstairs right now.” I cleared my throat and turned even redder.

He laughed. “Now I gotta know what you said.”

I shook my head. “Later.”

“So, what are you gonna name him?” he asked as he petted the puppy.

“I don’t know. Any ideas?”

“Bon Scott, lead vocalist in ACDC.” He laughed when I scrunched my nose. “The rest of my suggestions you won’t like either then.”

I laughed. “It took me days to name Charlie. Dad finally told me I needed to name him because he wanted to know what to yell when he peed in the floor.” I chuckled at the memory then suddenly pain filled me. I’m here happy and dad is still missing. What kind of daughter did that make me? My smile and laughter faded.

“Breakfast!” Johanna yelled from the kitchen.

My mind jerked back to the here and now. “So Scott. I like that,” I said as I tried not to have a break down.

Havock noticed something was wrong but it was like he couldn’t find the words to comfort me, so he didn’t even try. He nodded then helped me stand.

I kissed his cheek. “Thank you,” I whispered. Him not trying to say meaningless words helped me pull it together. I looked at Scott as he yawned and followed after me pulling on my pant leg.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

 

HAVOCK

 

After lunch I got in a short nap before everyone got to the house. I didn’t sleep much last night, which I was completely okay with. Having my hands all over my princess was more than worth it, and I’d never sleep again if it meant being that close to her every night. I sat up and ran my hand through my hair. I went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and looked at myself in the mirror. I still had that drunken sleepy look, so I splashed cold water on my face. I wiped my face on the towel then walked out of the bathroom. I could hear laughter downstairs and knew some of my family had already arrived. I felt bad for Reese. I’m sure they were all surrounding her and making her feel awkward. I was hoping I would be up before they all swarmed her.

I went downstairs and to the kitchen which was the obvious hang out spot at the moment. The local family had brought tons of food over and this was the only thing I liked about these gatherings. Mom smiled at me then went back to talking to Uncle Rob. I looked around for Reese and laughed when I saw her backed in a corner holding Scott while she nodded and smiled at two of my aunts.

I walked over and smiled. “Hey, there’s my two favorite aunts.” I kissed both their cheeks and looked at Reese. “They bring the best food.”

Aunt Jenn laughed and squeezed me tight with a big kiss on the cheek. “How’s my troublesome nephew? Causing trouble”

“You know it,” I laughed.

Aunt Jenn ruffled my hair. “Good boy. If your momma was dumb enough to name you Havock, you oughta’ make her pay for it!”

“Oh, I am. Don’t you worry for one second, Aunt Jenn.”

Aunt Alyson laughed and gave me a sideways hug. “Boy you better stop growing or they’re gonna have to make a special house for you! Please tell me you plan on playing basketball like your father did?”

“No ma’am. I tend to stay as far away from sports as possible.”

“Ah, you must be one of them hipsters. I forgot. Too cool for school,” Aunt Alyson teased. We all laughed.

I looked at Reese. “See you two met Reese.”

“She’s lovely!” They both squealed at the same time. I nodded and took a good look at her. Was there a good reason she looked so good? Not that I’m complaining but I have male cousins that are on their way who will notice her low cut shirt and skin tight jeans. And why is her hair all straight and fixed? And make up? Then it hit me. Mom was all over this situation. She was so dead. The door opened, and I could hear squeals and laughter. I knew everyone else must have just walked in. I gave Reese one last look then turned around. I had the immediate urge to stand in front of her with my arms sprawled out to the sides to block her. Nothing to see here, she’s mine, carry on with your lives. Then mom just had to come over. She grabbed Reese’s arm and guided her to the center of everyone. Did anyone else think it was hot in here? Or was it just me? Oh that was just me and my anger making my blood boil when I saw the way Matt and Aiden looked at Reese. Mom introduced her to everyone and they all “oohed and ahhhed” like she was a pretty new car.

Matt walked over and patted my shoulder. “Hey, your sister is nice.” As in nice he meant hot, and I wanted to punch him in the face.

“She’s not my sister,” I mumbled. I needed a cigarette. But mom would bitch, and I didn’t feel like hearing it after everyone left.

“Dinner time!” Mom announced and everyone congregated to the dining room.

We have a small table in the kitchen but the dining room has a large table we use for holidays. I sat down and watched while everyone else took a seat. I wasn’t particularly happy when Matt and Aiden sat on either side of Reese. I saw Garrett watching me from the corner of his eye. He knew me too well. It was only a matter of time before I claimed what was mine and I’d fight tooth and nail to let everyone know she belonged to me.

As dinner went on, everyone talked and got caught up on everything since the last time we saw them. I found a new love for ranch potatoes smothered in bacon and cheese. They were amazing and the only thing semi-distracting me from my two cousins making googley eyes at my girl. I was just about to enjoy another bite when Aiden turned his attention to me. He was pre-med at Harvard and thought of himself as a god of brilliance.

“So, Havock. You haven’t said a word.”

“The potatoes seem to have shut me up.” I honestly didn’t mean for my tone to be so asshole like that time, but it did. I wasn’t apologizing, though.

“They are good. I hear Garrett got accepted to Florida State on a football scholarship. Have you decided what you’re going to do? It’s about time to decide, don’t ya think?”

“I have decided.” I wished everyone would stop looking at me and enjoy their food.

“And what have you decided?” he asked with a condescending grin. He knew I was smart as hell and it intimidated him. It always had. No one could out do Aiden, he’d make sure of that.

“That I’m undecided.” I smirked and shoved my mouth full of potatoes before I could say anything else. He laughed and so did everyone else. Everyone else except my princess. By the look on her face, she knew he was pushing my buttons.

Aiden nodded. “Right. And that will get you where in life?”

“Anywhere I want.”

“You have to do something for money.”

“I’ve saved plenty of money to have time to decide. I want to travel for a while. Get to know this big world we live in before I decide what I want to be when I grow up.”

“What on earth could you have done to save up enough money?” He laughed.

Does anyone else at this table besides Reese see what he’s doing right now? She’s too nice to shut him up. And if I shut him up it won’t be good. Someone could make him stop any second now. I looked at his mom, Aunt Jenn. I turned my eyes back to him.

“Since I was old enough to use a lawn mower I mowed yards in the summer and when I was old enough to actually have a real job, I started work at Bill’s Auto Repair. I help him out in the summers. Mom won’t let me work during school or I would. I’ve saved every penny. Do the math. Or do you need a calculator?”

Everyone’s faces turned serious. My last comment was the kicker. Mom looked at me in shock. If there was ever a time I was on my best behavior it was at these stupid gatherings to make her happy.

“Havock! Apologize to your cousin!”

“Seriously?! Am I the only one who noticed what he was doing?! He was pushing my buttons on purpose!” He did that all the time. Just not in front of everyone.

“Havock, apologize! He was not! He was just asking you questions like normal people do!” Mom was fuming.

“Like normal people do?” I laughed coldly. Sorry mom, but shits about to get real in here. “He was taunting me because he knows that I could take his pre-med bullshit and dance circles around it! He wants to be the big success in the family and I’ve always intimidated him! He wants to see me fail!” And that was the truth. In everything he has always tried to be better than me. Trip me up if he saw I was doing something better than he was. It was so damn annoying. Everyone’s eyes were huge. Maybe I went overboard, but just before he decided to play 100 questions, I saw him flirting with Reese and it sent me over the edge. Everyone started awkwardly playing with their food, but dad and mom kept their eyes on me. I knew I wasn’t welcomed at my own dinner table, so I stood and walked outside. I couldn’t stand to be in there any longer.

It wasn’t long and I felt a tug on my pant leg. I looked down and saw Scott. “Hey,” Reese said from the other side of me. She looked at the snow falling down and smiled. “I’ve never seen so much snow here. It’s really coming down.” She laughed a little as Scott started trying to catch snow. He’d barked at it, wagged his tail, and then bit at it.

I pulled a cigarette from my pocket and lit it. “Go inside, Reese.”

Her smile faded. She walked off after Scott. She scooped him up and went back inside. I heard the door close but then it opened again. Garrett came and sat next to me on the tailgate of my truck.

“Plan on staying out here all night?”

I flicked the ashes off my cigarette. “Do you plan on being annoying the rest of the night?”

“Could you be serious long enough to have real conversation?”

“I can try, but I’m not promising anything.”

“I knew what he was doing but you can’t let shit get to you like that. He wanted to piss you off. You should’ve just let it roll off your shoulders and not let him get to you like that.”

“I should do a lot of things…”

I finished my cigarette and stood. “Are we done here?”

“Whatever,” Garrett said then followed me inside.

I would’ve sat down by Reese but my two cousins were firmly planted beside her.

I rolled my eyes and got a chair from the dining room and pulled it into the living room.

“Time for our family game of charades!” Mom said excitedly.

I should’ve stayed outside. Aiden tried to pet Scott but Scott snipped at his fingers and snuggled closer to Reese. Reese smirked then petted his head.

“Alright, time to break up into teams.” Mom gave everyone a few minutes to split up.

“What’s charades?” Reese asked Matt.

I looked at Reese. “It’s dumb. You don’t have to play if you don’t want to.”

Mom cut her eyes at me then looked at Reese. “Don’t listen to him. It’s so much fun!”

Mom then filled her in on how to play.

I was going to refuse to play, but I’ve caused enough trouble tonight. Mom put Reese in a group with Matt and Aiden. She held Scott and looked uncomfortable. I watched as Matt and Aiden’s eyes flicked to her chest.

Garrett pulled up a chair next to me and nudged me with his elbow. “They leave tomorrow,” he whispered.

“Plenty of time to kill them in their sleep.” I didn’t whisper.

Mom looked at Garrett and I. “You boys get to go first.”

Reese chewed on her lip to keep from laughing. She looked pale. Really pale.

Mom brought the bowl over with the different things written on folded up paper. Garrett pulled a paper out and looked at it then showed it to me. I was worried about Reese. She probably hadn’t checked her sugar with everything going on, but I knew if she needed to she would. Maybe she was just nervous. Reese excused herself from the room for a moment. She whispered to mom then went up stairs with Scott. I wanted to follow but that would be suspicious. If something was wrong mom would’ve followed her.

Garrett and I discussed how we’d act out being a janitor. I talked Garrett into being the toilet bowl. I, all of a sudden, loved this game when he knelt on the floor and made his arms in a circle out in front of him. He looked like an idiot, especially when he stuck out his tongue as the flush handle. I took off my shoe to be the toilet scrubber and pretended to scrub around his arms.

Our team was shouting out answers when dad finally got it.

“A cleaner person…I mean…oh shoot…JANITOR!”

Reese had come back down and she smiled and laughed at us. I sat down, thankful my turn was over, but more thankful she looked a lot better. Her eyes locked on mine a second and she smiled.

Mom wrote down a point for our team on her notepad then went over to Reeese. “You want to go for our team? You and Aiden?”

I bit my tongue. Reese looked nervous and looked like she wanted to say no but everyone agreed so she did it. She looked at me and walked over. She handed me Scott then walked back over to Aiden.

Scott snuggled against me but watched Reese’s every move. When Aiden touched her he growled a little. Well, a puppy growl.

“Good boy,” I whispered as I pet him.

“Smart dog,” Garrett said with a smile.

Scott licked mine and Garrett’s hands then watched Reese who looked uncomfortable.

Aiden kept leaning in close to whisper in her ear and look down her shirt. Was, I the only one who noticed? Reese kept taking a step back or leaning away. I handed Scott to Garrett. Garrett was kicking my foot with his, but I didn’t turn to look at him. I kept my eyes on Aiden and Reese. They started acting, Reese tentatively laid down. Her eyes closed. Aiden pretended to drink something then smirked mischievously. He then kissed Reese. Reese’s eyes popped open in shock then she pushed him away. By the look on her face that had not been part of the plan. Aiden laughed and took a bow. As he started to come back up. I was standing eye to eye with him.

He laughed a little. “What the hell cuz?”

“Havock?” Mom said suspiciously.

I shoved him hard so he fell back onto the couch. The room feel silent. I held out my hand to help Reese stand up. Reese took it and got up. Her cheeks were bright red. I didn’t let go of her hand as I led her to the chair I was sitting in on the other side of the room.

“Kitchen, NOW!” Mom yelled as she pointed at me.

I followed her in.

“What the hell is wrong with you?!” she snapped as she started cleaning up the kitchen. I don’t think she knew she was cleaning, she was just so mad she had to do something to keep her hands from strangling me.

“Did you not see the look on her face?! He made her uncomfortable!” And she’s mine. Not his. Not Garrett’s. Not Matt’s or any other guys. She is mine.

“She would’ve been fine, Havock! Aiden is a good boy and was just having fun!”

Yeah, having fun with my Princess’s lips. Emphasis on the word MY.

“She looked upset so I handled it.”

Mom slammed a pot down in the sink and started the water. Keeping her back to me, she said, “Just go to your room and stay there until everyone is gone.”

If I had to go to my room I wasn’t going without making it worth it. I walked into the living room, walked over to Aiden who was standing talking to his mom and tapped his shoulder.

When he turned around I punched him in the jaw, smiled, bowed like he did after his little performance, and then went upstairs. I slammed my door shut and locked it. I liked to be alone anyway. This wasn’t a punishment. Mom was doing me a favor.

 

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

 

REESE

 

I finished up my drawings of Christmas day and looked at the clock. I looked over at Scott who was asleep. I pulled out my second art book and drew in it. I drew Havock punching Aiden in the face. I chuckled. My Havock. Such a mess. I’d just finished when my door opened slowly. I looked up and saw Havock.

“Hey,” I whispered. I slowly hid my secret art book. No one was supposed to see that one. “I missed you,” I whispered as he walked over to me.

He didn’t say a word. He crawled into my bed and started kissing my neck. I pushed my book further under my pillow.

“You do realize there are a lot of people in your house,” I whispered as I ran my hand through his hair. I cupped his face and pulled his face to mine. He kissed me as his hand that wasn’t supporting him from putting all his weight on me ran up my shirt. I moaned and moved my hands around his neck.

I heard footsteps coming up the stairs but that didn’t stop him. His hand found its way to the top of my sweats and he started to pull them down. I heard the footsteps outside my door and I knew he did too but he didn’t care.

There was a knock.

“I know you’re in there and if you don’t want to die I suggest you get out,” Garrett’s voice sounded from the other side of the door.

Havock still didn’t stop. He pulled my sweats completely off then brought his lips back to mine. The door slung open. Garrett came over, pulled Havock off me and out of the room.

“You are risking too much!” I heard Garrett yell at him.

I then heard Havock’s door slam.

“Is everything okay up there?”

I heard Mrs. Johanna say from the bottom of the stairs.

“It’s fine. Goodnight, mom,” Garrett said then I heard his door shut.

I closed my eyes and a tear fell. I put my sweatpants back on. I petted Scott as he fell back to sleep.

A few minutes later there was a light tap on the door. “It’s me,” I heard Garrett whisper.

I wiped the tear and opened the door. “Hey.”

He came in and shut the door quietly behind him. “You two are gonna have to be more careful,” he scolded me like I was a child.

“Not only is this shit hard as hell for me to watch but if mom finds out you will be taken from us.”

I nodded as another tear fell.

“I’m telling you because I know you’re smart. There’s no reason for me to explain this to my brother because he doesn’t give a shit about anything but himself.”

“Okay. I’m sorry,” I said as I wiped the tear.

“I just don’t get how you are even attracted to him. He’s an asshole, Reese. That will never change.”

“He’s not an asshole. Well, not to me.” I shrugged. “We both need to go to bed.” I gave him a small smile.

“Mom already made it clear after the incident of her finding him in bed with you in Colorado that we aren’t supposed to be in each others rooms. She’s already suspicious and his little episode with Aiden didn’t help. I suggest you two be extra careful because I’m done covering it up. You two are on our own.” Garrett left the room.

I went to my drawer and pulled out my sleeping medicine. I haven’t taken any in a few days. I don’t like how it makes me feel, but maybe if I get some sleep, I’ll think better. I took out a pill and took it. I then crawled in bed. I closed my eyes and fell asleep.

 

~~~

 

I stood alone in a dark room, and I was scared. “Havock?” I called out as I tried to find my way out of the darkened room.

I heard someone laugh and I felt ill.

“Havock!” I screamed as the laughter got louder. I covered my ears and pushed myself against a wall.

I slide down the wall and covered my ears.

The laughter got louder and louder. I screamed for Havock.

I felt hands on my face and heard Havock saying my name. I could hear Johanna’s voice too.

It’s just a dream. I tried telling myself but I couldn’t wake up. The laughter just grew and grew. I cried as I kept my ears covered. I wanted out. I felt arms wrap around me and I knew they were Havock’s. He was telling me to wake up.

I kept trying to wake up and finally I jerked out of the dream. Tears poured out of my eyes and down my face.

Havock wiped them with the bottom of his shirt as he whispered to me it was okay over and over. When I looked around the room I saw Mr. Rick, Mrs. Johanna and Garrett watching.

“Oh dear,” Mrs. Johanna said as she looked at us.

“Garrett, let’s go get Reese some water.”

That was code for, leave Johanna here to talk to us alone.

Johanna came over and sat near us on the bed.

“Are you alright?” she asked me calmly.

I tried to nod yes, but I couldn’t. I shook my head no as I continued to cry.

“What’s going on between you two?” she asked Havock.

“Let me calm her down then we’ll talk. Please?”

“Okay. I’ll give you ten minutes then I’m coming back in.”

Havock nodded and continued to hold me and wipe my tears as they fell. His mom left, but left the door open.

“Focus on me and this room. This is what’s real. I don’t know what kind of dream you had, but you’re awake now and safe. Nothing can hurt you here.”

I nodded and buried my face against his chest. “I’m sorry.”

“Why?”

My body continued to shake. “We’re in trouble. It’s my fault.”

His mom walked back in. “Alright, what’s going on with you two?” That was less than ten minutes. Havock kissed my head and moved to the edge of my bed. Scott crawled into my lap.

“We like each other. A lot.” Havock smiled a little.

“How much is a lot?” she asked with her hands on her hips.

“Like a bunch,” Havock said.

She smacked her forehead and shook her head. “No, no, no, no.”

I petted Scott’s head. “He makes me happy,” I whispered. I was still trying to get over my dream.

“Havock?” she said in shock.

“Gee, thanks mom,” he scoffed.

Mom sighed. “Sorry, you’re just so…ugh, never mind. Okay, so here’s the plan.”

She started to pace as she thought. “I refuse to lose you. You’re doing well here and moving you would be detrimental to the progress you’ve made.” She stopped pacing.

“Tomorrow the boys will move your room downstairs to where my office is. I don’t know why I had you up here with them in the first place. Stupid, stupid me.”

She thought some more. “You two haven’t had sex, right? Please tell me you haven’t!”

“No,” Havock said right away. She starred at her son, unconvinced. “Mom, it’s me. Havock. I’m not one to sugar coat or lie about things.”

She nodded. “Birth control,” she said as she looked at me. “That’s not saying it’s okay to be with my son or any guy for that matter but it would be best if you were on it to be safe.”

I nodded. “All right,” I whispered. My face was bright red.

Havock had a huge grin on his face. His mom grabbed one of my books and chunked it at his head.

“Now isn’t the time, Havock!”

He laughed and picked up my book from the floor.

“I will let you two date or whatever you kids call it these days but it is top secret, do you understand me?”

We both nodded.

She shook her head. “I don’t think you do! This is serious! If anyone finds out it could hurt my career as a social worker and Reese would be taken from our home.”

“Then why are you letting us date?” Havock asked confused.

“Because if I don’t then you will do it behind my back and that would be worse.”

“Seems logical.” Havock smiled.

“If you two go anywhere together bring friends. I mean Jude. Or do you have more friends?”

Havock shook his head.

“At school she’s like a sister to you, nothing more. Got it?”

He nodded.

“Good. Now go to bed.”

Havock smiled at me then left the room.

Johanna looked at me. “Why Havock?”

“He makes me happy. And he’s sweet to me. I know that’s a shocker to everyone but he makes me want to actually live not just go through the motions.”

“He is very unstable with his decisions, Reese. Next week he may not want anything to do with you. As much as I’d like to think he treated girls well, I know that’s far from the truth. He’s never had girlfriends, just girls he’s slept with. I’m not telling you this to scare you, wait no, yes I am. If he hurts you please don’t let that pull you away from the rest of us.” Tears filled her eyes.

“I won’t. You guys are my family.” I looked down at my hands. “My only family. I know Havock has issues, but he does make me happy.”

She nodded and wiped her eyes. “Well, you’re his first actual girlfriend. That shows there’s hope for him.” She laughed. “And I’m glad it’s you.”

I smiled. “You do realize that a lot of what he does is a show? He knows he’s different than all of you, and I don’t think he knows how to fit in.” I shrugged. “I don’t know if that’s actually true, but that’s what it seems like.”

“He’s just Havock. Not one to please anyone but himself. He’s so smart, Reese. I’m talking, the school wanted him taking high school courses in the sixth grade. He has all this potential and opportunities knocking at his door but he has no desire for any of it. Instead he mingles with drugs, sex with random girls, and sleeping. He hangs out with Jude but not as often as I’d like for him too. You should see the stacks of letters from colleges begging for him. He started getting them in the eighth grade. I’ve put him in counseling and he got kicked out. I’ve tried everything, but he just is who he is.”

I nodded. “I like who he is. He sees things in a way I never could. And he doesn’t mind telling me what’s on his mind. I like that. He doesn’t baby me. I really need that.”

She smiled and yawned. “I hope he is always good to you. I wouldn’t mind having you as a daughter in law and it would be nice knowing he had you to keep him in line.” She started to leave but turned around. “If you can get him to stop smoking then you know its true love.”

She laughed then left the room.

 

~~~

I grabbed my art books as the boys grabbed my bed. I put my books in my bag then picked up Scott who was trying to get Havock’s attention.

When we made it downstairs Johanna was just hanging up the phone.

“Reese, can I talk to you for a second?”

I nodded and followed her into the kitchen.

She handed me a granola bar.

She was always making sure I was eating right.

“They want to hold a candle memorial service downtown by the courthouse on New Year’s Eve night for the passing of your mother and the disappearance of your father. They wanted your approval before they announced it. Is that alright with you?”

“It’s fine,” I said as I petted Scott and avoided her eyes.

“They want you to speak.”

I shook my head. “Everyone in town thinks I’m a murderer and I hid my father away. I don’t want too,” I said my voice shook a little.

“I’ll tell them you said no. I have to go into work for a few hours today and Rick goes back too. Can I trust you and the boys to behave?”

“Yes, Ma’am.” I looked at her.

“I’ve already talked with Havock but he just rolled his eyes. I’m counting on you to be the one with self-control.”

“I will be. We’ll be good. I promise.”

“Maybe you should just come with me to the office…”

“Mom, we’ll be fine,” Havock said as he walked in. He opened the fridge and grabbed a coke.

 

“Maybe he or Garrett can drop me off at Hobby Lobby. I need some new art supplies.”

“That coming from you, son, isn’t reassuring at all.”

She looked at me. “That’s a really good idea.”

Havock popped the lid on his coke and sucked off the top as it fizzed over. He never answered her.

Garrett came in and kissed Johanna on the cheek. “I’ll watch them. Have a good day.”

She grabbed her keys and purse, kissed us all on our cheeks, then left.

“So who wants to take me to Hobby Lobby?” I asked as I put Scott on the floor so he could go over to Havock. He jumped up and yipped, trying to get his attention.

CHAPTER NINETEEN

HAVOCK

It was late when we all got home. We took Reese to hobby lobby where she spent way too long. I ended up smoking half a pack of cigarettes outside the front of the store by the time she got done. We then all went out to eat and laughed over pizza. I walked in and went straight up to my room to grab a movie to watch with Reese. When I opened my door it made a beeping sound. I closed it, scrunched my eyebrows, and then opened it again. I cursed when it beeped again.

“What’s that noise?” Reese asked from behind me.

It sounded like I was entering a department store, except louder. I shut it again and did it again.

“No they didn’t,” I said through a clenched jaw.

“Oh, yes we did!” Dad laughed from the bottom of the stairs.

Mom walked up with a huge smile on her face.

“Every time that door opens I will hear it. Your dad will here it. Garrett will hear it. Even Reese. That is so you know that we all know when you leave that room.”

“What if I get up in the middle of the night and have to pee? Or get something to drink?”

She smiled. “Then you’ll know to bring your happy self right on back to your room.”

I opened it again and looked around the door for a wire or something I could destroy when she wasn’t looking.

“I dare you to tamper with it, son. Next it will be one of those tracking things they put on convicts ankles.”

Reese picked up Scott who was trying to get her attention. She chewed on her bottom lip then mouthed window without anyone but me seeing. She then headed downstairs.

Had Reese seen what it looks like outside my window? There are bushes, no trees. I’d have to jump pretty far to get down there. But I’d do it for her.

Mom smiled proudly. “If she has nightmares I will go make sure she’s alright and if she needs you, I will come get you.”

“Can I go get a movie now to watch with her or is that not okay?”

Mom nodded and I walked into my room.

After I got the movie, I opened my door again. Beeeeep. I closed it and grinned. I continued to open and close it just to annoy mom and dad.

“Havock!” Dad yelled from downstairs.

I laughed and did it one more time.

“Are you sure you’re almost eighteen?!” Dad yelled.

I answered by opening the door and making it beep again.

He started to say something else when I opened it to interrupt what he was saying.

And I did it again.

And again.

He came stomping up the stairs.

STOP!”

I laughed. “Didn’t completely think that plan through, did ya dad?” I patted his back and went down to Reese’s room to watch the movie.

She smiled at me and shook her head. “You’re a mess.” She chuckled and went back to drawing in her art book.

I set the movie on her dresser and walked over resting my hands on her desk as I looked over her to see what she was drawing. She tried to close her book quickly, but I stopped her.

I moved her hair and kissed her neck. “What is it?”

“I don’t let anyone see in this one,” she whispered quietly.

“Good thing I’m not just anyone.” I held my hand out for her to hand me the book.

She blushed and handed it to me. I opened the book and had to sit when I made it to the fifth page.

She groaned and put her head in her hands. “Maybe you should give that back.”

It was me. In the hall when she ran into me and made my towel fall. I raised both eyebrows. All of me. I smiled a little and turned to the next page. I grinned wider when I saw me and her making out in her bed. I turned the page and burst out laughing when I saw me punching Aiden. I turned back to the page of me and her. That was my favorite.

“So movie,” she said as she jumped up and went to put it in.

I grabbed the back of her shirt then got my arm around her waist and pulled her into my lap. Her face was bright red. I moved her legs so they were straddling my lap then kissed her.

“I want to show you something. I’ll be right back.” I picked her up with her legs still straddled around my waist then laid her back on the bed. I kissed her one more time before leaving her room.

I hurried upstairs and went in my room. I grabbed my book of poems and things I’ve written and started to leave then stopped. What was I doing? No one knows about this. Was I really ready to share this with her? This was every thought, every tear, every happy and dark moment of my life. Who I am, my desires, my dreams, fantasies, everything is in these pages. I couldn’t show her this. Not yet. Maybe not ever. It was too personal. I stuck it back in my drawer and locked it. I went back to her room empty handed.

“I couldn’t find it,” I lied. “Maybe I’ll show you later.”

She smiled at me. “Movie time then.”

I adjusted her pillows until I was comfortable then she laid her head on my chest.

This was the first time that I’ve ever just watched a movie with a girl. And I was okay with it.

Scott started barking from the floor and he tried to jump up on the bed but couldn’t. She sat up so I could help him up. Once he was up there, he snuggled in-between us.

