Authors: Kimberly Stedronsky
she is ready for you.
” His hand slides up beneath her gown, and she whimpers pathetically.
Roaring with hatred, I turn to her, slamming her against the wall. She has no time to scream as I tear at her thin gown.
She’s not Roam,
I reason in the most abysmal way, already hard. She’s limp, resigned, her swollen lips moving in soundless prayer as I thrust into her.
Holy hell, fuck yes.
I am seconds from coming… and moments from killing her.
My knuckles crack beneath the force of my grip on her neck. She has no breath to choke on, but somehow…
“We are never, ever, ever…
getting back together, Logan,” she responded, snarky.
“Why do you sound like… Taylor Swift?”
As my bedroom slammed into my consciousness with the force of a hurricane, I sat up, panting. My flannel sheets were soaked with sweat. Climbing to my feet, I felt my legs wobble like I’d just finished hurling.
I smacked at my alarm clock, silencing Taylor. For long minutes after the dreams, nothing in real life felt…
. The urgency to jump back into the dream and finish what I was doing always pervaded my consciousness.
You are a terrible, disgusting person,
I’d resolve, sometimes staying up for hours unable to resist thinking through the rest of her death.
God help me, I w
ant to kill her.
I ran my fingers over the bedside table, the headboard of the bed, and eventually grabbed my phone.
Abby’s honey-blonde hair and smiling face filled my screen, and I absently moved a music app over her eyes. Our argument- and breakup- the night before left me feeling relieved… though I worried she was parked outside my house along the curb with a blowtorch and a can of hairspray. I cringed at the memory of her ticked-off words.
I hate you, Logan! You think you can just sleep with me and dump me for Roam Camden again? You belong with the pregnant slut, anyway! Take care of your kid and don’t ever talk to me again!
I sighed shakily, brushing my fingers through my damp hair. Since our lunch at
after she confirmed that she was pregnant, Roam had barely spoken to me. Every week I’d send her a text to ask if she needed anything, but all she’d reply was
As I began notic
ing more and more in my dreams, I’d managed to wake up a few times and take notes. The coordinates were clear in one nightmare, as though I’d been staring at them until the moment I woke up. I scribbled them down on the C-
paper on my desk, but it wasn’t until days later when I began thinking about the fountains again.
What if each set of coordinates, reversed, lead to another fountain?
I’d plugged the numbers into Google Maps, but came up with some random location off the coast of Cameroon. After playing with the dashes and decimals, and adding directional numbers, I nearly shit my pants when the Cleveland Mall appeared on my laptop screen.
Talk to her today. Ask her to
I closed my eyes and lowered back to the pillow, praying for a dreamless sleep.
A half an hour later, I killed her for the second time that night.
The halls of the high school were filled with the inevitable last-day-before-break excited chatter, and everyone hurried to make plans for the long weekend.
I spotted Roam at her locker working with the combination. Her masses of dark, brown hair tumbled over her shoulders, and my fingers recalled the texture too vividly.
I should have just taken her up on my birthday offer. Maybe she would have chosen me.
Whatever hold West had on her, I knew that it had
to be purely physical. He was the most arrogant asshole I’d ever met, and I couldn’t imagine what she possibly saw in him other than what her dreams were
her to see. Her hand moved to her lower back as she dropped her book bag to the floor, and I moved beside her, longing to replace her hand with mine.
Shifting my own book bag over my shoulder, I folded into her gaze. Those eyes always made me think of
colors, and I noticed that they were watery and verging on tears. “Hey. Can I talk to you for a minute?”
She looks so tired.
Shrugging, she looked down. “What’s up?”
My throat went dry at the sound of her voice.
After everything she did to you, you still want her. Grow a pair, Logan.
I cleared my throat. “I wanted to invite you to dinner Thursday. With my parents.”
Recollection passed over her beautiful face, and she reached for the lock again. “You’re kidding, right?”
Still too good for me.
Resentment replaced any sensitivity that I had for her situation, and I fought the urge to grab her by the shoulders and slam her face into the lockers.
et a hold of yourself, you psychotic piece of shit. It’s Roam, and she’s pregnant.
“No, I’m not kidding. It’s my parent’s rule. Family only.”
“Logan, do you really think that’s a good idea? I’m sure Abby doesn’t.”
Her hushed, defensive accusation softened my approach. “Don’t worry about Abby.”
“I don’t, but maybe you should.”
There she was again, bitter.
You fucked your history teacher behind my back, not the other way around!
“You told me to date,” I hissed.
Of course I did. I told you what you wanted to hear.”
What does that mean? Girls are crazy.
“What in the
does that mean?”
“It means you weren’t asking my permission because you love me, you were asking to be
“You wanted to be with someone else. So where did that leave me?”
“I made choices, but I refuse to let you punish me for them for the rest of my life.”
Great, she’s going to cry.
. Just boss her around. She seems to like that from
. “I’ll pick you up at three. I don’t want you walking down the icy roads.”
Her nostrils flared slightly, and I knew she was
. “Thank you for the invitation, but no thank you.”
Something in her expression took me back to my second nightmare.
