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Ebooks   ➡  Fiction  ➡  Young adult or teen  ➡  Romance  ➡  Crime thriller

Watch Your Back

WATCH YOUR BACK CHLOE MASON

 

Watch Your Back

 

Copyright 2017 Chloe Mason

Published by Chloe Mason at Shakespir

 

 

 

Shakespir Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to Shakespir.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

CHAPTER ONE

I was sitting on the blue covers that enveloped my day bed. To my left sat one of my best friends, Ava Williams. My other best friend, Rachel Simmons, sat to my right. We each had our phones in hand. Ava and I were looking at Snapchat, and Rachel was on Instagram. Ava and Rachel were over at my house for a sleepover. We would soon be starting our senior year, and this was the last weekend that we were all free for the summer.

“OMG, look at this!” Rachel was trying to show me a video on Instagram of an awesome cheerleader stunt. The three of us were cheerleaders at Georgetown High School. I watched the cheerleaders flipping and flying. I wish that our school staff wasn’t so cautious and had let us do things like that. At the end of the video, I shifted my eyes back to my screen. I refreshed my chats. A new snap from Ethan Reyes popped up. Ethan had been my ultimate crush since the eighth grade. Somehow, I’d managed to keep it a secret that only Ava and Rachel knew, and they’d never told anyone.

“Ooh, who Snapchatted you?” Ava said with a wink.

“Oh, um, nobody.” I replied apprehensively.

“Mhmm,” She said sarcastically. “Bet it was Ethan.” The worst part about my crush on Ethan was that he was Ava’s boyfriend. She was super cool with the fact that I liked him, and never gave me a hard time about it. Ethan was tall and lean with wavy, dark hair. He had perfectly straight death and a bright smile. His dark eyes reminded me of extra dark chocolate. Ava and Ethan had been together for only about four months, so I still had a glimmer of hope in me. I would never want to betray Ava like that, though. She would probably kill me. I decided to give in and tell her.

“Yeah, it was Ethan,” I said. “Let me open it.” Want 2 FT? He wrote. “He wants to FaceTime.”

“That’s fine with me, Masyn. It’s not like I’m not here.” What Ava didn’t know was that I had FaceTimed Ethan in the past when she wasn’t there. But Ethan and I were just friends, nothing more. And Ava knew that. Sure. Call u in 5. I typed. He replied with a little smiley-face emoji. The thought of Ethan and I being together popped into my head again. I wondered what Ava would say if I did date Ethan.

“Hey, Ava?” I said to her.

“Yeah?”

“If you and Ethan broke up and—“

“Why, do you think we would?”

“Umm, not really, but—“

“Exactly.”

“But let’s just say it happened for some crazy reason—“

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there, Masyn. Ethan and I aren’t breaking up any time soon.” She let out a soft chuckle and turned her head downward to face her phone again. I sighed ever-so slightly. It was time to FaceTime Ethan. I clicked the video-chat button. I held my breath as it rang.

“Hello?” It was Ethan’s voice.

“Hey, Ethan.”

“Oh hey, Masyn. What are you up to?”

“Nothing much. Just hanging out with Ava and Rachel.”

“Hey, babe!” Ava shouted.

“Hey, love.” Ethan yelled in response. Ugh, the way they referred to each other made me want to throw up!

“Listen, Ethan, I’m kind of hanging out with my friends right now, so I kind of have to go.” I said.

“No, it’s fine. I get it. Goodnight, Ava. Goodnight, Masyn.”

“Goodnight, Ethan.” Ava and I said in unison. I hung up.

CHAPTER TWO

After I hung up on Ethan, I couldn’t help but realize that he had said goodnight to me after Ava. It was all the little things that I noticed, when I couldn’t even remember to do my homework. I glanced up from my phone to check the time on my wall clock. Two-nineteen AM. I let out a massive yawn. I needed to get some sleep.

“Rachel? Ava? It’s getting kind of late, and I need to get some sleep.” I said.

“Sleep? Who needs sleep?” Rachel giggled.

“Yeah,” Ava began. “Sleep is for the weak.” She followed it up with a yawn of her own. We all laughed at this.

“Well, you guys don’t have to sleep, but I’m turning off the lights. If you want to be on your phones, please turn the brightness down.”

“Okay.” Rachel said.

“Goodnight, Masyn.” Ava added. I reached to my left and turned my light off.

When I woke up the next morning, Rachel and Ava were out cold on the floor. I chortled. They must have fallen asleep without choice. I threw the covers off of myself. I needed to change my clothes; I had slept in my outfit from the day before. I stood up and trotted up to my dresser. I opened the top drawer and pulled out a blue crop top. I released the drawer beneath it and took out a pair of denim shorts. I slipped out the door, clothes in hand, and into the bathroom next to my bedroom. I removed the flower pattern tee and black leggings that made my previous-day outfit. I put on my crop top and shorts and headed back to my room. When I returned to my room, Ava and Rachel and woken up and were packing their bags.

“My mom just called,” Rachel said. “I have to go.”

“Okay.” I said.

“And Ethan just called me,” Ava mentioned. “He wants to take me to breakfast in fifteen minutes.” I secretly hoped that Ethan would break up with her, but I knew this wasn’t going to happen.

“Okay,” I said, putting on a fake smile. “Have fun.” Ava and Rachel picked up their overnight bags and waved. “Bye, guys.” I said.

“Bye, Masyn.” They said in agreement.

CHAPTER THREE

After Ava and Rachel had left, I Snapchatted Ethan. Ava told me u r taking her 2 breakfast. Have fun! I wrote. It was less than ten seconds before Ethan responded. Thx! I will he replied. I grinned. Every time I talked to Ethan, I left the conversation happy. I wondered if Ethan ever could like me, anyway. I was fairly pretty, if I do say so myself. I have long, caramel colored hair that cascades down my back. My eyes are a piercing blue, so blue in fact, that people say it almost looks like the blind person’s eyes. When I thought about it harder, I believed Ava was prettier than me. She had short, bob-cut platinum blonde hair and forest green eyes. But Ethan had talked to me about what he looked for in a girl in the past, and beauty was not one of those things. He had said that he looked for kindness and reality in a girl. Kindness meant that she was nice to everybody that crossed her path, even if that person was rude. Reality meant that she wasn’t fake, and she would respect Ethan’s choices in life and love him for who he was. I liked Ethan’s mentality. It showed me that you don’t have to be a gorgeous model to be loved by somebody.

I hadn’t been doing anything all morning since Ava and Rachel left. I hoped that Ava had fun with Ethan at breakfast. I texted her: Hey, Ava! How was breakfast w/ Ethan? She immediately read the message but didn’t respond. I sat and stared at my phone screen and waited for Ava to respond. Five minutes passed, then ten. Why wasn’t she answering me? Ava? U there? I typed anxiously. This was so unlike Ava. Usually, if you sent Ava a text message or Snapchat, she would respond almost immediately. Maybe they were still having breakfast? No, it had been almost two hours since Ethan had picked her up. They had to be finished. Finally, Ava began to respond. The chat bubble with dots running through it appeared on Ava’s side of the conversation. It didn’t take long for that chat bubble to transform into a text message from my best friend. Masyn. Call me now. I did exactly that. I pressed Ava’s name and selected the call button in her contact. The phone rang once before Ava picked up. I heard the sound of a girl crying. I knew then that it was Ava. What had happened?

“Ava, what’s wrong?” I said, concerned.

“Masyn…oh my God, Masyn. Ethan broke up with me at breakfast.” She said, her words collapsing into sobs.

“Oh my God, Ava. I’m so sorry.”

“You should be, Masyn.”

“What do you mean, Ava? Why?”

“I know you can’t control what other people think of you, Masyn. And I’m not mad at you.”

“Ava, what is going on? What are you talking about?” My phone let out a blaring sound, signifying that Ava had hung up. She wasn’t mad at me, but why would she be? And why would she hang up on me?

CHAPTER FOUR

I decided to call Rachel. Maybe she would know what the heck was going on. I dialed her phone number and pressed call. My phone rang four or five times before Rachel picked up.

“Hello?” Rachel said.

“Hey, Rachel. It’s Masyn.” I said.

“Oh hey, Masyn. What’s up?”