“He may be a tad spoiled already,” She said as she chuckled. She kissed me softly then moved him so she could snuggle next to me, then she put him on her lap.

I laughed. I needed a cigarette bad, but I didn’t want to ruin what we had going here. My fingers started drumming on her back.

She tilted her head back and looked at me. She scrunched her eyebrows together then looked at Scott.

“I think Scott needs to go to the bathroom. You want to go outside with me?” she asked as she gave me a small smile.

“Yeah.” I got up and walked with her to get our jackets. Mom smiled at us from the couch as we walked out.

I felt in my jacket pocket, but I was out. I went to my truck and searched my glove department. Dammit. I pulled out my phone to text Jude. He didn’t live far.

 

Me: Got any cigarettes?

Jude: Yup

Me: On my way.

I got my keys from my pocket and looked at Reese. “Want to ride with me to Jude’s?”

She nodded and picked up Scott. “Can Scott come or do I need to take him back in?”

“He can come.”

I sent a text to mom to let her know where I was going then got in the truck. Reese hopped in and smiled at me.

It only took two right turns to be at Jude’s. I pulled up, and he was already waiting outside.

“I’ll be eighteen in two months and won’t have to worry about being out and not having anyone to take me to get them anymore. Thanks, man.” I lit one right away. Jude looked in the truck.

“Reese is with you?”

“Shit. Dude, I forgot to tell you.”

“Tell me what?”

I motioned for Reese to get out of the truck.

She got out with Scott in her arms and walked over to us.

“Hey Jude,” she said with a small smile.

I put my arm around her.

Jude smiled. “Is this okay?”

I exhaled. “As long as no one finds out.”

Reese’s smile faded. “I’d get taken out of the house if anyone found out.”

I took my arm off her and put a little bit of space between us. But I didn’t like it so I scooted close to her again and put my arm around her. Keeping this a secret was going to suck.

Jude lit his own cigarette and offered Reese one.

“No, thank you,” she said sweetly.

He nodded and stuck the pack in his pocket.

Reese’s phone dinged. She took it out and looked at it. She scrunched her eyebrows and tried to put her phone away quickly.

“What are you hiding?” I asked as I reached for her phone.

“I think your mom gave my number away,” she said quietly. “I didn’t want you getting angry.” She shrugged. “I’m not planning on answering.”

I looked at her phone and saw Aiden’s number. I went into her settings and blocked his number from her phone. I handed it back to her.

Headlights appeared at the end of the road and Jude laughed as he flicked ashes.

“You two may want to leave.”

Reese put her phone in her pocket and looked at me. “What’s wrong?”

Jude laughed again when the car stopped in front of his house.

Oh shit. Selena. I stepped away from Reese because she was the mouth of the school. She’d have it out before morning that we were together.

She walked up to me and slapped me on the ass then walked over to Jude and put her mouth to his as she stuck her hands down his pants.

Jude moved her away, but not too far away. “Selena, this is Reese.”

Selena smiled kindly then pulled a joint from her pocket and lit it. She walked up to Reese and blew the smoke right in her face.

“Did you come to join us?” she asked as she made rings with the smoke.

“No. We were just leaving. See you guys at school Monday,” I said quickly.

Reese walked with me to the truck. Or she started to, but Selena stopped her.

“It’s more fun when there’s more of us.”

I felt like I was gonna die. Right then and there.

“Not interested,” Reese said firmly.

Selena shrugged then jumped on Jude’s back and he carried her inside the house.

His parents weren’t home. Obviously.

We got in the truck and I didn’t know what to say.

Reese looked out the window. She looked lost.

Do I apologize? Or what? I’m not used to feeling guilty.

“Talk to me.”

“Am I just a good time? Like Selena?” she asked quietly.

I laughed. I couldn’t help it. We haven’t even had sex yet. I was getting impatient but I’d wait for her.

“No.”

“Okay,” she said as she moved to the middle and put her head on my shoulder. She held Scott and petted him.

My phone rang.

“Yes, Mom?”

“You didn’t say Reese would be going with you. Home! NOW!”

“Already on our way.”

Mom hung up. We pulled up to the house and I stopped her before she could get out. “What happened back there…” I locked my eyes on hers. It was the only thing that would give me the push to say the next sentence. “I’m sorry you had to see that.”

She kissed me softly. “If I was a meaner person I would have punched her when she hit your ass. Just saying.”

I had to keep my mind from thinking about how hot it would’ve been to see her punch the shit out of her. I smiled and kissed her. “I love you.” Wait. What. No. Oh holy shit. No. “Ummm…” I hurried out of the truck and into the house.

Mom stopped me. “I made cookies. You’re favorite.”

I just wanted to get up to my room.

Mom stepped in front of me again when I tried to step around her. “Where’s Reese?”

“Letting Scott pee.”

I finally was able to get around her and up to my room. I opened the door, cursed when it beeped and cursed when I shut it. I hit my head against my door over and over.

CHAPTER TWENTY

REESE

I sat in the snow as I watched Scott play. I probably should go inside, but I didn’t. I laid back on the snow and laughed when Scott jumped on my stomach. I petted him as he barked at me. He jumped off and went back to playing. Havock had told me he loved me, but I knew he wasn’t happy about it. I closed my eyes and groaned. I sat up.

“Come on, Scott, we need to go inside,” I called.

Scott bounded towards me and followed me inside. I wiped his paws then picked him up. We headed to my room. I put him down grabbed some sweats then took a shower. After a long hot shower I came out. I walked into my room and saw Garrett.

“Hey,” I said as I sat down at the desk chair.

“What’s up?” I asked as I looked at him.

“Trouble in paradise?”

I shrugged. “No clue,” I said as I started to draw.

“I heard you met Selena.”

“Actually, I had met her before. At school,” I said as I broke my pencil on accident. “Damn,” I said as I put my stuff down.

Garrett walked over and leaned against my desk facing me. “Why him? Why not me?”

Dammit, I had hoped we were past this. “I like you Garrett, but as a friend. My best friend. I do care for you but not in a romantic way. Havock makes me happy and like I want to live.” I shook my head. “I don’t know how to explain it. I’m sorry Garrett.” Garrett reminded me too much of my father. He was the type that would shelter me. Which maybe wasn’t a bad thing, but I liked that Havock let me think for myself.

“Has Havock told you what he wanted to do after school?”

“Yeah. I heard it at dinner the other night.”

Garret laughed coldly. “He has enough money saved up for one plane ticket across seas, maybe enough for two weeks at a hotel and that’s not including meals. He plans on opening a map, closing his eyes, and wherever his finger lands that’s where he’s going first. Then he’s going to work wherever he can get a job to make enough money to go to the next place his finger lands.”

“And what’s wrong with that? He wants to see places.”

“What if you two get serious enough that he wants you to go with him? You’d be happy with that life?”

“Yes.” And that was the honest truth. “I’ve lived in a gilded cage for ten and half years. I hadn’t even ever been shopping. But I don’t think you have to worry about us getting serious,” I mumbled. If the look of sickness on Havock’s face when I love you had slipped out is any indication. I looked down at my hands. “It doesn’t matter. I should end things now. Once dad is found I’ll be back in a house.” I wanted my dad alive. I wanted him back, but I didn’t want to be locked away again.

“If he’s stable you will be. I already asked mom what would happen if he was found. She said that it would take months, if ever, after the trauma to be well enough to care for you.”

“I want him alive. I miss him. I want him to be okay.”

“And I’m sure he is.”

I’m not so sure. I cleared my throat. “I need to finish this,” I said giving him a small smile.

He leaned down and kissed my forehead. “It will always be more than friends for me,” he said then left the room.

I laid back on my bed trying to sleep. It wasn’t happening. I wiped the tears that steadily fell. Scott whined and licked my face.

I petted him. I looked at my window when I heard a thud. I got up and walked over to it. My feet were cold, and I hadn’t put on any pants tonight. So my legs felt like ice. I covered my mouth to keep from yelling when I saw a face. I only calmed when I realized it was Havock. “What are you doing?” I whispered as I opened the window.

He had grass and snow in his hair.

“Apparently, I fell out my window and rolled all the way to yours.”

“Are you okay?” I asked as I helped him in.

“Yeah.” He ran his hands through his hair to get all the stuff out of it then wiped his hands off on his jeans. I picked a piece of bush out of his hair that he missed. I wiped some dirt off his cheek. “We’re gonna have to come up with a better plan.”

I moved back and sat on my bed. “Havock, maybe we shouldn’t be together,” I said as I looked at my hands, tears filled my eyes. “Once dad’s back I’ll be locked away in some house somewhere.” I looked at him and smiled softly. “And you have a world to see.”

He nodded and waited to see if I had more to say. “Are you done talking bullshit now?”

My eyes locked on his, and I nodded.

He came closer so our bodies were touching and touched the side of my face. “Reese Johnson, I fell out of my window and rolled through the wet snow and probably some of Scott’s shit to tell you that I am crazy stupid in love with you.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. Only Havock would say I love you like that. Another tear fell down my face. “You looked sick earlier when you said it.”

“Because I was scared shitless.”

I stood up and ran my hands through his hair then kissed him with all the love I felt for him. “I’m crazy stupid in love with you too,” I whispered against his lips.

“I’m dreading school on Monday. How am I gonna pretend like you’re just some foster kid staying with my family?”

“I guess we just stay away from each other,” I said as I locked my eyes on him. “Now, how about we get you out of those wet clothes before you get pneumonia.”

He faked a cough. “We better hurry,” he said pitifully.

I helped him get his hoodie and shirt off. I then kissed his chest. I looked into his eyes, stood on my tiptoes, wrapped my arms around his neck, and kissed him. Hungrily. I wanted him. I needed him. Sometimes it felt like being with him was how I breathed. How I stayed afloat.

He didn’t stop to ask my permission and it wasn’t like I expected him to. He needed me just as much as I needed him. We were desperate for one another. He picked me up and my legs wrapped around his waist. He backed me against a wall to support me while he slipped my shirt off. He kissed my lips, my ear, my neck…anywhere there was bare skin, his lips found it. He then moved us to the bed and laid me back, pulling off my sweats, never once hesitating.

Scott made a noise from next to us. I looked at Havock as he put a pillow on the floor and put Scott on it. I cupped the back of Havock’s neck. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

I kissed him desperately and everything else faded into touches and feelings.

 

~~~

 

I survived the lighting ceremony although it intensified my nightmares for a few days. I spent many nights in Havock’s arms with the door open and Mr. Rick and Mrs. Johanna’s door open as well. It was getting to where I couldn’t sleep without him. Although, I’d never admit that to him. He had a big enough head as it was. Our nights of love and passion had remained our secrets which was good or there would be an alarm on his window as well. I looked at the school and groaned. “I don’t want to go back in there.”

“Ah, suck it up kid. It’s not so bad. Just a bunch of nobody’s going nowhere,” Jude said as he finished his cigarette. His car is broke down. Again.

Havock laughed. “We call them the Riverbend nobody’s.”

Jude nodded. “And we are the Riverbend Misfits. Would’ve made a great band name, dude.”

“Yeah, well you don’t have people bumping into you, spilling soda on you, hitting you, or calling you names all day long, do you?” I said quietly.

“They’re too scared to because they know that the two of us would fight back. Maybe you should fight back,” Jude said matter-of-factly.

“Don’t listen to him.” Havock laughed.

“Oh, shut up. You were just saying the other day that you wished she would grow a backbone.”

Havock laughed. “I did say that.”

I rolled my eyes at them. “Okay, if I’m going to get beat up out here I’ll go inside.” I shoved Havock’s shoulder to get him to move.

“You could just crawl into my lap.”

Jude laughed and got out.

Havock raised a brow. “Seriously. I know of some great back roads.”

I laughed and smiled. “I’d love that, but my counselor would be calling your mom. I have a meeting after first period.”

He kissed me not caring we were in the student parking lot where everyone was arriving for school. “Fine. Meet me out back where I smoke after lunch.”

“All right,” I said as I grabbed my bag and headed to class.

Three hours later I was sitting in the principal’s office with ice on my eye.

I groaned when my therapist walked in with Mrs. Johanna, and the counselor. “I didn’t hit back,” I said as I tried to figure out why I was in trouble. I straightened when I saw two men come up behind them. Something wasn’t right. “What’s going on?” I asked as I looked at Mrs. Johanna. She looked upset. Very upset. Was it dad? Did they find him? I wondered as they motioned for me to stand up. Johanna started crying and begging for the men not to take me.

The counselor knelt down in front of me. “We heard and Mrs. Johanna admitted that you and Havock are seeing each other. You understand why it’s not okay to live with them, right?”

“Please! I watch them. They won’t do anything wrong! I promise!” Johanna all but screamed.

Tears filled my eyes. “No! I don’t want to leave! Please don’t make me!” I yelled as I stood up and moved away from them all.

“Mrs. Satterly, unless you want this reported to your boss I suggest you calm down.”

Johanna covered her face as she cried. The men grabbed my arms.

“At least let her say goodbye!” Johanna begged. “Call Havock from class. He needs to know. Please!”

The counselor tried to calm Mrs. Johanna down as the men took me from her office.

“No!” I screamed as they took me away. “Please! Let me at least say goodbye!” I yelled and cried, but it did no good. I was pushed inside a black car. They sat on either side of me to keep me from bolting. I rubbed my arms as I cried. “Please!” They remained silent.

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

HAVOCK

Reese wasn’t in the class we have together, but I figured her meeting with the counselor just lasted longer than usual. I headed out the back door and pulled my cigarettes from my bag. I lit it and leaned against the wall while I waited for her.

Five minutes passed. Okay.

Ten minutes. Started getting worried.

Ten and a half minutes I was texting her.

Me: Where r u?

Reese: Tak

That’s all I got back.

Tak? Weird. Maybe her phone died. She was bad about keeping it charged.

I went inside and started walking to all the places I thought she might be. A teacher passing by told me to go to lunch, but I ignored him. After giving up, I went to the cafeteria. Maybe she was there waiting for me.

I walked in and everyone stopped what they were doing. Even the lunch ladies serving food stopped. I looked around for Garrett. I didn’t see him either. Jude? No where. When I turned around to leave the cafeteria I saw Garrett and Jude hurrying towards me.

“Wha-” Is all I got out before they both grabbed my arms and pulled me out of the cafeteria.

“Havock, they took her. Mom just called and there’s nothing she can do. She wants us to come home.”

“Who took her?”

“The state,” Garrett said as we walked to the office to sign out. I didn’t remember telling Jude bye. I just remembered giving him my keys for him to drive my truck to work since his car was broke down.

I signed my name and walked out with Garrett.

I stopped walking. “NO!” I yelled when reality hit me.

“Get in the truck. We need to go home!”

“But she’s not there!” I yelled as tears filled my eyes.

“I know, but mom needs us. Let’s go. Please, Havock. I know this hard but-”

“No you don’t know! You have no idea how hard this is! She can’t…” I couldn’t talk anymore. I was hurting. Worse than I have ever hurt in my life. Reese was the best thing for me. I wasn’t changing who I was for her, but I was becoming better. She’s everything I ever needed. She couldn’t be gone.

“Havock…”

“NO!” I yelled again. My hands shook and my feet started moving. I didn’t know where they were taking me and didn’t really care. I needed her. Not anyone else. Her and only her.

~~~

I woke up in her bed. I remembered walking into the front yard and staring at the house but not walking in. It took dad and Garrett both to make me walk inside. They suggested that I go up to my room and rest, but I went to her room instead to lay down. I gripped her sheets in my hands. They smelled like her. My eyes watered as I sat up. I heard Scott as he whined from the floor.

I picked him up and pet him. I could tell he needed to go outside. “Alright, let’s go.” He followed me into the entry way as I put on my jacket. When I opened the door he bolted out and took off towards the street. I ran after him yelling for him to stop.

There was no doubt he was looking for Reese.

I heard my truck coming. Jude was bringing it back. Scott ran out in front of him, and I did too. He blared the horn and slammed the breaks just before he hit us both.

He jumped out of the truck. “WHAT THE HELL, MAN?!”

I picked up Scott. “It…I…it’s…he…” I couldn’t get anything out that made sense. I had risked my life for a dog. A damn dog. Her dog.

I knew that it was stupid, but I also knew I’d do it again if I had to.

“Get in the truck,” Jude said as he cursed. I scared the shit out of him.

Scott licked me then whined. His little nose sniffed around the seat. He hopped into the floor board and found a shirt that was Reese’s. He laid on it and whined. I laid my head back against the seat.

“What am I gonna do, Jude? I feel like my insides are ripping apart.”

“What happened to the Havock that didn’t give a shit about anything? I think I liked him better. He wasn’t so damn whiny.”

I knew he was teasing. He was trying to make me laugh, but it wasn’t working.

“He met a princess.”

Jude burst out laughing. “Oh my gosh, who the hell are you?!”

“I’m being serious, Jude!” I yelled as I punched the inside of the door.

He pulled up to his house. “Are you gonna be able to drive yourself home or should I call Garrett to come follow you home?”

“I can drive myself.”

“And you’ll go straight home?”

“I’m undecided.”

“Do you even know where she is?” he asked as he grabbed his backpack.

I didn’t say anything. He was right. I could drive around forever looking but even if I did find her, I wouldn’t be able to see her. I heard mom explaining this to Garrett and dad while I fell asleep in her bed. They wouldn’t tell mom where she was. They wouldn’t even tell her if they made sure to call the doctor to get her prescriptions sent over to wherever they were using. They wouldn’t even let her drop off her things. We were to have no contact with her. And it was because of me.

“I’ll go straight home,” I said as I looked at Jude.

“Alright, text me when you get there.”

I nodded and scooted over to the driver seat. I drove home with the music blaring.

I looked down at Scott who was staring up at me.

When I got to the house, I got out and held the door for Scott. He followed me in. Mom started crying when she saw me and wrapped me in a hug.

“I didn’t know where you went!”

“Mom, calm down. I’m here. I took Scott out then had to take Jude home.”

“But I didn’t know that! I thought you were leaving me too!” she cried.

I held mom in my arms as she cried. “Havock, I loved her like she was my own. I failed her. I failed her mother. I just wanted to keep her safe in our home.”

“It’s my fault. I shouldn’t have gotten involved with her.”

Mom looked up at me. “We can’t change that. We can just hope and pray that they will take care of her. I’m so scared for her, Havock. She’s not stable and now they’ve taken her from the only place she ever really felt any love.”

My mind drifted to making love to her. It was like nothing I had ever experienced. It wasn’t just sex. It was so real, flawless, and unmatchable. I needed to feel her against my body again. I needed to be able to whisper things that only she would ever hear. I needed to hold her and tell her I love her. Tears filled my eyes.

“I plan on packing her things and taking them to the police station. They’ll be able to bring them to her. Maybe,” mom said.

No. No! Her drawing book. “I’ll pack them up,” I said quickly.

Mom nodded and wiped a tear that fell down my cheek. “Are you crying, Havock?”

“I love her, mom.” My voice sounded so broken. So unfamiliar.

Mom smiled. “We’ll get through this.”

She walked into the kitchen where dad was. I walked to Reese’s room and found her drawing book in-between her mattresses. I wanted to flip through the pages to relive the moments she documented so perfectly, but I couldn’t yet. It was too hard because I knew that I may never experience those moments with her again.

I felt like if I did look at it, I was giving up hope and saying goodbye. I didn’t need closure. I needed her. I had to hang onto the hope that when she did get to leave that place one day, she’d come back to me.

3 MONTHS LATER. . .

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

 

REESE

 

I only saw the shadows before. But now they speak to me. They whisper dark things that keep my mind in a constant war. I had hoped that I was just seeing things because I was nuts, but they were becoming all too real.

I felt the need to cover my ears when they started up again. But it didn’t matter. They were in my head and getting louder.

 

Just a little further. It won’t hurt long. It’s the only way to get peace. To forget everything you felt for him. You don’t deserve happiness. You’re losing your mind. Do you want to bring the rest of the world down with you? No one will miss you.

 

Their chilling whispers filled my small room. It was impossible to escape them. I looked at the large rusty nail that I had pulled from the wall. The nail that I had pressed to my vein only moments ago.

I shook my head and tried to ignore my constant tormentors. I went back to working on my hole behind the dresser.

These crazy ass people I was staying with had me locked in a room with bars on the window. Of course, I had stabbed one of them with a butter knife, so, they had a reason to keep me locked up. I wanted to get to Havock, and dammit, I was going to get to him. He was the only one who could save me.

I heard someone coming down the hall towards my locked door. I quickly cleaned my mess up and moved the dresser in front of the hole. I sat down on the bed and glared at the door as it opened. I placed the nail under my thigh. Troy and Brad, the ones keeping me prisoner, came in.

“We need to talk to you,” Troy said as he took a hesitant step towards me. He knew better than to get too close. I smirked a little at the memory of me stabbing him with a butter knife. There was a little hint of guilt, but not much.

I clenched my jaw. “Let me out.”

“We can’t do that,” he said as calmly as possible.

Brad glared at me. “You know what?! We’re trying to help you, brat!” he snapped.

“You’re not helping me! You took me away from my home!” I yelled out as I stood and tried to figure out a way past them. Oh hell, may as well try. I charged towards them, attempting to get by. It was stupid considering I was only five-five and these guys were well past six feet. Troy grabbed me to keep me from leaving, and as his arms wrapped around me, I kicked and fought, clawing and scratching. It wasn’t doing any good, and anger filled me.

“LET ME GO!” I screamed out. I felt my pulse quicken.  Something was fizzing inside me. It was like I was soda in a can being shaken violently.  The hairs on my arms stood up as this strange energy soared through every inch of my body, but more prominent at the tips of my fingers.  I had to look to make sure I wasn’t sticking my finger in an electrical socket.

The next thing I knew Brad was flying across the room as if he was attached to invisible strings. His body was yanked across the floor as he fought to try to find something to grab a hold of to stop him. He hit the wall with a thud, putting a large dent in it. As he slid down the wall, behind me, Troy yelled out in pain and let go of me. I turned around to see red angry whelps appearing on his arms.

I used this freakin’ weird moment to my advantage. I took off. I didn’t question what had just happened. I got out of the house and ran towards the back field. I spotted the tree line and forced my legs to carry me faster through the woods.

Limbs slapped my arms and face. I hadn’t made it very far when I was tackled to the ground. I yelled out as pain radiated through my side.

“You have to listen!” Troy yelled as he held tight to me. “If you don’t get control, you’re really going to hurt someone! You’ll hurt Havock!” He warned, using the only name that would make me listen.

I stopped struggling against him. “Wha…what are you talking about?” I asked quietly. “I would never hurt Havock.”

“You may not mean to, but you could and will if you don’t listen to us.” Troy’s grip on me loosened. “We want to help you. This is why we took you away. Why we used you and Havock being together as a reason to get you away from the Satterly’s before something really bad happened.”

“I just want to go home,” I said as I got some of my fire back in me. I started fighting again, but Troy held firm. “Just let me go,” I begged as a tear slide down my cheek. I was in pain, physically and emotionally. I needed Havock. I needed my family.

“You can’t go home. This is your new home,” he mumbled something under his breath, and suddenly, I began to feel drowsy. “Sleep. We’ll talk when you’re awake,” he whispered then I fell fast asleep.

 

~~~

I woke up to my left wrist handcuffed to headboard of the bed. I sat up and tugged at it, but it was locked tight.

“We need to talk,” Troy said as he looked down at his arms. He rubbed the red whelps then leaned forward in his chair. “You’re very interesting.”

“No, she’s a brat, and we should have let them kill her,” Brad said from the corner.

Troy cut his eyes at him. “She’s just a scared kid who doesn’t know anything. She doesn’t know about her mother or why her father was taken.”

I glared at them. “What are you talking about?” I asked through the pain. My ribs were killing me.

“Don’t get an attitude with us,” Brad snapped. “You threw me against a wall and hurt Troy!”

I flinched and shook my head. “I didn’t do that! Are you insane?!” Great, I was locked in a house with bat-shit crazy people.

“You’re a witch, Reese,” Troy said calmly.

I started laughing coldly. “You are insane,” I stated as I tugged on the cuffs.

Brad held his hand out and a blue flame appeared in it.

I was speechless. I blinked a few times praying, hoping I was seeing things. “How…What?” I asked in confusion.

“We’re witches and so are you,” Troy said calmly. “Your mother was a witch as well.”

I stared at them both in shock. That couldn’t be happening. And definitely couldn’t be true. I looked at my hand that was shaking. I was going crazy. Witches weren’t real. The blue flame wasn’t real and neither were those shadows I kept seeing. It was all just a hallucination that wouldn’t stop. A mental break down. Yeah, that was logical.

“We can help you learn how to control your powers. And with time, you’ll be able to leave here, but you can’t until you learn control,” Troy said as he looked at me.

I shook my head. “This can’t be true! I don’t believe you!” I yelled as a tear fell down my cheek. I couldn’t be a witch. This was a lie. “If…if I’m a witch why didn’t dad tell me or mom? Why haven’t I been able to do anything? Why?!”

“Because we all thought that maybe you weren’t. When a witch marries a mortal sometimes their powers don’t transfer. Usually, we see a witch’s powers around three or four. You didn’t show any signs. So, we kept you in the dark. Your father was going to tell you, or was supposed to tell you, on your sixteenth birthday.” Troy rubbed the back of his neck. “But he didn’t.”

“The only reason we know you’re a witch now is because your therapist called us. She’s one of us. She told us that you’re seeing dark shadowy figures. Those only appear to witches. Humans can see them when the shadows appear to them, but they only appear when a witch is around. They’re drawn to our powers, sent by dark witches to torment us.”

Yep, that was definitely what they were doing. They were tormenting the hell out of me. They were making me feel like I was losing my mind.

“That’s why we took you. Why we brought you here. We knew that if the shadows were tracking you then it was only a matter of time before your powers fully manifested,” Brad said with a little less edge to his voice.

I tried to calm my breathing as I looked at Brad. He was older. The wrinkles near the corners of his eyes and peppered hair gave that away.

“We can teach you how to use them and teach you control,” Troy said as he held up the key to the handcuffs. His smile was soft and kind. Like Brad, his dark hair was starting to gray. Maybe these guys were really trying to help me. Well, at least Troy was. Brad was mean and abusive. “But you can’t tell anyone about this. We don’t tell others outside our group. It isn’t safe for us or them. Our kind barely escaped the last witch hunts. We wouldn’t survive another one.”

I looked at the key. I didn’t know how to process this. Any of it. But I wanted out and maybe if I played along, I could catch them off guard again. “What happened to my mom and dad?”

“Your mom was a powerful witch but not powerful enough. She was a Guardian of The Light. We all make choices. Some choose the light some the dark. She was a powerful witch that was supposed to keep the balance. Keep the dark ones in check. However, she wasn’t powerful enough to keep herself from going mad. Dark witches can project shadows. They can’t harm us, but they can play on our mind and torment us. They tormented your mother until she went mad. One night, she couldn’t take it anymore. She walked to the river and drowned herself. We,” Brad looked at Troy, “tried to get there in time to save her, but we were too late. And as for your father, we’re not sure exactly who has him.”

“So…why am I seeing the shadows? What do they want from me?” I asked my voice shook a little.

“I believe they think you’re the next Guardian. If you are then they will do everything they can to get you on their side. Whichever side has the guardian has the advantage,” Troy said as he unlocked my cuffs.

“Where’s my dad?” I asked as I rubbed my wrist.

Brad and Troy exchanged glances. “Like I said not really for sure. We think the other side has him. If they do then I’m sure they’ll try to use him against you. That’s why we brought you here. It’s time you learned about your powers and how to handle them. Without that none of us stand a chance. If a guardian doesn’t rise up soon then a war will rage between our two sides. A war that will not only affect our kind but the mortals as well.”

I looked at my hands. “Why can’t I learn from you and still stay with Havock?” I asked quietly.

“Because that boy is a distraction and you don’t need that. Plus, no one can know. It’s time for you to give him up and grow up,” Brad said as he crossed his arms in front of his chest.

I looked at him with all the anger and fear I was feeling. “I’ll never give him up, and I swear to you I’m getting out of here and going to him.”

Troy looked taken aback. “But what about what we told you? What we need you to do-” he stopped when I stood.

“I have lost everyone I love. I won’t lose Havock too! If you want me to stay away from him you’ll have to keep me locked up forever!”

Brad stared daggers at me. “Oh, we will. Until we know we can trust you, you’ll be staying right here.”

They both started to leave. “Your training begins tomorrow whether you like it or not. Get some rest.”

They both walked out of the room locking the door with me inside. I waited a few moments then went over to the dresser. I pushed it to the side then cursed as I saw my hole had been fixed and re-enforced.

“Dammit!” I cursed then went back over to the bed.

I looked at my arms as I laid back on the bed and pulled up my shirt to look at my side that was hurting. My side was covered with bruises. I pulled my shirt back down and played with my charm bracelet. It was the only thing I had left of Havock. I closed my eyes and thought about him. His kiss. . .his touch. I smiled softly as tears fell down my cheeks as I remembered us making love. I needed him. I heard whispers and opened my eyes to see the shadows there. I rolled over onto my good side and covered my head with the pillows. I hummed loudly trying to drown them out. Havock was the only one who could keep the shadows away. The only one that ever made me feel safe.

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

 

HAVOCK

 

“You’re going to school,” my mom demanded as she yanked my covers off.

I pulled the covers back on. “No.”

“You’ve missed six days straight already! If you miss any more you won’t-”

I sat up. “Graduate?! Who gives a shit?”

“Look, we are all sad! We all miss her! But that doesn’t give you the right to give up on the other things that matter! And you watch how you speak to me!”

I scoffed. “Nothing matters without her.” I cut my eyes at mom.

“Havock, you’re going even if Garrett and your father have to escort you there themselves. I can even call the police to take you.”

I laughed coldly. “I’d like to see them try.”

She sighed heavily and walked out.

I laid back down and covered up.

Ten minutes later, I was being yanked out of bed, a shirt thrown over my head and dad and Garrett demanding I put on the jeans dad was holding in his hands.

I cursed as I stood and put my jeans on over my boxers. I put my arms in my shirt and ran my fingers through my hair.

“Truck. NOW!” Dad yelled.

“Can I at least brush my teeth?” I glared at him.

“You have five minutes.”

 

