Inescapable (The Premonition Series) (9 page)

BOOK: Inescapable (The Premonition Series)
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I change into the practice uniform that Buns and Brownie lent me. I have my own set of shin guards that I had used when I played soccer in high school, so I put them on, along with my knee socks and cleats. The girls are coming out of their room as I round the corner to their hall.

“I’m ready!” I say excitedly.

“Good, sweetie, did you get a chance to look at the manual?” Buns asks me as she hands me a hockey stick.

“Yeah, my friend, Freddie, and I studied it together at dinner. I think I get the gist of it. But it may take me a while to be able to handle the ball well with the stick,” I reply, swinging the stick gently to try to get a feel for its weight as we leave the dorm.

“No worries, Evie, we don’t expect you to be a rockstar. We just do it for fun and because the men freakin’ foam at the mouth watching us,” Brownie says conspiratorially.

“That rocks,” Buns agrees. “And why not? These outfits are hot!”

“Okay, okay…just have fun, huh?” I exhale deeply.

Well, I can do that,
I think. We almost make it to the field house when my stomach begins to flutter wildly.
Reed,
I think, panicking,
what now?

“Oh look,” Buns says, pointing in the direction of the lower fields. “The lacrosse team is practicing, too. Yummy! Did you see JT? He looks so good this year! He must’ve worked out over the summer.”

Brownie gives me a sanguine smile. “Reed looks delicious, too, but that goes without saying,” Brownie observes. “Too bad he’s no fun at all. He’s complete eye candy, but
way
too serious. What a waste.”

I could spot Reed from a mile away, even with his helmet and face guard on. It is the stealthy, predatory way he moves that completely gives him away.

“Someone needs to loosen him up,” Brownie adds.

Buns frowns, waving her hand like she’d erase Brownie’s last comment. “Life’s too short to waste on that. I’m not spending a minute of my youth moping around over a guy,” she says.

To make her point, she dashes out onto the practice field, and with stick in hand, she does a no handed cartwheel, landing on her feet. Swinging her stick, she hits a ball that someone had left by the other equipment. I am so impressed that I begin applauding. Buns smiles prettily and then performs a small, graceful curtsy to me.

“Buns, stop flossin’ and let’s do this,” Brownie teases, walking out to meet the rest of the team.

Buns introduces me to a tall, pretty girl named Wendy. “But no one calls her Wendy, we call her Weeza. This is Evie,” Weeza smiles at me kindly. “And this is Beth, but everyone calls her Babs.”

“Does anyone just go by their own name around here?” I ask, laughing.

“No, how boring would that be?” Buns laughs and then continues introducing me to the rest of the team.

Most of the girls are friendly except for a girl named Tamera, who looks me up and down appraisingly. “Have you ever played field hockey?” Tamera asks me with a definite edge in her tone. She leans on her stick, popping her hip out to the side in an arrogant pose. Her body language makes me want to kick the stick out from under her and send her crashing to the ground.

“Well, no…but I played soccer,” I reply hesitantly, trying to keep the hard edge out of my tone.

Tamera snorts derisively in response to my answer.

Brownie wrinkles her nose at Tamera, saying, “Let’s do some drills with Evie before we worry about who sucks, Tamera.”

Buns starts us off slowly. She takes extra time with me, showing me how to properly grip the stick, and then she walks me through simple moves to handle the ball. I am surprised at my ability to utilize the stick, since I’ve never played before, but it seems to come to me naturally. When it looks as if everyone is getting the drills fairly well, Brownie suggests we divide up and play a scrimmage. Buns makes sure I’m on their side.

Huddling up on one end of the field, Buns leads the discussion, “Evie, I want you to be an attacker on this play. Brownie and I will get the ball down field. You move into the D, and we’ll get it to you. If Tamera’s defending, go to her left side because she’s almost useless if you do.”

I nod to them, and then we break from the huddle. Lining up in the forward, attacker position on the field, Buns strikes the ball to start the play. I run up the field with Buns as she scoops the ball forward, approaching the D. The girls pass the ball back and forth to each other, and when Brownie glances at me, I put my stick down on the ground to handle the pass.

She flicks the ball ahead to me, and I redirect it, turning to approach the goal. Tamera defends the inside of the D, so I fake that I’m going left, but instead, I switch directions at the last second, and I go right. Outmaneuvering Tamera, I plant my left leg in a lunge while drawing my stick back, and then I let it fly. It makes contact with the ball, and the ball soars into the back of the net.