“I was just wondering if you noticed anything wrong with Ava.”

“I mean, other than the breakup, nothing, no. Why?”

“Because whenever I said I was sorry that that happened to her, she said that I should be. What did I do, Rachel?”

“She didn’t say that to me.”

“That’s weird…Ava made it seem like it was all my fault that her and Ethan broke up…”

“Well, it kind of is, Masyn.”

“What do you mean, Rachel? Do you know why Ava and Ethan broke up?” Rachel was silent on the other end. “Rachel, you have to tell me.”

“I can’t, Masyn. I promised Ava I wouldn’t tell you. She doesn’t want you to feel like it’s your fault. You can’t control what others think of you.”

“Oh my God! Ava said the exact same thing, Rachel. You can’t keep this from me. Please, help me, Rachel. Be my best friend and don’t keep secrets from me!” Silence. What were Rachel and Ava keeping from me?

“Do you promise not to tell Ava I told you?” Rachel finally spoke.

“Yes, Rachel. I promise.”

“Are you sure you want to know? Because knowing you, you’re going to think it’s your fault, Masyn. And it’s not.”

“I’m sure, Rachel. Please just tell me already.”

“Okay, I’ll tell you. The reason Ethan broke up with Ava is because he likes another girl.”

“What does that have to do with me?” My heart was pounding in my chest. Could it be?

“Well…Masyn, the girl he likes is you.”

CHAPTER FIVE

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Ethan Reyes liked me. Me, Masyn McKinney. No way!

“Rachel, you must be kidding me.” I said, so surprised m voice shook.

“I’m not kidding, Masyn. Ethan likes you.”

“Oh my God, Rachel! Ethan Reyes likes me!” I repeated, squealing. “Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God! Rachel, should I tell him I like him?!”

“No, Masyn. Don’t do it. Because then he’ll ask you out and when Ava finds out, she’ll go ballistic.”

“I have to, Rachel! I’ve always wanted to be with Ethan, and if I don’t tell him, that’s a missed opportunity.”

“Fine, Masyn. You do what you want. Just don’t come crying to me when Ava doesn’t want to be your friend anymore.”

“That’s not going to happen, Rachel. She’s always been cool with me liking him. So what’s wrong with a little high school relationship?”

“Everything, Masyn. Everything.” My phone signaled that Rachel had hung up. Fine. If Ava gets mad at me for having a boyfriend, so be it. That’s her problem for not being a supportive friend. But I know Ava, and she wasn’t going to get mad at me. I opened my Snapchat to text Ethan. My hands shook and my heart throbbed. I was still in complete shock from what Rachel told me. I began to type. Hey, Ethan. I just wanted to tell u that I know u broke up with A b/c u like me. Well, Ethan, I like u 2. I pressed send. I couldn’t believe what I had just done. Ethan’s side of the chat lit up, gesturing that he was typing. Oh my God, I thought to myself. A long paragraph popped up on Ethan’s side of the screen. Wow, um, I wasn’t expecting that. Yes, Masyn, I do like u & I have for over a year. The only reason I got w/ A was b/c I didn’t want anybody to think I like u. But now u know, & I’m glad u feel the same I gasped loudly. My fingers began typing away. Does this mean…we’re…together? I wrote. Sure I think I’ll b happy w/ u I could barely breathe. My heart was racing at a faster pace than it ever had before. Aww Dinner 2nite? I responded. Pick u up at 5 Oh my God. Ethan Reyes was my boyfriend. Ethan Reyes was my boyfriend. Ethan Reyes was my boyfriend. I was going to dinner with my boyfriend, Ethan Reyes. I no longer cared what Ava thought. What could she do about it, anyway? Ethan liked me, and I liked him. She is incapable of changing that or stopping us. Plus, knowing Ava, I think she would be happy for me. Ava was never the jealous type. I think Rachel was just worried that that would change, so that’s why she warned me. I cleared my head of thoughts of Ava this and Rachel that. I needed to tell my mom where I was going tonight. I slipped out the door of my bedroom and out into the dim-lit hall. I hung a right and stomped down the steps. My mother was sitting on the leather couch in our living room, eating a bowl of cereal and watching Food Network. My mom loved to cook, and she was quite good at it. She ran her own restaurant in the city. It was a small, quiet Italian restaurant. She called it “Tour of Italy”.

“Hey, Mom? I’m going to be going out tonight.” I said, unsure of any other way to say it.

“With who?” she said.

“My, um, boyfriend?” I said skeptically.

“And who is this boy?”

“Ethan Reyes.”

“Isn’t that Ava’s boyfriend, dear?”

“No. They, uh, broke up.”

“And now you’re going out with him? Isn’t that wrong, Masyn?”

“No, it’s fine. Ava’s totally okay with it.” I lied.

“Alright, dear. If you say so. What time is Ethan picking you up? I’d like to meet the young man.”

“He’s coming at five. Please don’t embarrass me, Mom!”

“I’ll do my best.” She said with a soft smile. I was relieved that my mother was okay with me going out. I had been allowed to date since the ninth grade, so I wasn’t all that surprised. I dashed up the steps once again to wait for Ethan. It was only two-thirty, so I had to wait for two-and-a-half hours. Maybe I should tell Ava about me and Ethan. Maybe she wouldn’t be mad. I decided to call her. My phone impatiently rang as I listened for the ringing to end and Ava’s voice to start.

“Hello?” Ava said.

“Hey, Ava. It’s me, Masyn.”

“What’s up, Masyn?”

“I just wanted to tell you that…that…Ethan and I…we’re um…dating now.” Ava was silent on the opposite end. She finally let out a shrill scream.

“Oh my God, Masyn! I’m so happy for you!” There was genuineness in her voice. She was serious. Ava was actually happy for me.

“Are you serious, Ava? You’re actually happy for me?” I said, still questioning it.

“Yes, Masyn! Of course I’m serious! You’re my best friend, why would I lie?” I thought about it. She wouldn’t. Ava wouldn’t lie to me. She was not kidding me.

“Aww, thank you so much for understanding, Ava. You’re the best. Love you!” I said.

“No problem, Masyn. That’s what friends are for, right?”

“Right.” I replied. My voice tingled with joy. I didn’t have to worry about Ava going crazy. She was really happy for me. What a great best friend.

CHAPTER SIX

After I got off the phone with Ava, I texted Rachel. OMG, Rachel. I just talked 2 A. She’s not mad ab me & E! She’s actually 4 me! I wrote. K… I knew she was probably still worried about Ava. But I knew there was nothing to worry about. Ava was happy that I was happy, and that was all that mattered.

At five PM on the dot, my doorbell screeched a ding-dong, signifying that Ethan was here. I stood up off of my bed, and actually sprinted down the stairs.

“Is that him?” my mother asked, emerging from the kitchen.

“Yes!” I squealed. I tip-toe ran to the door and clicked back the deadbolt. I threw the door open and greeted Ethan with a hug. “Hey, Ethan. It’s good to see you!” I hadn’t seen Ethan all summer. The last time I saw him was the last day of junior year.

“You too, Masyn.” He released the hug and held his hands on my shoulders. He had an enormous grin on his face.

“Come on in, Ethan. My mom wants to meet you.” I giggled. I took his hand and led him to the kitchen. “Mom?” I called out. My mom peered out the door of her bedroom.

“Oh, you must be Ethan!” my mother gushed.

“Yes, ma’am.” Ethan said, holding out his hand for my mom to shake it. No way was my mom going to do that.

“Oh please, dear,” my mom said to Ethan. “Call me Ariana. And no need to shake hands when there’s hugs, right?” My mother gave Ethan and awkward hug. Ethan looked confused. I chuckled and smiled at him. When my mother released Ethan, she said,

“You two have a good time, okay? Don’t forget, Masyn: curfew is eleven PM.”

“She’ll be home long before then.” Ethan said with a soft smile. “Bye, Mrs. McKinney.”

“Bye, Mom.” I added. She waved us goodbye. Ethan and I held hands as we exited the house. I slipped into the passenger seat of Ethan’s Chevy. “I have something super important to tell you at dinner.” I said to him.

“Okay,” he said with an awkward giggle, eyes still on the road. “Is something wrong, Masyn?”

“No, Ethan. Something’s perfectly right.”