~~~

 

School sucked as usual. I actually started liking it but only because my Princess was there. Now she was gone. I looked at Garrett as he spoke during lunch, but I wasn’t really listening. I wanted to punch him in the throat for being a part of making me come to school. Hell, I wanted to punch everyone in the throat just because.

I saw the counselor walk into the cafeteria. She had to know where Reese was. They would have to tell her and if they put her in another school, she’d have to fax records.

I got up and walked over to her.

She filled her cup with sweet tea and pretended like she didn’t see me. She went to walk around me, but I moved to block her.

“I can’t say anything that you want to hear. Don’t waste your time.” She took a drink.

“Is she okay? Just tell me that. Please,” I begged. I was desperate. I had to know she was being taken care.

She looked around at the silent cafeteria. Teachers and students were watching us. She looked at me again. “You’re causing a scene, Satterly. Go finish your lunch.”

She moved around me and walked out.

I let out an aggravated sigh. I followed her to her office.

She went to shut the door, but I stopped it with my shoe before it could close.

“Havock, I can’t. I will lose my job.”

“Is she okay? That’s all I want to know.” I was on the verge of tears and a fit of rage. My hands were shaking as I gripped the straps of my backpack.

“As far as I know, she’s fine.”

“As far as you know?! That’s not good enough!” I shouted.

She sat down and opened her laptop. “Yes. As far as I know. I haven’t heard she wasn’t, and the last I checked, she was fine.” I could tell by the determined look she wore she wasn’t breaking.

I caught a glimpse of a sticky note stuck to her computer screen that had Reese Johnson written on it. The rest was too small to read from where I was standing, but I’d find a way to get my hands on it. I walked out and slammed her door. I didn’t care that I knocked the wreath that hung on the door.

The bell rang, and Jude stopped me before I went to class.

“Come with me.” He started walking towards the exit, and I followed.

We walked out to his car. “Glad to see it’s running today,” I teased. I tried to smile but couldn’t. Why the hell did everything have to remind me of her?

He got in, and so did I.

“Where are we going?” I asked as I adjusted the seat so it was leaning back more.

He drove with his knee while he rolled a joint. “Anywhere but the damn school. You needed outta’ there, and it’s my duty as a best friend to see that you were freed from that shit hole of torment.”

“I’d thank you, but I’m in a shitty mood.”

He laughed.

I watched as he drove perfectly while paying close attention to the joint. “You’re way too good at that, man.”

He smirked. “I plan on adding it to my resume.”

He handed it to me to finish rolling. I rolled it tight and licked it to seal it. I lit it and handed it to him.

He took a long hit off it. He handed it to me. I stared at it. I knew I shouldn’t, but I wanted to. I needed to ease the pain. I took a long hit then handed it back to him. I laid my head back against the seat.

“I want to find her, Jude. But I don’t know where to look. I’ve went everywhere they could have possibly taken her. I just don’t know what else to do at this point.”

He parked down a dirt road near the river. We got out and walked to the Riverbank. We sat down and finished the joint.

He threw a stick in the water. “I want to help you, but I don’t know how. This is seriously some screwed up shit.”

I watched the stick get carried down river. When it left my sight, I looked at Jude. “This is why I never wanted a serious relationship.”

“Are you gonna keep tryin’ to find her? Or move on?”

I looked away from him. The high was kicking in, and I felt more relaxed.

I shrugged. “I want to, but I have no clue where she is. I keep burning gas and wasting time. It feels like I’m going in circles. I can’t live life like this. It’s exhausting.”

Moving on would be difficult but would be the logical thing to do. I’d graduate and so would she. We could find each other again if it were meant to be. That’s right. I was chalking it up to fate. I mean, what other options did I have at this point?

“So, what are you saying?” He leaned against a tree. His eyes were sagging and red.

Tears fell down my cheeks, not a rarity these days. “I guess I’m moving on. Just gonna leave it up to fate and start enjoying life again. This depressed shit is getting old.” I wiped the tears before he could notice them.

“So, Havock’s back?”

“Unfortunately.” I smiled with great difficulty. I knew I’d have to push Reese Johnson as far from my mind as possible, and it scared me. But it scared me more to hurt as bad as I had been. It felt like my insides were being ripped to shreds by razor blades. I woke up in the middle of the night, every night, gasping for air. I couldn’t do it anymore. I had to become numb to her if I wanted to be able to function.

 

~~~

 

I moved off Autumn, breathless. “Holy shit,” I said as I looked at her.

She laughed as she covered her face with her hand. “Damn, I’m glad you’re back and over Reese.”

Mood killer. I sat up and started getting dressed. I felt her hand on my back and froze.

“Sorry, I know you said her name was off limits. It slipped.”

I shrugged her hand away. I didn’t answer her. That name stabbed at my heart like a knife. I couldn’t stand to hear it. It killed me. I grabbed my cell phone and my keys off her nightstand.

“Your parents will be home soon. I should go.”

“Don’t be mad at me. Please.”

I didn’t look at her, I just left.

It was one thing for someone to mention her on accident, like at dinner when mom and dad were talking and her name came up. But right after I had sex with someone, that shit was unacceptable. I already felt like an ass for doing it, I didn’t need to be kicked to the ground and spit on by mention of her name.

I looked at the time as I drove. I needed something, but I didn’t know what. I didn’t need to go home, that’s for sure. I drove to my favorite bootlegger. Jamison and coke would help. Maybe.

I swung by Jude’s to pick him up after I got what would hopefully numb my brain so I could rest. He was waiting out by the curb, smoking a cigarette. I stopped and he got in.

“Where we goin’?” He asked as he looked at the brown paper sack.

“What I’m good at these days.” I smiled. “To kill brain cells.”

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

 

REESE

 

I flew across the room and crashed into a table. I grabbed my ribs and gasped for air. Brad was getting way too much enjoyment out of causing me pain.

“You have to fight back! Stop me from throwing you across the room, you idiot!” Brad yelled.

“I CAN’T!” I screamed. Why didn’t he understand? He wasn’t helping me! I, honestly, don’t even think he was trying to help me. I think he was just enjoying taking all his frustration out on me. Asshole.

I nursed my ribs as I stood. I leaned heavily against the wall. I had sweat pouring down my face. I was tired, and I hurt. I just wanted out of this mad house.

“I think we should take a break,” Troy said as he pinched his nose.

Brad grabbed my arm roughly and led me to my room. Once in he shut the door and locked it. I went over to the hole in the wall and started working on it. Thankfully, they didn’t seal it again. I hurt everywhere, but I didn’t care. I wanted out.

“Finally,” I said as I made the hole through to the other side. I kept working on it until it was big enough for me to go through. I wiggled through then looked around. It was clear. I hobbled to the door and looked out. No one was around. I quietly made my way out the door and down the stairs. I was almost to the front door when I was grabbed from behind.

“Troy!” Brad yelled as he fought with me.

Troy hurried in then after saying some words under his breath, I started to feel drowsy and everything went black.

 

~~~

 

I woke up in the basement. For the past two weeks, I had paced it trying to find a way out. Nothing. I pulled up the edge of my shirt and saw bruises up and down my side. I was one big bruise. Training had been difficult, and I wasn’t getting any better. Plus, Brad was an asshole who wasn’t really helping me. I think he got his kicks from beating the hell out of me.

I sat on the edge of my bed and pulled out a drawing notebook Troy was nice enough to get me. I drew Havock’s face. A tear fell down my cheek as I finished it and started another one.

I heard yelling from upstairs, and I heard a woman’s voice.

The basement door flew open and a red headed woman walked down the stairs. She looked at me then hurried over. She turned my face and saw the bruises that I had gotten from being slammed into the wall.

She turned on Troy and Brad who followed her down.

“What the hell?!” she yelled

“Janet, calm down. We’ve been training her,” Troy said as he took a hesitant step back.

Janet’s vibrant green eyes narrowed and she looked back at me. “I brought dinner,” she pointed to the bag she had put down when she hurried over to me. “You need to eat, and I’ll be back down shortly,” she said softly. She then looked at the men. “We’re having a talk!” She snapped then they walked upstairs.

I ate dinner then waited for the Janet lady to come back.

After several minutes, she came back downstairs. She had a first aid kit with her. “Let me look you over.”

She started nursing my wounds. “I’m so sorry about this, Sweetie,” she said as she wrapped my ribs. She sighed. “I’m going to start helping with your training and maybe get you out of this damn basement.”

“Thank you, but what I want is out of this nightmare.” A tear fell down my cheek.

“I’ll do my best,” she said with a slight smile.

I looked at her and wondered why she looked so familiar to me. I thought about it, but just couldn’t place her.

 

~~~

 

After days, I finally started being able to use my powers. Janet was able to help me a lot more than Troy or Brad ever did. We even had started to become friends. She was four years older than me, but she was fun and nice. I found out she owned a restaurant in town, and she brought me food from it every day.

I looked at my drawing book as tears ran down my cheeks. I wanted Havock. Why couldn’t they just let me see him?

“Why don’t you write him a letter? Maybe I can get it to him,” Janet said as she looked over my shoulder at my book.

 

“They’re not going to let you give it to him,” I whispered.

She scoffed. “I’ve never done things they wanted me to do,” she whispered back then sat down beside me. “It may take me a while to get it to him, but I will get it to him.”

I nodded. Then started writing while she left me alone.

 

Dear Havock,

 

I don’t know how long it will take for you to get this but when it does get to you know it’s with all the love I feel for you.

 

A tear fell onto the page as I wrote.

 

I love you so much. I wish you were here with me. I’ve tried getting out to get to you but they keep catching me. If it wasn’t for Janet I wouldn’t even be able to get this letter to you. I don’t know what else to say Havock. I do know that I will continue to try to get back to you. I wish I could tell you where I am but they blindfolded me on the way here so I don’t know. I do know that your birthday is coming up in a few days and I wanted to tell you happy eighteenth! I want so bad to be there with you. To hold you. To kiss you. Just to be with you. I miss you. I wake up in the night screaming your name.

 

Another tear hit the page.

 

I’m sorry. I’m sure this isn’t helping. I’ll end the letter here with this. No matter how long it takes, I will make my way back to you. I swear it. I love you more than anything.

 

Love always,

 

Princess

 

After I finished the letter, I drew a picture of me and him. I then wrapped the letter carefully into it. Janet put it in her pocket then hugged me.

“It’s going to be all right. Soon you’ll get out of here. You’ll be eighteen in another month, right?”

I nodded. “I mentioned that to your dad and uncle, but they said it didn’t matter. They were going to keep me locked in here until they knew I wouldn’t go running back to Havock.” I sighed. “Which means I’m going to be stuck in here for the rest of my life.”

“No, you won’t. If I have to break you out, then I will.” She smiled reassuringly at me then left me alone.

I was always alone. I covered my ears as the shadows appeared. They began speaking to me. Tormenting me. I hated them.

 

He doesn’t want you. But we do. We can help you. Just listen to us. Give us a chance. We can help, Reese. We can help each other.

 

They’re voices blanketed me like a cold sheet of ice. There were several of them and instead of whispers, their voices became screams.

For hours I listened to them screaming at me. Cursing me. Finally, they stopped. I looked up as Troy and Brad came into the room.

“It’s time to train again,” Brad said. He had an evil glint in his eyes when he mentioned training.

I groaned and stood up. I took a deep breath then started pulling my powers. I was tired, depressed, and lonely. All of these things weighed on me, and I felt like I was never going to be happy again. I definitely wouldn’t ever be the same person again. Would Havock even look at me the same when he found out what I was? Would he still love me when he found out I was a witch?

I threw power at Brad. I always aimed for Brad. It was too weak. I was too weak. He blocked it. He sneered at me and forced some power towards me. I flew across the basement and landed with a thud onto the floor. My ribs were never going to be the same. The only thing that kept me going was the plan to escape and make it to Havock. I stood back to my feet and pulled more power. I threw it at Brad, this time with enough force to make him have to take a few steps back to block it. However, Troy used that moment to hit me with a spell that sent me into the dresser.

My life sucked.

“You have to concentrate. You will hardly ever only go up against one witch at a time! You need to be able to fight more than one person,” Troy lectured.

I rolled my eyes. “I’m not ever planning on fighting,” I stated for what seemed like the hundredth time.

“You’ll have to fight whether you like it or not,” Brad said and threw a bolt of power at me. This is how I spent the next three hours. When it was finally over, I fell into bed, exhausted. That’s when the shadows came again. They told me all the things they wanted me to do. People they wanted me to kill. I covered my ears with my pillows as I cried out for Havock. I was losing my mind and soon I wouldn’t be able to get it back.

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

 

HAVOCK

 

I stumbled to the keg and filled my cup up for the twelfth time. I was hammered. I knew I’d probably spend the rest of the night puking, but if I cared, I wouldn’t have downed my twelfth drink and filled up for my thirteenth.

Two weeks ago I decided to let her go. And to let her go, I had spent every night out-of-my-mind high or drunk.

Janzy came over and bumped my side with her hip. “Quit hogging, Loner.” She smiled.

Music was blaring. I barely heard her talking. I laughed.

“Let’s get out of here,” I said with my lips pressed against her ear.

She raised a brow. “I’m with Jackson.”

“And? Where is he then?” I bit my lip. Reese played through my mind, but I pushed her out of it. “Come on,” I put my arm around her waist and we walked out in the woods away from everyone.

“You’re drunk!” She said as she giggled. I backed her against a tree and kissed her neck, running my hands up her shirt.

“So are you,” I said as I lifted her shirt over her head.

“Reese?” she asked quietly as she tugged at my shirt.

I stopped feeling her up. “Reese who?” I looked away from Janzy.

She grabbed my face and made me look at her. “Sorry. I just-”

I was done talking. I just wanted to have sex and forget everything for a little bit. I’d deal with the guilt after. I brought my lips to hers.

Janzy paused, pulling away slightly. Her fingertips traced my tattoo on my shoulder as she bit her bottom lip. She looked in my eyes. “You’re sure?”

“Would you shut up?”

She nodded.

 

~~~

 

I woke up next to the bonfire that was a pile of ash and smoke.

I was in just my holey jeans that were unbuttoned. Greeeat. I shivered while I put on my hoodie. It was too cold to have slept half naked outside, but I was too drunk the night before to have thought anything through.

I looked around and saw Jude not too far from me, out cold. Selena was sleeping right next to him, covered with his jacket. I started to walk over to them, but stopped when I started feeling sick.

I dropped to my knees and started throwing up.

“Havock,” I heard my name whispered in Reese’s voice.

I shook my head. Now I was hearing her?! No. Absolutely not. I wouldn’t allow myself to go insane. I wiped my mouth on my sleeve and stood. I walked over to Jude. I kicked his side.

He sat up quickly. His eyes wide, he looked at me. “Shit, Dude!”

Selena opened her eyes and groaned. “We fell asleep out here?!”

“Let’s go eat at J’s. I’ll pay.” I took my keys from my pocket. Hangovers sucked, but for some reason, eating always helped, even though it was the last thing I wanted to do.

They both stood and followed me to my truck. I grabbed a clean, well, cleaner hoodie from the floorboard and changed into it. After they were both in, I drove towards town.

Selena laughed as she rubbed her eyes, making her mascara run. “Shit, guys. We haven’t partied like that in a while. It was fun.”

Images of having sex with Janzy invaded my brain. They were mixed with Reese, and I suddenly felt sick again. I pulled over on the shoulder and parked.

I hurried out and dry heaved. There was nothing left to throw up. I got back in the truck when I was done. I rested my head against the steering wheel and cursed myself over and over.

Jude and Selena remained silent.

After everything stopped spinning, I pulled back onto the road.

J’s was our favorite place to hang out after nights like last night. And I swear they put medicine in their pancakes. They could heal a hangover almost instantly.

We walked in, and all the old timers looked at us. It was tradition for men over 50 to come there for their morning coffee.

We sat in a booth and Selena laid her head on the table. “Wake me up when my pancakes get here.”

Jude laughed. “What do you want to drink?”

“Water,” she mumbled.

I ran my fingers to flatten my hair. I had gotten it cut two days ago. One less thing to remind me of my Princess running her fingers through it.

A waitress started to come over to our table, but Janet, a close friend of Garret’s, grabbed the order book and came over herself.

“Hey, Jackass, what can I get for you this morning?” she asked with a smile.

I moved my head to look at her. “Oh great, look who’s back in town. No wonder I haven’t seen much of my brother lately.” I rolled my eyes. “Pancakes. Just a big pile of them and some extra plates. I think it’s funny that you’re acting like you didn’t already know that’d be what we would order. We only have come here every morning after Friday night parties at the River for like ever.”

“Just thought maybe you three had finally grown up some and turned over a new leaf. My mistake.”

Jude laughed. “Yeah right. Two waters, please.”

“And if you don’t know what I want to drink then we can’t be friends anymore. Oh wait, we aren’t friends.”

She rolled her eyes and walked off.

It didn’t take too long, and Janet came with our order. She placed the pancakes in the middle then handed us our drinks and plates. She looked at me then my plate then walked off. I looked down and saw an edge of some paper poking out from under the plate. I looked back towards where Janet had walked to, but she was nowhere in sight.

Jude handed Selena a plate, and while he did, I took the paper. I glanced down and saw my name on it in handwriting I recognized. Reese’s.

I’m not sure exactly what I did to cause my coke to spill into my lap, but it did. I stood up and started wiping my jeans with every napkin on the table.

Jude and Selena were cracking up.

I saw I dropped the letter and picked it up quickly. I told them I’d be back and went into the restroom.

I locked the door and stared down at the letter.

How was this possible?

I opened it with shaky hands.

As I read, I started to hate myself more than I already did.

This whole fucking time I’ve been trying to forget her because the only logical and wise thing she could do was forget me too. I mean, who was I kidding? She wouldn’t come after me when she finally got to leave her mystery home. She had probably long ago figured out she was better off without me. She should’ve dated Garrett. Not me.

But this letter shattered every assumption I had about my princess. She’s been trying to get to me, and I’ve been pushing myself as far from her as possible. I looked for a date on the note but didn’t see one. Maybe the letter was old? Maybe she had given up?

I crumpled it up and threw it in the trash. She needed to move on if she hadn’t already. Everyone was right. We were stupid for falling in love. We were too young and two completely different people. I let my emotions get the best of me. I got caught up in a fairytale even though I knew happy endings didn’t exist. I was a fool and so was she.

I splashed water on my face and turned on the hand dryer to dry my pants.

When I went back out and sat down, a new cup of coke was waiting on me.

I took a drink and started fixing my plate.

Don’t think about her. Dammit, don’t do it. You’ll lose it. I shook my head and focused on the pancakes. I just kept piling them onto my plate.

“Havock,” Jude said calmly.

I picked up the syrup and poured it until it was completely empty and spilling onto the table.

“Havock!” Jude said louder.

I set down the bottle and stared at my mess.

“She’s never coming back. Tell me she’s never coming back,” I said numbly.

“She’s never coming back,” Jude said with uncertainty.

I nodded but couldn’t stop. My head kept moving as I tried to believe him. I looked like a bobble head who had lost its ever lovin’ mind. Tears filled my eyes, and I grew angrier by the second.

I reared back my hand and swung it across the table, sending everything in its path into the floor. The guilt was too much to handle. I couldn’t contain my emotions. I stood and took off out to my truck.

Garrett was driving by and when he saw me, he threw his truck in reverse then pulled into the parking lot.

“Havock!”

“Go away, Garrett,” I snapped.

I heard Janet yelling my name.

Garrett parked next to my truck and got out. “I’ve been looking for you! Mom is freaking out!”

I sighed heavily and felt for my phone with a shaky hand. It wasn’t there. “I left my phone at the River.”

“You better get home before she sends the cops looking for you. People are talking. They think you’re going crazy.”

He put his hand on my shoulder. I closed my eyes. Touching me wasn’t smart. Not at that moment. I clenched my fist and made myself refrain from punching him.

“Havock, I love you little bro. But you’ve got to stop this.”

Janet hurried over to us. “What the hell?!” she yelled at me.

I shrugged his hand away. “Stop what?! Hurting?! Tell me exactly how the hell I’m supposed to do that! And people have always talked about me! What’s new, Garrett?!” I ignored Janet.

“The drugs. The alcohol. You’re headed down a dangerous road. You’re headed down the same road that put you in rehab before.”

“I enjoy drugs and alcohol. I should’ve never quit. I should have never of let Reese Johnson into my life. She was a mistake!”

“You don’t mean that!”

I looked away. “Tell mom and dad I’ll be home when I want to be home.”

The traffic in town started picking up.

Janet looked at me in shock. I could tell she was angry. “What the hell is going on?”

Garrett looked at her. “Go inside! I will handle him!”

Janet raised an eyebrow at him. I could tell she was biting back words. She turned and headed inside.

Garrett turned back to me. “You’re giving up, Havock. You out of all people are giving up on her and in the process you are hurting yourself!”

I couldn’t control myself. I plowed my fist into his jaw. He stumbled back against his truck. I hit him again.

I was losing my sanity. I couldn’t control my temper or emotions. They were all over the place.

I was pushed to the ground and looked up to see Jude. “STOP!” He yelled.

I looked over at Garrett. He had a bloody nose and busted lip. Selena was talking to him while wiping his face with a napkin.

I just wanted Reese. All of this wouldn’t be happening if she wasn’t taken from me.

“Let’s get you home,” Garrett said holding his hand out to help me up. How could he be so understanding and kind after I just punched the shit out of him?

Why couldn’t I be more like my brother? I stood.

“Sorry.”

He shrugged and handed me my keys. “These fell out of your pocket. I’ll see you when you get home.”

He got in his truck and drove off.

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

 

REESE

 

“Why him?” Janet asked as she looked at me. “I know him! You could do so much better!”

“He makes me happy. He makes me feel safe and loved,” I answered as I drew his face again. “And how do you know Havock?”

Janet looked away from me. “What if…what if he wasn’t faithful to you? You know while you’ve been here?” She asked as she looked at one of the drawings I had hung up. “And I’ve known that jackass for years. I’m friends with Garrett.”

I shifted. I was in pain. My ribs had been permanently black and blue for the past three months. I couldn’t believe it was already April. I had been living in hell for three months, and I wanted out. I was eighteen, but it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter to them. Nothing mattered to them. They didn’t care that I wanted Havock or wanted to go home. Only Janet cared.

“I don’t know. I would be hurt but it wouldn’t change the fact I still loved him. I know you think I’m too young to feel like this. Everyone does. But that doesn’t change how I feel. How he makes me feel.” I looked at her hoping she’d understand.

She looked back at me. She nodded. “I think I understand that feeling. And I don’t think you’re too young I just wanted to make sure you knew what you were getting into. Today is my cousin’s birthday. We’re all going out.” She smiled a little then left the room.

I sat in the basement listening for the next thirty minutes. When it was quiet, I went to the basement door. I turned the knob and let out a sigh of relief. Janet had left it unlocked. I quietly ascended the stairs with my drawing book clutched against my chest. There was nothing I wanted to take with me but what I had in my hands and on my wrist. I continued through the house until I made it to the door. I opened it and once I stepped outside, I took off running. I didn’t know which way to go, I just ran.

I stopped running a long while later when a stitch in my side kept me from running anymore. My ribs were hurting so bad I could barely see straight, but I knew where I was. I was closer to town than I had thought. I started walking.

I found the main road and followed it staying in the trees and out of sight. I didn’t want to be seen. I didn’t want to go back. I walked for what seemed like half the day. I was tired, thirsty, and hungry, but it didn’t matter. I was close to Havock. I knew it.

I came through the trees and let out a sigh of relief when I saw the school.

“Havock,” I whispered to myself. I sneaked around the buildings trying to get to the back where Havock always went to smoke. I could wait for him there. I heard a noise and jerked my head around. Please, don’t stop me. Please, don’t find me, I begged in my mind. I let out the breath I was holding when I saw it was a dog.

I climbed over a fence carefully then made it to the building Havock smoked behind. I went to the back and froze when I saw him. There. Alone. I had to do a double take. His hair was cut short.

I went to take off towards him but stopped. I knew I looked a mess. What if he didn’t want me anymore? I took a deep breath or as much of one as I could with my ribs hurting, and stepped out of the shadows.

“Havock?” I whispered.

He closed his eyes and cursed. He opened his eyes and shook his head. He continued to smoke.

I tilted my head in confusion. I walked closer to him. “Havock,” I said a little louder.

He started looking around. “I swear, I’ve lost my-” he stopped when he saw me.

I tucked the loose strands of hair that had fallen out of my pony tail behind my ears. “Lost your what?” I asked tentatively. I wanted to run into his arms, but I didn’t know if he wanted me to or not. I wasn’t going to force my love on someone who was over me. I tried not to let on how much pain I was in. My ribs hurt from the trip, and I felt sick. Really sick. Of course, most of that could have been from the fact my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest.

I took another step closer when he didn’t say anything. “What did you lose, Havock?” I asked with a slight smile.

“My damn mind,” he said in shock.

