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Humph. Looks like I’ve got my work cut out for me.
Present Day
I break his gaze and turn back to the windshield, crossing my legs and tossing my hair over my right shoulder. His eyes annoy me. They’re too inquisitive. I’ve never been this fascinating to anyone, ever. And I’m not interested in being the object of this man’s fascination. “Finn and I are perfect together,” I snap. “Just take me home,” I say, waving dismissively at the stationary car.
“Finn and you aren’t together,” he replies and pulls the car onto Ridgebury heading towards Salem.
I shrug and slip my phone out of my pocket and tap the screen to life.
“What are you doing?”
What does it look like I’m doing? “Checking my messages,” I reply. “Can we be done talking now?”
He makes a noise that sounds a bit like a grunt and then pushes a button on the steering wheel before saying, “Call Sandra.”
Huh. He’s gonna grunt at me for checking messages and then call his girlfriend on speakerphone? Whatever. The ringing ends as a woman answers, “Yes, sir?”
Yes, sir? I pause mid-tap and dart my eyes across the center divide. Yup. Sex freak. Bet he makes her ask permission to come. Hell to the no. I shake my head and return my attention where it belongs, on my phone. I can’t believe he’s going to make me listen while he orders his submissive to strip and wait for him next to the front door. He’s probably gonna make her kneel too. What an asshole.
“Sandra, I need one of the IT guys to send me the feeds for all of Everly Jensen’s social media accounts.”
Wait. What?
“She’s a senior at Penn. Grew up in Ridgefield, Connecticut. You should be able to locate her easily enough.”
“What are you doing?” I interrupt, confused and annoyed.
“Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,” he rattles off. “And whatever other sites college girls are currently using to post selfies on the internet. That will be all, Sandra.” He ends the call with a tap to a control on the steering wheel.
“Hello, I’m sitting right here. Did you want me to friend-request you or something?” I wave the phone in my hand as I talk. “Because that”—I point in the direction of the speakers in the dashboard—“was a little melodramatic.”
“You were more interested in your phone than talking. So I’m curious about what’s online that you find so fascinating.”
We’re on Titcus Road, headed towards I-684, traffic is light, people still enjoying the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. And I’m still annoyed. This is not the drive back to school I had planned.
“That’s called stalking, not curiosity,” I say, my interest in what my friends are up to forgotten.
He laughs. The fucker actually laughs at me. “So it’s okay for you to stalk Finn, but it’s not okay for me to stalk you? You’re priceless, Everly. I think I’m really going to enjoy you.”
“Enjoy me? You don’t have me.”
“I will.”
Ten Years Ago
“Chloe, he’s here,” I whisper.
“One second,” she replies before I hear her yelling to her mom, “I’m going to Everly’s!” There’s a muffled reply from her mom and then she confirms she’s on her way.
“Attic,” I whisper again.
“Gotcha.” And the line goes dead.
Four minutes later the screen door slams as Chloe arrives. The stairs creak as she jogs up and then she appears in view as she walks through our second-floor game room.
“She’s in her room,” Eric calls out to Chloe as she walks past and heads towards my closed door down the hall.