CHAPTER SEVEN

When we arrived at the restaurant, Olive Garden, we waited at the front to be seated. When they called Ethan’s last name, we stood abruptly. A hostess spoke to us as she led us to our table.

“Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. Reyes.” I giggled softly and gripped Ethan’s hand tighter. The restaurant was absolutely packed, which was why we had to wait for a table. “Your waitress will be right with you.” The hostess said to me and Ethan. I had chosen to sit beside Ethan instead of across from him; it made me feel safe next to him. The waitress was a tall girl with dark hair and a soft smile. She looked very familiar. Then I recognized her. It was Nicole Chapman, from my high school.

“Hey, guys.” Nicole said. “I mean, good evening.” She said with a chortle. Nicole’s pale skin looked even paler under the dim light of the restaurant. “Wait a second. Ethan, I thought you were dating Ava?”

“Um, we broke up.” Ethan mustered a fake pout. “And now I’m with Masyn.” He put one of his arms around my shoulders and the other hand on my leg. I giggled.

“Alright then,” Nicole said. “What can I get you guys to drink?” We both asked for waters. I wasn’t really into sugary drinks. Plus, I needed to keep my slim figure. Ethan and I barely spoke until he brought up what I had said before.

“So, Masyn,” he began. “What’s so perfectly right that you needed to tell me?” That sent a shock wave through my body, waking me up.

“Oh yeah,” I said. “Okay. So, originally when we got together or whatever I thought Ava would hate me or give me a hard time about it or something like that. Boy, was I wrong. Ethan, she was the exact opposite. She was happy for me.” Ethan looked skeptical, just how I pictured Rachel looked on the other end of the call I made to her. What was wrong with them? Ava had specifically said to me that she was happy for me. And she was my best friend. So why was everybody questioning it?

“Um, are you sure she wasn’t kidding, Masyn?” Ethan said. “Because when I broke up with her and told her I liked you, she went crazy. She said some pretty horrible things, Masyn.” I couldn’t believe this. Had Ava lied to me?

“What kinds of things did she say, Ethan?”

“Are you sure you want to know? They weren’t really about you; they were very general comments.”

“Yeah, I want to know.”

“Okay,” he began. “She said that it wasn’t fair and that she hoped you didn’t like me back. She said that she wanted to be like you so that she could be good enough for me. She also said she wasn’t mad at you, but she envied everything about you. She told me that you were always he prettier one, the smarter one, and the friendlier one. She kept complaining about how unfair it was that you were so perfect and that you got to be with me. She never said she was happy for you, not to poop on your party.” He finally finished. I was in utter shock. I didn’t know who to believe. My boyfriend, the one I had been dating for less than a day? Or my best friend who has been my best friend since the first grade?

CHAPTER EIGHT

“Ethan, why would she lie to me?” I began to respond.

“I didn’t think she would, Masyn. But I don’t know. I don’t know what she told you.” Then I remembered the special feature on my phone. It had the ability to record entire phone conversations and save them, so you could listen to them later. I had my auto-record on, meaning I recorded every call. I reached for my purse next to me as Nicole walked up with a tray of waters for us. She placed a glass in front of each of us. We ordered our food and she took our menus. I returned to looking through my purse for my phone. Then I remembered. Shoot! I thought. I had left my phone on my nightstand. Now I couldn’t prove to Ethan what Ava had said to me. Oh well, I sighed.

After dinner, Ethan drove me home. We rode in silence. I still didn’t know who to believe…my boyfriend or my best friend? I needed time to think, so I was relieved when we returned back to my house. Ethan got out of the car and walked around to my side. He opened the door for me and helped me out. We strolled up to my door, hand-in-hand. We stopped in front of my house and turned to face each other. He held my hands in his, out in front of me. We stared for a while, not saying a word. He leaned up to me a kissed me. It was a long, sweet kiss and I enjoyed every second of it. When we pulled back I fell into the embrace of his loving arms.

“Goodnight, Ethan.” I whispered.

“Goodnight, Masyn.” I pulled back from him reached into my purse for my house key I turned the key in the lock and pushed the door open halfway. I peered over my shoulder and waved at Ethan. He started his car and pulled out of the driveway. He sped down the road of my neighborhood. I stepped into the house and closed the door behind me. It was ten-thirty. Ethan had taken me into the city for dinner, so the Olive Garden had been an hour away. The only light on was the kitchen light over the dinner table. The house had an eerie silence to it. My mother must have been asleep. I placed my purse on the counter and removed my shoes. I took the steps very slowly, one-by-one. When I finally reached my room I plopped down onto my bed. I was so tired I could hardly move. My leg muscles ached, although I don’t know from what. I reached for my phone on my nightstand and pressed the home button. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I scrolled down on my phone. I had at least fifty new Snapchat notifications. That was so abnormal. I opened my phone and Snapchat. I scrolled down in my chats to the very first new notification. It was from my good friend, Kylie. Kylie was on the cheerleading squad with me, and we had been friends since the sixth grade. I clicked on the Snapchat to open it. How could u say that, Masyn? I scrolled up. I hadn’t sent anything to Kylie. Weird. I didn’t respond. I exited the conversation and went on to the next new Snapchat. This one was from my ex-boyfriend, Leon. We were still okay with each other, but we weren’t exactly friends. I know we’re not dating anymore, Masyn, but why would you say that to me? That was cruel. What was he talking about? I hadn’t sent anything to him either. I checked all of the other forty-eight new Snapchats. Every single one was blaming me for something mean I had said. What the heck was going on? I hadn’t Snapchatted anyone all day except for Ethan. No one. So why did these people think I had said mean things to them? I scrolled two to my right to check stories. I hadn’t posted anything on my story, yet there was something posted ten minutes ago. I clicked on my own story to watch it. I’M OUT TO GET YOU. WATCH YOUR BACK, BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN I’LL BE RIGHT BEHIND YOU.

CHAPTER NINE

I almost let out a shriek of horror. I whipped around to make sure no one was behind me. I was alone. Thank God. Who had gone onto my Snapchat? Only a few select people knew my password from keeping my streaks before. And they were my closest friends. Rachel and Ava knew, and so did a few other friends, Kylie, Simona, Helga, Aliya, and Leila. None of them would betray me like that. Would they? Was one of them the one to send mean messages to people? Did they put that crazy message on my story? I immediately deleted the crazed message off of my story. I sent an apology to each and every person stating that it wasn’t me. Some people believed me, some didn’t, and some didn’t even respond. I had to eliminate I had to eliminate Rachel, Kylie, Aliya, and Leila from the possible hackers. They had all sent me a message asking how I could say something so rude about them. Unless that was part of their plan. I just couldn’t envision one of my friends doing that. It was cruel and nasty. I had always been the type to choose my friends carefully. I decided to leave a text to Rachel, Ava, Kylie, Simona, Helga, Aliya, and Leila. Each one would be specific to them, and it would be a respectful way of asking if they had been the ones to do it. After I had sent each message, the responses came flowing in. The first ones to respond were Kylie and Helga. Of course not, Masyn. I could never do something like that, not 2 any1. Kylie wrote. Of course not! What do u take me 4??? Helga responded. Every single response had come in except for Rachel and Ava. I knew Rachel was at family party tonight until about one AM, but I didn’t know where Ava was this evening. When Ava responded, my heart fluttered. Masyn, y would I do something like that 2 u? Ur my BFF and I would never hurt u like that. Just b/c E likes u and not me doesn’t change anything about our friendship. I love u like a sis, Masyn, and I didn’t send any cra-z messages 4om ur SC or post anything mean on ur story. That was so sweet, what Ava said. I had no choice to believe her. I didn’t think Ethan was a liar. Maybe he had just twisted the story a little. Bended the truth.

Maybe.

CHAPTER TEN

I was relieved when I woke up the next morning, remembering that Ava hadn’t been the one to hack my Snapchat. She was right, we did have a sisterly bond, and who would she be to break it? But this didn’t change my mindset at all. I needed to find the person who had so very rudely broken into my Snapchat account. I decided that I should seek help from the one “close friend” I had that didn’t have my Snapchat account password.

Ethan.