A tear slid down my cheek. “And why do you think that?”

“I’ve. . .” he stopped talking and took a hit off his cigarette. He held the smoke in longer than usual then let it out. “You can’t be here. You’ve been in my head constantly, your voice has been tormenting me, and now I’m seeing you,” he scoffed. “Shit. Now I’m talking to thin air.” He shook his head.

I walked closer to him then touched his face with my hand. “I’m really here,” I whispered. Another tear slid down my cheek.

He leaned into my touch and closed his eyes. “No, you’re not,” he whispered.

“Then how am I touching you.” I leaned forward and kissed him.

He was hesitant about kissing me back at first. He almost pulled away, but instead pulled me closer. He deepened the kiss and held tightly to me. I felt something wet drip on my lips and when he pulled away, tears were pouring from his eyes. We stared breathlessly at one another before he brought his lips hungrily back to mine.

I wrapped my arms around his neck holding him close to me as we poured everything we had into that kiss. I only pulled back when he hit my ribs. I yelled out in pain a little.

The bell rang but he never acknowledged it. “Why’d you just yell like that?”

“It’s nothing,” I whispered. I looked at the door of the school then back to him. More tears fell down my cheeks. “I’m sorry I took so long.” I cupped the side of Havock’s face.

He took his keys out of his pocket. I followed him to his truck. Several students looked at us, shocked, as we walked into the student parking lot.

I kept looking around for any sign of Brad or Troy. “I shouldn’t be seen,” I whispered nervously.

We made it to his truck and got in. “Then let’s get out of town.” He drove away from the school.

We drove until we were on a back road and parked near the river. I looked at Havock. “You’ll get in trouble for skipping school,” I said with a slight smile.

He laughed. “They do take skipping school pretty seriously.” His smile faded.

“I’m sorry I missed your birthday, Havock,” I said as I looked at him. “I tried getting out then, but it didn’t go too well.”

“I can’t believe you’re in my truck right now.” He looked at me but he was different. Something was off.

“Havock, what’s wrong?” I asked as I stared into his eyes.

“So much.” He looked out his window.

“Just tell me.”

He tapped his steering wheel with his index finger. “Are you back for good? Or will you just be taken from me again?”

A tear slid down my cheek. “I don’t know. I plan on never going back there again.” I wiped the tear before he saw it. “Do you want me to leave, Havock? Do you want me to stay away from you?”

I didn’t know what was wrong but it was enough to make it feel like there was a huge wall in-between us keeping us apart.

I had escaped my prison to be with him and we were still so far apart.

I swallowed hard as I waited for him to respond. If he asked me to leave I would. I would do anything for him.

I put my hand on the door knob just in case he asked me to leave.

“I unwillingly made myself forget you, Reese. I broke into the school to raid the counselor’s office to find anything I could about you. Every time I tried to find you, I came up empty handed. I was losing my mind.” He lit a cigarette and rolled down the window. “I had no other choice but to live life like I had never met you.” He blew some out the window. “It was the only way to stop the hurt. But the hurt didn’t stop. I don’t even know who I am anymore.”

I swallowed hard again. “I understand,” I said quietly. “You didn’t answer my question. Do you want me to leave you alone?”

A tear slid down his cheek as he took another hit off his cigarette. He still hadn’t looked at me. “Of course I don’t, Princess.”

I shifted closer to him and tried not to wince. I touched his face and made him look at me. “Just tell me, Havock.”

“Tell you what?”

“Whatever is keeping you from looking at me. You’re not acting like yourself.”

He scoffed. “Because I’m not myself.” He shook his head and flicked ashes out the window. “I can’t talk to you about the past three months right now.”

“Okay.” I smiled at him then put my head against his chest. “I missed you.”

He hesitated before putting his arm around me. He hit my ribs and another yell escaped me.

He lifted my shirt enough to see my ribs. His face reddened. “What the hell, Reese?!”

A tear slid down my cheek. “It’s been a long three months.”

He started the truck. And started driving. We were going in the direction of town.

“Havock, where are we going?” I asked nervously.

“The hospital.” He pulled his phone from his pocket. I heard him talking to his mom.

I started to panic. “Havock, you don’t understand. I can’t!”

He hung up his phone and kept driving.

“Mom is meeting us there. Who did this?!”

“Havock, it’s not that simple.” I ran a hand down my face. I had to explain it to him. “I…I was being trained,” I said as I looked at my hands.

“Trained?! For what!”

“I’m a…I’m a…witch,” I whispered.

He started laughing. Hysterically.

“I knew you wouldn’t believe me,” I said looking out the window. “I’m not saying they weren’t jerks and they didn’t hurt me, but they were trying to help me. Some of the time.”

He shook his head. “You’re taking crazy, Princess. You’re not a witch. Who told you this?! The ones who caused those bruises?! Apparently, they are insane!” He pulled into the hospital parking lot. Johanna was waiting.

She opened my door when we parked.

“Hi,” I said with a small smile as I got out.

“Reese!” She kissed my forehead as she held my cheeks in her hands. “Oh my goodness! It’s really you!”

“It is. I’ve missed you,” I said softly. I tried to walk but all the running, not drinking anything, not eating, and all the pain hit me.

Havock lifted my shirt to show her. She gasped. She helped me inside. Havock followed behind us.

She started explaining to the nurses why I was there. Not leaving out I was a diabetic.

It only took a few minutes, and I was put in a room. I looked at Mrs. Johanna as they started looking me over. “Where’s Havock?”

“Not sure. I thought he was right behind us.”

The nurse took my blood sugar then gasped. “When was the last time you took your medicine, Darlin?” he asked softly.

“Three months ago,” I said as she looked at my ribs.

Johanna’s eyes widened.

“I’ll be right back,” she said then she hurried out of the room.

The doctor hurried in and started looking me over. The nurse took my blood and within in seconds of getting the results, injected me in the stomach. I felt horrible. Of course, I’ve felt horrible the last few months.

“I’m surprised you haven’t been hallucinating,” The doctor said in shook.

“Why three months?! Did they not give you your meds?!” Johanna was fuming.

I shook my head. “I don’t feel good.” I blinked a few times then smiled when Havock came in. Maybe he was right maybe I was talking crazy. Maybe I had hallucinated this whole time.

“Your ribs are a mess,” The doctor said then had me move so he could look at my back. His frown deepened. “We’re going to need some X-rays done,” he told the nurse. “Also, she seems to be dehydrated. Get an IV in her immediately.”

Havock sat in a chair and put his earbuds in. He leaned back and closed his eyes.

Johanna looked at him funny then at me. She smiled. “I’ll make sure you aren’t taken back there, Sweetie.”

“Thank you,” I said as they put an IV in. They then got my bed ready to take me for X-rays.

~~~

 

I woke up feeling better than I had in three months.

I opened my eyes and saw a shadow figure in the corner. I screamed. I closed my eyes and felt arms wrap around me suddenly.

I buried my face against the person’s chest as tears fell down my cheeks.

He talked and I realized it was Garrett. “Shhh, it’s alright.”

I was shaking. “Garrett?” I asked my voice breaking.

“Yeah, it’s me.”

I tilted my head back and looked at him. “It’s good to see you but…where’s Havock?”

“Who knows? He bailed when the doctor was talking about how bad off you were.”

I nodded then put my head back against his chest.

I took deep breaths to keep from crying. If he didn’t want me anymore I’d leave. I don’t know where I’d go but I couldn’t stay here. I couldn’t watch him with other girls. Maybe Janet would help me.

Johanna walked in. “We get to take her home while the ones she was staying with are under investigation. That is if they find them.”

Garrett smiled. “Good.”

“Ready to go home?” She asked with a smile.

I smiled a little and nodded. “Yes, Ma’am.”

I was eighteen and it wouldn’t matter anymore. I got away from that place and could to stay where I wanted. Garrett left and Mrs. Johanna helped me get dressed.

 

~~~

 

When we pulled up, Garrett helped me out of the truck. I instantly noticed Havock’s truck was gone.

“Your room is just the way you left it.”

A pain surged through my heart at Havock not being there, but I nodded and smiled like I was fine.

“Mrs. Johanna, tomorrow do you think you could take me to see Judge Hopkins?”

“Sure but what for?”

“I’m eighteen, and I want to talk to him about getting my GED. I don’t want to go back to school when I’ve missed so much.” We got inside and I sat on my bed while Mrs. Johanna and I talked.

“You sure about that?”

I nodded. “Yes, Ma’am.” I looked at her. “I missed you, Mrs. Johanna.” I gave her a smile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

 

HAVOCK

 

What was I going to do? That’s what kept rolling through my mind as I drove around Riverbend. My Princess was home and if mom had it her way, she’d be there for good. I was relieved she was back with us, especially after seeing she had been abused. I told mom what she told me about being a witch and mom said the doctor figured she had been hallucinating because of her sugar levels. That made sense.

I wanted to pick up right where we left off, but I couldn’t. Not after the person I had been the past three months without her.

But at some point, I knew I’d have to be honest with her. I just didn’t know how.

My cell phone rang.

“Hey, Garrett. What’s up?”

“Mom wants you to run by the store before you come home and pick up a few things.”

“Alright, just send me a text of what all she needs.”

“I will.” He paused. “Reese wants to see you, Havock.”

“Mind your business,” I snapped.

He hung up on me.

I turned up the radio and turned around to go to the grocery store.

 

~~~

 

I sat quietly at the dinner table, eating, and listening to the conversation. Mom asked me a few questions and I’d nod or shake my head when appropriate.

I could feel Reese’s eyes on me, but I couldn’t look at her. Not for a long period of time anyway. Glancing was too much. How would I tell her I had sex with Janzy? Or the other girls, or the drugs, and the drinking. . . I set my fork down. I wasn’t hungry anymore.

Dad kicked my foot. I glared at him.

I loved Reese. I loved her so damn much but she didn’t deserve a guy like me. She needed someone who would have never stopped looking for her. A guy who wasn’t so selfish that he was unfaithful to her just to forget about her so he didn’t have to hurt.

Reese looked down at her food instead of me.

We were inseparable. And now. . . I’ve never felt so far away from her and she was sitting right across from me.

Everyone stared at me and her. I’m sure they all expected us to not be able to keep our hands off each other. But the reality was, we couldn’t even look at one another.

I had to tell her. Either she’d forgive me or she wouldn’t. I was being stupid. I needed her, even if she hated me.

“Reese?”

She looked up at me.

“Can we talk?”

She nodded then stood up and followed me out of the house.

I lit a cigarette and sat on the steps. I patted the spot next to me.

She slowly sat down, her arm wrapped around her ribs. “Are you going to tell me what’s going on?” she asked quietly. “If you don’t want me here I’ll leave.”

“I want you here.” I took a hit off my cigarette. “I love you, Princess. I’ve never stopped.”

“Then what’s going on?”

I looked at her. I forced my eyes to stay locked on hers. “The night before you came back, I was high on drugs I don’t care to mention. The night before that I was so drunk I couldn’t say my ABC’s. And the night before that, I slept with two girls in one night. I won’t continue with the agenda of each day for the past three months to spare your feelings.” I looked down at my feet. “I did anything and everything to keep my mind off you. It didn’t work, so I just did more.”

She took a steadying breath. She wiped a tear away. “I don’t know…” She stopped and wiped another tear.

She cleared her throat. “I love you, Havock so much and that will never change. But I’m not going to pretend that I’m not hurt.”

I nodded as I exhaled. “I’d say I’m sorry, but I know that wouldn’t be enough.”

“It’d be a start,” she said as she cupped the side of my face and made me look at her. “And stopping ignoring me would help too.”

I rested my forehead against hers. “I’m so sorry, Princess,” I whispered.

She ran her hand through my hair. “I love you, Havock.”

“Are you sure about that?” I closed my eyes. I missed her touch.

“Yes. With all my heart and that will never change. However, you have a lot of sucking up to do,” she teased. “I miss your hair.”

I opened my eyes and smiled at her. “I cut it because of this,” I said referring to her fingers running through it.

She smiled sadly and didn’t say anything.

I furrowed my eyebrows. She was being too easy on me. She needed to yell at me or something. “Yell at me.”

“I would, but I don’t have the energy. Plus, your mom gave me pain medication before dinner. I’ll yell at you tomorrow.”

“You better.” I smirked and kissed her.

She ran her hands through my hair some more as the kiss deepened.

I wanted to take her to my truck and rip every piece of clothing from her body but I couldn’t. I couldn’t because I knew she’d let me without question, and I didn’t deserve her being so forgiving. I pulled away a little but my lips were still against hers. “You should go inside, Princess.”

“But I don’t want to,” she said in a pout.

“But I want you to. You’re not thinking straight. I need you to hate me right now.”

She chuckled. “I can be angry with you, Havock, and I am, but I could never hate you.” She moved closer to me. I felt her hand go up the back of my shirt and chills ran down my spine. Dammit, she was making resisting her difficult.

“And I promise you I’ll be angry for a while but that doesn’t change the fact that I love you. That I want you,” she whispered.

I picked her up as I stood and carried her to my truck. She laughed as I put her in, and I leaned down into her seat to kiss her neck. I then hurried around to my side. I drove us to our favorite back roads.

When we got there she moved to where she was straddling my lap. She rubbed her nose against mine.

I lifted her shirt over her head and tried to keep my eyes off her bruises, but I couldn’t. I touched them lightly with my fingertips then carefully laid her back into the seat. I kissed her anywhere she was black and blue. I wanted to kill the ones who did that to her.

“You’re shaking,” she whispered. “Stop thinking about it. Just think about me,” she said as she ran her hand through my hair.

I kissed my way all the way back up to her lips and kissed her with everything in me. My Princess was back, and I refused to waste another second of it.

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

 

REESE

 

I sat in the judge’s office waiting for him to show up. Mrs. Johanna was sitting right next to me. My leg was bouncing.

“You do realize that just because you’re eighteen, doesn’t mean he will let you, right?”

I nodded. “I know. He’s the one over my welfare right now since dad’s missing.” I shifted uncomfortably in the chair. I was in a lot of pain.

“Did you take your medicine this morning?” she asked when she noticed me wince a little.

I shook my head no. “I wanted to be able to think straight.”

The judge came in. “Hello, Reese.”

He sat down at his desk. “What can I do for you?” He smiled at me.

He was my dad’s best friend and a good man. “I want to get my GED.”

He looked at me. “Reese, I know you’ve been through a lot, and I am so sorry, but your father wanted you to graduate either through homeschool or public.”

He smiled kindly at me. “If you can survive everything you have then you can survive two more months of high school.”

Johanna put her hand on my knee. She smiled at me. “He’s right, dear.”

I sighed. “Fine,” I mumbled.

“I do have some good news. I have been able to get some money put into an account for you. It should hold you over until we find your dad.” He stood up then pulled me into a hug. “We’re going to find him. I feel it.”

Tears sprang to my eyes. I nodded.

“Now, why don’t you go home and get some rest. You go back to school tomorrow.”

As I groaned, he and Mrs. Johanna laughed.

 

~~~

 

I woke up to my big baby licking my face. I chuckled and sat up. “I’m up.”

I saw Havock standing in the doorway laughing. He called Scott over.

Scott barked and wagged his tail. I looked at the time and groaned. “I don’t want to go,” I mumbled.

“I don’t either, but we have to.”

“I know.” I stood up and grabbed some clothes to wear to school. I pulled out a green shirt that was a tight fit and low cut V-neck. “I guess I’ll go get a quick shower,” I said as I kissed his cheek and started to walk past him.

He stopped me by grabbing my arm.

I looked up at him. “Yes?”

He kissed me and smiled. “Are you wearing my favorite shirt for a reason?”

I shrugged. “I haven’t decided if it’s because I wanted to see you smile or to torture you a little.” I raised an eyebrow at him.

“I have a feeling you’ll accomplish both.” He let go of my arm and let me walk past him, but not before grabbing my ass.

I heard his dad clear his throat as he walked over.

I blushed bright red and hurried into the bathroom. I took a quick shower then got dressed. I was thinking about straightening my hair but changed my mind. I scrunched it to make the curls more prominent then stepped out of the bathroom. I didn’t put on any make-up. I guess it was going to be a lazy day.

“So, I should warn you about school-”

I put the tester in my backpack and grabbed one of my shots. I injected myself as Havock spoke. He took my backpack from me and slung it over his shoulder.

“Since, I haven’t been on my best behavior, girls have been-” he rubbed his neck. “I don’t know how to put it into words. Throwing themselves at me?”

He took a step away from me as he watched my face.

I capped the needle and put it in the trash as I thought about what to say. “Oh, this should be fun,” I said sarcastically. I stood up and winced as my ribs hurt. “I can just imagine how those girls are going to be now. They were bad enough before.”

“I’ll handle it. They won’t mess with me after today.” He took my hand in his.

“Yeah, uh huh,” I said as we walked downstairs.

We ate a quick breakfast then headed to school. I looked out the window as we showed up to the school. “I think I’ll spend the rest of my school year in the art room.”

We got out of the truck and started to walk inside. I gripped Havock’s hand as everyone stared at us.

He leaned down so his mouth was close to my ear. “What’d you tell me the other night? Just focus on me, Princess. Only two more months and we’re outta here.”

He kissed my cheek as we walked.

Jude came over with Selena. “No freakin’ way!” He hugged me. “No wonder I haven’t heard from Havock the past few days!”

I gasped in pain as his arms tightened around me.

“Dammit, Jude!” Havock snapped.

Jude let go of me. “What? What’d I do?!”

Havock touched the side of my face. “Are you okay?”

“What do you mean is she okay? I hugged her, it’s not like I drop kicked her!”

Selena smiled a little at me. “Well, thank God she’s back. Havock’s been loony since you’ve been gone.”

Havock ignored Selena and explained to Jude that I had been hurt, leaving out the crazy witch stuff.

“Damn. Sorry, Reese. I didn’t know.” Jude went to hug her again but stopped. “I just want to hug her. She’s so cute and she’s back.”

Havock laughed. “No hugging. Hive five or something.”

Jude smirked. “I could kiss her. That’d be more fun.”

“Go ahead. If you want to die.”

Jude laughed and Selena rolled her eyes. “This reunion is fab, but I’m over it now. Can I bum a cigarette before class?” she asked Havock.

Havock handed her one along with his lighter.

“I’m surprised you guys didn’t know she was back. I figured you guys would’ve heard already. This is Riverbend,” Havock said as Selena passed him the cigarette.

The bell rang. Everyone started hurrying to classes. Havock groaned when he saw a girl coming over. Jude and Selena laughed.

“Hey, Janzy. Remember Reese?” Havock smiled a little.

I felt my blood pressure suddenly rise.

Janzy smiled at me. “Hey, Reese. Good to see you’re back. Not.” She rolled her eyes and flipped her hair. “I was coming to tell you that I left my shoes in your truck last week. I need them before Jackson figures out what’s been going on.”

Selena laughed. “Seriously?! You’re talking to him about shoes in the hall of the school and you expect Jackson not to find out?!”

Havock held tightly to my hand. “I gave them to Garrett to give to Felicity to drop off by your house a few days ago.”

She smiled. “Oh, then she must still have them. I’ll just ask her.” She glared at Selena as she walked off.

My hands started shaking a little. I loved Havock, but seeing one of the girls he had been with while I was gone was making me extremely angry. I was so angry that it felt like something was building inside of me.

“So, math class.” Havock started walking.

“You have math. I don’t. See ya’ later,” I whispered. I looked at Havock. This day was going to suck. I could tell. I was going to have to deal with all the bitches here.

I kissed his cheek then walked off. I was almost to the art room when my arm was grabbed by someone. I looked up and saw Jackson, Janzy’s boyfriend.

“Let go of me,” I said softly. I had a lot of work to do, and I didn’t have time for this shit.

All my classes were different now. I was to have private classes with all my teachers sometime during the day to test me and see if I was behind. So that made art first.

“You better tell your boyfriend he better watch his back.”

I jerked my arm trying to get it out of his grip. “I was just about to say the same thing about your girlfriend.”

“Janzy was drunk. Havock took advantage of that like he does all girls. You’d be smart to get tested for STD’s. Your boyfriend has been around, Sweetheart.”

He let go of my arm and walked off.

I closed my eyes and took deep breaths. I then headed to art class.

 

~~~

 

It had been a long day and it was time for lunch. My head and ribs hurt and if one more person mentioned Havock to me, I was going to explode. I sat at the table next to Havock and stabbed at my food.

He put his arm around my shoulders and kissed my cheek. He pulled away when he saw the fire in my eyes. “O-kay,” he said as he leaned back in his chair.

“It’s been a sucky day,” I said coldly as I pushed my plate away.

“Can I do something to make it suck less?”

Selena sat down with Jude. “Someone looks unhappy,” she teased.

Havock kept his eyes on me waiting for me to answer him.

“No,” I said as I rubbed my temples.

“Do you plan on pouting all day?” he snapped. “Because I’m trying to make this as easy on you as I can. You said no matter what you wanted to be with me. So get the hell over it.” He stood and kicked his chair under the table. He left the cafeteria.

Jude and Selena’s eyes widened. “Alrighty then,” Jude said as he shoved food in his mouth.

“I think he’s right,” Selena said shrugging her shoulders. Jude elbowed her. She laughed. “What?! She knew the type of guy Havock was even before she was stolen or whatever. She can’t be mad.”

“Oh hell no,” I snapped and went after him. I caught up with him outside the cafeteria. “I’m not trying to pout I’m trying to deal with the fact that my boyfriend slept with at least ten different girls while I was gone. That’s a lot to take in. Yes, I still want to be with you and, yes, I still love you but it’s difficult to take in. I’m trying!” I yelled.

“Ten?! How would you know that? I didn’t tell you the number!” he shouted.

“That would be the number of girls that have come up to me and in great detail told me what you did with them.” I ran my shaky hands through my hair.

He bit his lip.

“Don’t look at me like that,” I warned as I tried not to smile. I tried to hold onto my anger. I pointed at him and took a step backwards.

He started messing with his lip ring with his tongue and started pulling up his shirt seductively just to make me laugh.

“No,” I said as I bit my lip to keep from laughing. “I don’t want to laugh. I want to be angry.”

He raised his shirt up more, revealing his low rise jeans and the V leading to…oh dear. He smiled and crooked his finger at me.

I swallowed hard. “I’m trying to be mad,” I said, my mouth going dry and my breathing picking up. Havock always did this to me.

“I know. And you need to be mad.”

He kissed me. “I’m sorry. I just want us to be us again.”

“I know.” I looked up at him. “I want that too.” I put my head against his chest. “I love you, Havock, more than anything.”

He kissed me again. “I love you, too.”

“And I thought you wanted me yelling at you,” I pointed out as I looked up at him.

“I did say that.” He smiled. “You should go eat before class. I’m gonna stay out here and smoke before my next class.”

“Or…” I wiggled my eyebrows at him. “We could do something else. You have kind of peeked my interest.”

“What? Color?” He laughed.

I moved my hands up his shirt and touched his bare stomach. “That…or something else.” I stood on my tip toes and kissed the side of his neck.

“Ooh, that.”

I laughed. “Yes, that.”

CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

 

HAVOCK

 

I sat on the hood of my truck and smoked while I listened to music. A teacher walked over and took my cigarette as I went to put it to my lips.

He dropped it and stomped it with his foot. “You can’t do that in the parking lot, Satterly. This is a no-smoke zone.”

I exhaled the smoke I was holding in my lungs and turned up my music. The teacher walked off. The bell rang, and I hopped off the hood and walked into the building. I skipped my last class to smoke but Reese had to hurry to go meet with the counselor.

“Go to class, Loner.” Jackson rolled his eyes and shifted his backpack.

“Awww, is Jackson upset about something?” I asked with an assholish grin.

Garrett stepped in front of him. “Havock, I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about but drop it.”

I pushed Garrett to the side and continued to smile at Jackson. I moved closer so I could talk quieter. “What has you so upset? That Janzy kept coming to me because you weren’t pleasing her?”

HAVOCK!” Garrett yelled and teachers came into the hall before a fight could start.

I was sick of Jackson’s shit. His threats were getting annoying. If he wanted to do something, he just needed to do it.

My math teacher pointed towards the office.

I laughed and walked there. I passed Reese on the way and she gave me a death glare then Garrett came over to her and pushed her towards class. I didn’t want her to hear that, but he needed to be put in his place even if I was the asshole who slept with his girlfriend. She was in the wrong too. And I couldn’t stand for someone to talk shit and not do anything.

I walked into the office and smiled at the secretary. “I should start bringing refreshments.”

“What now?” She couldn’t help but laugh.

I sat down and shrugged. “Somebody pissed me off. I handled it.” I didn’t do anything but say something to piss off Jackson. It wasn’t worthy of being sent to the office over, though. The principal stuck his head out of his office to say something to the secretary. I waved. He closed his eyes and sighed as he motioned for me to come in. I walked in and sat down.

“This time it’s really stupid.” I explained to him what happened.

He held his head. I’m assuming to cradle a headache. “Just go to class.” He shook his head and started dialing a number on his phone.

 

~~~

 

After class, I went to the bathroom before next period. Just as I was buttoning my jeans, five guys, including Jackson, tackled me to the ground. Well, this was unfair. Jackson pulled a syringe from his pocket. I cursed as the others held me down. He injected it into a vein in my forearm and sneered.

“Have a nice trip, Havock.” They all laughed and hurried out of the bathroom.

I stood up and picked up the syringe they dropped on the way out. Oh shit! I had to somehow leave the school. I knew that bright colored pink liquid from dark days of my past. Meth. I cursed over and over as I ran out of the bathroom. The hall was full of people, but I continued to push my way through them. I felt my pulse speeding up. On a positive note, I knew how to handle myself on the drug. I used to shoot up all the time before school and no one ever knew I was on a thing. But I needed to leave. I couldn’t get caught. There was no way anyone would believe that Jackson and his friends did it. I started to laugh and couldn’t stop as I made my way down the hall. Jackson was actually really stupid for doing this. All it does is make me more aggressive and feel like I’m fucking superman. His ass was mine.

“Havock?” Reese asked as she saw me pass her. I turned and smiled. Too big. The effects of the drug hit me full force.

“Hey, Princess! My, my, you’re sexy as hell,” I spoke too loud, but I couldn’t help it. I was the king of this fucking school. The bell rang. “Wow, that’s loud as hell.” I held my hands over my ears.

She looked at me oddly. “Are you okay?” she asked as she moved close.

Jackson. I needed to find him. I looked over my shoulder. I looked back down at Reese. “What? Did you say something?”

She cupped my face. “Are you okay?” She grabbed my hand and pulled me away or tried too.

I laughed and smacked her shoulder. “Of course I am. And yes I’d love to have sex with you. But damn don’t be so pushy.” I put my finger to her lips when she went to speak. “Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Calm down. I know you want me, but I have to find Jackson first.” I rested my hand against the wall to try to stop the hall from spinning. It didn’t help.

“No, I think you need to come with me,” she said her face was bright red. “You’re not thinking right.”

"My mind is 100% A-MAZing right now. Watch this." I walked out into the middle of the hall where a few students were lingering to watch. I did a back flip.

“Didn’t know I could do that, did ya’? Your boyfriend is fucking awesome, Reese Johnson. Never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever forget that. Ever. Elvis has left the building!” I yelled. My hands shot up in the air as I walked towards class.

Reese caught up. “You are awesome, but please come with me,” she begged as I kept walking.

I started laughing uncontrollably. What the hell did they put in that stuff?! I was reacting in a way I never had on meth. Or maybe the better question is how much they gave me. I tapped my chin as I thought. And for some reason I found it hilarious. I stopped and put both hands on Reese’s cheeks. I squeezed them so it made her cheeks chubby. “I have to go to my last class and get smartical.” I laughed some more. “That’s funny. I already know all that shit. But I need to go. The fate of mankind is counting on me to be Mr. Smarty Pantssssssss.”