I scored!
I think excitedly.

Boisterous applause and whistling comes to me from the left side of the field. Russell and some of his teammates are standing on the sidelines watching us practice. I blush when I see him grinning at me. Equally riotous cheering comes from the right side of the field as well. Turning, my cheeks flush with more color as I realize that most of the lacrosse team is watching us, too.

Then my eyes fall on Reed standing with his lacrosse stick in both his hands, watching me. The fluttering sensation that causes constant upheaval inside of me when Reed is near grows so intense that I start to move to him involuntarily. Brownie and Buns come up on either side of me then, stopping my progression toward Reed by engulfing me in a group hug.

“You did it, sweetie!” Buns cheers. “I knew you’d be good! Didn’t I say she’d be good, Brownie? I should’ve bet you something—like room cleaning for a month.”

Brownie scoffs, “I would never have taken that bet, Buns! I have more game than that.” She beams at me. “Okay, we’ve time for a couple more plays. Let’s see if we can score again, it shouldn’t be too hard, since Tamera still sucks.”

We walk back to our huddle, and I try to ignore the growing crowd around us. Brownie gives me the position of attacker again. I move up the field when our defenders are able to steal the ball from their offense. Brownie flicks the ball over to me when a defender challenges her. Seeing that Buns is open ahead of me, I push the ball to her across the field. We move up together into the D, and I take the ball that Buns has to pass back in order to protect it from the other team.

When Buns takes up a position by the goal, I accelerate to get around Tamera, who has been physically trying to block my advance. Finding an angle to get the ball ahead to Buns, I plant my forward leg and swing my stick. It makes contact with the ball, arching it toward Buns’s position. That’s the last thing I see before feeling an intense pain stabbing up my leg. Tamera’s stick has crashed into my kneecap.

My knee all but explodes, refusing to hold my weight any longer. I slam against the ground, grabbing my leg and writhing in agony. Touching my kneecap with shaky fingers, it feels spongy—no longer hard like a kneecap is supposed to be. Nausea hits me in waves as I try to concentrate on not vomiting on the field.

“Genevieve,” a voice says near my ear, “let me see how bad it is.” I recognize the voice instantly, even though my eyes are closed. It’s Reed. Without thinking, I reach out to him, whimpering in pain before I could stifle it. Clutching at his shirt, I rest my forehead on his shoulder as he speaks calmingly to me, “Shhhh, it’s okay…it will be all right. I’m going to touch your leg, so try not to move.”

Taking my leg gently in his hands, he begins assessing the damage. A hissing sound comes from me as he touches the spongy part and searing pain registers in my brain. My head spins dizzily while Reed gently probes what is left of my knee.

“Evie, are ya okay?” Russell asks, kneeling on the ground on the opposite side of Reed, so that I am sandwiched between the two of them. Opening my eyes to look at Russell, I catch the look on Reed’s face. Reed shakes his head slightly at me.

Reed furrows his brow, saying, “I think it’s just bruised, but just in case, I will drive her to the hospital for x-rays.”

He doesn’t wait for permission as he scoops me up off the ground, like I weigh nothing at all, and strides toward the parking lot by the field house. I don’t know what to do. I am in so much pain that I can’t think straight. The only thing I want to do is rest my head against Reed’s chest.

Russell calls from behind us, saying, “Wait a second, she’s not goin’ anywhere with ya.” Catching up to us quickly, Russell walks alongside of me while we continue on toward the parking lot of the field house.

“Relax, Russell, I’m just taking her to see a doctor. She will be fine,” Reed says without slowing down.

“Relax, that’s ‘bout the last thing I’ll be doin’ ‘round ya. So give me Evie, and I’ll see that she gets to the hospital,” Russell replies angrily as we enter the parking lot.

“Oh really, you have a car here?” Reed asks pointedly, pausing for a second and looking at Russell.

Russell’s brow wrinkles when he says, “Well, no, but…” then he trails off as Reed begins walking away with me in his arms.

“Then how are you going to get her there, fly?” Reed asks rudely over his shoulder.

“I can get a car; I’ll borrow one,” Russell replies tersely as he catches up to us easily.

“But mine’s right here,” Reed says pointedly, stopping by a sleek and sexy, silver sports car that is undoubtedly European in design.

“Fine, I’ll go with ya,” Russell says, following us to the passenger side of the car.

“Sorry, Russell, my car’s a two-seater. Looks like you will be staying here,” Reed says with smug amusement.