I trusted Ethan more than anyone right now, and I needed his help. But truthfully, Ethan’s first suspect would be Ava, but I KNEW it wasn’t her. Maybe the person who had sent those cruel things didn’t have my password. Maybe they were a really good computer-coder who knew how to break into the Snapchat app in general, and they had just chosen my account. It was probably someone who I had beef with from school. Honestly, I may not seem like it, but a lot of people from high school didn’t like me. I had no idea why. Ava and Rachel said it was because I was pretty. I didn’t exactly believe it, but maybe it was true.

I hoped that the person who’d broken into my account didn’t have my password. I wanted to talk to Ethan about the situation, so I called him.

“Hello?” Ethan said after he picked up.

“Hey, Ethan. It’s Masyn.”

“Oh, what’s up, Masyn?”

“So I kind of have a problem. Last night, after I returned home from dinner with you, I looked at my phone and saw I had about fifty new Snapchat notifications. Each and every person had sent a message to me saying something like, “how could you say that?” or, “that was really rude, Masyn”. But I had no idea what they were talking about. I hadn’t sent a Snapchat to anyone all day except for you. And then I looked at my story, which had a post, and I hadn’t posted anything on my story all day. It said, “I’m out to get you. Watch your back because you never know when I’ll be right behind you.” I have no idea who did that, and I’m freaking out a little. I need your help.” Ethan was momentarily silent on the other end.

“I don’t know anyone personally who doesn’t like you, Masyn. The only person I can think of that would do this to you is—“

“Don’t say Ava! I KNOW it wasn’t her, Ethan. I talked to her this morning and she said some really sweet things. We’re best friends, Ethan. She wouldn’t stab me in the back like that.”

“But Masyn—“

“No buts, Ethan!”

“Okay, okay. Take a deep breath, Masyn. We’ll find the person who did this, okay? I promise.” I really liked Ethan. He was so calm and poised and I just loved that about him.

“Thank you so much, Ethan. I really appreciate it.” And with that, I hung up.

Okay, so I had help.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

I needed to come up with a few suspects. I had to have some kind of idea about who would do this and why. As I was thinking, my phone beeped. Do u want me 2 pick u up in 10? We can go 4 a drive It was Ethan. Sure I responded. I was so lucky to have Ethan in my life. I was positive that he had to be the best boyfriend on the planet. When Ethan arrived, he honked his car horn. I flew down the steps and snatched my purse off of the counter. My phone was in my right hand. I screamed out to my mother that I was leaving and should be back in about two hours, whether that be true or not. I hugged my boyfriend as I stumbled into his car. He pulled out of my driveway carefully.

“So you said we were going for a drive, right?” I asked Ethan.

“Of course not,” Ethan began. “We’re going to find an empty parking lot, park my car, and start trying to figure out who did that cruel thing to you.” He and I chuckled. Ethan was hilarious. Ethan chose the old, empty parking lot of the abandoned Walmart that lie at the end of a dead end road. That Walmart had been closed for at least ten years; no one had bought the space yet. We parked close to the building, as if we were going into the old store. Ethan left the car running.

“So,” he began. He was unable to finish his sentence because my phone rang. I gazed down at my screen. It was my mom. I hoped she wasn’t going all helicopter parent on me.

“Yes, Mom?” I said in an annoyed tone. Her voice was solemn. Solemn and rock-hard.

“Masyn. You need to come home right now. It’s an emergency.” I didn’t think twice. I hung up and focused my gaze on Ethan.

“Ethan, I need to go home. My mom is having an emergency.” Ethan started the car without a response and sped me home. I was so lucky to have a boyfriend that does anything to keep my family and me out of harm’s way. As my house grew closer, I began to hear the wail of distant sirens. The noise grew far louder as I approached my house. When Ethan made the turn on to my road, I realized why the sirens seemed to be in synch with the distance of my home. My house was surrounded by police cars and an ambulance. Ethan and I threw ourselves out of the car and slammed the doors shut behind us. I drew myself closer to him and gripped his hand with amazing strength. He squeezed right back. His face turned from serious to an expression of complete and utter shock. I looked where he was looking, and I let out a shriek of horror.

CHAPTER TWELVE

It was a girl. And I recognized her.

Rachel.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Rachel’s head lie in a pool of blood. My mother was standing on the front porch, arms crossed over her chest. I could tell she was fighting back tears. Rachel’s glassy lavender eyes were wide open. Her mouth had a dribble of blood running out of its corner.

I couldn’t hold myself back.

“Who did this?!” I screamed, out of control. “Who shot Rachel?!” I could feel the tears rapidly falling out and staining my cheeks. I ignored them. There was a circle of police officers around Rachel’s body. I began to lunge for the circle. Two strong arms grabbed me around the waist and held me back.

Ethan.

“Let go of me!” I yelled. “Let go!” I tried to pull his arms off of me. He was too resilient.

“Masyn, chill out! Stop trying to fight me off!” Ethan yelled. I didn’t respond, but I eventually gave up. I let him hold my waist as he pulled me close. My back was resting on his chest. A female police officer strode up to me calmly.

“You must be Masyn,” she began. “I’m Officer Delilah Harris. I’ll explain everything at the police station.” Police station? Was I in trouble? I let out a growl under my breath.

“I don’t need explaining to,” I softly retorted. “I can see perfectly well that my best friend is lying dead on my driveway.” Officer Harris seemed startled by the way I had spoken to her. She was an incredibly short, pudgy woman. Her brown hair was pulled back into a perfect bun. She had to have had at least four chins.

“Well, young lady, you will be returning to the station with me.” She said. She reached for my wrist and began to pull me free of Ethan’s grip. I shook my wrist out of her hand.

“I’m not a child,” I said. “Do not touch me. I am not going anywhere with you unless my mom and my boyfriend go with me.” I glared directly into her eyes. She glared back.

“Okay, then. You, your mother, and your boyfriend…” she said, shifting her glare to Ethan. “…will all come with me.” She began to stride towards my mom. She said a few words, pointed in my direction, and began to guide my mother to her police car. Ethan and I followed behind my mom. When we reached the car, my mom slid into the backseat. I got in after her, followed by Ethan. I reached for Ethan’s hand and squeezed it. My heart was pounding out of my chest. Ethan glanced nervously at me. I looked away from him. I didn’t want him to see me so upset, even though I knew he could. Officer Harris got into the car and started it up. We drove to the station in complete silence. My head was running with thoughts and questions. Who could have done this to Rachel? Whoever did will pay. I can’t wait until they find this horrible human being. I wonder what will happen to the person who is guilty for this crime. I will find that person. And no one on God’s green earth is going to stop me.

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

When we arrived at the police station, my mother was told to wait in the lobby while Ethan and I were questioned. Officer Harris led us to a large, empty room with cement walls. The only things in that room were a large table with two chairs on each end a wall clock ticking away. Officer Harris had a manila folder underneath one of her arms. She sat down in one of the chairs. Ethan and I took the two seats across from her.

“What is your name?” Officer Harris asked Ethan as she opened her folder.

“Ethan Reyes, ma’am.” Ethan responded politely, although his tone was cold. Officer Harris jotted down Ethan’s name and a description of him.

“How old are you, young man?”

“Seventeen, ma’am.”

“What grade will you be entering?”

“I will be a senior, ma’am.”

“What high school do you attend?”

“Georgetown High School, ma’am.” Officer Harris nodded and wrote down what he said as he spoke. She turned to face me now.

“Masyn, what is your last name?” she said to me.

“McKinney.”

“How old are you?”

“Also seventeen.”

“What grade are you going into?”

“I too will be a senior.”

“Your high school?”

“Georgetown.” I wasn’t going to be respectful or polite the way Ethan had. That woman tried to grab me and drag me like a little child, which, for her information, I was not. I brushed my matted caramel hair out of my eyes. I had a strange feature about myself. My skin was an even tan color. So tan, in fact, it matched the color of my hair. My skin and hair were literally the exact same color, so they blended in with one another. Officer Harris finally glanced up at me and Ethan.

“Alright, I’ll begin the questioning now,” she started to say. “Where were the two of you this afternoon?” She said to us. I spoke up.

“We were going for a drive.” I said. Ethan cringed. He obviously thought that shouldn’t have been what I said.