“Yeah…you are high as a freakin’ kite right now,” she said softly.

Wait. Not class. No time for smartness. Jackson. I needed to find Jackson.

“Baby, tell me what happened. Please.”

“What’d you say?”

“Oh damn.” She grabbed my hand and pulled me into a closest. “Okay focus,” she stressed as she cupped my face. “What. Happened?”

I started running my hand up her shirt. “A closet? Kinky. I like it.” She pushed my hands away.

“No. Focus.”

“I am focusing.” I pulled off my shirt and started on my jeans.

“Havock, you aren’t focusing. We need to get you out of here,” she said as she tried to stop my hands.

I stopped and pouted. “You don’t want me?” I was high as shit and all I wanted was every inch of her body and her curves. My, my, my this girl was sexy. I needed her. Like, right this second.

“That’s not the point,” she said as she pointed at me. “The point is something is wrong with you.”

I slipped my hands back up her shirt.

We heard my name come over the intercom.

“They need me.” I walked out into the hall with no shirt and my pants unzipped. I didn’t care. I was awesome. I felt awesome. And everyone needed to bask in my awesomeness.

I walked into the office. “You rang?” I jumped up on the secretary’s desk and sat there staring at her.

Her eyes were wide. “Wha-”

“I know. I was trying to have sex with my girlfriend and she turned me down. It hurt my feelings.” I poked out my bottom lip.

The secretary stood up and knocked on the Principal’s door. “HURRY!” she yelled.

Reese came hurrying in. “Put your damn shirt on!” She snapped as she tossed it to me.

“Now, Princess, you sure you want me to do that? You know you want my body.” I looked at the secretary. “She’s a kinky one. You might want to move. She’s liable to tackle me right here on your desk.”

Reese’s face turned bright red. “Havock!”

“Damn, I love it when you scream my name.”

The secretary face palmed.

Reese chewed on her lip and shook her head. Her face was even redder if that was possible.

The Principal came out. “I heard you were doing drugs in the bathroom. Some of the other students saw you.”

“Damn tattle tails,” I laughed. “I didn’t do drugs willingly. Jackson and his friends jumped me.”

“You think I’m going to believe that with your past?! I’m calling your mother. You can go sit in the nurse’s office so she can keep an eye on you.”

“What do you mean you’re not going to believe him?!” Reese asked in a snap.

“It’s okay, Princess. Of course, he doesn’t believe me. So, how long am I suspended for?” I asked as I took the secretaries container of paper clips and dumped them on her desk. I started linking them together really fast. I smiled at Reese. “I’m making my Princess a necklace. I just remembered I missed her birthday, and I didn’t get her anything. She deserves the besssst.” Damn, I was trippin’.

“That’s nice,” Reese said absentmindedly as she smiled at me. She then looked at the principal. “There’s too much in his system. Even if you don’t believe that he was jumped, believe that he wouldn’t take that much!”

The principal laughed coldly. “You don’t know him like I do. Now take him to the nurse. Please.” He walked back into his office and shut the door.

“I’m taking your paper clips,” I said as I hovered over them in a protective manner. I probably looked something like Gollum on the Hobbit protecting the ring. Reese had to cover her mouth to hide a laugh.

“Take them. But you better get to the nurse’s office, Havock,” the secretary said as she started cleaning up the mess I made.

I hopped off her desk and scooped all the paper clips into my shirt that I still hadn’t put on necklace. Garrett came in before we left the office.

THEY ARE MINE!” I yelled at him.

“What are you talking about?” Garrett asked. He looked freaked out.

I held the shirt full of paper clips close to my chest. “My precious,” I said in a growl. But, dammit, I was serious. The paper clips were mine. I smiled at Reese. “You’re pretty. And I missed your birthday. I bet you were a pretty birthday girl.”

Garrett looked at Reese. “Help get him out to my truck while I go get his backpack.”

“But the nurse. They said-“

Garret shook his head. “They called mom and she told me to take your ass somewhere to sober up before dad sees you.”

I followed Reese out, guarding my paperclips. I felt an intense urge to finish her necklace. She needed it now. I stopped in the student parking lot and sat down in the gravel Indian style. I started looping the paperclips together again.

“Umm…Havock, Love, we need to get to Garrett’s truck.” She knelt down in front of me.

“Damn, girl, you are so hot.” My eyes locked on her chest. I licked my lips then grinned mischievously at her. “I’d like to get you in the truck.”

Her face flushed. “Havock, I’m getting you into the truck so Garrett and I can take you somewhere.”

“Take me where?!”

“Somewhere. Where do you want to go?” she asked me calmly.

“Anywhere but home. A back road would be nice.” I finished her necklace and put it over her head. I moved her hair and smiled.

She touched it with her hand and smiled. “Thank you. Now I know this is hard for you right now, but you need to focus.” She raised an eyebrow at me. “And not on us having sex.”

“You’re no fun.” I stood. I felt like I needed to run. I couldn’t stand still. I was bouncing on my feet. “Where ya’ taking me?”

“Umm…” She looked at me and her eyes were taking in my bare chest. “Why don’t you put a shirt on then we’ll discuss that.”

I rocked back and forth on my heels. “Are you having trouble focusing, Princess?” I laughed and let my shirt fall from my hands.

She backed up till she was backed up against Garrett’s truck. “Be good,” she said as she pointed her finger at me. “Garrett will be out here soon.”

“I don’t want to be good.”

She swallowed hard and her breathing picked up. She licked her lips absentmindedly.

“We need to focus on somewhere to take you.” She looked at my chest again then her eyes went to my unbuttoned pants. “You should zip that and button them. I’ll get your shirt.” She went to go past me.

Garrett walked up and grabbed my arm, jerking me towards the truck. “Come on, Casanova. Let’s get you somewhere before you embarrass yourself.”

“Too late.” I laughed.

 

CHAPTER THIRTY

 

REESE

 

I was finally able to get Havock to put his shirt on, which made him pout like a two year old.

We pulled up to J’s, and I looked at Garrett oddly. “Why J’s?”

“Because, I want mom and dad to have a chance to calm down for a while before I take him home.”

“Yeah I get that, but why a public restaurant?” I asked as I got out of the truck.

“She has an apartment upstairs.”

“O-kay,” I said as Havock got out and we went inside. I about tripped when I saw Janet. She took one look at us then nodded at Garrett. We headed to some stairs at the back of the restaurant and went up to an apartment.

Garrett used a key and unlocked it. “You have a key to the apartment?” I asked with a curious expression on my face.

Havock had his arm wrapped around my waist and his hand was slowly finding its way up the side of my shirt. I was having to focus to hold a conversation with Garrett and keep his hand from roaming too much. He started kissing my neck.

Garrett groaned. “Havock, I’m in the room.”

Havock shrugged. “Then get out,” he said against my neck.

I shrugged him off the best I could. “Down boy,” I mumbled.

I heard a laugh and turned to see Janet come into the living room. “This should help. Havock, pancakes,” she said as she held out a bag.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen him run so fast. He grabbed the bag and sat down at her table.

Garrett shook his head then went to the kitchen and grabbed a plate, butter, and syrup. He knew his way around this place.

That was interesting. “You’ll want to grab him a coke out of the fridge as well.” She then looked at me and smiled. “You want anything, Reese?”

I shook my head. “No, thanks, Janet.”

Janet nodded then plopped down on the couch. She motioned for me to sit. I sat at the table with Havock. Okay, so she wasn’t part of the hallucination. She had been real. What else had been real?

“You two know each other?” Garrett asked as he sat next to Janet and turned on the TV.

“I stayed with her dad and uncle. That’s where I was brought to after I was taken from you guys,” I said without looking at anyone.

“But she was abused there! Your dad did this to her?!” Garrett was instantly fuming.

Janet looked at him. “I didn’t say I liked my dad. Don’t worry, I’ve called the police and they’re doing an investigation,” Janet said while looking back down at her books. “But this is my dad we’re talking about. He’ll get out of it. He always does. So, what happened to Lover Boy?”

Garrett explained everything to her while I battled with myself in my mind.

I was not a witch. That part wasn’t real. But Janet helping me get out of my prison was real. I looked at Janet when he finished talking. “I never thanked you.”

She smiled a little. “Anytime.” She looked up from her bank books at Garrett. “So, Jackson…that sounds familiar.”

“Jackson Collins.”

“Oh, right. I know him. I guess it turns out Jackson is an ass like his older brother. Go figure,” Janet said as she looked at Havock. “Are you good or do you need more pancakes?”

Havock gave her a thumbs up.

Garrett opened a coke of his own and took a sip. “Jackson isn’t so bad. Havock provoked him, J.”

“One thing I like about you, Garrett,” she said cutting him off, “you see the best in everyone.” She shook her head then looked at her books again.

I couldn’t help but stare. “So you two are? What?” I asked in confusion.

Janet looked at me. “Friends. We have been friends for what…” she stopped and looked at Garrett. “Three years now?”

“And a half.” Garrett smiled.

We all looked at Havock. He was asleep with his head on his plate. In the syrup.

There was a knock at the door and before Janet could get up to get it, Garrett hopped up and opened it.

“What’d ya’ do, double book?” A man’s voice asked from the door.

Janet looked up. “Damn, I forgot to cancel,” she muttered.

Garrett stuttered a bit before he could form a complete sentence. “No. Wait. What are you referring to?”

“I’m referring to the fact I had a hook up with J.” The man leaned against the door frame.

Janet rolled her eyes. “It’s canceled, Tim.”

The man cocked an eyebrow at Janet then walked off.

Garrett laughed in shock as he shut the door. “You’re adding men to your schedule now? Wow, J.”

Janet raised an eyebrow at him. “I’ve always had men in my schedule. I just didn’t talk to you about it.”

“Well, this is awkward,” I said feeling uncomfortable.

Garrett stared at Janet.  He obviously had no idea what to say.  He looked at me then at Havock.  “Reese, your boyfriend is drowning in syrup.”

Janet got up and got me a dish rag. After she wet it she handed it me. She looked at Garrett then walked out of the room. I leaned Havock back in his chair and cleaned him up.

Havock’s eyes shot open and he grabbed my wrist. When he saw it was me he let go. “Shit, I thought I was being attacked.” He touched the side of his face. “What the-” He looked down at his plate then at his hand. “So not cool.”

“I was trying to clean you up,” I said with a chuckle.

“I would’ve been cool with you just licking me,” he teased as he grabbed the towel from me. “I’ll go take a shower.” He got up and looked at Garrett who was pointing to a door down the hall. He stumbled towards the bathroom.

I followed after him and steadied him. “Umm…you sure you’re stable enough to do that?”

Janet walked by us. She smirked at us but didn’t say anything as she went back into the living room with Garrett.

Havock leaned his head back against the wall. “Holy shit, how much did they give me? This shouldn’t affecting me like this.” He put his palm to his forehead. He was sweating. He looked at the bathroom. “I think I’m gonna be sick.”

I helped him into the bathroom and to the toilet. We made just in time.

 

~~~

 

After Havock fell asleep, I walked to Jackson’s house which luckily wasn’t too far away from J’s. After seeing Havock puke his guts out, I was beyond pissed. Jackson crossed the line. He needed to be dealt with.

I knocked on the door. I was relieved when Jackson opened the door and not his parents.

He laughed. “I can’t say I’m shocked to see you.”

“We need to talk.” I glared at him. I checked my phone in my pocket and made sure it was recording. I was going to get a confession one way or another.

“You know he deserved it.” He stepped outside and shut the door.

“No he didn’t! You could have killed him, you Jack-ass!” I snapped as we walked away from the house and behind the barn, out of sight.

He laughed. “What exactly are we doing back here, Reese? You know the best way to get revenge would be to sleep together.”

“I’m not going to sleep with you, you ass! You’re going to admit what you did to Havock to the principal.” I turned on him then shoved him hard in the chest. He went a little further then he should have. I’ll chalk that up to how angry I was.

He scoffed and steadied himself on his feet. “No, I’m not.”

Anger filled me. “Yes, you are.” I took a step closer to him.

“Does he know you’re here?” He laughed.

“No, he’s out from all the drugs you pumped into him.”

“Do you honestly blame me? You can’t tell me you don’t want to beat the shit out of Janzy.”

“Beating the shit out of someone and drugging them up is two different things. Now you and I are heading to the school right now,” I said as I started to walk off. Something was bubbling on the surface.

“No one is there. Unless, you are wanting to talk to the janitors.”

“Fine, then we’ll go to his house.” I continued to walk.

He didn’t follow. “I’m going inside.”

I grabbed his arm to stop him. “No, you’re not,” I snapped.

“Wow, you’re really persistent aren’t you?” He jerked his arm away. “I’m not admitting to anything. He deserved it and you’re so dumb you actually forgive him.”

 

I pushed him again and this time I slammed him against the barn. I was shaking I was so angry and as I shook, it felt like the ground was as well. “I may be little, but I’m tougher than I look. This is your last chance to do this the easy way.” I grabbed the front of his shirt and threw him. Literally threw him to the ground.

He cursed as he made it back to his feet. “How did you do that?!” He said in shock. He was a very tall, very large, football player.

I looked down at my hands and a panic filled me. I was shaking all over. I felt myself losing control.

Next thing I knew I heard a truck and Garrett was running over towards me.

“Reese, what the hell are you doing here?!”

Jackson took that as his opportunity to bail for his house.

No!  All of that witch stuff was hallucinations. Tears started to fill my eyes. I was shaking all over. “No, it was just a hallucination.”

Garrett helped me into his truck. “What was a hallucination?” He asked as he drove back to J’s.

I shook my head as tears fell down my face.

“I can’t believe you walked over there! I told you I’d handle it, Reese!”

I didn’t say anything. We pulled up to J’s and we walked in.

As we came into the apartment Havock was awake and pacing. “Why are you awake? I figured you sleep for a while.”

“I was asleep. Then I was wide awake. Fun thing about Meth, sleep doesn’t happen. For days.” His hands were shaking. “Janet said you left and she didn’t know where.” He held up my phone. “And I couldn’t call you! Where did you go?!”

“I went to get Jackson to admit what he did to you,” I said as I put my shaking hands in my pockets.

His eyes went to my chest and fixated there. “Tell them to stop staring at me.”

Garrett laughed from behind us.

Janet choked on her coke and started coughing and laughing at the same time.

I burst out laughing. “I don’t think I can.”

“Slick, Romeo. Why don’t you just take her to the guest bedroom and bang her,” she said sarcastically.

Havock looked at me and both eyebrows raised into his hairline. “Hell yes.” He started to walk off and looked at me when I didn’t budge. “You coming or what?”

“I wasn’t serious! You’re not having sex in one of my beds!” Janet snapped. “Oh good gracious!”

I grabbed Havock’s hand. “How about we go for a walk?”

“You two have had sex?” Garrett asked seriously.

Janet looked at Garrett. “Seriously? Of course, they have. And this is Havock we’re talking about. Besides, you’ve had sex.”

I noticed Janet’s eyes narrow a little when she mentioned Garrett having sex before. Hmmm…interesting. She liked Garrett.

“But Reese.  She’s… Reese!  You let my brother in your pants?!”

“You had sex?!  Wow.  Awesome big bro!  Who was it?!”  Havock asked proudly.

Garrett shook his head.

“Technically I let him help me out of my pants.”

Janet laughed and patted my back. “Good girl.”

Havock just grinned. He looked at Garrett. “Did I screw her?”

“Shut up, Havock. And no.” Garrett looked at Janet. “I can’t believe you’re encouraging this shit. The last thing Havock needs is to knock Reese up.”

“I wasn’t encouraging it. I was proud she actually said something about it. And I’m sure they’re being careful. Havock isn’t a complete idiot.”

“Mom put her on the pill.  How ya’ like that, Garrett?”  Havock chuckled.

“Okay, it’s time for a walk,” I said as I grabbed Havock’s hand.

Janet was standing in between us and Garrett now. “Garrett, they’re both eighteen. It’s none of our business.”

 

 

 

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

 

HAVOCK

 

My head was pounding. The high was wearing off but it should’ve never have lasted that long. Jackson shot me up with some stout shit. He could’ve caused me to go into cardiac arrest but I wouldn’t tell Reese that. I didn’t want her freaking out.

I was dizzy but the fresh air was helping. “I’m gonna be in some serious shit when I get home.”

“I know, but I got Jackson admitting what he did on my phone,” she didn’t look at me. She looked lost in thought.

I stopped walking. “What’s got your nose all scrunched up like that?”

She looked at me. “Will you love me even if I go crazy?”

“That’s like asking me if I’ll ever stop loving pancakes if J’s closes. Of course I will but I won’t let you go crazy, Princess.”

Her hands shook as she ran them through her hair. “I think I already am. I…Havock, I’m seeing these things and I did stuff…”

I looked around for a place to sit. We sat on a bench outside a barber shop. A few people looked at us as they walked by. I’m sure I was already the talk of the town. The kid high on meth at school. I ignored them and looked at Reese.

“Seeing things and you did stuff. Okay…can you elaborate?”

“I see these shadows. They…they talk to me and try to get me to do things. It hasn’t been so bad since I’ve been home and with you again, but they are still there. And…I threw Jackson.”

“Shadows that talk?” I scratched my head trying to comprehend. “And you threw Jackson. Like a football or what?”

“Like I grabbed the front of his shirt and threw him. He landed a few feet away from me. That’s not normal!”

I wanted to understand her. I didn’t want to laugh or tell her she was nuts. But to be honest, I was freaked out. This, out in public, wasn’t the place to have this conversation.

“We should head back to J’s and probably go home. You need to check your sugar.”

She put her head in her hands as she propped her elbows on her knees. “I knew you wouldn’t believe me.”

“Princess, it’s kind of hard to believe something like that. You’re tiny. He’s large. And the shadow things…are you sure it’s not just bad dreams?”

“I don’t know anymore.” She chewed on her lip then jumped up. “J will back me up!”

“J as in Janet?  How and why?”

“Because she’s like me!” she grabbed my hand and pulled me towards J’s.

“Ummm, kind of freaking out right now.  But o-kay.”  I let her drag me back to J’s.

When we came up the stairs and knocked on the door Janet opened it. It looked like she had been crying. “Garrett’s not here.”

“We’re here to see you. Tell him!”

“Umm…tell him what?” Janet asked looking at me in confusion.

“Shadows…throwing people twice her size…”  I was completely weirded out by this whole thing. Plus, I felt like complete shit.

Janet sat down with a groan. “Reese…” she sighed and looked at Reese who looked like she was about to have a break down any second.

“Please, tell me I’m not hallucinating. That I’m not going crazy,” she begged as tears fell down her cheeks.

Janet looked at me then held out her hand. In a matter of seconds there was a red flame floating above her palm.

I’m high.  On meth or some form of meth.  That was the reason a red flame was dancing in the palm of J’s hand.  Right?  I looked at Reese then back and Janet.  “I really need a detox or something,”

Janet rolled her eyes. “It’s not because of the drugs, Havock. Reese and I are witches. And I swear if Garrett finds out about this I will turn you into a frog, or something.”

I sat down in a chair. I couldn’t process this. Especially, not right now. My phone started ringing. It was mom’s ringtone. I looked at Reese. How does one function after seeing something like that and their girlfriend telling them she can throw people and see shadows that talk to her? I couldn’t answer the phone. I was too dumbfounded to speak.

“I’m not hallucinating. I’m not going crazy?”

“No, you’re not.” Janet went over and grabbed a bottle of whiskey. She poured herself a glass and drank. “However, I am for telling him. You’re going to get my ass killed, Reese.” She took another drink.

I looked at Janet. “I won’t say anything and it’s not like anyone would believe me if I did.”

She poured another glass and downed it. “You’d be surprised.” She leaned heavily against the counter. “Garrett doesn’t know, Havock. Please. Please don’t tell him.”

I nodded and looked at Reese. “Our relationship just went to a whole new level of weird.”

She looked at her hands and nodded. “I can understand if you want to end things.”

Janet scoffed. “After all the shit he did while you were gone. He better not. He’ll never find anyone as good as you to put up with his dumb ass.”

I smirked.  “Or you’ll just turn me into a frog.”

Janet chuckled. “We can’t actually do that. It doesn’t work that way. The witches you’ve heard about aren’t what we are.” She took another drink.

Reese fidgeted with her charm bracelet. “Besides I suck.”

My mind immediately went to the gutter with Reese’s comment. I bit back a smile. Now isn’t the time, Havock. I looked at them both. “I won’t say anything. But what does this mean for me? Can I still be with Reese?”

“Yeah.” Janet plopped down on the couch with another glass of whiskey.

“Besides, after what she did to get back to you I doubt anyone could take her away from you again.”

Reese smiled a little.

“Think you should slow down on the Whiskey, J?”  I asked as I took Reese’s hand in mine.

Reese squeezed my hand and looked at J worriedly.

“Nah, it takes a lot to get me drunk. Besides, between Garrett and me fighting, and now you knowing what I am, I think I need to drink.” She downed the Whiskey then put her head back. “You two should probably head home.”

As if on que, my phone started ringing again with mom’s ringtone. I stood, helping Reese to her feet. “Ready?”

She nodded then looked at J. “Thanks, Janet.”

Janet pinched the bridge of her nose and grunted in response.

My Princess was a witch. For real. I was positive I’d never be used to the reality of it, and I’d probably avoid talking about it unless I had to. I wanted us to be us again, but that was far from possible now.

 

~~~

 

I wasn’t allowed back to school for the rest of the week. Jackson ended up getting suspended, too. The principal made it very clear I was being suspended for previous transgressions but also for pushing Jackson do what he did, which wasn’t fair. I didn’t throw a punch or anything.

He also said if it weren’t for living in a small town and my mom being a saint, I’d be repeating my senior year. He called me everything but a fuck up, but he pretty much labeled me that by the list of wrong doings he threw at me and saying I’d never amount to anything.

I drove Reese to school earlier and told her I’d pick her up at the end of the day. So, that meant I had the rest of the day to do whatever. Sleep sounded great.

I was worried about Reese, though. What if someone made her mad today and she lost control? The fact that she was a witch scared me. My mind couldn’t even process it. Every time I tried to think about it, my mind just regurgitated it like spoiled food. But I had to think about it. I had to think about it because I was concerned for her.

I knew she needed help from the ones who took her from us and were training her, but then I also remember her ribs and the other bruises all over her body. Unacceptable.

Mom was in the process of taking them to court, claiming abuse, but now it all made sense. It wasn’t abuse, but we couldn’t explain that to mom or the court. Reese told me that we couldn’t tell anyone and that she was already worried that Jackson was suspicious. The fact she was a witch had to be a secret locked tighter than Fort Knox or she could be in danger. Whatever the hell that meant.

I had just turned on the TV to occupy my mind when the doorbell rang. I got up and looked out the window. I could only see the side of a man. I opened the door. “Mayor Johnson?!”

I moved to let him in. His clothes were ripped and he had a beard that would need hedge trimmers to fix. He looked worse than terrible.

“Is she here?!” He asked as he coughed and stumbled until he was leaned heavily against the wall.

“Who?”

“Reese!” He yelled the best he could.

“She’s at school.” I caught him before he fell. Within seconds, he was passed out in my arms. I was going to need help getting him out to my truck. He wasn’t the smallest guy and was leaning against me with dead weight.

He needed a doctor. I laid him down carefully and called for an ambulance. I kept my hand on his wrist to make sure his heart was still beating and watched his chest to make sure he was breathing. I didn’t know a thing about CPR, but I’d try if I had to.

I texted Reese.

 

Me: Go find Garrett and tell him to bring you to the hospital.

 

It wasn’t long and I heard sirens. I opened the door to let the medics in. I explained to them what happened as they loaded him on to a stretcher.

 

Reese: Okay on my way. Why am I on my way?!

 

After they got him in the ambulance, I got in my truck to follow.

 

Me: Your dad isn’t dead.

 

Reese: I’m on my way!

 

As I drove, I wondered how he knew to come to my house. And where exactly did he come from? Who had him? Or did anyone have him at all? Did it have to do with the witch stuff? I shook my head.

I pulled up to the hospital and followed the medics and Mayor Johnson in. A nurse stopped me and started asking me questions while another nurse and the medics got him into a room.

“Havock?!” I heard Reese yell.

I turned and opened my arms. She launched herself at me, and I held her.

“He’s in a room. I don’t know anything yet.”

The nurse smiled at her. “We will let you back there as soon as they get him stable.”

Reese nodded. “What’s…what’s all wrong with him?”

“We don’t know yet.” The nurse patted her shoulder as she walked past us.

“I need you two to wait in the waiting room,” a lady said from behind a counter.

I took her hand and walked with her into the waiting room. I explained everything that happened.

Tears were streaming down her face as she looked towards where her dad was.

Janet came over to us with a bruise on her cheek and a bloody lip. Reese looked at her. “Janet? What are you doing here? What happened to you?”

She smiled a little. She sat next to me and Reese. “I heard about your dad and thought I’d come to see how you were doing.”

Reese looked at Janet’s face. “What happened to you?”

“Nothing for you to worry about.” She leaned back against the waiting room chair.

Janet was like me.  If she didn’t want to tell you something, she wouldn’t.  There would be no convincing her to say a thing.  I held tightly to Reese’s hand.  “Where did Garrett go?”

“I don’t know. He said something about going to get a snack.” Reese put her head on my shoulder.

“There he is,” Janet said as she jerked her head towards the door. She shifted in her chair and winced.

I laid my head on Reese’s.  I loved how her hair always smelled like pears and vanilla.  Garrett walked over and immediately looked at Janet’s wounds.  “Uh oh,” I whispered to Reese.

“What happened, J?”  he asked as he sat down next to her.

She shrugged. “Ran into a door,” she lied badly. She took the snickers out of his hand and took a bite.

“That was one badass door,” I mumbled as I closed my eyes.  

Garrett didn’t push Janet for the truth. He nudged me. I opened my eyes. “How’s Mayor Johnson?”

“We don’t know anything yet.”

A nurse walked in. “Reese, you can go see him now.”

She looked at me then the nurse. She nodded and stood to follow the nurse.

I shook my head in disbelief and looked at Janet and Garrett. “Shit you guys that was weird as hell. He just shows up, asks for Reese, and then passes out.” I shook my head again. Between my girlfriend being a witch and her mangled dad showing up on my porch, my life had become a really horrible movie.

“That’s crazy, but I’m glad he’s back. I’m sure the town will be happy. And Reese. She’ll be happy to have her dad back.”

Janet started digging in her purse. “Havock,” she said looking at me.

She pulled out a card. “I’m sure things will be hectic at your house tonight. Tell your mom to call that number and order. I’ll pay for it and drop it off.” She smiled at me and Garrett then stood. She looked at Garrett longer than friends look at friends before talking again. “I’m going to go get Reese some clothes and things. I’m sure she’ll want to stay here with her dad.” She turned and left.

I handed Garrett the card. He raised a brow. “Why did you give it to me? I already know the number.”

I laughed. “She’s your friend. Or is she more?” I teased.

Garrett laughed. “Whatever. She’s way older than me and one of my best friends.”

“Have you not ever heard of a cougar?”

Garrett shoved my shoulder and laughed. “Shut up. I can’t even think about her as anything else.”

I smirked. “She’s pretty hot. You might want to call that number but not just to order food.”

Garrett rolled his eyes. “You’re an idiot.”

I looked up and saw Reese walking over to us. She was wiping her eyes.

I stood and walked over to her. “How is he?”