Opening the passenger side of the car, Reed gently places me on the seat. As he reaches over to buckle me in, his eyes meet mine. He must see the confusion and pain clouding them because his hand reaches up to gently stroke my hair before pulling back and closing my door.

It’s surprisingly quiet in his car. Reed and Russell are arguing with each other out of the front windshield, but I can’t hear what they’re saying. I lean my head back against the seat and swallow hard, trying not to be sick in Reed’s beautiful car.

Only a few seconds pass before Russell begins gesturing wildly to the car, and then pointing aggressively at Reed. Reed, standing calmly by without much emotion in his demeanor, ignores Russell’s argument. Judging by Russell’s expression, he doesn’t intend to relent on whatever point he’s making. But after facing a few more moments of Reed’s stoic opposition, Russell changes his strategy abruptly by walking towards my door.

Looking through the window at Russell, his expression changes from anger to utter frustration. Dropping his hand from the car door, he slowly, mechanically begins to walk away from it. My gaze narrows and shifts to Reed as I realize instantly what has just happened. Reed has used his scary voice on Russell to make him leave.

If I could walk at all, I would get out of the car and go after Russell. But as it is, I can’t even lift my knee without being overcome with nausea from the pain. So I have to sit and watch as Russell walks slowly away, leaving me again at the mercy of Reed.

CHAPTER 6

 

The Promise

 

When Reed enters the car and starts the engine, I ask, “Did you have to do that voice trick on Russell again?” My voice sounds strained and weak, but I manage not to grit my teeth as I say it. My knee throbs brutally, so I rest my head back against the seat again.

“Do what?” he asks, pretending innocence.

He pulls the car out of the parking lot, heading in the direction of Main Street. The suspension of the car is so smooth that I can barely feel any jarring when we hit patches of uneven pavement in the street.

“You know what I’m talking about, Reed,” I say through my tight jaw. “You used your persuasive voice on him. It’s not going to fry his brain or anything, is it?” I ask with concern for Russell.

“No,” Reed replies grudgingly, “it’s not going to fry his brain. In fact, it doesn’t work on him as well as it should.”

“What do you mean?” I ask, but Reed doesn’t elaborate, so I am forced to draw my own conclusions. “Oh, you mean it doesn’t work well on him because he still knows who I am, is that it?” I ask wryly.

Reed studies me briefly, and then he turns his attention back to the road and says, “Yes, that is exactly what I mean, Genevieve.”

“That wasn’t a very kind thing to do, you know? It took me a while to convince Russell that we had, indeed, met before.” I say, looking over at Reed to see him smirk.

Annoyed with him, I add, “How does your voice work? Is there a special technology that you employ, or is it a technique, like hypnosis?” I ask, trying to distract myself from the pain I’m in.

“I have always been able to do it. It’s an ability, not a technology,” Reed says, not elaborating further on it.

I roll my eyes. “Oh come on, even when you were a baby you could persuade people with your voice? That must have been
really
inconvenient for your mother,” I reply stiffly, trying not to move my leg at all from its position. It doesn’t help because my entire body is beginning to shake from trauma.

“My mother…yes that would be inconvenient for her, wouldn’t it?” he asks me with a ghost of a smile. He glances at me and the smile fades. “How are you feeling? Is it getting any better?” he asks with concern in his eyes.

“You mean does my knee feel any better?” I retort derisively. “No, it hurts like someone smashed it into a million pieces. It’s more than just bruised, isn’t it?” I inquire, already knowing the answer.

“Yes, that girl kneecapped you. I don’t think she eased up at all when she hit you with her stick. It looked very intentional to me. What did you do to her?” he asks, like it must be my fault that she attacked me.

My eyebrows lift incredulously. “Me! I didn’t do anything to her. Why do you think it’s my fault she smashed my knee into hamburger?” I ask, taking offense at his implication of blame.

He ignores my outrage and says, “I’m glad you went along with me when I said it was just bruised. It will be really difficult tomorrow explaining why you don’t even have a bruise on your knee, let alone why you can walk just fine on it. Make sure you wear some pants or jeans. Do you have anything like that?” he asks me. I must be looking at him like he’s crazy because he adds, “I’m only asking because all I have seen you in are short skirts. I might have a bandage we can use to wrap your knee. You should wear it for at least a couple of days.”