“Sort of,” Ethan said to cover for me. “Something happened in Masyn’s personal life, and we drove to an empty parking lot to talk about it.” Shoot. Now Officer Harris was probably going to ask what had happened to me.

“And what happened to you, Masyn?” Officer Harris scowled. Great. Just great. I was silent for a while. What happened in my personal life was none of her concern. But if I wanted to find the ugly human being that had killed Rachel, I needed to tell her.

“Uh, so, I went to dinner with Ethan last night. When I returned home, I had a bunch of new Snapchat notifications. At least fifty. Everybody had asked me things like, “how could you say that, Masyn?” and, “that was really mean, Masyn”. But I hadn’t Snapchatted anyone all day, except for Ethan. I hadn’t even posted on my story. But someone put something on my story. It said, “I’m out to get you. Watch your back because you never know when I’ll be right behind you.””

“Do you know anyone that would do that to you?”

“No. Everyone that has my Snapchat password is one of my closest friends.”

“Except for Ava.” Ethan chimed in. I glared at him. Why did he have to mention Ava? I was positive it wasn’t her, and that was that.

“Who is Ava?” Officer Harris asked. She directed the question at Ethan.

“Ava Williams. My ex-girlfriend and Masyn’s “best friend”. He made quotation marks with his fingers as he said the words “best friend”.

“Ethan, how long ago did you break up with Ava?” Officer Harris asked.

“Yesterday. Yesterday was also the day I asked out Masyn. I dated Ava just so that no one would think I liked Masyn.”

“I see.” Officer Harris rubbed her chin and stared up at the ceiling. She let out a sigh and looked at me. “Masyn, have you spoken to Ava since Ethan broke up with her and started dating you?”

“Yes. Twice, actually.” I said, gazing at Ethan.

“What did she say to you, Masyn?”

“She said that she was happy for me and that no situation with any boy could get in the way of our friendship.”

“She said different things to me.” Ethan spoke up again. Officer Harris shifted her gaze to Ethan again. “She said that she was jealous of Masyn. She did say she wasn’t mad at Masyn but she did wish that she was her.” Officer Harris’ expression quickly changed from solemn to confused.

“That is quite strange behavior. She said one thing to you, Ethan, and a different thing to Masyn.”

“That is correct.” I piped up. “But I believe what Ava said is true. Ava has been my best friend since the sixth grade, and I just know she wouldn’t betray me like that. She texted me some really sweet things. Here, let me show you.” I pulled my phone out of my back pocket. I pressed the home button. Oh my God. Rachel. Rachel had texted me before she died. OMG, Masyn. I have 2 tell u something urgent. On my way 2 ur house now. That must have been where she died. On my driveway, on her way to my house. My best friend had been shot two times in the back of the head, on my driveway.

“Oh my God.”

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Whoever had killed Rachel had done it in an attempt to shut her up. To stop her from telling me what she needed to. I just knew it.

Ethan immediately came to my mental aid.

“What’s wrong, Masyn?” My jaw was dropped in complete horror, so I did not speak. Ethan’s strong hands were grasping my shoulders.

“Sh-she texted me, Ethan. R-Rachel. B-before she died. She needed to tell me something important. She said she was on her way to my house. Whoever killed her wanted to shut her up.” Officer Harris spoke up.

“How do you know these two events were connected, Masyn?”

“I-I don’t. But I’m almost positive. She said she was on her way to my house, and she was shot and killed on MY driveway.” Officer Harris just nodded but kept her gaze on me. She was suspicious. She thought I had killed Rachel. I could never do anything like that. Not to anyone. Especially my best friend.

“Masyn, do you think that Rachel knew something? Something like, maybe, who hacked your Snapchat account?” And then it dawned on me. Definitely. Rachel positively knew who had hacked my account. She was coming to my house to tell me, and the person who had done it shot and killed her, in a successful attempt to stop her. But how did the killer know? How did they know that Rachel was going to tell me? I tried to think straight. Who would Rachel have told that she was going to come to me? She almost definitely told Ava. But Ava wouldn’t kill her best friend. Ava wouldn’t kill anyone, right?

Would she?

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

No, no way. Ava was definitely not that kind of person. She’s off the list.

I couldn’t think of anybody she would’ve told, or anybody who would’ve had the guts to kill. It was probably an adult who was a criminal, someone I didn’t know.

It had to be, right?

“Well?” Officer Harris said, staring at me and lightly tapping her pen on the table. Her question had been long-forgotten within the walls of my mind.

“I’m sorry, what did you say?” I said. Her nostrils flared, but she stayed calm.

“I said, do you think Rachel knew something? Like who had hacked your Snapchat account?”

“Yes. Yes I do. I think that whoever killed her was the hacker. The only problem with that is, the only person Rachel for sure would’ve told she was telling me would be Ava. And Ava didn’t hack my Snapchat, nor would she kill her own best friend, or anyone for that matter.”

“Oh, trust me,” Ethan began, putting his hand up in the air as if to make a “stop” motion. “Ava would hack someone’s Snapchat. But she definitely wouldn’t kill, and even I’m saying that.”

“Oh my God!” I screamed. “Ava did NOT hack my Snapchat. And Ava did NOT kill Rachel! How many times do I have to say it?!” Ethan’s expression changed from serious to hurt and startled. “I’m sorry,” I said, hugging him. “I’m sorry I had an outburst.” He nodded and kissed me on top of the head.

“It’s okay, love.” He whispered into my ear. A chill ran throughout my body. I had broken down into a fit of tears by now.

“Okay, I think that’s enough questioning for this afternoon.” Officer Harris said. She closed her manila folder and stood up. “Follow me.” She beckoned to the door. Ethan and I stood as well, his hand around my waist. We walked in silence down the empty hall, our footsteps echoing off of the walls. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. When we reached the lobby, my mother stood out of her seat when she saw my mascara-tear stained face and pulled me into a monstrous hug. Someone opened the door and entered the police station. I glanced up. It was a male police officer. I recognized him from the site of Rachel’s death. He tapped me on the shoulder. He was holding Rachel’s phone in his other hand. Why did he have her phone?

“Excuse me, ma’am,” he said to me. “My name is Officer Trent Marcus. I have been informed that you are Masyn. There’s something I have to show you. We might know who Rachel Simmons’ killer is.” I let go of my mother. I returned to Ethan’s embrace.

“Yes, I’m Masyn. What have you found?” He handed me Rachel’s phone. The screen was lit up with text messages. Our text messages. Rachel had been in the process of typing a message to me when she was killed. My mom began to speak.

“Rachel came to the house,” she said. I turned to look at her. “I told her you weren’t home. She said that it was okay and she said she would text you instead.” I stared back at the phone screen. I began to read the message she had been writing to me. Hey, Masyn. Ur mom told me that u weren’t home, so I decided 2 text u instead. Masyn, I know who did it. I know who hacked ur SC account. Ur not going 2 believe it, Masyn. It was A.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

No. It couldn’t be. My eyes must have been malfunctioning. There was no way that Ava hacked my Snapchat account. And it was even more unlikely that she would’ve killed Rachel. I needed to call Ava immediately. I dialed her number and dashed out the doors of the police station, not saying where I was going. I held the phone up to my ear.

“Ava!” I screamed into my phone. “Why did you hack my Snapchat?! What kind of a best friend are you?!”

“Chill out, Masyn. What are you talking about?” Ava said. Boy, was she a good liar.

“Don’t lie or play games with me, Ava! I know it was you! And you probably killed Rachel, too! So stop playing dumb with me and admit it!” I shrieked even louder. I was breathing so hard. The fast pace of my heart throbbing in my chest couldn’t match it.

“Rachel is dead?! WHAT IS GOING ON, MASYN?! I didn’t kill anyone or hack anyone’s Snapchat, okay?!” I could hear her sobbing on the other end. My scowl softened. I believed her. Somewhere, deep inside myself, I believed her. But she was a liar. She killed Rachel and hacked my Snapchat. Rachel had said so herself. So why did I believe her?

“You’re telling the truth…” my voice trailed off into a whisper.