“He’s stable. They gave him a lot of medicine to make him sleep. They said he wouldn’t be awake till morning and since he’s in ICU, I can’t stay.” She came over to me and put her head against my chest.

I wrapped my arms around her and kissed her head. “You might want to call Janet. She figured he’d have to stay and you’d stay with him. She was going to get you some clothes and things.”

Reese pulled out her phone to text Janet as we walked down the hall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

 

REESE

 

Your mom is here.  She’s with us.  She’s one of us now.  Your father couldn’t love her because of what she was and had become.  No one will love you either.  We love you, Reese. We could take care of you.  Death is easy.  It’s like sleep, Love.  The world isn’t a place for those with your magnitude of power.  Come help us rule the other side.

 

I woke up in the kitchen, in the corner near the bay window with a knife to my throat.  I dropped it and screamed.  Tears started pouring down my cheeks and I heard footsteps pounding down the stairs.

“Reese?”  The footsteps came closer. “Reese!”  Havock yelled as he reached for the knife.  The knife shot across the floor as the Shadow’s voices screamed at me.

He grabbed my shoulders and shook me. The shadows became silent and the knife was back on the counter in its holder where it normally was.

“What were you doing?!”  Havock asked, demanding an answer.

I was shaking all over. “I…I…” I looked over my shoulder and Garrett, Johanna and Rick were walking into the kitchen with Scott plowing past them to get to me.  He jumped up putting his paws on my side and licked my arm.

“What’s going on?  We heard you scream,” Mrs. Johanna said as she came closer to me.  She touched the side of my face.  “Are you alright?”

Rick called Scott over to him then asked Garrett to take him outside.

I was shaking so bad. “I don’t know,” I whispered. I’m going crazy. I’m losing it. I just tried to slit my own throat. WHAT the hell?!

Havock was shaking, too.  He saw me and the knife beside me.  I could only imagine what was going through his mind.  He looked at his parents.  “She was just having a nightmare.  I’ll take care of it.”

“Why is she in the kitchen?”  Mrs. Johanna asked confused.

“To get something to drink.  I’ll handle it, mom.”  

She looked at Mr. Rick and he nodded at her.  She looked at me over her shoulder worriedly as they made their way out of the kitchen. Havock looked at me.

Tears filled his eyes.  “What were you doing with that knife, Princess?”

Tears fell down my face. “I…I think I was trying to slit my throat,” I whispered. “I woke up and stopped myself.” I rubbed my left arm in an agitated manner. “They were talking to me in my dreams. I don’t know, Havock. I don’t know what’s happening to me.”

“Who was talking to you?”

“The shadows.” I didn’t know what to do. I wanted Havock to hold me, but I didn’t know if he’d want to hold me after what he saw.

Garrett came back in with Scott. He started to say something to Havock but he cut him off. “Just go upstairs, Garrett.” He ran his hand through his hair and clenched his jaw.

Garrett looked at me then called Scott up the stairs with him.

“What I just saw isn’t-” His breath caught in his throat and his hands were shaking. He started pacing the kitchen before kicking a chair over. “How do I even talk to you after something like that?!”

Tears fell down my cheeks. “I don’t know.” I looked at him. “Can you just hold me?”

His fearful eyes locked on mine. He hesitated a minute and came over. He hugged me and didn’t let go. “I’m at a loss, Princess. If I wouldn’t have come down here there’s no telling what might have happened. Dammit, I can’t even process this!” He started yelling and let go of me.

We needed to take this conversation outside before the entire house came back down again. “Havock, let’s go outside.”

He took my hand and hurried with me out the back door. He needed about thirty cigarettes to calm down. “So you didn’t try to kill yourself on your own?!”

I shook my head and leaned against his truck. “I didn’t even know what I was doing until I woke up. That’s when I screamed.”

He put his back against his truck next to me. He shook his head then went around to the driver side. I saw him digging around in the glove department. He came back over with a pack of cigarettes and a lighter. He lit one with a trembling hand. Tears fell down his face.

“From now on you sleep in my room. I don’t give a damn what my parents say.”

“What if I hurt you?! I can’t hurt you, Havock. You’re my world.”

“And what the hell am I supposed to do if you hurt yourself?!” He flicked the ashes and looked down at me. “You just had a knife to your throat! Then when I tried to get it off the floor it moved with no one moving it! Those shadow things… are they in my house?!”

“They show up wherever I am. Remember Christmas break. That’s what I saw!” I ran a hand through my hair. “Maybe I shouldn’t be here. I don’t want to hurt you.” Tears fell down my face, and I wiped them as they fell.

He laughed coldly. “Yeah right.” He finished his cigarette then wiped my tears. “Maybe you were sleep walking. Maybe the shadows are just dreams. Maybe you could see a doctor or something about medicine? Hell, I’ve got weed in the truck. That could help. Seriously.”

“Why do you have weed in your truck?” I asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Did I say weed? I meant…yeah I said weed.”

I face palmed then chuckled a little. “What am I going to do with you?”

“I could think of something. I have a mental list of things that I’d love for you to do with me. Weed, hit a back road…all your problems solved.” He grinned and wiggled his eyebrows at me.

“No drugs,” I said as I poked his chest. “But a back road sounds like lots of fun. I have a mental list of things that I want you to do to me.” I smiled mischievously.

“I’ll go grab my keys.” He hurried inside.

 

~~~

 

I held dad’s hand as I waited for him to wake up. When his eyes opened tears filled my eyes. “Daddy?” I stood up and leaned over to kiss his forehead. “How are you feeling? Do you need me to get a nurse?”

He shook his head and closed his eyes. He squeezed my hand.

A tear slipped down my cheek. “I love you, daddy.” I kissed his cheek. “I’ve missed you.”

He kissed my hand and smiled a little.

“What’d they say? Did they say you were going to be okay?” I asked as I sat on the bed next to him.

He shrugged then groaned from the pain the movement caused. The door opened and Mrs. Johanna and Mr. Rick came in. She was holding flowers.

“Good afternoon, Mayor,” Johanna said with a smile as she came over and patted his hand.

I pushed the nurses’ button. “Mrs. Johanna, Daddy’s in pain,” I said as I looked at her.

A nurse came in and started asking him questions.

Johanna kissed my head. “We will just come by later.” She set the flowers on the window sill.

Rick hugged me then they left.

I watched as the nurse gave dad something for the pain. I then held his hand tightly. “So, I’m actually going to a public school and it sucks.” I gave him a weak smile. “Remind me to thank you for the years of home school later,” I teased.

Dad looked at me and smiled.

“He’s going to fall back asleep, but he’s going to be just fine.”

I nodded and the nurse left. Another tear slipped down my cheek. “You’re not allowed to ever leave me again. Okay?”

He nodded then fell asleep.

I took a deep breath then kissed his head. I sat down in the chair next to his bed and pulled up my legs. I drew while I watched him sleep.

After a while of drawing, I laid my head back against the chair and closed my eyes. I didn’t have my eyes closed for long when I felt someone kiss me. I opened them to see Havock.

“Hey.”

He kissed me again. “Hey.” He smiled against my lips. He handed me a Taco Bell bag.

“You’re a life saver,” I whispered. I stood up and stretched. “You want to go for a walk?” I asked as I put the food down.

“After you eat.”

I smiled a little then sat down at the little table and ate my dinner. This room was as nice as some hotels. It was ridiculous what you got when you were the mayor.

Once I was finished, I stood up and grabbed Havock’s hand. We walked out into the back garden.

“This hospital is nicer than the one in Riverbend. I’m glad they moved him.”

I nodded. “Me too. I just wish I was closer to you.”

“Mom said I could stay here tonight with you.” He sat on a bench and pulled me onto his lap. He kissed me. “If you want me to.”

I put my head on his shoulder. “I’d like that very much, however, does your mom know that I’m staying in a hotel room because they won’t let me stay here at night?”

“I might have left out that part.” He grinned.

I chuckled. “It’s about time for us to leave. I need to go get my stuff and tell dad bye,” I said as I looked at my cellphone.

He nodded. “I’ll meet you out front.”

I kissed Havock then headed inside. I grabbed my stuff and hugged dad carefully.

“I’ll be back tomorrow,” I whispered before leaving the room.

I walked out to Havock’s truck and got in. I gave him directions to the hotel.  It didn’t take long, and we were there.

We were barely in the door before I kissed him. He picked me up, and I wrapped my legs around his waist. His hands were under my shirt and lips on mine as he walked us to the bed. He laid me down and hovered over me.

“I got you something.” He kissed me again. “Want it now or later?”

I ran my hand through his hair. “Later. Much later.”

I tugged at his shirt wanting it gone. Now.

Once it was off, I went back to kissing him with everything in me as my hands roamed his chest.

He started to take off my jeans but stopped.  He was looking to his left, above us. “Umm, Reese?”

“Yeah?” I asked as I looked at him for stopping. We were stopping now? Why?

“Ummm, is there a particular reasoning the remote and my cell phone is floating?” He pointed.

I looked at them then covered my mouth to keep from laughing. “Sorry.” I touched his face then cupped the back of his neck. “Can we go back to what we were doing?”

“Can you make that stuff stop floating? It’s freaking me out.  Total mood killer, Princess.”

I chewed on my lip and concentrated till they floated back to the table. I felt a slight headache forming, but I ignored it.

Everything else but us faded away after that.

 

~~~

 

I woke up a few hours later to Havock kissing my bare shoulder. “It’s late,” I said as I turned and snuggled against his bare chest.

My slight headache had turned into a pounding one, and I just wanted to sleep.

It was so cold. I opened my eyes enough to see that we were tangled in the sheets and the comforter was gone from the bed. I snuggled even closer to Havock.

He laughed. “You’re shivering.” He pulled the sheets over me and hugged me tight.

“That’s because it’s cold,” I said with a chuckle.

He kissed me then leaned over to get the comforter. He wrapped me in it super tight. “Better?”

I wiggled some so I could lay on his chest then sighed with contentment. “Much.”

His phone rang. “What the hell? It’s three in the morning!” He groaned.

“Mom?”

He closed his eyes and held it away from his ear and turned it on speaker. She was yelling about him lying that we were staying at the hospital.

“Ask me how I know!” she yelled.

“How?” he mumbled.

“Because Garrett never came home last night, and I couldn’t get you on your cell so I called the hospital!”

Havock sat up. “Is Garrett okay?”

“Let me talk to Reese!”

“You’re on speaker.”  Havock looked at me.

“Hello?” I asked nervously.

“Reese, what are you thinking?!”

“I love him, Mrs. Johanna.” I ran my hand through my tangled hair as I sat up. My head was throbbing now.

“I know that, sweetie, but do you want to end up pregnant?! Tell him I said come home! We need help finding Garrett. Him and Rick got into it fight, and he left mad.”

“Mom, I told you, you’re on speaker.  I can hear you.”  Havock started getting dressed.

“Just get your ass home!” she yelled. She was crying now.

“He’s getting dressed,” I said as I looked over my shoulder at Havock.

“And I’m taking the pills you got me.” I sighed then rubbed the back of my neck.

Mrs. Johanna didn’t say anything else to me, she just hung up. “Your mom is really angry.  She never says words like that,” I said as I started to get dressed.  I rubbed my head trying to release some of the pain.

Havock looked at me. “You don’t have to come. You rest. And your dad might need you.”  He put on his converse.

I plopped down onto the bed in my jeans and bra. My phone started ringing.  What now? “Hello?”

“Miss Johnson, we need you at the hospital.”

I stood up quickly. “Why?! What’s wrong?!” I asked in a panic as I looked for my shirt.

“He won’t calm down, and he keeps asking for you,” The nurse said, and I heard something crash.

“I’ll be right there.” I hung up the phone and grabbed my shirt off the floor. I put my phone in my pocket and started putting my shoes on.

“I have to go to the hospital. Dad’s freaking out.” I got my shoes on then kissed Havock. “Call me when you find Garrett,” I said as I looked for my purse. I kissed him again. “I love you.”

“Love you too.” He kissed me. “I’ll give you a ride.”

I nodded then we left the hotel.

I kissed Havock one more time before I hurried into the hospital. I ran inside and quickly to dad’s room.

“Dad, what’s wrong?!” I ask as I came in.

He almost immediately calmed down when he saw me. I hurried over to him and grabbed his hand. I squeezed it. “I’m here,” I whispered as I kissed his forehead. “I’m here,” I whispered again as I touched the side of his face.

I sat on the edge of the bed and looked into his eyes. I touched his beard. “I think I need to help you shave.”

He laughed a little. “I was worried, Reeses Pieces. You were here, then you were gone.” His voice was hoarse and raspy.

“I’m sorry. They won’t let me stay here at night and they told me you’d be out the rest of the night. I went to the hotel just down the street.”

He patted the spot next to him. “I’ve missed you so much. I was so worried you were hurt.”

I sat down next to him. “I’m fine. However, I do believe there has been some things you have kept from me.”

I smiled a little then concentrated really hard and made the bottle water next to the bed to float to me. A sharp pain went through my head, but I ignored it. I then looked at dad.

A tear fell down his cheek. He looked ashamed.

I wiped the tear. “Hey, it’s okay, Daddy. I probably would have thought you were crazy anyway.”

He shook his head. “No. You deserved to know. Especially, with everything that happened. It would have made more sense. You would’ve been prepared.”

“Possibly.” I ran my hand through my hair. “I’m still not really good at this. I’m going to need more training, but I could go a life time without ever seeing Brad or Troy again.” I looked at dad. “I really missed you, Daddy.”

He took my hand. “As soon as I get out of here I’ll take you home. Well, to a new home. I heard ours was burned down.”

“Yeah. I’m sorry.” I squeezed his hand.

“I’m just glad you weren’t there. I heard you have been staying with the Satterly’s. Janet told me.”

I smiled at him. “So, dad I have something I need to tell you, but I don’t really know how.”

“Well, you better hurry because I’m about to fall asleep again.” He smiled.

I looked down at his hand then smiled at him. “I’m dating Havock.”

“Havock Satterly?”

I nodded. “Yes, Sir.”

His face reddened a little. He cleared his throat.

“Dad, I love him.”

“No,” he said sternly.

I sighed heavily. “We’ll talk about this later. I don’t want to fight about this right now.”

“Reese, I know you’re eighteen, but I will not allow you to see him.”

I pinched the bridge of my nose. “Like I said. I love him.” I looked at Dad. “I need him, Dad.” I kissed his head. “Get some sleep. I’m sure we’ll discuss this in detail later.”

He tightened his hold on my hand. “Reese,” he said through clenched jaw.

I looked at him. “Yes?”

“Promise me you won’t see him. Please.”

“I can’t do that.” A tear slipped down my cheek. “I hate upsetting you. I don’t want to upset you, but I won’t give up Havock.”

“We’ll see about that. Goodnight, Reese.” He closed his eyes and turned over in bed.

I sat down in my chair, my headache full blown. “Goodnight, Daddy.”

I shouldn’t have told him about Havock now.  I should’ve waited until we were out of here.  But it seemed like a good idea when the words left my lips. The last thing he needed to do was stress about who I’m dating. I wiped a tear that fell and curled up into the chair and fell asleep.

 

CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

 

HAVOCK

 

I drove around until I found Garrett’s truck parked at J’s. I laughed and knocked on the door. Mom and dad should’ve known he was here. Whenever Janet is in town, he’s with her. It was probably just a ploy to get me out of Reese’s hotel room.

A tall red headed man came to the door and opened it. “Can I help you?”

“Uh, yeah. My brother’s truck is here. Is he here? Garrett Satterly.”

“Yeah, come on in.” He let me in then I followed him to a table where Garrett was sitting eating a cheeseburger while Janet did paperwork. A damn cheeseburger. I looked at my cell. It was 2:00 am.

She looked up. “Oh. Yay. Havock Satterly in the house. I must be the luckiest girl in Riverbend,” she said sarcastically with a smartass smirk then went back to doing paperwork.

Garrett looked up from his food. “I’m not going home right now.”

I laughed. “I wouldn’t dare take you away from that burger. You’re eating it like you’re about to have sex with it.”

“Is sex all you think about it?” Garrett shook his head.

I nodded. “Yeah. Pretty much.” I laughed when he rolled his eyes.

The red headed guy sat down and propped his feet up. “You ask nicely and I bet my cousin here will fix you something, too.”

Janet rolled her eyes. “Havock, this is Kevin my cousin. Kevin, Havock.”

“I’m not hungry. I’m tired as hell.” I looked away from Kevin and back at Garrett. “Mom is freaking out and thanks to you, I got caught staying the night with Reese.”

Garrett laughed. “Aw, bless your heart. And I’m 19. I can go home when I please.”

I raised a brow. “Why do you sound like me all of a sudden?”

He shrugged. “Bad night.”

Janet stood up and rubbed the back of her neck. “I’m getting some more coffee. Anyone want any?” she asked as she picked up her coffee cup.

“I want you to go home and get some sleep. You haven’t slept in three days,” Kevin said as he looked at Janet. Janet rolled her eyes and looked at me and Garrett. “Coffee?”

I shook my head. “Let’s go, Garrett.”

Garrett groaned and stood. “Thanks, Janet. Sorry I kept you up with my problems.”

“Anytime. I enjoyed the company.” She nodded towards us then disappeared into the kitchen.

“I’ll see you guys out so I can lock up,” Kevin said as he stood. We walked out. Garrett talked to him for a little bit then walked over to his truck. I followed him.

“What’s up with you and dad?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Whatever, dude. Just tell me.”

He leaned against his truck. “It was about you.”

“Me?” I laughed. “Am I gonna need a cigarette to hear this?”

He nodded.

“Yay.” I lit a cigarette.

“He smarted off something about how you’d end up in jail. He made mom cry and pissed me off. I know you screw up a lot, but you’d never end up in jail.”

I shrugged. “That’s debatable.”

He shook his head. “No one gives you any credit, Havock. You might mess with things you shouldn’t, but you’re really smart and despite what you try to make people believe about you, you love life. You’d never screw up bad enough to end up in the slammer.”

“That’s also debatable.”

He laughed. “Anyway, I told dad he was wrong for thinking that about you. Then we got into a fight. It was stupid, but it pissed me off.”

I took a hit off my cigarette. “I don’t need you or anyone trying to get dad to cut me slack or think I’m anything but a screw up.”

He opened the door to his truck. “It’s what big brother’s do.”

“Yeah, but I don’t need you to, Garrett. Just let dad hate me. It’s my fault and I’m just like whatever about it…I really don’t care.”

My phone dinged.

 

Reese: Did you find Garrett?

 

Me: Yeah. He was stuffing his face with a double cheeseburger. Practically making out with the damn thing. And why are you still up? How’s your dad?

 

I got in my truck and followed Garret towards the house.

 

Reese: My head hurts too bad to sleep and he’s asleep. He’s talking about looking for houses when the doctor lets him leave here. Well, I love you. I miss you already. Get some sleep.

 

Me: Driving home now to do that. And don’t bitch about me texting and driving. I’m a pro at it. Love you, Princess.

 

Reese: lol. I love you too. Goodnight.

 

~~~

 

I woke up after lunch, thankful that I was suspended. I wouldn’t have made it to school anyway.

I sat up and stretched. I heard my phone ding and saw a text from Jude.

 

Jude: After school we’re hanging out.

 

Me: Sounds good, but first I need to see if Reese needs me to come to the hospital. I’ll let you know.

 

Jude: K

 

I saw a piece of paper hanging on my door.

I furrowed my eyebrows and went over to it.

 

My youngest son,

 

You are GROUNDED. Your keys are gone until further notice.

 

Love,

 

Mom & Dad

 

I grabbed my cell off my bed and called mom.

“Hello,” mom answered in a sweet tone.

“Grounded?! What’s the point of being eighteen if I still can get grounded?!”

“You live under our roof which means our rules.”

“And if I move out? Because I can!”

“You could, but you can’t. You wouldn’t have enough money to travel after school.”

She had me there. I’d tough it out here before I tapped into my savings. I hung up on her.

I texted Reese.

 

Me: I’m hanging out with Jude after he gets out of school.

 

Reese: All right. Do me a favor, please?

 

Me: ?

 

Reese: No drugs pretty please. Oh, and I’m working on your late birthday gift.

 

Me: Maybe and cool.

 

Reese: I guess I’ll talk to you later.

 

Me: Love you.

 

Reese: I love you too, My Prince Charming.

 

I laughed. Prince Charming? Yeah right. I’m the villain.

~~~

 

Jude pulled up in his car that was shittier than my truck. I looked at my truck wondering if we should take it.

He stuck his head out his window. “Oh, hell no. While she’s running, we take her.”

A storm was rolling and the wind was kicking. I got in and adjusted the seat.

“What’s up?” He asked as we bounced down the road. The shocks were gone. I was half embarrassed to ride in this thing.

I grabbed the “oh shit” handle as we rounded a curve. “Grounded, but you see how seriously I’m taking it.”

Jude laughed. “Your mom is nice, dude. You should respect her.”

“And my dad?”

“Scares the shit out of me. He doesn’t say anything, but when he does, it’s all serious and shit.”

I laughed and lit a cigarette. “Yeah…”

He started driving towards the River. “How’s the mayor?”

“Not great.”

“Damn.”

When we got to the river, got out and sat on the bank. It looked like it would start pouring any minute, but we didn’t care. The humidity was killer. I was sweating just sitting here.

I looked at Jude. He lit a joint he pulled from his jean pocket. He took a hit and passed it to me. I remembered Reese’s text but didn’t care. I was who I was and she’d either accept it or not. I took a long hit.

“Prom is coming up, and Selena wants me to take her.”

I cracked up. “Selena Nixon, the anti-social tatted up bitch of Riverbend High. You’ve got to be shittin’ me?”

“Yeah, weird right?” He laughed. “But I’m gonna take her.”

“So, you and Selena are a thing then?”

He shrugged. “Sometimes yes and sometimes no. Our relationship is purely sex. But I like her, though. It’s confusing.”

He passed the joint. I took another hit and handed it back to him. “I haven’t even thought about prom with everything going on with Jackson and Reese’s dad. It’s not really my scene anyway.”

“Speaking of that jackass, how are you feelin’?”

“Fine. If I had never done meth before I wouldn’t have been prepared for the way it makes you feel the first few days after the high, but I’m good. Just tired. He gave me too much I think.”

An hour passed, and I was stoned out of my mind. The wind picked up and we felt a few sprinkles. We grabbed our phones and hurried towards his car.

I waited for him to unlock my door but he just stood at his door. “What’s the deal? It’s about to start pouring.”

Jude felt his pockets then looked at the ground around him. He then put his face to the window and cursed. “Ummm, my keys are in the car.”

“Well that’s brilliant.” I looked at my phone.

We both refused to call for help because we didn’t want to get caught being high, so we waited. But then it started pouring and thundering and not just a little. A lot. We were drenched in a matter of seconds. Even if we wanted to text or call for help we couldn’t now. Our phones were water logged.

Jude was laughing so hard he could barely catch his breath.

Reese was gonna freak when she couldn’t get in touch with me. Jude and I sat down under a tree but there was no point. It didn’t shield us from the downpour at all.

Jude stood and started looking around.

“What are you looking for?” I had to yell over the monsoon.

“A large rock!” He yelled back. He smiled when he found one.

“What are you doing with it?!”

He didn’t answer. He walked towards his car and busted his window out with it. He got in and I hurried over to get in. Just as I was sitting down I saw headlights.

“Shiiiiit,” I said when I saw it was Garrett’s truck.

I looked at Jude. “Are my eyes red?”

Jude laughed. “Naw.”

I cursed. “Shit.”

It wasn’t Garrett but Reese who got out of the truck. She took one look at me frowned.

Jude looked at me. “You coming with me?”

“No. See you later.” Reese walked up to me. She was soaking as well. “He locked his keys in car. Then he busted the window out.”

“I could have unlocked that,” Reese said loudly, her frown deepening.

“He’s not in his right mind. He’ll be pissed tomorrow.”

I looked at her. “Why are we out here? It’s pouring.”

“I thought I’d say bye to my boyfriend before I went back to the hospital, but I see that was a bad idea. Come on I’ll give you a ride home.”

She started to walk towards the truck.

“I’m not going home,” I shouted as I followed.

“Fine, then where do I need to take you?” She asked not looking at me.

I got in the truck and so did she. “Nowhere. Can we just sit here until the high wears off then I’ll go home?”

She nodded and sat there.

Garrett’s truck seats were gonna be soaked. I started laughing. He was so picky about his truck. I took off my shirt and threw it in the floorboard. I then took off my jeans and shoes. I leaned over to crank the truck so I could turn on the heat.

“You’re being a bitchy little witch princess tonight.” I started flipping through the radio stations.

Her hands gripped the steering wheel, her knuckles turned white. She then got out of the truck slamming the door behind her and started walking.

Shit. Seriously? I got out in just my boxers. I took off after her. “You’re damn buzz kill. What is your problem?!”

“What is my problem?!” She asked in a snapped as she kept walking. “Go back to the truck Havock and have a fun trip.”

“Seriously?!” And did she have to use Jackson’s words?

I moved in front of her. “I didn’t ask you to come here, Reese! You came. If you didn’t want to see me like this then you shouldn’t have come at all! As a matter of fact, you better get used to it because I enjoy it!”

She looked at me and shook her head. “What’s so bad about this world that you don’t want to be in it?! That you don’t want to be with me?!”

I laughed at how stupid this was. I hit my head with the palm of my hand and shook my head. And I swear the rain just started pouring harder. “I enjoy the world and I want to be with you! What does smoking dope have to do with me liking my life and wanting to be with you!? You turn shit into bigger deals than they are!”

She shook her head at me. “You’re right. I’m just a delusional bitch.” She started walking again. She was heading back towards town.

“Reese! It’s pouring! Just get in the damn truck!”

“No!” She snapped back. “I’d hate to ruin your buzz!”

“It’s already ruined! You were a bitch to me the moment you saw me! Just get in the truck! I’ll stay here!” The thunder and lightning were so close together there really wasn’t a break anymore. The wind picked up.

She turned, faced me and poked me hard in the chest. Water poured down her face, mixing with her tears. “Why do you do this? Why can’t you just be happy? It’s like you start doing better and you’re happy then you say screw it all – I want to prove to everyone that they’re right about me!”

“I don’t care what people think about me! Maybe drugs are a part of who I am! Accept it or not: I don’t care!”

I didn’t really mean that. I’d quit anything for her. Anything. But I was pissed. I didn’t like people telling me what I shouldn’t be doing. And when I got pissed, I said things to hurt on purpose. I was an asshole. Bottom line.

She took another step towards me and poked at my chest again. “You know what? You wanted me to get a backbone and yell at you, so I’m going to! I love you more than anything, but I can’t watch you waste your life because you want to prove to everyone that you don’t care what they think or that you don’t follow the rules!” She locked her eyes with mine. “Why can’t it be enough for me to love you?”

I wanted to yell. I wanted to prove my case, but I couldn’t. She was so damn sexy when she got mad. And not to mention her clothes were so wet they were sticking to her, showing the voluptuous curves that I adored. Her hair was dripping wet and she was so annoyingly irresistible while I was trying to be mad. I couldn’t take it anymore. My hands needed to be all over my Princess STAT.

I looked at her finger on my bare chest. Was I the only one aware that I was just in my boxers? I smiled when I saw her eyes do a quick glance at my body. She was doing her best to resist me.

“Want to know what I think?!” I yelled.

“What?!” she snapped. Or at least tried to. It came out more strangled and forced than before.

