Inescapable (The Premonition Series) (10 page)

BOOK: Inescapable (The Premonition Series)
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I ignore his confidence in the fact that my knee is going to all but fix itself shortly. “Wouldn’t that be off the hook?” I mutter, and take another sip of cognac.

“I was surprised to see you tonight at the field house,” Reed says. “I didn’t know you played field hockey.”

“Oh, well, I don’t really…that is, I haven’t played before tonight. A couple of girls from my dorm asked me to come to their practice tonight to see if I’d be interested in joining their team. It sounded kinda fun so I went. I probably should’ve thought to borrow some knee guards along with the uniform, but I didn’t think it was supposed to get NHL out there,” I reply as an explanation.

“Who are your friends, the ones that asked you to join the team?” Reed asks, and then takes a sip of his drink.

“Buns and Brownie. They live on my floor. I think their real names are Christine and Kelly, but no one seems to go by their real names around here,” I smile.

“I’m familiar with Christine and Kelly. I’m just wondering why it is that trouble finds you so quickly,” he says, eyeing me pointedly.

“My knee was a fluke—” I begin, but Reed cuts me off.

“I wasn’t referring to the hockey practice. I’m referring to your friends. They are trouble. I don’t think you could find two more wildly out of control females if you advertised for them,” he states flatly, like he doesn’t approve of my choice of friends at all.

“I know, aren’t they wonderful?” I ask impishly, agreeing with his statement wholeheartedly. “I intend to spend more time with them as soon as possible.”

“Why, didn’t you just hear me tell you they are trouble?” he asks with irritation in his tone.

“Yes, and I got what you meant. But this is ‘set it off’ kind of trouble we’re talking about, not the dangerous kind of trouble. I’m aware of the difference. We’re just going to shake it up a little and see what falls out. I might get a couple of fines, and I say ‘bring it’ because what do I have to lose?” I ask him pointedly, daring him to disagree with me.

“Your scholarship, for one,” he replies calmly. “You could lose that quite easily if you step out of line.”

“Maybe, but you don’t know what I’ve been feeling lately.” I say quietly as I study the liquid in my glass so that I’d have something to look at other than him.

“What do you mean? How have you been feeling?” he asks, leaning forward as if he is truly interested in my answer.

I hesitate. Reed had helped me out tonight at the field, but I’m not sure what that means. Does it mean we have a truce? Could he and I actually have a friendship? Maybe we can begin to understand each other if we have some honesty between us.

With that in mind, I say, “I feel desperate, like I’m running out of time, but it’s even worse than that…it’s more like I’m running out of air. The girls are a great distraction from that, so I’m keeping them,” I say defiantly. “I feel like I’m on the precipice of something huge…something monumental, but I’ve no clue as to what it is, or what it means to me, or what I’m supposed to do. It’s all just this enigma swirling around and around me, and I’m ensnared in it, and there is no way out.” I drop my eyes from his because I feel hollow and raw.

Swirling the liquid around in my glass, I watch the tempest within it slowly lose its momentum and then come to a stop. Looking back up at Reed, I see that he’s watching me. Feeling like a tool for saying too much to him, I try to down the rest of my drink in one swallow.

When I am finished sputtering and gasping for breath from the fire of the alcohol burning my esophagus, I notice that Reed had taken my glass from my hand and replaced it with a glass of water. Taking a quick sip of the water, I try to breathe evenly again.

“All I’m saying is that you might consider making other friends who actually have an interest in getting an education,” says Reed as he sits back down in his chair.

“I do have other friends,” I sigh. “I have Freddie, and I have Russell; at least I have Russell when you’re not zapping him with your voice. Can you stop doing that to him, please? He’s here to play football and go to school. He doesn’t have anything to do with what’s going on between you and me.”

“You think that’s why he is here…to play football?” Reed asks me slowly.

I frown at him while I nod.