“Yes, I am! What the heck is going on, Masyn? Why did you think I was Rachel’s killer?” Ava sobbed. I didn’t respond. I couldn’t tell Ava that Rachel told me it was her. Ava would never forgive Rachel’s death. I hung up. I couldn’t take it anymore. Why would Rachel tell me it was Ava when it wasn’t so? I was trying to straighten out my thoughts when two arms grabbed me from behind. The person began to drag me away from the police station.

“Hey, what are you doing? Let go of me!” I tried to fight my way out of the person’s grasp, but I was too weak. I shouted for help. Three police officers must have heard me because they started to yell.

“Let go of the lady!” one shouted.

“Hands in the air!” another said. The last remaining police officer pulled a gun out of his belt. But the person didn’t let go. The grasp around my waist had tightened tremendously. I realized this person was trying to knock the air out of me.

“Make me.” A female voice snarled in my ear. It was a woman. I used one of my legs to kick backwards into her shin. She yowled in pain and loosened her grip on me. I began to try to pry her hands apart. I did it. I held her separated hands on either side of me. I went for broke, released her arms and sprinted in the direction of the police officers. I couldn’t help but remember the message that had been posted on my Snapchat. Watch your back because you never know when I’ll be right behind you. That woman had to be my hacker. Rachel’s killer. I picked up speed as I heard the woman moan in agony behind me.

“Run, Masyn!” One of the officers shouted at me. I didn’t have enough room to slow down, so I rammed into one of the officers. He stopped me from falling any further. I glanced over my shoulder as the woman attempted to stand up. She was in all black, and she was wearing a ski mask. She was small, probably my height, five-foot-two. The police lowered their guns. The woman pushed herself upward to her feet. When she saw the police coming after her, she sprinted to her car. She threw herself into the driver’s seat and started the car. She slammed down on the gas pedal and roared out of the parking lot. Her tires screeched on the asphalt. She sped away as the police shot at her car. She had gotten away. I turned around to find Ethan standing behind me. I dashed towards him and into his arms.

“Oh my God, Masyn. Are you okay? I heard you screaming for help and I tried to come help you but the police wouldn’t let me.” He whispered into my ear.

“Yes, I’m fine. Just traumatized.” I whispered back. I pulled away from him but kept my hands on his shoulders. He had his hands on my hips. We stood and stared at each other for what seemed like hours. He slowly leaned in. He was going to kiss me. I waited for it, the connection. But we were so very rudely interrupted by the police officers, shouting at me.

“Are you okay, Masyn?”

“Did she hurt you?”

“I’m sorry we couldn’t catch her.” Ethan’s face turned a tomato red. He looked away and headed back into the police station. I put on a fake smile and gave it to the police officers.

“I’m fine, thanks.” I said. I followed Ethan into the police station. The officers followed me. I took Ethan’s hand and led him back outside. The officers didn’t follow us. Without hesitation, Ethan pushed me against the wall of the station. He kissed me long and passionately. I didn’t stop him. In fact, I kissed him back. My hands roamed his body. I couldn’t stop squirming underneath his grasp. All of this went on for at least five minutes when my mother emerged from the station. I looked up and my face turned pink. My mom just chortled.

“Kids,” she muttered under her breath. “Come on, guys. Officer Harris is going to take us back home. Ethan, would you like to join us for dinner? Mr. McKinney should be home early tonight.” My dad almost always worked late nights. I knew he wouldn’t exactly be fond of the idea of my having a boyfriend but he was going to have to suck it up and at least try to like Ethan. Ethan and I giggled in embarrassment.

“Sure, Mrs. McKinney. Let me call my parents and let them know.” He fumbled for his phone in his pocket. He went around the side of the building for about three minutes and returned with an answer. “They said it’s okay.” He smiled at me and my mom.

“Great!” my mom said with a grin. “I’ll make spaghetti. Do you like spaghetti, Ethan?”

“Mmm, yes! Who doesn’t like spaghetti?” He jokingly rubbed his stomach. I laughed. When my mother was out of earshot, I whispered to him.

“My mom is an amazing cook. You’re going to love her food.”

“Good, because I’m starving.”

When we returned to my house, I noticed my father’s car in our driveway. My dad is a tall, muscular, good-looking guy if I do say so myself. I think I received more of his looks. The enlightening blue eyes, the caramel colored hair. My mom is half Filipino. That’s where I got the super-tan skin color and short stature from.

My mother reached into her purse and fumbled for her keys. She pulled them out of the bottom of her purse and unlocked the door. I saw my dad sitting on the sofa, watching the news. His face was horror-struck. The story on the news was the one about Rachel. I could see him trying to fight back tears. Rachel’s family had been so close to ours, making Rachel almost like a second daughter to my parents. My dad turned around and blinked the tears away. He turned the television off and stood up.

“Well,” he said, striding in our direction. “I am so, so sorry about Rachel, Masyn. This must be absolutely terrifying.” He didn’t seem to notice Ethan until after he hugged me and kissed my mom on the cheek. He turned to face Ethan. He looked him up and down at least three times. “And who might this be?” he said, gazing at me.

“Um, Dad, this is my boyfriend. Ethan Reyes.” My voice shook. I was not ready for the lecture I was going to receive tonight. Ethan stuck out his hand to shake my dad’s.

“Good evening, sir. I’m Ethan.” Ethan said robotically.

“So I gathered. I’m Richard, but you may call me Mr. McKinney.” Ethan nodded. He scooted closer to me. I could feel fear and nervousness radiating off of him.

“So, Dad!” I said, trying to break the tension. “How was work today?” he began ranting in a non-human language. If it was English, I didn’t understand half of what he was saying. I decided that I would take Ethan upstairs to my room while I waited for my mom to fix dinner.

“Let’s go.” I whispered to him. I took his hand and led him up the stairs and into my room. I closed the door lightly behind me and motioned for him to sit on the bed. “Today’s been a pretty horrible day.” I said to Ethan as I sat beside him.

“Yeah. I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a best friend like that. I can’t even visualize a life without Dylan.” Dylan Russo was Ethan’s best friend. He was pretty cute, too. He was a pitcher on the baseball team and had a wicked throwing arm. A lot of people thought Dylan and Ethan were twins because they had quite a few similar features. The only visible difference between them was that Ethan was lanky and Dylan was super-strong. Ethan told me that Dylan could lift three-fifteen over his head.

We talked about lots of different things, including Rachel’s funeral. Mr. and Mrs. Simmons had told my parents that the funeral would be held tomorrow at noon. Every girl from the cheerleading squad was going: Ava, me, Kylie, Aliya, Leila, Helga, and Simona plus Imani Weathers, Gwyneth Reigns, and Savannah Jackson. Dylan was going, too. Two of Rachel’s other friends, Olivia Filler and Tessa Phillips, would also be attending. Ethan and I had been asked to give a speech together, so we started thinking up ideas and practicing them. While we were in the middle of practicing a really good idea, my mom called us down for dinner.

“Masyn! Ethan! Come on down, it’s time to eat!” I took Ethan’s hand. I made sure to let go before my dad came in to view. My mom had set the table in the dining room instead of the kitchen, where we usually ate. She was clearly trying to impress my boyfriend. My dad took the head of the table. My mother sat to his left, and I sat to his right. Ethan sat on the other side of me. We began taking turns scooping pasta and sauce onto our plates. My mom took it upon herself to start a conversation.

“So, Ethan,” she began. “What is your plan for after high school?”

“Well, I’d like to go to Texas A&M. I want to become an aerospace engineer.” Ethan said.

“Wow, that’s where Masyn has always wanted go!” my dad piped up. This was true. I laughed a little. “But she wants to be a veterinarian, right Masyn?”

“Yeah,” I said, grabbing a clump of my hair and ruffling it.

“Sounds like her. Wants to help animals. Masyn is definitely the helpful type. You are very lucky to call her your daughter.” Ethan smiled and took my shoulders in one of his arms. He gave me a tight squeeze and my cheeks burned. I could see my dad trying not to glare.

“Excuse me,” my dad said, standing up. He left the table without a word. He hadn’t even touched his spaghetti. Ethan’s expression changed to disappointment, and he released my shoulders.

“Oh, Ethan—“ my mom began. But Ethan stopped her.

“It’s okay, Mrs. McKinney. I should probably get going anyway.” He stood up and walked to the front door. I followed. I briskly opened the door and led him outside. I absolutely blew up. I hated my dad right now. How could he be so disrespectful to my boyfriend?! Ethan hadn’t even done anything wrong. At all. I started to yell.