I cupped the back of her head and tangled my fingers in her hair. I leaned down until my lips crushed against hers. Lightening lit the sky and thunder echoed. Rain poured harder, but it didn’t stop us. I stopped kissing her so I get her shirt off. It took longer than usual to get her clothes off because the damn things were soaked. I picked her up, her legs wrapped around my waist, and leaned her back against the hood of the truck. One of her hands gripped my hair and the other gripped front of my shirt as I kissed her neck.

 

~~~

 

We sat outside my house trying to figure out how to explain why we were soaked and way late. Plus, the whole being grounded thing. There was no doubt mom and dad were raging mad.

“We could just not go in,” I suggested. “We could just go back to the river and repeat our fight. That was fun.” I grinned.

“I need to be going. I’m sure my dad is panicking.” She looked at me and smiled. “And it was a nice fight.”

I kissed her. “I’m sorry I upset you.”

“I love you, Havock. And I’m sure we’ll upset each other from time to time but it is fun to make up.”

I kissed her again. “Don’t leave tonight.”

“I have to. Dad panics if I’m gone too long.” She kissed me and ran her hand through my wet hair. “I don’t like being away from you,” she whispered.

“I’ll come with you then.”

“That may not be a good idea right now. Dad is trying to ban me from you. I told him he can’t, but until he’s stronger, I’m trying not to fight.” She put her head against my chest then moved it up and kissed my neck. She kissed one of the spots that drove me crazy. She then moved away from me. “I really do need to go.” She tried to run her hand through her hair but it snagged.

I laughed. “At least come in and get in dry clothes and brush your hair.”

“All right. I’ll give you your birthday gift too. I finished it earlier.” She smiled mischievously at me then got out. She went to a red car and pulled out a bag.

She grabbed something and hurried back over to me. One was a small square package while the other was large and square. She handed them to me. She smiled. “Happy late birthday! Oh, and I need my drawing book back.” She blushed. “I’m hoping you have it.” She was bouncing on her feet she was so excited.

I laughed. We were both still soaking wet. “You could’ve waited until we were dry. And my book is in a safe place.”

I opened the small one first.

It was a deck of cards. Each card had something on it. It was something she loved about me. And on the back were pictures painted on the backs of her and me together. This had to have taken her forever to paint the backs of these.

“No one is to see those,” she said blushing. “And now that you have those, I get my book back.”

I smiled. “Maybe.” I opened the next one.

She chuckled. I opened the present and saw ten records. All ones I didn’t have. I loved how she paid attention to everything about me and knew what I had or didn’t.

“Awesome.”

She kissed me then her phone rang. She pulled it out of her pocket. “I can’t believe this still works.

She answered it. “Hello?” She moved it from her ear and I heard her dad. She put it back. “I’m on my way. I got caught in a down pour. I’m going to change then-” she stopped and put her free hand to her temples. “Yes sir.” She sighed deeply. “Be right there.” She hung up. She kissed me. “I have to go. I love you.” She kissed me one more time then went to walk towards the car.

“You’re dripping wet. Don’t you think you should go change first? And whose car?”

“He told me I could change there. He’s not too happy right now. And it’s Dad’s.” She opened the car door and looked at me. “You be good,” she said with a smile. She winked at me then chuckled. “Or not.”

I laughed.

Her smile faded. “Since you’re grounded, I guess I’ll see you at school on Monday.”

“I’m not grounded.”

She raised an eyebrow at me and smirked. “Oh really?” She tapped her chin like she was thinking. “I’m pretty positive Mrs. Johanna said you were.” She chewed on her lip to keep from grinning.

“She just thinks I am.” I kissed her. “I’ll see you tomorrow, and I still have to give you your gift.”

“I love you.” She smiled then got into the car.

I knew as soon as I walked in it’d be hell. I took my time going inside. I smoked four cigarettes to prepare myself for the fight.

 

 

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

 

REESE

 

I walked into a house that was for sale. It was my third today. Dad had given me a lot of houses to look at, so that as soon as he got out, we had somewhere to go. He had also given me things he wanted in a place. At the top of the list was a short distance to work and school. Of course, the second on the list was as far away as possible from Havock. I ignored that one.

Janet leaned against the wall as I looked around. She had agreed to come with me and help. “So, what do you think about this one?”

I looked around. It was a two story house with a bedroom and office downstairs and three bedrooms upstairs. It also had tons of windows to let light in. Or sneak out of. I smiled to myself.

I thought it was too large but dad wanted that many rooms. He said he planned on making the second floor just for me like my own apartment. I didn’t get why, unless, he was planning on me never leaving.

“It fits all his criteria.” Janet chuckled. “Except the second one. I believe it’s only two blocks from Havock,” she stated.

I smiled mischievously. “Is it? I didn’t realize that,” I said innocently.

She burst out laughing. “I’m sure you didn’t, Darlin’.”

The Realtor came in and I nodded to her. She smiled then hurried to the paperwork. Daddy being the mayor had its perks. It’s not every day that you can decide on a house and they let you move in before you ever close on it.

I looked at my phone as it started ringing. “Hey, daddy.”

“Did you find one?”

“Yes, sir. Has the doctor been in?”

“He just left.”

“And?” I asked as I put the phone between my shoulder and ear so I could sign dad’s name on the papers.

“As soon as you get here I can leave.”

“Good!” I looked at the bare house. “Ummm…do you want me to get furniture now or after I get you?”

“We can move in already? Don’t we have to wait for closing?”

I held the phone away from me. “You did say we could move in today, right?”

The realtor smiled. “Of course, Dear. Anything for Mayor Johnson and his daughter. The owners just needed that form signed to you agreeing to buy it. Everyone in this town wants you and the mayor to get settled in as soon as possible.” She smiled then handed me the keys. “I’ll keep you updated when closing will be.”

“Thank you!” I yelled after her as she left and got in her car.

Janet was laughing.

I put my ear back to the phone. “Apparently, everyone is ready for us to get settled back in. They’re happy to have you back, Daddy.” I chuckled.

“If you are up for it, go ahead and pick out a few things. Mainly couch and beds. See if Garret and Mr. Rick can help move it,” he said, leaving Havock out purposefully.

I bit my lip to keep from laughing. “I’ll call Havock and see if they all can. Love you daddy,” I said sweetly then hung up.

He called right back.

I shook my head. Janet laughed. “I’ll call the furniture store and tell them we’re on our way.” She dialed as she walked outside.

I nodded at Janet. “Yeeessss?” I answered dad sweetly.

“You do realize I’m the mayor and if I want to keep you from Havock, I can, right?”

I pinched my nose. “Dad we’ve discussed that I’m eighteen now,” I said calmly.

“That doesn’t matter, Reese. I have enough on that kid to have him put in jail. Don’t try me.”

I froze. “Dad, you wouldn’t?!”

“Love you.” He hung up.

I looked down at my phone as my hands shook. A tear slipped down my cheek as I texted Havock.

 

Me: Is there any way you guys can help me get furniture for the house? Also, we have a problem.

 

Havock: Sure. And what now?

 

I called him as I got into Janet’s car. “Hey.”

 

Janet patted my knee as she drove. When we pulled up to the store she got out so I had privacy.

Tears started to fall. “Hey.” My voice broke. I was sick of being so emotional, but I couldn’t help it.

“What’s wrong, Princess?”

“Dad said that he has enough on you to put you in jail. He said he’d use it if I kept seeing you.” More tears fell. I tried wiping them but it wasn’t working.

He didn’t say anything.

I was shaking I was so angry. I didn’t want to be angry at dad, but I was. No one was keeping me away from Havock anymore. I tried to calm down.

“I’m sorry, Havock,” I got out through the tears. “I don’t know what to do. I’m going to talk to him when I go pick him up.”

“He’s not being fair. Maybe I should talk to him? No… bad idea. What the hell?! The only stuff he has on me is from years back!” he yelled.

I felt something building in me, and I saw Janet turn to me wide eyed. She parked at the furniture store then hurried over to my door. I pushed it down, or tried to. Janet tried to open the door, but it was locked. I shook my head at her.

She hit the window with her fist. “Open it!”

“I’m going to fix this. I…” I closed my eyes. “I love you, Havock. I won’t give you up.” I took deep breaths as I tried to push whatever was building back down. My head started pounding.

“No. Don’t. Just leave it alone. I’ll talk to him. You need to calm down. We’ll figure this out.”

Tears fell down my face. “I’m sorry,” I whispered. I put the palm of my hand to my head as the pain intensified. I hissed and the door opened.

Janet took the phone from me. “Havock, why don’t you and your brother, possibly your dad, come to the furniture store. Please? I need to calm your girlfriend down.” She gave him the name of the store then hung up. She cupped my face. “Focus on me,” she said calmly.

“I wasn’t finished-” I stopped as the pain intensified.

“You have too much power in you. Let it out,” she said soothingly.

“How?” I asked as I closed my eyes. I felt something wet around my nose. I touched it and looked at my fingers. My nose was bleeding.

“Dammit. Tomorrow we start training,” she whispered. “This is going to hurt me worse than it does you.” She closed her eyes.

I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my head then it was gone. I touched my nose and it had stopped bleeding. I looked at Janet who was kneeling on the ground. Her face was ghost white and she had sweat pouring down her face.

“What…what happened?” I asked my voice shaking a little. I looked around to make sure we didn’t have an audience. Thankfully, we were the only ones in the parking lot.

“I’ll explain later, but do me a favor and remain calm. I don’t think I can do that again.” She smiled a little then got to her feet. She leaned heavily against the car. She took deep breaths. “Why don’t you go get cleaned up. I’ll meet you inside.”

I nodded then went inside straight to the bathroom. I cleaned my nose up and tried wiping off my shirt, but it was no use. By the time I came out, Janet was there. She was sitting on one of the couches with her head against the arm. She looked like she was at death’s door she was so pale.

I talked to the owner and told him what I needed. He showed me the beds. I picked out two bedroom suits. Both dark wood, king. Mine was more decorative. When I came back to the living room stuff Havock, Garret, and Mr. Rick were coming in. Janet hadn’t moved.

Havock had his hands in his pockets. He was in an irritable mood. “Did you pick out what you want?” He looked at my shirt and touched it. “You better say that’s ketchup.”

Garrett was talking to Janet. He looked worried. Rick walked off to go talk to the owner about delivery options.

“Nose bleed. Apparently, I lost control but it went inward instead of outward.” I shrugged. I wiped a stray tear. I didn’t want to talk about it. “I picked out the bedroom stuff, but I need to pick out the living room. I looked at Janet. “She helped me and it hurt her,” I whispered.

“What do you mean she helped you?” Havock and I started walking around looking at living room furniture.

“She helped me,” I hoped he’d catch on because I couldn’t discuss it in detail in here.

“She’s-”

I nodded before he could finish the sentence.

“Holy hell, that’s right,” he breathed out. “I forget about the mythical bullshit sometimes.”

I looked over my shoulder and watched as Janet gave Garrett a ghost of a smile and tried to stand but swayed on her feet.

I grabbed Havock’s arm and we hurried over to them. “Janet?!” I said in a panic.

She looked at me. “Calm down. I’m fine.” She slowly sat back down. “Finish getting your furniture. I’ll just wait here,” she said as she closed her eyes and leaned back against the couch.

I ran a shaky hand through my hair. I took deep breaths and calmed myself down. I gripped Havock’s arm. Being near him always calmed me down.

“Havock, can you be a dear and calm her please?” Janet asked without opening her eyes.

He held my hand as we looked at couches. I picked out a couch then squeezed Havock’s hand as we walked towards Mr. Rick. I gave him the address to my new home.

“They’re going to deliver it and me and the boys will be there to help put it where it needs to go.”

I thanked Mr. Rick then Havock walked with me outside.

“I’ll see you in a minute.”

Garrett helped Janet to the car. He handed me her keys. “Can you drive her? She’s refusing to be seen at a hospital so she needs to at least go lie down somewhere.”

I nodded.

~~~

 

I watched as Janet laid on the new couch. “I’m going to break your couch in.”

I laughed. “Alright.” I looked at Mr. Rick who was leaving. “Thank you. I really appreciate you doing this on short notice.”

“No problem. I’d do anything to help you and the Mayor out. How is he?”

“Better.” I smiled and hugged him. “Thank you for everything.”

He hugged me back and kissed the top of my head. “Don’t you be a stranger. I expect to see you and not just because you’re there to see my son.” He raised a brow at me.

I chuckled. “Yes, Sir.” I watched him leave. He and Mrs. Johanna had been so good to me.

I closed the door and turned to see Garrett talking to Janet. I saw Havock sitting on the stairs, staring at me. He used his head to motion up the stairs. I bit my lip when he stood and walked up them. I smiled then went up, finding him in my new room.

He set a small box that was wrapped in a pink bow on my dresser. He kept a distance from me.

I looked up at him then the box then him again. “Havock, I love you.”

He nodded and stared at his feet. “How is this gonna work? I was thinking and-”

I looked back at my hands. “I’m going to talk to dad. He’s going to have to give because I’m not. Not on this. Not on you.” I looked at him. “And if he doesn’t in one month, I’m moving out. Janet said shed give me a job.”

His eyes met mine. He laughed coldly. “You just got your dad back. You’d ruin your relationship with him over me?” He shook his head and scoffed. “I won’t let you do that.”

A tear slid down my cheek. “And when did I start letting you tell me what to do?” I asked repeating what he said to me once.

“You can do whatever you want. But I’m choosing to back off until he changes his mind about me. Do you know what I’d give for my dad to give even a little bit of a shit about me?!” I could tell by the expression he held it took great difficulty for him to admit that he craved his dad’s approval out loud.

Another tear fell. I nodded. I stood up and picked up the box. I played with the bow. “What if you don’t want me by the time he comes around?” I asked quietly. I didn’t recognize Havock. Who was he to care what my dad thought? He always did whatever he wanted. Why was he stopping now?

“Would you just open the damn box?”

I opened it and gasped. It was a beautiful infinity necklace. “I love it!” I said as I gently got it out of the box. “Thank you, Havock.” I put it on then kissed him. “I love you. Always,” I whispered against his lips.

“I hate being the good guy,” he said before kissing me.

“Then don’t. I don’t care what my dad thinks.”

He moved away from me. “Yes you do.”

I stepped forward, trying to get back into his arms but he moved again, putting his hands in his pockets.

“You’re dad went through hell and he finally has you back. I’m sure it’s a lot for him to take in finding out you’ve been spending your time with the biggest outlaw in Riverbend.”

“I don’t care what he thinks, Havock!”

He laughed coldly. “Spend time with him. Do your father-daughter bonding shit. I’m respectfully bowing out of your life right now. It kills me but I won’t jeopardize your relationship with him.”

I wanted to scream at him. He was being ridiculous. I started to say something, but he cut me off.

“Tell him about the suicide attempt. You need help. Promise me you’ll get help.” He nodded before I could answer then walked out of the room.

My heart broke into a thousand pieces. I hurried down the stairs to try to stop him, but he was already gone. Janet who seemed to be doing much better, looked at me then came over, giving me a small hug.

I shrugged her off. “Let’s just go get my dad.”

~~~

 

When I got there, I walked into the hospital then the room. “You ready?” I asked as I put my hands in my pockets.

“Yup. Want to order pizza tonight?” He followed me out.

“That’s fine,” I said as we walked out to Janet’s car. I put his bag in the trunk then helped him to the front. I got in the back behind him. I sighed. “Umm…Janet can you drop me off at the store. I forgot sheets and things for the beds.”

“Sure, Darlin’.” She smiled at me through the rearview mirror. I nodded then looked out the window.

~~~

 

I woke up with sweat pouring off me and screaming. I ran unsteady hands through my hair and left my room. I walked downstairs and sat on the couch. I stared off into space. I heard a noise and looked behind me. Dad was coming out of his room.

“You should be sleeping,” I said to him. I looked at him as he came over and sat down by me.

“You should be as well.”

“I don’t sleep very well most of the time,” I said as I looked back off into the un-decorated house.

“Do you still see the shadows?”

I nodded. “Yes. They follow me…speak to me… but they’re worse at night.” I rubbed my hand down my face. “I can understand why mom did what she did but I also wonder if she even realized what she did,” I whispered.

I didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t like the shadows ruling my life and I damn sure didn’t give them the attention they wanted. They enjoyed driving me mad.

“I guess I should go back to bed. I have school tomorrow.” It had been a week since we’d moved into this house. I saw Havock at school, but since my schedule was changed I barely saw him. The longer I went without him the more intense my nightmares became and the louder the shadows were. I was drowning.

“Saturday I have training with Janet then I’ll go shopping for more stuff for the house.” My voice was melancholy and had been for days. I’d tried to put on a good front, but it was hard when I was missing Havock and going on only around two hours of sleep a night. I stood up and kissed dad’s head.

“I know you’re mad at me.” He looked at me. “But I promise you I’m right about Havock. He’s not a good guy. And before you start arguing with me, because I know you’re about to by the way you’re scrunching your nose, listen to me, alright?”

I looked at him. Waiting. I know he said I was about to argue, but honestly I was too tired to argue. “I’m listening.”

“He stayed in trouble with drugs. Not just doing them but selling them at school. He started drinking alcohol to the point of it being scary. His mother and father tried everything. Finally, they sent him to rehab. He started doing better when he came back to Riverbend. Then he started back with drugs again. He was luring girls with pills and having sex with them. He doesn’t know this next part and he doesn’t need to know. He got a girl pregnant in the tenth grade. She got an abortion because she was scared. I also have plenty of surveillance tapes where he, that Jude kid, and Selena Nixon broke in places around town. He’s a dead end, Reese. He may love you now, but who knows what his next phase will be. I don’t want you going down with him. You’re in a tough place right now. You need stability and help.”

“He’s not a dead end, dad. I can see something in him. He’s different with me.” I didn’t yell. I stayed calm.

“I will never approve of him, Reese. To date him will be going against me and as long as you are in school and living under my roof, you are my responsibility, eighteen or not. It’s your choice. You can date him but the only time you will be seeing him is in jail. Am I clear?”

I nodded. I started to walk out of the room but I stopped. I looked at him. “Dad, I love you. You have always tried to protect me so much that you hid me away. But eventually you’re going to have to let me go. Let me make my own decisions. My own mistakes.”

CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE

 

HAVOCK

I threw my backpack down and plopped down on the couch. This whole life thing sucked without Reese. I craved her more than I ever craved any drug. Why I was being the good guy and respecting her dad, was beyond me. I was caving, though. Not being with her was like being in someone else’s skin. I didn’t even know who I was without her.

I pulled a joint from my pocket and lit it. It’d be a few hours before anyone got home. Garrett had volunteered to help practice with the upcoming football team, dad was working late, and mom texted me telling me she had a few cases to see and to order out tonight.

I blew smoke rings to entertain myself as thought about how much longer I’d be this good guy I didn’t like. A noise from upstairs startled me. I heard moaning and a lot of banging. My eyebrows shot up when I heard mom scream with pleasure. No fucking way this was happening. Her and dad’s car wasn’t out front so how was it that they were here, upstairs, having sex?

I looked at my joint and cursed. I hurried to the kitchen and put it down the sink. I turned the water on, trying to be as quiet as I could. I didn’t want to face mom and dad after hearing them upstairs.

The noise from upstairs stopped when I accidentally flipped on the garbage disposal instead of turning off the light. Shit.

I was about to make a run for it when two sets of footsteps came running down the stairs. My mouth dropped open when I saw a man throwing a shirt over his head that wasn’t my dad. Mom froze.

I don’t know what was more disturbing that moment. The fact that mom was in just bra and panties or that she was with another man. I turned my head.

“Havock,” she said in a calm, apologetic tone.

I walked past them and grabbed my keys off the floor in the living room. I went out to my truck and sat there in shock. What the hell just happened?!

 

~~~

 

I spent several long hours at the River alone. Thinking. I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t know what it would be like there. Would mom pretend like nothing happened? Had she admitted to dad she had an affair and they were fighting? Did dad leave? Was he in jail? Because I’d be in jail for the death of that man if I caught Reese sleeping with someone else.

I dreaded looking at mom in the eyes and hearing her reasoning for doing that. But I had to go home at some point. I wanted to call Reese and tell her about this, but she didn’t need the stress of it. I would’ve called Garrett, but I didn’t know how to tell him about it.

I pulled onto the curb near the house and saw everyone’s vehicles parked. I saw mom peek out the window and when she saw me, she came out onto the porch and sat on the swing. My hands shook. I was angry at her.

I got out and lit a cigarette. She stood and walked towards me. Tears fell down her face.

“Havock, let me explain.”

I laughed coldly. “I shouldn’t be the one you’re doing the explaining to.”

“I can’t tell him. I can’t ruin our marriage. It was an accident.”

“An accident? Are you really using that excuse?!”

She hugged herself and shrugged. “I love your father just like you loved Reese but you still messed around on her!”

She had me there except for the fact that Reese was gone and I thought she was never coming back. Not that it made what I did okay, but dad is here with her. I exhaled smoke and looked at her.

“You’re like me in so many ways,” she said with a heavy sigh and she grabbed my cigarette from my fingers. She took a long hit then handed it back to me.

I stared at my mother I all of a sudden didn’t know. “You bitch at me for smoking,” I said in shock.

She laughed. “Yeah because every time I smell it on you or see you with one I crave one myself.” She shook her head and laughed. “I had a moment of weakness today. I got bored with your father. I’m okay. Your father and I are okay. But I needed something for me.”

“Who are you?” I scoffed.

She laughed coldly. “I’m horrible.”

“Are you gonna tell dad?”

She shook her head. “No. This is one I’ll take to my grave. I’ll deal with the inner turmoil as my consequence.”

That was so wrong on so many levels. “You have to tell him.” I couldn’t believe I was even having this conversation with my mom.

“I know. Dammit, I know!” Tears sprang from her eyes. “Just let me tell him. I’ll do it after you and Garrett are out of the house. I don’t want the drama while you boys are home.”

“If you didn’t want the drama then you should’ve thought twice about letting another man in your bedroom.”

She nodded. “I’m going inside. Let me tell him, Havock.”

“I won’t say anything.”

She kissed my cheek then went inside.

 

~~~

 

Prom was in a week. I knew I couldn’t take Reese because her dad was still being a dick, but I’d make it up to her somehow. The how was going to tricky. I was sick of not seeing her and when I thought I could sneak to see her at school, I was stopped by a teacher. Mayor Johnson made sure we were being watched.

“Havock!” I heard Jude yell from down the hall while I was digging in my locker. I shut it and vowed to never open up that black hole again. I’d never be able to find anything in there and scared of what I might find if I kept digging. My English book wasn’t that important.

“What?” I asked as he pulled me into the bathroom.

I jerked my arm away. “Damn! What the hell?”

He bent down to check the stalls and once we were alone, he said, “I screwed up. Big time. This is so fucked up, dude!”

I raised a brow. “More fucked up than my mom screwing our neighbor?” I had told him about it. I had to tell someone.

“I think so. It’s Selena…she’s…she’s pregnant.”

Holy mother of all that is Batman. I felt a punch to my gut as if it was me hearing that I got a girl pregnant. I hurt for Jude. He was my best friend and this was life changing shit.

“Damn,” I breathed out.

He leaned against a stall and hit is head on the door. “Mom is gonna freak out. I don’t even know what to do. Selena is scared, and I don’t know how to make her feel better. We screwed up. I’m too young to be a dad. I don’t even have my life figured out. The only future thing I have planned is to meet Doug for my dime sack after school today.”

I rubbed the back of my neck and took a deep breath. “Shit, Jude. What am I supposed to say?”

Guys started coming into the bathroom so we stopped talking. We left and headed towards our class. I told him we’d hang out later to talk about it.

I walked into English and sat at the back. I put my earbuds in and laid my head on the desk. Today was review day, and I already knew everything.

A little while later, I felt a hand on my shoulder. I hadn’t realized I fell asleep. I sat up and pulled the earbuds from my ear.

“You’re needed in the art room,” my teacher said then went back to the front of the class.

I grabbed my things and headed that way.

I walked in and saw Reese with her back to a corner sitting on the floor with her knees at her chest. She had her ears covered and she was screaming. Her eyes were closed tight and she was rocking. The art room was a mess.

“We can’t get her to calm down. We’ve called her dad but he didn’t answer,” Mrs. Jacobs the art teacher said worriedly. “I told them to get you.”

Tears poured down Reese’s face.

I set my things down and knelt down beside her. I rubbed her back. “Princess, it’s me. I’m here,” I said as calmly as I could. Flashbacks from that night in the kitchen played in my mind. I was worried.

Her whole body was shaking. Her screaming stopped but she didn’t open her eyes or stop rocking. She still had her ears covered.

I looked at the art teacher. “I’m taking her home. Her dad can get pissed all he wants. I don’t care.” I helped her stand. “Ask Garrett to bring our things home, please.”

Mrs. Jacobs nodded. Reese kept her ears covered and buried her face against my chest as she cried. Her body was trembling.

“I will call and explain what happened. Thank you, Havock,” Mrs. Jacobs said her voice shook a little.

I took her out to my truck, ignoring the stares from our classmates. I helped her into the passenger seat and kissed her forehead.

I moved her hands off her ears. I got my earbuds and put them in her ears. I then started playing music to try to get her mind off whatever it was that had her so freaked out.

Slowly, very slowly, she stopped crying. She then opened her eyes and looked at me.

I cupped her face in my hands and wiped her tears. I brought my lips to hers and kissed her slowly and deeply. I needed her to know that I was here, and I wasn’t going anywhere.

“Until further notice I’m being Havock again. Not the good guy. Screw your dad and his lame ass rules.” I rested my forehead against hers and rubbed her cheeks with my thumbs.

She chuckled a little then buried her face against my neck and held tight to me.

I ran my fingers through her hair and kissed her head. “Want me to take you home?”

“Yes,” She said her voice hoarse.

I helped her in the truck. I got in and put my arm around her waist to scoot her closer to me.

 

CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX

 

REESE

 

I had fallen asleep with my head in Havock’s lap. I woke up to the door slamming and my dad yelling. Dammit, that was the first dreamless sleep I had had in a while. I groaned and turned over burying my face against Havock. I didn’t want to wake up and deal with reality.

“Mayor,” Havock said as he stood.

“Havock, you have nothing to say that I haven’t heard you say before.” Dad was fuming.

“Things are different now, Mayor Johnson.”

“Oh really? Let’s go down to the police station and get you drug tested then. If it comes back negative, I MIGHT listen to you.”

Havock didn’t back down. “It’ll be positive, sir,” he said honestly.

Dad scoffed. “Goodbye, Havock.”

“I love her. More than anything.”

“But you still do drugs? Seems like you don’t have your priorities straight. The cycle of Havock Satterly continues and it will until you die.”

“Dad, please,” I begged.

“I’ll quit. I already had my mind made up I would for her because she doesn’t like it. Let me prove to you I’m different for her. I’d be anything for your daughter, Sir. Please,” he begged. Havock wasn’t a beggar. Ever.

“You get girls pregnant and they have abortions because they know the type of guy you are. And you think I’d let you date my daughter because you claim to love her?!”

Havock froze. “What?!”

A tear fell down my cheek.

Dad didn’t answer him. He knew he went too far.

Havock didn’t say a word. He took his keys from his pocket and left.

I looked after him then at my dad. “What the hell is wrong with you?!” I snapped.

“He needed to understand he isn’t worthy of a girl like you.”

I scoffed. “A girl like me?” I asked coldly. “A freak? A witch who sees shadows everywhere she looks? A girl who is one step from following after her mother and drowning herself?!” I asked in a yell.

His expression was as if I had stabbed him. “You are not your mother!”