“Genevieve, how naive are you? Russell’s here for one reason and one reason only. He’s here because you brought him here,” Reed states emphatically, getting up from his chair and prowling the room agitatedly.

“What are you talking about? I just met Russell on that walk yesterday. He’s been here all summer at football training camp, so how could I have possibly brought him here?” I ask him logically.

“How indeed?” Reed asks sullenly, toying with one of the marble statues that grace a delicate table.

“Reed, what you’re saying doesn’t make any sense. I would have to be an…I don’t know…a magnet for Russell in order for what you’re saying to have any validity…” I begin to reason, but stop when a shattering sound comes from where Reed is standing.

Blinking, I see pieces of the marble crumble from Reed’s hands. Silently, he begins cleaning up the broken shards of what was once an exquisitely designed statue of an angel, but now resembles a chalky mess.

“People aren’t that strong, Reed,” I state, indicating the crushed statue he is gathering into his cupped hand. A stab of fear sweeps through me, warning me to be cautious.

“You are very astute, Genevieve,” Reed says evenly, while walking the remains of the statue over to the small wastepaper basket by the desk and brushing it off his hands.

“Was that very expensive?” I ask him timidly, trying to calm myself a little.

“Probably,” he replies, not looking at me.

“Now it’s dust,” I say significantly. “So…” I begin, while searching for a safe topic of conversation, “do you think it’ll rain tomorrow?”

Looking at me like I have lost my mind, Reed asks, “We are going to talk about the weather now? You have been rather courageous up until this point. Why hide now?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, Reed,” I say with exasperation. “I was just searching for a safe topic of conversation because I don’t know the protocol to follow when I discover that I’m Little Red Riding Hood and that Granny has freakin’ sharp teeth!” I reply, glaring at him. “You have to admit, you’re sketchy with information. It’s like you’re toying with me…” I can’t go on because the lump in my throat won’t allow me to speak. Taking another sip of water, my throat clears enough for me to add, “And I’m tired, Reed… I’m so tired of being afraid.”

Reed is quiet for a long time and then he says softly, “I will let you in on a little secret: You are not wrapped up in an enigma; you
the enigma.” He comes over to the sofa and sits by my knee; his eyes are on my face. “You see, when we were talking this morning and you called yourself a little fish and indicated that I was a big fish, well, that description was not entirely accurate.”

“It wasn’t?” I ask as the hair on the back of my neck begins to rise.

“No, it wasn’t. A more accurate description for me would be that of a shark,” he says, watching me now.

“I see. How stupid of me,” I reply with a sinking feeling.

My mouth goes dry, so I take a small sip of the water he had given me. I wait for fear to overwhelm me because that is the emotion that any rational person would feel upon finding herself closeted with a predator. But, instead of fear, I feel something very different, and it shocks me with its intensity. I feel utterly and completely betrayed. “So, why all of this?” I ask, indicating myself lying on his sofa with a blanket—
his blanket.
“Why help me out at all today?”

“You mean why, if I’m a shark, have I not attacked?” he asks, his face unreadable. Pulling back the blanket covering my knee, he takes the ice pack from it.

He doesn’t look up when I ask, “You’ve been trying to decide what to do with me, haven’t you? So what? Have you made some kind of decision? Have you decided that I’m a problem that needs to be eliminated?” He’s touching my knee gently, but I refuse to look, focusing on him instead.

Reed frowns. “If I had decided you needed to be eliminated, you would already be gone,” he says succinctly.

Studying his face, I know he is telling me the truth. I’m a threat to him somehow. He is wary of me, and that thought makes me want to comfort him and promise him that I’d never hurt him.

“So, right now, at this moment, I’m not threatening enough to eliminate?” I ask cautiously, unable to bring myself to say

“No, not yet,” he says flatly.

His green eyes hold mine, and I think for a moment how cat-like they are. They are a deep jade color in this light, and add to that, his eyes tilt up at the corners in a perfectly predatory way.