“Oh my God! I can’t believe my dad was so rude like that! Who does he think he is?! I am so sorry for the way he behaved Ethan.” I was crying now for what was probably the seven-millionth time today. I wanted to say more, but when I opened my mouth, no sound came out. I was boiling over with anger. Ethan calmly placed his hands on my shoulders.

“Masyn, it’s okay. Breath.” He looked me in the eyes, but I couldn’t bear to look back into his. I was biting my lip and staring at the cement patio. I had my arms crossed over my chest. Ethan touched my chin lightly and pushed it up so that my eyes were in contact with his. “I understand, okay? It’s not the end of the world, love.” My heart softened. Only yesterday had Ava been the one hearing that from Ethan. Now it was me. I buried my face into his shoulder. He wrapped his arms around me. His sweet aroma filled my body with warmth. I felt so safe in his arms. So content. If only that’s how it was in the real world.

If only.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

After Ethan left, my dad emerged from the master bedroom. I couldn’t even look at him. As if my day hadn’t been bad enough, he had to ruin my evening, too. I didn’t say a word to him. I stomped up the stairs and slammed the door to my bedroom. I heard my parents talking downstairs. Or should I say, arguing.

“Richard, why were you so rude about the boy?” my mom said.

“I’m just trying to protect our daughter, Ariana. I don’t want her running around with boys.”

“She’s seventeen, though, Richard. Give her a break.”

“Exactly my point. She’s seventeen. Do you want to be forty-eight year old grandparents? Because I sure as heck don’t.” My jaw dropped at that comment. I couldn’t believe that my dad couldn’t trust me like that.

“Just because Masyn has a boyfriend doesn’t mean she’s going to be pregnant at seventeen, Richard! You really need to think a little deeper.”

“That’s exactly what I’m doing, Ariana! Can’t you see?! I don’t want my daughter getting into trouble. Plus, you’re in a relationship to get married or break up. Do you really think THAT boy is going to marry our daughter?!” My mom was silent. I think she didn’t want me to hear her response. I didn’t want to hear it, either. I knew my dad had a point. But that didn’t matter. What mattered is what I felt for Ethan right now. And that was love. I was almost there. I snatched my phone out of my back pocket and hastily reached for my earbuds off of my nightstand. I plugged them in and started blasting music into my ears. I didn’t care that it could damage my hearing. I just didn’t want to hear my mother’s response. I rolled over on my bed and curled up. I wasn’t sure if I’d heard a rat-tat on my bedroom door or if it was just my imagination. But then it grew louder. Someone was knocking on my door. I turned the volume down on my phone and yanked the earbuds out of my ears.

“Come in.” I growled. It was my dad. He pushed open the door and stepped into my room. I couldn’t remember the last time he had come in here. He was always working. He sat on my bed behind me. I was still facing away from the entrance to my room.

“Masyn,” he began. “I just wanted to tell you that I’m sorry about tonight. I should’ve thought about what Ethan means to you. I also should’ve considered what you were going through with the loss of your best friend, but I didn’t. I didn’t and I’m sorry for that.” He placed a hand on my back. I didn’t respond. I truly didn’t want to talk to him right now.

“Okay.” Was all I said. I still didn’t turn around.

“You don’t have to forgive me. I don’t expect you to. Goodnight, Masyn.” I heard my bed creak and my door shut. My dad had left. I finally sat up and turned around to face my door. I needed to change into a nightshirt. I stood up and walked over to my dresser. I didn’t really remember what I did after that. Except for one thing. One thing that will forever be branded into my brain. It makes me sick just to think of it. After I had changed into my nightshirt, I glanced at each of my windows. I almost threw up. In someone’s blood, there was a message written on each of my windows. On the left window, it read: I WILL KILL EVERYONE YOU LOVE. And on the right window: AND THEN I WILL KILL YOU. WATCH YOUR BACK

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

I was horror-struck. I felt as if someone had knocked the wind out of me. I shut my light and went to sleep facing my door.

When I awoke the next morning, I immediately looked to my windows. The message was gone. How strange. I thought maybe the message had been a hallucination, but no. It was definitely real. I had absolutely positively seen it. I shuddered at the memory. I glanced at my clock. Ten forty-three AM. I needed to get ready for Rachel’s funeral. I stood up out of bed and groggily dragged myself to my closet. I blindly grabbed a floor-length black dress and my black high heels. I carelessly threw the dress on over my head and shoved the heels onto my feet. I touched up my looks with a thick layer of mascara and winged eyeliner. I snatched my phone off of my nightstand and trotted out of my room and down the stairs. I walked into the kitchen and clutched a banana out of the fruit basket. I opened the counter draw and took my car keys. I went outside and sat in my car. I sat there and didn’t turn it on. My mind went blank. I felt as if I had traveled to another world. A world where I couldn’t think, talk, or do. And then I saw it. Something large fly past. Or were they running? Was it a person? They shot past again. It was a short woman. She was in all black, and she was running back and forth. She had a ski mask on over her face. I reached to my left and clicked the doors to my car locked. I froze. It was my attacker. The woman who had tried to kidnap me in the parking lot of the police station. She had written the message on my windows. What was she doing running around on my front lawn? And then it stopped. She had stopped running back and forth. I let out a sigh of relief. I started my car. I was pulling out of the driveway when I heard a faint squeak on my windshield. I looked up to see what it was. Oh. My. God. A girl. The dead body of a girl was sprawled on my windshield. Her blood painted it red. And then I heard a knock. Someone was knocking on my window. I was so afraid. I didn’t want to look to my left to see who it was. But I couldn’t stop myself. It was her.

My attacker.

Only just then did I realize who the girl was after staring for a minute. No doubt about it.

Imani Weathers.

CHAPTER NINETEEN

The woman was still knocking on my window. I clutched my stomach and groaned in disgust. The woman was smiling an oddly creepy grin. And then she spoke.

“Watch your back.” She whispered with a small giggle. And she bolted away. I opened the window of my car. I leaned out of it and threw up. I puked and puked and puked until there was nothing left to puke. My car was stained with purge and blood. I had no idea what to do with Imani’s body. Her glassy eyes stared at me from outside my car. I thought long and hard. I couldn’t bury her; that would be wrong. She deserved a proper funeral. I couldn’t tell my parents. They would freak out and probably never let me leave the house again. I had to hide her body and clean my windshield.

This had to have been the grossest job I had ever done. I lifted Imani’s small body off of my windshield I dragged it to the rear of my car. I glanced around and made sure that no one was looking. I opened my trunk and threw her body in. I hoped no one would walk behind my car and smell the rotting body. I slammed the trunk shut. I walked into my open garage and retrieved the windshield cleaner and a sponge. I scrubbed my windshield spotless. I didn’t need anyone suspecting me of murder. When I was finally done with all of the dirty work, I got back into my car and called Ethan.

“Hello?” Ethan said.

“Hey, Ethan. Something terrible happened.”

“What happened, Masyn?”

“My attacker. From the police station, remember? Well, she killed Imani. She killed Imani and left the bleeding body on my windshield. I hid the body in my trunk and cleaned my windshield.” Ethan was silent on the other end.

“Oh my God, Masyn.” He said.

“I know. We need to find a place for Imani’s body, and fast. Because if someone smells it, they’ll report it to the police and I’ll be charged with her murder.”

“Okay. After the funeral. I think I know a place where we can hide her body. You can follow me in your car.”

“Thank you so much, Ethan. I’m totally terrified right now.”

“You’ll be okay. We’ll find this killer and we’ll make them pay.”

CHAPTER TWENTY

I drove to the funeral aimlessly. All I could think about was Imani’s body in my trunk. I felt like a smuggler. A criminal. A killer.

But I was not. I had to hope that Ethan’s hiding spot was decent enough to last us a little while. When I arrived at the church, I parked next to Ethan’s empty car. He must have already been inside. I shut my car off and hastily locked it behind me. I whipped around in fear; I was just making sure no one was behind me.

I was watching my back.

