Authors: Mercy Amare
I shiver, wondering if he’s watching me right now.
“Kihanna!” I hear somebody yell.
My heart stops, then jumps into overdrive. I turn around and see Micah running to me.
Oh, thank God.
Now I’m just being paranoid.
It’s not Brian.
“Hey, Micah,” I say, pretending like I didn’t just almost have a heart attack.
“You okay?” he asks. “You sound out of breath.”
“I’m fine,” I lie. “Just... uhh... I was running.”
“You were running?” he asks, not believing me.
“What? I don’t look like a runner?”
“It’s a new thing,” I say. “Andrea and I have been working out together, you know.”
I have always sucked at lying. But after lying so much last year, I think I’ve improved, though that’s not really an accomplishment. At least Micah seems to buy this excuse. The last thing I want is to get him involved.
“Okay,” he says. “By the way, I like those jeans on you. Whatever work out you’re doing is working.”
Maybe I should thank Ty.
“So, where did you go last night?” Micah asks. “You were only there for the first song, then you left.”
“Sorry,” I say. “It was a... uhh... family emergency. I didn’t want to bother you while you were playing.”
“Is everything okay?” he asks.
“Yeah,” I answer. “It all worked out. I’m sorry I missed your performance. Your first song was way awesome.”
“It’s okay. I’m just glad everything is all right.”
“Me too,” I say, wishing that it was true. Will I
be all right?
“Are you sure you’re okay?” Micah asks.
Okay, so maybe I’m not as good at lying as I thought.
“I’m fine,” I say.
Because, really, I will be fine. I’ve lived through this once. Sure, I came close to dying a few times, but that doesn’t mean I will this time. Now I know whom I am up against. Brian can’t hide from me forever. I will find him. And when I find him...
What will happen when I find him?
How can I find him?
Okay, so, obviously I need Gabe and Ty’s help.
But not Micah. He is staying far, far away from this. Far away from me. Gabe and Ty are already involved. Micah’s not. I’ll just avoid him until Brian is gone. Which hopefully won’t take long.
“Kihanna?” Micah asks.
I look at him. “What?”
“Did you hear anything I just said?” he asks.
I shake my head. “Sorry, no. I dazed out.”
He puts his hand to my forehead. “Are you feeling okay?”
“Yeah,” I say, pushing away his arm. “I’m just... stressing about a grade I got on my midterm.”
Really? Is that the best lie I could come up with?
“Did you fail?” he asks.
Crap. “No,” I answer, bitting my lip. “I.. uhh... got a B in one of my classes.”
He laughs. “You’re stressing over a B?”
I shrug, because I really have no answer for him. I studied hard for my midterms and I always do my homework. I’ve only missed a couple of days of school. I
to do well in college. Just because I don’t
to graduate college with excellent grades doesn’t mean I don’t want to. I just don’t want to rely on my dad’s money.
“So, you’re really smart?” Micah asks.
“I just want to do well,” I say. This time, it’s the truth. Though, if I don’t stop stressing about Brian, I’m not going to do well. I spaced for thirty minutes during class earlier. I still have no idea what the teacher said during that time. This isn’t good.
“You’ll be fine,” he says. “You’ve still got finals. I’m sure you can get an A in the class if you study hard.”
Really, I’m happy with a B. Hell, I’d be happy with a C.
“What I was asking earlier when you spaced out was, do you want to go grab dinner with me later?” he asks. “There is new burger place in town, and they have vegan burgers. I figured it wasn’t fair to always just eat at vegetarian restaurants.”
“Tonight isn’t good,” I tell him.
Because, seriously, what if I run into Brian. Or what if he locks me in the bathroom again and sets the place on fire?
“Tomorrow?” he asks.
Crap. What am I supposed to do? Keep telling him no? I don’t want that. Micah is my friend. I can’t avoid him forever.
“Let’s wait and go out this weekend,” I say. “I kind of want to spend time studying.”
“Sure,” he says. “Let’s do it Saturday night. We can go somewhere nice for dinner and maybe see a movie.”
“Sounds good,” I say, hoping that it will be safe.
I will just have to figure out something before then.