“Three times, dad. Three times I tried to kill myself after you disappeared and the shadows increased. And do you know what the only thing that stopped me is?” I asked as tears fell down my face. I pointed towards the door. “That guy!” I wiped my tears. “Yes he makes mistakes, but he is the best thing that has ever happened to me! Why can’t you see that?” I asked as I looked at him begging for him to understand.

“I’m trying to protect you. I couldn’t protect your mother!” Tears filled his eyes.

“This isn’t the way to protect me. I need him,” I said as tears fell. “I need him,” I said softly as I hung my head.

“I’m not arguing with you. You’re a child! You don’t know what you need!” Dad shook his head and walked out of the room. I heard his office door slam.

I grabbed dad’s keys from the counter and drove to Havock’s.

When I pulled in, Havock’s truck wasn’t there. I parked the car and ran to the door. I banged on it then pulled out my phone trying to call Havock. I looked around and saw Garrett’s truck. “Garrett!” I yelled as I banged on the door again.

Havock’s phone went to voicemail. “Baby, please call me. Please,” I begged then hung up.

Garrett opened the door. “I need your help!”

I said in a panic as I pushed the call button again to call Havock’s phone. I was worried about him. What if he did something stupid? I knew he had to be upset after what dad said to him. Dammit, I should have gone after him as soon as he started out the door.

Garrett was looking at me worriedly before he could ask what was wrong I spoke. “Something’s happened and I’m worried about Havock. I can’t tell you what was said because Havock will tell you if he wants, but I need your help finding him! You know this place better than me!” I was desperate. “Please answer!” I said desperately into the phone when the voicemail clicked on again.

Garrett grabbed his keys and we headed to the truck as I tried calling Havock again. He didn’t ask questions, he didn’t say anything he just drove. By the time I had called Havock’s phone at least fifteen times, we had looked at two different places.

We were almost to a third when I suddenly saw a man in the middle of the road. “Look out!” I yelled.

Garrett jerked the wheel and I felt something. Something coming towards us. Something hit my door with enough force to flip the truck over and over again. All I could think about was keeping Garrett safe. My head bounced off the side of the door as we continued to roll. The truck finally stopped on its hood. Garrett and I were both hanging upside down by our seatbelts.

I groaned and touched my head. “Garrett, are you okay?” I asked as I tried to get unbuckled. The pressure in my head from hanging upside down was extremely painful.

I tugged at my belt, but I just couldn’t get it undone.

I heard a thud and turned my head to see that Garrett had gotten out of his seatbelt and crawled to what was left of the the ceiling.

“Are you okay?!” I asked as I put my hand to my head to try and stop the bleeding. I looked around best I could at the truck. How the hell were we even alive? “Garrett please talk to me!” I begged. I tugged at my belt with my free hand. Hanging upside down with a head injury was not conducive to my health.

He couldn’t talk. He helped me out of my seatbelt and helped me out of my seat.

He held me close. “I’m fine,” he finally got out. “You?”

“My head hurts,” I said softly. “We need to get out of here.” I looked at the windshield that was broken.

He helped me crawl out then followed out behind me.

I looked at the truck in shock. From the outside you could barely even tell it was a truck. I put my hand to my head and looked around as people started rushing over to us. I heard my phone ringing. “My phone,” I said then swayed on my feet.

Garrett put his arm around me for support.

A lady came over. “Garrett Satterly? Reese Johnson? Are you kids alright?!”

Another lady came over and was on the phone with what sounded like 911.

Garrett nodded. “I don’t know how we are, but we are.” He looked at his truck, or what was left of it.

He swallowed hard and tears filled his eyes.

“I think my phone is in the truck.” I looked around and saw it on the pavement away from the truck. It must have been thrown out.

Garrett felt for his phone and shook his head. “Mine was in the truck.”

I slowly moved away from Garrett and walked carefully over to mine. I picked it up and looked at it. It was still working. I handed it to Garrett then put my hand back to my head. I pulled it back and it had blood on it.

He looked at me worriedly. He made me sit down on the grass while we waited.

He put the phone to his ear.

I kept my hand pressed to my head trying to get the bleeding to stop. I looked at him. “You calling Havock?” I asked quietly.

He nodded.

I looked around for the guy who had been in the middle of the road but didn’t see him. He had to have been a witch. The way he had hit Garrett’s truck wasn’t natural. It was power. I looked back at the crumpled mess. Of course, us surviving that wasn’t natural either. I closed my eyes and thought about what happened. I had wanted to keep Garrett safe. I felt drained and tired not to mention in pain. I chuckled a little. My powers must have kicked in and saved us. That’s the only explanation.

I opened my eyes when I heard a siren. I groaned.

Garrett cursed. “I can’t get Havock.” He sat next to me. “Mom and dad are on their way.”

I grabbed my phone to text Havock.

 

Me: When you have a free moment just thought you should know Garrett and I were in a wreck. Love you.

The phone rang immediately.

I winced from the sound. “Hello?”

“What?! Where are you?! What do you mean you had a WRECK?!”

I moved the phone away from my ear. My head was pounding. “Here.” I handed it to Garrett. “My head is killing me.”

The ambulance pulled up and the medics hurried out. They had a stretcher but froze when they saw the truck.

They looked at each other then looked at us. “Anyone else in there?”

“No. It was just us,” I said as I looked at it.

It looked horrible. This is the kind of wreck you come up on and just know there were no survivors.

“How in the hell are you two okay?” The medic asked in shock.

“Your guess is as good as ours,” I said. One of the medics snapped out of his stupor and hurried over to me. He made me move my hand as he looked at my head.

Garrett hung up when a medic started looking him over.

I heard someone yelling then realized it was dad trying to get through the crowd.

He finally made it over.

He waited while the medic looked me over.

“Is she okay?! You should take her to the hospital and at least let them look her over. I’m concerned with her head bleeding!”

Johanna and Rick came over and both wrapped Garrett in a hug. They all cried.

“You’re right. We need to take them both to the hospital. She needs her head stitched up and I think…” The medic looked at the truck. “With as bad as that wreck was, we should be on the safe side,” he said as he bandaged my head to hold it over till I got to the ER.

Johanna and Rick moved so Garrett could get in the ambulance with me. I heard the loud roar of a truck and new that sound from anywhere. It was Havock.

I heard him telling people to move then he finally made it over. His eyes found the truck before he saw us.

He froze.

Before anyone could stop me I jumped out of the ambulance. I hurried over to him. I launched myself into his arms.

He held me tight.

“Ma’am we need to get you to the hospital,” the medic yelled.

Dad came over and peeled me away from Havock.

Havock followed. “Reese, I’ll follow you there.”

They shut the doors of the ambulance before I could answer him.

Garrett moved his neck around. “Damn, I’m already getting sore.”

I nodded then regretted it. “Yeah, me too.”

 

~~~

 

I had a slight concussion, but after my dad assuring them that he’d keep me up and watch me closely they agreed I could go home. I hurt everywhere. However, in a few minutes I probably wouldn’t feel anything. Not with the medicine they just gave me. “Daddy, is Garrett okay?” I asked quietly.

Havock hadn’t been allowed in. Only dad, and if he hadn’t been the Mayor, they wouldn’t have let him in or have allowed him to take me home this soon.

“Garrett is fine. Just going to be sore and bruised up.” A tear fell down his cheek. “How did you two survive that, Reese?”

“I think my powers saved us,” I whispered. “I think that’s why I’m so drained.” I rubbed the back of my neck. “There was a witch there, dad. That’s what caused the wreck. He was in the road and he threw power at us. It’s what flipped the truck.”

“We’ll discuss that later. I will call your mother’s father. I haven’t spoken with him in years, but under the circumstances, I’m sure he’d like to help.”

I was confused. He always told me my grandfather was dead.

“I don’t want to think about the fact that he’s alive right now. Can we just go eat and discuss all this when my meds kick in?” I asked as I got off the bed. “And after I see Havock. Please?”

Dad sighed heavily then nodded. “Alright.”

I kissed his cheek. “Thank you, daddy.”

 

 

 

CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN

 

 

HAVOCK

 

I waited at the entrance doors for someone to come tell me how Reese was. They wouldn’t let me in with her.

Her dad came out and scowled at me. “I’m letting you give her a ride to the house. She has a concussion so you can’t let her fall asleep. They gave her meds that are making her tired but she’s to stay awake.”

I nodded and avoided looking at him.

“I’ll pay you to stay away from her. I know you want out of Riverbend. Name your price,” he said quietly so no one would hear.

I closed my eyes and counted to ten. I took a deep breath and thought about Reese instead of punching him in the face for saying that. I wasn’t in the state of mine to deal with bullshit.

My dad came over and started talking to him, thankfully.

Reese came out and smiled softly at me. She had bruises on the parts I could see of her chest and her neck. She also had a bandage on her head and her eyes looked glazed. “Hey.”

I hugged her carefully. “Hey,” I whispered into her hair.

Garrett walked out and mom and dad flocked to his side.

I pulled away from Reese and walked over to Garrett. I hugged him.

“Whoa, is Havock Satterly giving his big bro a hug?!” Garrett laughed.

“Don’t get used to it.”

Garrett nodded towards Reese. “Get her home. She needs to rest.”

I told dad I’d be home later. I was still having a hard time talking to mom. I then helped Reese out to my truck.

When we got to her house, I helped her to the couch and sat beside her.

Her dad sat annoyingly close in the chair beside the couch.

“Dad, what about that dinner?” Reese asked pointedly.

“Ordered pizza.” Mayor Johnson smiled.

“Dad. I could always go to my room and lock the door or you could give us a few minutes. I’m too sore to do anything,” she said with the same mock smile.

He groaned and stood. “Half hour.” He then walked out of the room.

Reese looked at me seriously. “How are you?”

I played with her fingers and shrugged. “Not in the mood to talk about it. I’m still trying to figure out how you and Garrett made it out of the wreck alive.”

“I think I did it. But I’m not for sure. It’s all a haze.”

“Whatever happened, I’m glad it did.” I kissed her softly. “I couldn’t lose you or Garrett.”

“I love you, Havock.”

I tried to smile, but I couldn’t. How could she truly love a guy who was so bad a girl would abort his baby just to not have to deal with him? I felt sick to my stomach. “Love you too, Princess.”

I stood. “I need a cigarette.”

She grabbed my hand. “Havock,” she said, looking into my eyes.

“Reese, let me go,” I said through a clenched jaw.

She nodded and let my hand go. She tried to hide the hurt with a soft smile.

I went outside and texted Jude to let him and Selena know how Garrett and Reese were.

After I smoked I went back inside.

Reese looked like she was asleep on the couch.

I went over and touched her face. “Princess, wake up. You can’t sleep.”

Her eyes opened slowly. “But I’m so sleepy.”

“But the doctor said no sleeping.”

I moved hair out of her eyes and kissed her forehead.

“Then why’d they give me medicine that makes me sleepy? That’s stupid,” she slurred as she tried to keep her eyes open.

“To take away the pain.”

She scrunched her eyebrows. “What pain?” She smiled at me then touched my face. “You’re sexy.”

I laughed. “You’re drunk.”

“But I don’t drink.” She tilted her head at me. “I like your ass,” she whispered then giggled.

“And I like yours.” I rubbed my nose against hers. “You’re my saving grace, Princess. Only you could make me smile when I’m pissed beyond belief.”

“And you’re my knight in a little dented armor. My Prince Charming. The only one who makes my life mean anything.”

“Some bitch murdered my baby,” I said before I could stop myself. We were having a moment, and I was ruining it. “Am I that bad? What is it that you see in me that no one else does?!” Tears burned my eyes.

“No, you are amazing! You tell people the truth no matter what. You protect those you love and fight for what you want.” She cupped my face. “And that girl is a coward. She used you as an excuse not to take responsibility.”

“Do you know who she was?”

I shook my head. “No, and I think it’s better we don’t. We can’t change what she did. No matter how much we wish we could.”

I thought about everyone I had been with.

“I’m gonna find out.”

She sighed. “I know.” She ran her hand through my hair. “I’ll help.”

I kissed her as the doorbell rang.

“Pizza!” Her dad said too happily as he walked to the front door.

She groaned. “I just want privacy,” she whispered. She went to move then stopped. “I’m too numb to move.” I helped her sit up. She put her hand to her head and moaned. “I don’t like how I feel.”

I laughed. “And I love the way meds like that make me feel. Too much.” That caused her to give me a sour look. I smiled a little. “You’re so cute when your face gets all scrunched up when you get mad.”

Her dad came in with plates and sat in-between us.

 

~~~

 

Her dad let her walk me out to my truck. I laughed. If that man only knew the things I’ve done to his daughter in this truck. I messed with my lip ring while I let my Princess get lost her thoughts. I almost interrupted her but she looked peaceful, like she was figuring out her life. There was something about the cool breeze at night and being under the stars that made her start thinking.

I sat on my hood and lit a cigarette. I looked at the new tats I acquired while she was gone. I was covered. My arm, legs, shoulders. . .I looked at her when she looked at me.

She traced one of the tattoos that was peeking through a hole in my jeans. “I think I want one.”

I laughed. “Where?”

“On the back of my right shoulder.” She looked up at me.

I pulled down her shirt just enough to look for a good spot. I touched it with my finger. “Here?” I kissed it.

Little goose bumps appeared on her skin and she shivered a little. “A little lower.” Her voice had taken on a different tone than before.

I smiled a little and pulled her shirt completely off her shoulder. I kissed lower. “There?” I whispered.

“Ummm…maybe…maybe not.” Her voice had turned into a purr.

It was so hard to hold back when I was near her. It only took one look for her to completely consume me. I smiled. “Be good, Princess. Daddy is watching out the window,” I whispered against her ear.

She groaned. “I don’t want to be good.” She turned in my arms and her eyes locked on mine. “I’m freakin’ eighteen years old. I don’t care anymore. I miss you so much.”

I finished my cigarette and flicked it onto the pavement. I looked at Reese. I searched her eyes for any doubt about us. There wasn’t any. I wondered if she could see any in mine. How the moment I saw my mom with another man, it shattered all of my hopes that true love really existed. Anger overflowed inside, and I couldn’t shake it.

I slid off my hood. “I need to go home.” I did it again. I let my feelings get to me, and I shut down on her. But I needed to go. I couldn’t tell Reese what my mom had done. She looked up to her.

Reese grabbed my hand stopping me from getting into my truck. “Havock, talk to me. Tell me what’s going on?” She looked at me worriedly. “Are you getting bored with me? I could change some things up.”

Bored? Princess was delusional. “I have homework,” I lied.

She let go of my hand and hurt flashed across her face. “All right.”

I kissed her but she didn’t kiss me back. “Love you.” I looked at Mayor Johnson who was now on the porch. “Night, Mayor. Promise I won’t partake in any shenanigans tonight.”

“Go home, Havock.” He shook his head and I caught him laugh a little.

“Love you, too,” Reese whispered before going inside.

CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT

 

REESE

I fingered the necklace I had made for Havock as I waited by his truck. We hadn’t talked since last night. I knew something was wrong, but I wasn’t going to push him to talk to me. When I pushed, it just locked him up more and pushed him further away from me. I looked down at the necklace I held in my hand. It had a shield on it that had the words, “My Prince Charming and Knight in somewhat dented armour.”

He was my prince charming, my world even when he wasn’t really talking to me. I rubbed my eyes as they began to burn. The several nights of no sleep were catching up with me. I sat on the tailgate of Havock’s truck and smiled when he walked over to me.

“Hey, sexy.” I knew my smile wasn’t as bright as it could be, but I was worried about Havock and tired. Really tired. Plus, between the comments that the other students had made and my three art pieces being messed up by someone, I wasn’t in the mood to fake a smile.

“Hey.” He kissed me. Here lately we’ve both been having to force smiles. “Does your dad still think you’re out with real friends and not me?”

I scoffed. “No, he knows I’m with you. We got into a huge fight about it.” I shrugged. “I don’t really care anymore.” I handed him the necklace. “This is for you.”

He looked at it and lightly touched the words engraved across it. He tightened his fist around it and smiled. A real one. “Thank you.”

I ran my hand through his hair. “No matter what, Havock, I love you and will always love you.”

His smile stuck for a bit but not as long as I wanted or needed for it to. We got into his truck and he hung the necklace from his rearview mirror. “What do you want to do before we go to my house for dinner?”

“Well, Garrett wanted us to meet him and J’s and hang for a bit, but that wasn’t ‘till four.” I looked at the clock and saw it was one thirty. All the seniors got out early today. “So…” I tapped my chin. “What to do till four.”

He cranked his truck. “We’ll just go to J’s early. I’ll text Jude and Selena to meet us there.” He got out his phone and texted them. He put his truck in drive. He didn’t make me scoot closer like usual. He turned up his radio too loud for us to talk over it.

I was so confused and hurt. Which was never a good thing. The radio suddenly changed songs. Weird. I looked at it as “Fuckin Perfect” by Pink started playing.

He looked at it funny then at me. He turned it down. “Did you just change that?” He pointed at his eyes. “With your mind or something?”

I shrugged. “Maybe. I was thinking of that song and how it reminds me of you.”  My control over my powers sucked. I couldn’t use them when I tried and when I did, weird shit like what just happened happens. I looked back out the window.  I heard the shadows whispering to me. I closed my eyes to try and push them away. The song changed again. It changed to an Evanescence song.

Havock slammed his palm against the power button. It was completely silent except for the roar of his old engine. We pulled up to J’s and Selena and Jude were waiting out front.

I got out without saying anything and hurried inside. I went to a booth and sat down. J came over and sat down across from me. “What’s up? You look depressed.”

I shrugged and looked at the menu. J got up when Havock, Jude, and Selena came over. “So, what do you guys want?” she asked as she took her order book out.

“What do pregnant teenagers usually order? Do they order weird things or normal things? You know what? Just give me something that will make me puke so bad that I puke this parasite inside my stomach out!” Selena slammed the menu J handed her down.

J cocked an eyebrow at her. “Too much information, Selena.” She looked at everyone else.

I caught something in Janet’s eyes. She was furious at Selena. I wondered if anyone else saw it or if it was only me. I looked out the window as thunder crashed. “I didn’t know it was supposed to rain today,” I said as I looked back at the menu. “Can I get one of your stuffed burgers?”

Janet nodded. “What do you want in it, Sweetie?”

“Surprise me.” I gave her the menu then looked back out the window as everyone else ordered. There were dark clouds forming. So weird.

Jude tried to put a comforting arm around Selena, but she shrugged it off. “Don’t touch me! I don’t need your sympathy! And I can’t stand the way you smell! For the duration of this pregnancy, please don’t wear that cologne!” Selena scooted further away from Jude.

Jude looked at Havock and I. Selena rolled her eyes. “Get over it, Jude. And I’m sure Janet is pissed because Torrid is back in town. Whatever.” Selena rested her head on her hand.

Havock leaned close to me. “Torrid Nixon, her brother.”

I scrunched my eyebrows. “Why would she be upset about your brother?”

“Because she’s a stupid bitch. That’s why. He goes off to fight for this damn screwed up country and when he got back, she was with someone else. I almost boycotted this place, but Jude and Havock always find a way to drag me in here.”

Havock was putting salt on the top of his hand and licking it off while he didn’t listen to the conversation.

“That doesn’t sound like Janet.” I knew she wasn’t an angel, but it didn’t sound like her to be with another guy while with another. I looked towards Garrett as he walked over and sat down. He was still bruised a little from the wreck.

Havock never acknowledged that he sat down. Actually, Havock wasn’t acknowledging anyone. I looked at Selena when she started to talk again.

“Janet is a bitch who can cook. Nothing more.”

“Whoa, be careful, Selena. Janet is Garrett and Reese’s friend. Respect that,” Jude said.

Selena started playing with a straw instead of answering him.

“Maybe I should go sit with my other friends,” Garrett said as he took the salt shaker away from Havock.

Janet came over and put our food down. She glared at Selena. “Your brother and I broke up before he left. I don’t know what Torrid told you, but I don’t cheat.” She then walked off and went back into the kitchen.

I looked back outside as it started raining. So weird.

~~~

 

I looked at Havock as we pulled up to his house for dinner. “Havock, can I ask you something?”

“Hmmm?”  He held an unlit cigarette between his lips.

I chewed on my bottom lip. “Are you interested in going to prom with me?”

He took it out of his mouth and never lit it. He looked at me. “Sure.”

My face lit up into a bright smile. “Really?” I asked in a squeal.

He shrugged. “Yeah, if that’s what you want.” He put the cigarette back between his lips.

Before he could light it, I moved so I was straddling his lap. I took the cigarette out of his mouth and kissed him, deeply.

He kissed me, barely, then moved me off his lap. “We need to go inside.” He took the cigarette from me and got out of his truck.

 

Open his glove box, sweetie. There’s plenty of crack in there to snort. That’d be an easy death. An over dose. Take a peek. It’s there under all of his college acceptance letters he plans on burning so no one will see he actually applied to some. Don’t believe me? Look. Just a little look.

 

My hands shook as I actually opened his glove box. I couldn’t stop myself from looking. I looked out the window. Havock was smoking a cigarette with his back to me. I moved around some envelopes. Harvard, Princeton, Berkeley. . .I swallowed hard when I saw the crack. There. In Havock’s truck. I slammed the glove box shut.

 

And you thought you could help him. You’re not helping anyone, Reese Johnson. You’re dead weight-bringing everyone down with you!

 

I swallowed hard again and got out of the truck. I walked over to Havock. “You ready to go in?” I asked, my voice shook.

He put his cigarette out and we walked in. Johanna was putting the plates on the table. She smiled when she saw me.

“Reese, Sweetheart, can you go grab the napkins?” she asked as she set a plate down where I usually sit.

I helped her finish setting the table, then we all sat down to eat. Havock put his hand on my thigh under the table which shocked me. I didn’t expect him to do that with the way he had been acting.

Mr. Rick smiled at Garrett. “I think it’s pretty awesome that I get to see both my boys graduate on the same day. I guess it’s good you were a sickly kid and had to repeat a grade, huh Garrett?”

Garrett shrugged. “Ummm, sure?” He laughed. “Pass the corn, dad.”

Johanna smiled at all of us. “This is nice. All of us together.”

“Is it mom?” Havock snapped at her.

I didn’t look at Havock. I had a feeling that whatever had been bothering him was about to come out. I put my hand on top of his and played with his fingers.

Mrs. Johanna wiped her mouth on her napkin. She went to bring her fork full of food to her mouth but it dropped. She stared at Havock.

“What is it mom? Can’t stand the torment of your secret? Is it eating away at every fiber of your conscience?”

“Havock, not here. Not now,” She begged.

“Then when, mom?!” He yelled.

She shook her head as tears fell. Mr. Rick and Garrett looked at her oddly. Mr. Rick took her hand, but she yanked it away.

“Havock, stop! You’re upsetting her! Whatever it is can wait until after dinner!” Mr. Rick yelled.

Havock pushed his plate away and bit his lip as he laughed coldly. He stood forcefully from his chair. “Upsetting her?! You don’t know what upset means!” He grabbed his head like he was going insane. “I feel like my fucking brain is about to explode from all of the bullshit! I can’t take this shit anymore! Going through the motions like our life is anything less than perfect is getting so damn hard!”

Havock pointed at Mrs. Johanna. “She’s cheating on you, dad!”

Garrett’s mouth fell open.

I stared at Havock in shock then looked at his family. I looked back at Havock, understanding now why he had been so distant. On top of dealing with my shit, he was having to deal with this as well.

Mr. Rick looked at her. He was so broken. “Johan-” He couldn’t even finish her name.

She started bawling.

Havock looked at everyone until bringing his attention back to me. “I can’t do this anymore. None of it.” He stormed out of the house.

I swallowed hard understanding completely. “Garrett, can you give me a ride home?” I asked quietly.

Garrett was in shock. He finally nodded and stood, clearing his throat.

We got in his truck. He didn’t drive. He just sat there staring at his steering wheel.

 

Told you so. Everyone is falling apart because of you.

 

I wiped a tear that fell then focused on Garrett. “I can walk if you don’t want to leave. I’ll understand.” I rubbed his back. My phone started ringing. I pulled it out and answered. “Janet, this isn’t-”

“There are witches here! A lot-” she screamed out in pain. “Wasn’t ready-” she cried out again before her phone hung up.

Janet was in pain. A lot of pain. I didn’t care about some witches-I had to get to my friend. “Garrett, I need to go to Janet’s. NOW! Something’s wrong!”

Garrett slowly turned his head to look at me. “Janet?” He asked, confused.

“She called! She sounded like she was in pain! We need to get to her now!” I knew if anything would snap Garrett out of his shock was Janet needing him.

He didn’t ask questions. He put his new truck in drive and sped towards J’s.

My phone dinged as he drove.

 

Havock:  I’m sorry you ever met me.  I’m so sorry, Princess.  Goodbye.

 

Me: I’m not and never will be. I will always love you, Prince Charming. My feelings for you will never change, but I won’t fight for you anymore. If you ever decide you want me-you know where to find me.

 

I put my phone up. We pulled into J’s parking lot and I jumped out of the truck before Garrett had really stopped. I ran up the stairs in the back with Garrett on my heels. The door was locked and I pounded on it, but there was no answer. I looked at Garrett. “Key?!”  

He fumbled with his keys and handed it to me.  Before I could get the key in the door, he had kicked it in.  

We ran in and found Janet on the floor passed out. She was pale and her nose was bleeding. I fell to the floor next to her and put her head in my lap. “J, wake up,” I pleaded as I touched the side of her face. I looked at Garrett in a panic. “What do we do?!”

“Like hell if I know?!” He knelt beside her and started begging her to wake up. He looked at me. “Call an ambulance or something!”

I pulled out my phone, but before I could dial 911 Janet woke up in a gasp and grabbed my wrist stopping me. “NO!”

I heard thunder crash outside. “Janet, you need-”

She touched her nose that was bleeding. “No, I’m fine,” she said weakly.

Garrett was shaking.  “No you’re not!  What the hell happened?!”

Her eyes landed on me then Garrett. I saw the pain in her eyes. She knew she couldn’t hide any of this from Garrett anymore. Her eyes looked back at me. “There is so much you don’t know yet. There is so much I still need to teach you.”

Garrett stopped wiping her face.  “What is she talking about?” He asked me.

Tears filled her eyes. I gave her a weak smile. “She’s talking about what she still needs to teach me about what we are.” I looked at Garrett. “We’re witches, Garrett.”

 

 

 

The story continues in part two, IGNEOUS, from Garrett and Janet’s point of view.

 

Coming soon in 2015!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Collide: A Riverbend Novel (Book 1 of the Riverbend Series)

Reese Johnson lost her mother when she was a child. She was pulled from Riverbend Elementary and home-schooled from then on. Mayor Johnson had to protect her and in order to protect her, he had to hide her from the world. She wasn’t allowed to leave the house. Ever. But when her father goes missing, she’s thrown into a foster home and into Riverbend High where she’s treated horribly by the other students. They don’t get her. In fact, they are scared of her. The town holds her responsible for her mother’s death and her father’s disappearance. What other reason could there be that she was left untouched and unharmed? She had to be the one responsible, right? She is thrown into the home of the Satterly’s. She’s overwhelmed by the love and compassion Johanna and Rick Satterly show her, but is confused by the cold shoulder their son Havock gives her. Their other son Garrett, however, is kind and welcoming. Too welcoming. Forming a relationship with this family isn’t easy for her, but this very family could be the one who saves her from the darkness that threatens her.

  • Author: Sara Daniell
  • Published: 2015-09-19 17:05:25
  • Words: 76052
Collide: A Riverbend Novel (Book 1 of the Riverbend Series) Collide: A Riverbend Novel (Book 1 of the Riverbend Series)