“What are you talking about, Reed? I’m going to be in a cast for at least a month because of that…that pathetic wannabe, Tamera!” I say with venom. “I hope I don’t have to miss class tomorrow. If I get behind because of this…”

“Genevieve, you are going to be as good as new by morning,” Reed says confidently.

I’m distracted by the way his perfect mouth wants to turn up in the corners as he holds back his smile. I wonder if all lunatics are this beautiful. “And, how is that possible, Reed?” I ask sarcastically. “Am I just going to grow some new bone overnight? You just said yourself that I was ‘kneecapped.’”

“Yes,” he replies calmly.

“Okay…I wasn’t aware that I’d boarded a bus to Crazy Town. If you’d be so kind as to drop me off at the nearest hospital, I’ll take it from there. I’m sure I can get someone to pick me up when I’m done. It’s chill of you to help but…” I stop talking when I notice him smiling at me like I’m making a joke.

“Genevieve, you will heal just fine on your own. Trust me,” he says as we drive through town.

“Trust you! Wasn’t it just this morning that you were trying to run me out of town?” I say primly, crossing my arms in front of me and frowning at him.

Reed laughs at my sarcasm. Watching him, I want to reach out and touch him, to give in to the urge I’ve had since getting in the car, to rest my head against his shoulder once again. I have to stay angry so I won’t embarrass myself because I’m beginning to trust him, which is absolutely absurd given our previous set of circumstances.

“Why is it that you think I can heal on my own and in an amazingly short time? Am I a mutant or something?” I ask, no longer so certain that Reed is crazy. Covertly, I glance at my fingertip and am unable to find the mark where I had sliced it open—twice.

Reed doesn’t answer me but pulls onto a long, manicured driveway. A house comes into view—well, I don’t know if
house
is an accurate enough description of the dwelling. It’s more like an old manor that had been perfectly restored. It has refined elegance and allure, making me think that should a pet lion greet us at the door, I wouldn’t be overly surprised.

“This is your house?” I ask him in awe.

“Yes,” he nods, pulling his car around in front of the cobbled, circular drive; he parks it just in front of the magnificent wooden double doors. I also notice that he hadn’t said that the house belongs to his parents but acknowledged it as his own.

So I ask, “Do you live here alone?” It is such a large estate; maybe he has some roommates from school that live with him.

“I have a cook named Andre and a housekeeper named Greta who live in the guest quarters on the south side of the property, but other than them, I live here alone,” he replies.

He turns off the engine and gets out of the car, walking around to my door. Wordlessly, he reaches in, unbuckling my seatbelt for me. The fluttering in my stomach is out of control, making me almost grateful for the pain in my knee to distract me from it.

“I’m going to have to slip my arm under your thighs so I don’t put pressure on your knee when I pick you up,” Reed says. I nod, feeling my face redden almost immediately. “Put your arm around my shoulder,” he instructs as he leans into the car and lifts me out.

I wince as the movement of my knee sends a shooting pain up my leg. I drop my head on his shoulder like I’d wanted to do the entire car ride.
He doesn’t even like you,
I scold myself.
Angry… you have to stay angry.

My eyes alight on his sports car as he carries me up to his home. “What kind of car is that?” I ask waspishly.

“It’s an Audi R-Eight. Why, don’t you like it?” he counters with humor in his voice.

“I was just wondering why someone who lives in
Michigan
wouldn’t be driving a car made in
Detroit,”
I say as if I’m a rep from the UAW.

“Genevieve, that is not a car, that is a work of art that moves. If it makes you feel any better, I own several automobiles that were partially made in Detroit. I can show them to you later, if you would like,” he replies.

“Oh,” I sniff, unable to think of a better reply. “I guess, if there is time later.”

The front door is unlocked, and I take a deep breath as we enter the house. I see immediately that Reed isn’t your typical bachelor with an old sofa taken from his mom and dad’s house and a coffee table with faded rings on it from not using a coaster. Quite the opposite, it looks as if Reed had a designer with an architectural background decorate his home. Everything is modern and high tech, but it lacks the coldness that one often associates with that style.

A formal reception area on the left mirrors a formal dining room on the right. In front of us, the grand, sweeping staircase draws my eyes up to the landing on the second floor. We bypass the stairs, however, taking a long hallway that leads further into his home. Swiftly passing what I think is a bathroom and maybe a billiard room, we turn left and are in a room that cannot be mistaken for anything other than a library.