“But…” I begin, processing what he hadn’t said, “you can imagine a scenario in which my elimination would be necessary?” I ask him. I am trying to stay alert and not get drawn in by his sexy façade. I have to pry some information out of him.

“Yes,” he says without hesitation.

My mind whispers to me:
I must be some kind of monster because he didn’t even have to think about that one.

I hesitate before saying, “But you haven’t done it yet, so one can only assume that you may have envisioned a scenario in which eliminating me is not advantageous?”

Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes,
I pray silently. My heart hammers in my chest as I wait for his response.

“Yes,” he replies in a gentle tone, and I feel such relief that I can hardly think of anything besides breathing in and out.

“That’s good, so there is at least one pro for my continued survival,” I say, trying to think. I chew on my bottom lip anxiously. An idea occurs to me, and it is out of my mouth before I can censor it. “If you have to kill me, will you enjoy doing it?”

Reed stills in his examination of my knee, and I wait for him to answer my question. He remains silent; his face looks tense…pained.

“No,” he says with a frown, “I don’t believe I would enjoy hurting you.”

“Good,” I exhale.

His answer makes me feel better, but there is something that I have to get him to agree to. I don’t know how to begin to ask him for something like this. It sounds so insane in my mind, so it will probably sound worse out loud.

Haltingly, I whisper, “If it turns out that the pros do not outweigh the cons and… it becomes necessary to…to eliminate me…I have one last request.”

Reed stills next to me again, but he doesn’t reply, so I go on. “My last request is this: that you let my Uncle Jim know that I’m gone. I’m not saying you have to tell him. I’m saying, let him know somehow that I’m dead so that he won’t spend the rest of his life looking for me. I don’t want that for him. He has been really good to me, so can you do that for me…please?”

I need him to promise me this. I need it like I need air. It will all be all right if he says yes—then it will just be about me and I can handle that, I can handle what happens to me. “Please promise me, Reed,” I whisper.

“I promise,” Reed says in a tense tone.

Reed isn’t looking at me now. His face is in profile to me, and his jaw is clenched. Reaching out, I touch his face; I want to tell him it will be okay, but I know it would sound ridiculous, given his recent promise.

“Thank you,” I say simply. Resting my hand against his cheek, he stills, closing his eyes. His skin is warm, much warmer than I expected, and the longer I hold my hand there, the more concern I feel for him.

Is he running a fever?
I wonder as my hand shifts to his forehead.

I begin trying to establish if he is ill. He appears to be okay, but his temperature isn’t normal. Reed smiles involuntarily as I scoot nearer to him and use the inside of my wrist on his forehead. He opens his eyes, pulling my wrist from his forehead. To my utter shock he brings my wrist to his lips, kissing it gently. He then pulls it gently back down, holding my hand in his own.

“I’m fine, and so are you,” he says, pointing with his other hand to my knee, which I’d bent to scoot closer to him.

I ignore my knee and say, “But you’re so hot…”

“Thanks,” he says teasingly.

“That’s not what I meant,” I retort.

“I know what you meant. Let’s try to get you on your feet,” Reed says.

Reaching over, he grasps my other hand, and with little aid from me, he has me up on my good leg. I test my knee by just applying a little of my weight to it. There is no pain. I apply a little more weight, and then a little more, preparing to back off of it the moment it hurts. But it doesn’t hurt, even when I put all of my weight on it.

I try taking a step. Reed drops my hands so that I can move freely. My knee is a bit stiff, but otherwise, it feels fine. Examining the surface of my knee, I see a slight discoloration over the kneecap, but other than that, it’s nearly as good as new.

Feeling myself panicking I cover my hands over my face as I think,
I’m a monster! Don’t fall apart here

you can fall apart later…

Plastering a fake smile on my face, I bring my hands down to see Reed standing just a few feet away, watching me closely. I try to think of something offhand to say, but all I can come up with is, “Amazing…I can’t wait until that third eye grows out of my forehead.”

BOOK: Inescapable (The Premonition Series)
2.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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