“Can you do me a favor?” I ask him.
“Don’t tell anybody about our date.”
“Why?” he asks.
Because I have a psycho killer claiming he’s in love with me. No telling what he will do if he finds out I’m going on a date with another guy
. “Because of Ty. I want to tell him myself and not let him hear it from somebody else. I don’t want to hurt him.”
“Okay,” he agrees. “I guess I will see you on Saturday.”
“See you then,” I say, and then get in my car.
What the hell am I going to do?
Ty left to grab some clothes from his dorm room and to get food for us all. Now, I am sitting alone in the hotel room with Gabe.
I swear Ty did this on purpose. Like, he wants me to talk to Gabe or something, which is a very bad idea. He and I don’t get along right now. We might not
get along. I broke his heart. I don’t think you ever get over your first love.
Or second love in Gabe’s case.
Lily is dead, and yet I am still jealous of her. And why? I’m not even with Gabe anymore. From what I know about her, she was closer to Ty than Gabe.
But Ty never said he was in love with her. Gabe did. Plus, I know Ty. He’s only ever been in love with me. Which makes me happy.
I am so selfish.
“How are you doing?” Gabe asks me, interrupting my thoughts.
“Fine,” I say, awkwardly. “How about you?”
I am going to kill Ty when he gets back.
He shrugs. “I guess I’m okay. I’ve been missing you. I know this whole situation sucks, but at least I have an excuse to talk to you again.”
“You never had to stop talking to me,” I say. “Just because we aren’t dating anymore doesn’t mean we can’t be friends.”
“Actually, that is
what it means. I’m only here because I care about you. I don’t want you to have to go through all of this alone,” Gabe says. “You need me, and I’m not going to abandon you.”
I nod my head like I understand.
What Gabe doesn’t know is that I am plotting how I can kill Ty and get away with it. I wonder how hard it is to dispose of a dead body.
“What is going on with you and Ty?” Gabe asks.
“We’re friends,” I answer.
“Friends who fuck?”
I roll my eyes. “Ty and I stopped having sex about a month ago.”
“Really?” Gabe asks, looking way too pleased.
“That doesn’t mean I’m going to have sex with you,” I clarify.
He smirks. “If you can forgive Ty for cheating on you, certainly you can forgive me for being a bad boyfriend.”
Save me from this awkward situation.
I look at my phone, hoping I have a text from somebody or a notification. There are
I haven’t heard from anybody all day.
I look at my text history and see that the last text I received was last night, right before I ran into Brian. I’ve been too busy to notice my phone. Maybe it’s not working. I pull up my text history with Ty to send him a text. Before I can, Gabe grabs my phone from my hands.
“No, you are
going to ignore me,” Gabe says. “I’ve been waiting forever to get a chance to talk with you alone, and now I have it.”
I sigh and sit on the edge of the bed. “What do you want to say? You now have my full attention.”
“Do you still love me?” he asks.
“Gabe, I love you like I love Toby. Like a brother. Or, not exactly like a brother... like a friend,” I say. “A friend I used to date. But I’m not in love with you.”
“Are you in love with Ty?”
“I don’t think so,” I answer. “I mean, what I feel for him is more than just friendship, but I don’t know exactly what it means. I don’t want to be with Ty right now. I just want to be his friend.”
Gabe frowns. “I don’t like that you have these feelings for him. I’m jealous. I hate being jealous. But Ty is my best friend. He has been since we were kids, and I’m not going to let anything ruin that. Not even you.”
“I’m not trying to ruin your friendship.”
“I know,” he says. “But I think you should back off.”
“From Ty,” he clarifies.
“Why?” I ask.
“Because I don’t want Ty to get hurt. And right now, you’re hurting him. You’re leading him on. Don’t give him the impression that there could ever be more than friendship between the two of you unless you’re absolutely certain,” Gabe says.
“Ty and I have talked about this. I’m not leading him on.”
“Don’t hurt him,” he says.
“Maybe you and Ty should stay in your own dorm room tonight. I’m a big girl. I can take care of myself.” I’m so lying. I mean, I
take care of myself, but I don’t want to be alone. I’m scared to death.