Her hair, so blonde and wavy, framing her face and just touching her shoulders. Her stomach protruding outward, indicating that she was near the end of her pregnancy. The gas station, the sound of the shotgun blast as I aimed.
She froze as I moved in front of her, and I stared into her wide eyes.
Just tell her. She’s been your best friend all of your life. She’ll understand.
“You can’t possibly know what it’s like to have these dreams every night. I feel like I’m going crazy. I need to spend time with you… even just as friends… before I…
As my fingers found hers, the heat
of her touch calmed the torment churning in my soul.
I let her process my words, my touch, waiting. The halls emptied, and I moved closer. “I told Abby I can’t see her anymore.
I can’t see anyone but you.”
Oh, and I still love you, even after all the shit you’ve put me through.
She resisted at first, but finally, she gave in. “I’ll come over. What can I bring?”
I thought of the last time I’d touched her, holding her as she vomited over the railing at
. I grinned. “Anything but fettuccini Alfredo.”
When she smiled, it felt like the entire fucking hallelujah chorus sounded in the halls of Madison High School.
I am hopeless.
“See you at three.”
December 17, 1955
She’s so scared.” I glanced in the rearview mirror of the Volkswagen van, scratching at the hair on my jaw.
Gerard Butler… Jesus, I’m at least thirty.
terrified. She’s about to have that baby… naturally. No painkillers. I’d be out of my
freaked out.” Violet edged into the back seat, tucking her white-blonde curls behind her ears. “Did you hear that? I think he’s breathing.”
“West broke his
neck an hour ago. He’s dead.” Her brows snapped together. I exhaled slowly, rolling my eyes. “Fine, I’ll check.”
The blanket over Troy definitely rose and fell beneath his breaths; I moved the cover and stared down at the face that I saw almost every night when I slept.
The tripped-out hallucinations
had me waking, drenched in a pool of sweat, sometimes still feeling Roam’s body beneath my fingers. I kicked him in the side, taking satisfaction in the vivid contact that my foot had with his ribs. When I would gather the will to punch him in my nightmares, I felt like I was dragging my fist through mud.
always, that goddamn intimidating laugh.
“Can you break his neck?”
“Just look away.” I gathered his face in my hands and tilted his neck. She ignored me, watching intently. I shrugged, jerking my arms as West had shown me, listening for the fracture. “Tough girl, huh? Taking the ‘my daddy deserted me so I hate the world’ role pretty seriously. No tattoos, no piercings, though. Unusual.”
She refused to give me the benefit of a scowl, merely deadpanning.
“I don’t put holes in my body because they heal- quickly. Now I know why.” She turned slightly and tugged at the waist of her jeans, and my eyes instantly found the small flower- a violet- on the juncture of her hip and stomach. “And I do have a tattoo. If you wanted to see it, you just had to ask.”
The contrast of her creamy skin and the
purple ink pumped all the blood in my body below the waist of my jeans.
“Okay, keep your clothes on,” I started back down the aisle between the seats, doing my best to not drag my eyes back to her pelvis. “So, you had no idea you were
“I knew there was something
with me. I’d fall and skin my knee, and I’d heal within hours- sometimes minutes. But my mom never said a word… I thought I had some kind of wonderful disease, you know? Something that made me resistant to injury. I guess I never thought as far as my… death.”
ed back into the driver’s seat, settling behind the wheel. The sound separating the main land from Emerald Isle rutted against the shore in choppy waves, and sea gulls dipped, eager for a meal.
I remembered the point that I knew, with absolute certainty, that
Violet was going to die as I gripped her throat in West’s basement. Her eyes had pleaded with me as she clawed at my wrist. Heart pummeling, I continued to squeeze until she went limp and crumbled to the floor like a ragdoll.
The way West had bellowed at me, raging against his restraints, sent me into panicked confusion.
Is he acting?
He told me that he suspected she was immortal.
Gain Troy’s trust; get out of here alive.
Show my allegiance.
“How long do you think this is going to take?” She leaned back in her seat, picking at her thumbnail absently.
“What, having a kid? How am I supposed to know.” I drilled my fing
ers into the bridge of my nose.
Roam was pregnant, in 2012. Where do you think their other baby is? You think she’ll have twins?”
I pulled my hand away from my face, staring at her. “Are you being serious?”
Defensive, she shot me a look and turned to the window. “I just hate not knowing what’s going to happen.”
The desperation in her voice, something I’d never heard until now, nudged my conscience. I gentled my
tone. “No, I don’t think she’ll have twins. Her neck and throat were seriously damaged in 2012, and she didn’t carry any of her injuries through. I don’t think she carried the baby through.”
all so fucking crazy.” She leaned forward to press her forehead against the back of the passenger’s seat.
“Hopefully, when their baby is born, it’ll all be over.”
My thoughts drifted to Russia. I remembered sitting across from Roam in the little café, watching her telltale hand-wringing, nervous breaths, and helpless glances at West.
had concluded that he was screwing her before we had even ordered our drinks.
“You can come sit up here, if you want. I won’t hurt you.” I gestured to the passenger’s seat. She
moved between the aisle, her thigh brushing my knee in the relocation. I shifted away from the floral scent of her skin, trying but failing not to catch a glimpse of her chest as she leaned down.