I took a deep breath and kept walking. If anybody saw me constantly turning around like that, I would probably be admitted into a mental hospital. I opened the enormous church doors and stepped inside. A wave of cool air swept upon me. I searched for Ethan. I spotted the back of his head. He was talking to Dylan Russo and Dylan’s girlfriend, Louisa Foreman. Louisa was crying furiously. Dylan had an arm around her shoulders. Dylan was a tough guy, but he also looked as if he was on the verge of tears. Dylan’s eyes roamed he crowded church. When he saw me, he pointed and Ethan turned around. I jogged to Ethan in my heels, trying not to teeter over. I fell into Ethan’s content embrace. He led me back to Dylan and Louisa. I glanced to my right and saw the cheerleaders standing in a group, hugging and sobbing. Then it occurred to me that they didn’t know about Imani. I thought it to be better that way and didn’t walk over to them to let them know. All of the cheerleaders were there except for Imani and Aliya. I remembered Aliya messaging our group chat and saying that she was too heartbroken to come. I heard Gwyneth ask the group where Imani was. They all shrugged.

The church bell let out a booming ding-dong. This was the signal for everyone to get organized into the pews.

“I brought our speech,” Ethan said to me. “I wrote who is going to say what.” He pulled a slip of paper out of his jacket pocket. I took it from his hand and opened it up. I wished I had had time to practice it.

“Good morning, everybody. We gather here today in honor of my daughter, Rachel Leslie Simmons. She was too young, too innocent and pure. We will all miss her very dearly. And now for a speech from her best friend Masyn McKinney, and Masyn’s boyfriend, Ethan Reyes.” Mrs. Simmons wept. Ethan and I stood, hand-in-hand. I held the slip of paper in my other hand. We strode up to the front of the church, slowly yet surely.

We stepped up to the podium. I opened up the slip of paper that was our speech. I looked up before speaking. I had the first words of the speech. I gazed around the room, mouth hanging open. Ethan placed a hand on my shoulder.

“It’s okay, Masyn. You got this.” He whispered. He leaned over and kissed my cheek. Everyone let out a little, “aww”. Ethan and I both blushed. I glanced to the doors. I needed to do this. For Rachel. I took a deep breath and spoke.

“Good morning, everybody. My name is Masyn McKinney, and this is my boyfriend, Ethan Reyes.” I gestured with my free hand towards him.

“We are here today in honor of Masyn’s best friend and my good friend, Rachel Simmons. Rachel was a sweet, caring, amazing girl, and we are all going to miss her very much.” Ethan said.

“Rachel was my best friend and had been since the sixth grade. She was a fun-loving person. Our other best friend, Ava Williams, Rachel, and I had the best days together. I am going to miss her with all of my heart. No best friend could ever—“ the loud eruption of the church doors opening made me jump. A group of police officers walked in with their guns raised. I recognized Officer Harris as part of the group.

“Freeze, everybody!” One of them yelled. They separated into two lines to form a pathway. They lowered their guns. A girl in ripped blue skinny jeans and a black tee emerged from the group. Her dark brown hair fell loosely around her shoulders. She smirked and set her eyes on me.

“Her,” she said pointing to me, but speaking to the officers. “That’s her.” I couldn’t make out the features of the girl from far away. The officers raised their guns again.

“Hands in the air!” They screamed at me. I immediately put my hands up out of instinct. Ethan yelled at them.

“Hey, what are you doing?!” he shouted as the police officers made their way up the stage. Officer Harris walked up to me.

“Masyn McKinney and Ethan Reyes,” she said, slapping handcuffs onto each of our wrists. “You are both under arrest for the murders of Imani Weathers and Rachel Simmons.” I gasped and glared at the girl. She still had that ugly sneer on her face, but now she was closer. I squinted and leaned forward slightly. I recognized her. I knew immediately that this was the woman, or girl, should I say, that hacked my Snapchat, killed Rachel and Imani, and left the creepy message on my windows. And she was blaming me for it. I couldn’t believe that that girl, a girl I had called one of my best friends, had been doing all that. She glared at me. My mind went cuckoo at that point. I can remember thinking only one thing. The name of that girl.

It was Aliya Carlson.

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

Every person in the pews let out a loud gasp. I tried to object.

“You don’t understand! It was her! Aliya did all of those terrible things!” I screamed.

“Yeah, what the heck is going on?! Masyn and I would never kill anybody!” Ethan tried to break free of the officers’ grasps. He was unsuccessful. The officers ignored us and led us down the steps of the stage. Mr. and Mrs. Simmons were screaming and sobbing. They thought the officers had been telling the truth. Ethan and I needed to figure out a way to get out of this troubling situation. We calmly let the officers lead us down the hallway to Aliya. The pews were filled with shocked and upset people. The cheerleaders were hugging and sobbing again. I passed Aliya and didn’t say a word to her. But she couldn’t say the same about me. Her smirk turned to a smile and she grabbed my shoulder with amazing strength. She leaned into my ear as close as she could get. Her hot breath enveloped it. She whispered under her breath to me.

“Watch your back.” She let out a small chuckle of victory. I snarled. The officers shoved me along. I couldn’t believe that Aliya was behaving like that. What had I ever done to her?

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

In the parking lot, I noticed the trunk of my car was open. Imani’s dead body was sprawled on the floor at a disgusting angle. I looked away.

“Look, I can explain—” I said, referring to my trunk and Imani’s body.

“There will be no explanations needed.” Officer Harris said.

“Yes. It is quite obvious that you were hiding the body in your trunk because you didn’t want anyone to find it.” Another officer chimed in. I totally lost it.

“That’s not true!” I screamed. “ALIYA killed Imani. I watched her do it. Aliya killed Imani and left her bleeding body on my windshield. I didn’t want my parents to see the body and freak out. So I hid it in my trunk and cleaned my windshield!” I had said that all in one breath. I was gasping for air. The officers stared at me with wide eyes and astonished expressions.

“How strange,” a female officer spoke. “That’s the exact same story that the young lady—Aliya, was it?—told us…”

“Yeah, except you both were on opposite ends of the situation.” A male officer added. I stared at them and nodded like the situation was obvious. Just then, Aliya barged through the doors of the church. I looked past her and saw the entire crowd looking over their shoulders from the pews. The officers glared at Aliya. Aliya put on an innocent face.

“So, are these scumbags getting what they deserve?” she pouted and crossed her arms over her chest. Officer Harris and another officer made their way over to me and Ethan. I felt my wrists fall free of the handcuffs. I shook my wrists out.

“No, young lady. In fact, we have a new suspect for the murders of Rachel Simmons and Imani Weathers. Aliya Carlson, you are under arrest.” Officer Harris took a pair of handcuffs and slapped them onto Aliya’s wrists. Aliya’s expression quickly shifted from miss-know-it-all to complete and utter shock.

“What?!” she shrieked. “You can’t do this! That’s not fair!”

“What isn’t fair is killing two innocent girls and blaming it on someone else, just because you like that person’s boyfriend.” Officer Harris retorted and winked at Ethan. Ethan looked down and made a point to put his arm around my waist. He yelled at Aliya as she was being shoved into the back of a police car.

“Sorry, Aliya, but I’m taken!” he held my hand up in the air. Aliya’s face turned beet red. Her nostrils flared and she angrily stared at the ground. I giggled. I put my arms around Ethan and leaned up to kiss him. I kicked one of my legs out behind me. I could hear people cheering inside the church. The police car’s sirens began to wail as Aliya was driven away. Ethan and I waved mockingly as the car grew further and further away. I gripped his hand and tilted my head onto his shoulder.

“We won.” I whispered to him.

“Yes, we did. Of course we did.” We chuckled in victory and headed back into the church, together. Together forever.

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Watch Your Back

Masyn McKinney is a normal seventeen year old girl living in Georgetown, Texas. When the guy of her dreams, Ethan Reyes, asks her out, she obviously says yes. Now that Ethan is in her life, everything seems perfect. Until her friends start dropping dead like flies. Her Snapchat account gets hacked. Creepy messages written in blood are being left on her windows. Will Masyn and Ethan be able to find the horrible killer? Or will Masyn end up dead, too?

  • ISBN: 9781370778041
  • Author: Chloe Mason
  • Published: 2017-08-03 04:05:13
  • Words: 13637
Watch Your Back Watch Your Back