Reed places me on a leather sofa in the middle of the room, and I shamelessly memorize his profile as he sits on the couch by my knee, examining it again. I try not to cringe as he runs his fingers over it gently. It has swollen to at least twice its normal size and is now an awful looking purplish-blue color.

“It’s healing,” Reed assures me. “It’s much harder than it was before. I want you to straighten your leg but keep it slightly bent, like this.” He positions my leg for me on the couch. “We should elevate it slightly,” he says and pushes one of the soft pillows that adorns the sofa under my foot. “I’ll get some ice to bring down the swelling, but first, you should have something for the pain.”

“Oh great, do you have some morphine or something, because that would be lovely?” I ask kiddingly.

Reed goes over to the back of the room to a bar and selects a glass decanter with a dark liquid in it. He pours some of the liquid into two glasses and moves back to the couch.

“No morphine, but this should take the edge off the pain in your knee,” Reed says.

He hands me a brandy snifter filled with what I assume must be brandy, although I cannot claim to know what brandy looks like, so I have to ask, “Is this brandy?”

“It’s cognac,” he says, watching me.

“Oh, is there a difference?” I ask him curiously.

“Yes,” he says, smiling a little before he says, “just drink it.”

“Do you realize that you’re contributing to the delinquency of a minor by giving me this?” I ask, watching the liquid rain like tears down the insides of the glass.

“Well, I will take my chances with the authorities since I don’t have that morphine handy,” Reed replies with a grin. “Drink it, Genevieve. It will make you feel better.”

“Reed, you made a joke! I really must be dying if you’re humoring me,” I say before I sniff the glass. It smells spicy and sweet at the same time. I take a tentative sip, feeling it burn a path down the back of my throat. I cough a little, but otherwise survive my first taste of cognac.

“Mmm…cognac…my favorite,” I say with a little wheeze in my voice.

Reed shakes his head at me. “I will get some ice for your knee and be right back.”

Without Reed hovering around me, I have a chance to take in my surroundings. This room is something I would dream about designing if I ever had the opportunity. Everywhere I look, there are floor-to-ceiling bookshelves intermittently interrupted by floor-to-ceiling windows. Above me, a second story gallery is gracefully fitted with a wrought-iron railing that spirals elegantly down a staircase in the corner of the room. I want to get off the couch and rifle through every shelf to see what amazing books they contain.

Along one wall, there is a large fireplace with a wide mantle. Several comfortable seating areas are set up around the room to give different vantage points of the space. There is also a refined writing desk. Impeccable artwork is dispersed liberally throughout the room so that, wherever my eye falls, I am treated to rare beauty.

As I gaze around at the lovely rugs and the delicate statuary adorning the tabletops, something becomes clear to me. There aren’t any personal effects in the room—no pictures on the tables that say: “Here’s my family, I’m so proud of them,” or, “Here I am at the Eiffel Tower; isn’t this sweet?” or, “Can you believe I climbed Mt. Everest with only the assistance of twenty Sherpas?” or, “Here is a picture of my girlfriend. She’s so hot.”

I sip my drink, thinking it is odd because in my small dorm room I have several pictures of Uncle Jim and me, one with my best friend Molly and her brothers, and some of my classmates from high school, with whom I’d been close.

Feeling the fluttering in my stomach increasing, I know that Reed is returning. Calling out to him teasingly, I say, “Ah…my ice has arrived; it’s about time! It’s so hard to find good help these days.”

“Your wish is my command,” Reed says, entering the room and walking to the sofa.

He places a small ice pack gently on my knee. Then, he goes to a chair where a lap blanket is draped over the arm. Picking it up, he brings it to me, spreading it over my legs and lap.

“Thank you,” I say in surprise at his thoughtfulness. “I love this room.”

My eyes follow him as he sits in one of the armchairs near the sofa. He is still dressed in his lacrosse practice uniform. His attire is at odds with the room and also with the fact that he is sipping a cognac out of a delicate glass. The dichotomy distracts me, so it takes me a moment to continue.

“I was just thinking that if I could create a perfect space for myself, it would be something like this. I’m dying to see what you have on your bookshelves; I’ve been wondering if you’re a non-fiction reader, a classical fiction type of person, or maybe you’re sci-fi reader…or poetry?”

“Have you?” Reed asks in an amused tone, his eyebrow arching beautifully on his perfect face. “Well, you’ll be able to find out in just a little while when your knee is better and you can walk over there and see for yourself. I will not spoil the anticipation now by blurting it out.”

BOOK: Inescapable (The Premonition Series)
10.48Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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