“I’m not leaving you alone. Neither will Ty. You know that,” he says. “Just because you’re not in love with me doesn’t mean I’m not in love with you.”
“You shouldn’t be in love with me,” I tell Gabe. “In fact, I really wish you weren’t in love with me. It makes me feel guilty.”
“It’s my fault you’re no longer in love with me,” he says. “I get that now. I was a jealous idiot.”
“I can live with jealousy,” I say. “A little jealousy is a good thing. But it was like you stopped caring about me. You were distant. We never went out on dates, we never had sex, and we hardly ever talked.”
“I don’t think you’re really in love with me,” I tell him. “If you were, you would’ve seen that I was pulling away. You would’ve tried harder to keep me. I think you’re in love with the idea of me. But I’m not the right girl for you.”
Gabe rolls his eyes. “You’re clueless and wrong. I will find a way to prove it to you someday.”
Tuesday, November 2
We need to talk.
My dorm room is officially cleared of snakes, so I can go back to my dorm.
Ty stands by my side outside of the door. I reach for the door handle about three times, each time pulling back before I even touch the handle. I’m scared. What if there are more snakes? Or what if they forgot one? Or what if there is something else in there now?
“I can’t do it,” I tell Ty.
“Yes, you can. It’ll be fine,” he says.
“Well, what else are you going to do? Sleep in my dorm room all semester?” he asks, joking.
“Maybe,” I answer.
Seriously, staying in a dorm room with my two ex-boyfriends sounds better than staying one more night in my own dorm.
Maybe I should just call my dad and tell him that Brian is back. I should tell him about the snakes. I should let him pull me out of school. I can just stay home and hide forever. Who needs college? I don’t. My dad is a billionaire. I’ll just mooch off him for the rest of my life.
But what kind of example would that be for Kailee? My mom taught me not to back down from bullies. She would be disappointed if I did that.
I pull out my phone and click on my dad’s number.
“What are you doing?” Ty asks.
“Calling my dad,” I answer.
When I try to call, my phone just beeps and disconnects. I do it again and the same thing happens.
“I think my phone is broken,” I tell Ty. “Can I borrow yours?”
“If you’re sure this is what you want to do,” he says, handing me his phone.
“It is,” I say, pulling up
in Ty’s phone. I touch his number, this time the phone rings.
My dad answers on the second ring.
“Dad, it’s me,” I say.
“Hey. What’s wrong with your phone?” he asks.
“I don’t know,” I answer. “It’s not working.”
“Go pick up another one. You have a credit card for a reason,” he says.
“I just noticed it was broken,” I say. “I’ll go get another one this afternoon.”
“Good,” he says.
“I called because I have a favor to ask you.”
He sighs. “This doesn’t sound good.”
“Well...” I bite my lip, trying to decide how to word it. “On Sunday night, I found a snake in my dorm room.”
“A snake?” he asks.
“Yeah,” I answer. “Nobody is sure how it got in. And it’s gone now, but I’m kind of scared to sleep in my dorm room. I know that there isn’t anything in there, but I keep imagining snakes... and I just can’t stay there, Dad.”
“Do you want an apartment?” he asks.
“Really? You’d get me an apartment?”
“Yeah. I don’t want you staying there alone though. I’ll get Gabe and Ty to room with you,” he says. “I’m sure Jack and Libby would be okay with it.”
Libby would. She wants Gabe and me to get back together.
Ugh, really? I am going to get an apartment with my two ex-boyfriends?
I look at my dorm room door and remember the snakes.
Yeah, I am doing this.
“Okay, Dad. Set it up,” I say.
“When does your last class end tomorrow?” he asks.
“Two o’clock,” I answer.
“Okay. I’ll set you up an appointment with a realtor. You pick out the apartment you want and I’ll take care of the rest,” Dad says.
“No problem,” he says.
I disconnect the phone and smile at Ty.
“So, we’re getting an apartment,” I tell him.
“We?” he asks.
“Me and you,” I say, then frown. “And Gabe.”
“Gabe?” Ty asks.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled to have him there, but why in the hell would your dad want you to be roommates with him? You two just broke up,” Ty says. “That’s really awkward.”