What Lies Beneath (Count on Me Series #7)

BOOK: What Lies Beneath (Count on Me Series #7)
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What Lies Beneath

Count on Me #7

 

 

 

What Lies Beneath (Count On Me #7)

By

Melyssa Winchester

 

Copyright © 2016 Melyssa Winchester

 

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means or stored in a database or retrieval system without the prior written consent of the Author.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names; characters; places and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

 

Cover Image Copyright:
Viorel Sima
@ Shutterstock

Cover Image Design: Melyssa Winchester

 

 

 

Isabella, my sweet girl. If it wasn’t for you, this book, this series, and these characters wouldn’t exist. As you grow older and experience all that life has to offer, some of which won’t always be the happiest, never give up. Never stop believing in the happy. Just like I’ll never stop believing in you. Thank you for being my happy. I love you.

 

“Dreams don’t always have to exist when the suns down and your eyes are closed.” – Alex Gaskarth (All Time Low)

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

 

Prologue

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Epilogue

What Lies Beneath Author Playlist

Acknowledgements

About the Author

Other Works by Melyssa Winchester

 

 

 

Prologue

 

 

This is bullshit.

I don’t know what I was thinking, believing something that had once upon a time been an outlet for me would still be here.

Still exist.

Better yet, it would still be locked away where the rest of the world couldn’t get to it.

The same way I was until Belle crashed her way back into my life three years ago.

Gripping yet another useless box in my arms and turning from the table, I toss it to the ground. Staring without so much as a blink as it hits the ground and topples over, spilling the contents all over the garage floor. Papers, pens and other useless artifacts coming out of hiding and fanning their way out. None of them what I’m after.

None of them the book that for almost eight years, I poured my heart into.

A book that if it hadn’t been for Belle doing the same as a kid and me wanting to know what the big deal was, wouldn’t exist.

If I hadn’t been such a tool back then, maybe I could have found it sooner and the years of torture I put her through could have been prevented.

Should of, could of, and would have. I’m the king of them.

It’s been five years since I’ve seen it for Christ sakes.

Even if by some stroke of luck it still exists and is buried in this colossal mess, there’s no telling if it would even be in one piece anymore.

Half the shit in there was written before I could even hold a damn pen right. Let alone the damage that time and weather would have done to it. Neither Dean nor I knew how to take of ourselves, much less anything of value.

Truth is, there’s a part of me hoping that if I do come across it, that’s exactly what I find.

A notebook in tatters. Thoughts of a messed up kid crumbled and torn and illegible.

The same way I was.

Shit.
This bright idea of mine isn’t looking so hot now. Tossing box after box searching for the one thing that for years I swore I didn’t miss, but the very thing that with Belle saying yes to marrying me, I can’t pretend I don’t need. 

“Look forward.”
They say.

My mom, Grace, Dillon. Hell, even Belle in the rare times when I bury myself deep in the past and she has to bring me back out.  They all say the same thing.

Focus on what comes next, not what came before.

I want to do that.

God, do I want to be able to do that.

I just can’t.

Not until I find that book, hand it over and make her see that even when things were at their bleakest, she was there.

Make her understand that she’s always been with me.

Right from the beginning.

Ripping the tape off the top of yet another box, one affectionately named
junk
, I push the cardboard flaps back and dive in. Hands meeting paper, I start flicking my way through them. Hissing sharply when after what feels like I’ve passed hundreds of pages, I manage to puncture my skin.

After all the beatings Dean laid on me growing up, you’d think I’d be used to all the different levels of pain by now, but with the curse words just aching to be spilled, that’s not the case at all.

Paper cuts have the ability to bring even the toughest SOB to his knees.

I’m living proof.

Bringing my finger to my lips and sucking away the blood that’s managed to push its way up and out through the tiny slit, I finally release the unspoken curses while attempting to stop the flow of blood. Swallowing down the need to say more and pushing the lingering sting out of my head in favor of forcing myself back to work.

It’s only when I’ve finally made it past the old papers, magazines, and even some tattered clothes that I hit what I hope to hell is pay dirt as I brush against the harsh binding of a book. The sting in my finger greeting me as it becomes a full-fledged throb.

The contents of the box that should have been trashed years ago now playing host to droplets of my DNA, but my mind focused as I tighten my grip around the thick notebook.

Pulling it out of the box, I give it a once over before flipping open the worn cover, being met with the barely legible ramblings of my seven year old self. The now familiar racing of my heart as I exerted all of my pent up energy unpacking slowly beginning to fade as I take in the messy scrawl on the page.

Releasing a breath, I pull back from the mess of boxes and head over to Dean’s old workbench, throwing my body down onto the thick wooden slats, ready to take in the words on the page.

The more I take in, the further I travel away from the garage and all of its memories. The room becoming drenched in what feels like a heavy fog as I move from the bench to my old bedroom and the bed that I wrote the first entry on.

Back to 2004.

 

April 10, 2004

 

She was doing it again.

Belle, I mean.

Instead of playing with me the way our moms want so they can run off into the kitchen, drink coffee and get louder than the monkeys I saw at the zoo last week, she’s on the sofa with that stupid pink padded notebook.

A diary, Dean called it.

Something all girls do
. He continued to explain when I asked him about it. Making sure to punch me hard in the stomach when I asked if guys could do it too.

She’s been doing it a lot more lately. All of my attempts at getting her to look at me, let alone smile and laugh, are all down the drain in favor of moving that pen with the pink puff ball on top across the paper.

Making sure to stare me down every time I try and sneak a peek at whatever it is she’s putting down.

Wanting to know if it’s about me.

What she doesn’t know and what I’m never going to tell her, is that I’m jealous of the attention she gives that stupid book.

 I want her focus to be on me when I’m with her. The tiny smile that lifts the corner of her mouth up while she’s writing…I want it to just be for me. 

Three years I can remember coming over here, and after weeks of trying to get her to acknowledge me, I’d finally gotten her to smile.

Well, after I’d failed and made her cry a bunch.

I’m tired of making her cry.

Now that I know what it feels like when she smiles, I just want her to do it again.

Belle is my best friend.

I just wish I was hers.

You know. The way her diary is.

So I’m thinking that maybe, just maybe, if I write in this book every day like she does, someday I will be.

 

“Kay?”

Shaking myself free of the memory as the soft tone of her voice calls to me, I turn toward her at the exact moment she rests her hand on my shoulder, squeezing gently.

“I called for you a couple of times, but I guess with the all the noise you were making out here you didn’t hear me.”

Looking away guiltily, I focus my attention on the notebook again, closing the cover and tossing it down onto the bench before turning my attention back to Belle. This time, smiling and getting to my feet when her hand falls away and pulling her straight into an embrace.

“Did you find what you were looking for?” she mumbles against my chest as I bring her closer.

Taking in the mess around me and groaning when I realize the amount of work ahead in order to put everything back the way I’d found it, she laughs, and the vibration of the sound as it escapes, takes me back easily to the first time she did it.

Not three years ago when it rocked my world for the second time, but the real first time.

When we were four.

“I did.”

Pulling back, she looks up and meets my eyes. “So now that you’ve found it, you can tell me what it is, right?”

The calm that came when after searching through god knows how many boxes, I’d found what I was after, is more pronounced now. It’s always like this whenever Belle is near. Every beating, every loss, every painful moment I’ve ever endured, both as the victim and the perpetrator all just seems to fade away until her peace is all I can feel.

Then and now.

Stepping away, I reach over to the bench and pick up the notebook, holding it out between us when I turn back. Watching intently as her fingers run over the cover before coming to rest around the metal bindings.

Her eyes never once leaving mine as I relinquish the hold and she brings it to her chest. The corner resting just over her heart.

All of the scattered pieces of my life strewn about on the floor. What feels like hours spent out here pouring over boxes while sweat beaded and fell down over my face.

It was all leading to this moment.

The moment Belle realizes just how long I’ve been in love with her.

Just how deeply she’d infiltrated and owned my heart.

“You turned the garage upside down for this?” she questions softly, her eyebrow raising in the cute way it does whenever I do something she doesn’t quite get.

Basically, whenever I act like a crazy person.

So, a lot. 

“It was important.” I explain away with a shrug. 

“What’s so important about an old notebook?”

Placing my hand over hers, locking our fingers together and being met with the feel of the cool binding as it grazes over my fingertips, I smile as I look from her to it and back again.

“It’s not just some old notebook, Belle.”

“Then what is it?”

“It’s a story. One I wrote when I was a kid…” I trail off, smiling bigger when her eyes widen in surprise. Her knowing as well as I do that writing is the last damn thing in the world I’d ever be known for.

“What’s it about?”

Running my free hand over my face and through my hair, the words to explain everything I know is buried deep within those perforated pages completely escaping me, I go with the only answer I can.

“You, Belle. It’s a story about you.”

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Growing up a Walker is basically the equivalent of being raised in a warzone.

BOOK: What Lies Beneath (Count on Me Series #7)
13.71Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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