Authors: Mercy Amare
“Ugh, yeah. Very awkward,” I agree.
I guess I can’t avoid him anymore. He will always be there. Always.
“I don’t want to think about it,” I tell Ty. “I just want to go get a new phone.”
“Maybe you can have Gabe take a look at your old one,” he says.
“Why?” I ask.
He shrugs. “Find out what’s wrong with it.”
“I guess.” I pull my phone out of my pocket. “You take it to Gabe. I’ll go get a new one.”
I wave goodbye to Ty and then walk out to my car.
How am I supposed to live with Gabe and Ty? Ugh, why can’t I have girl roommates like
girls? I need a girl friend.
Well, I guess Andrea and I are friends. But she’s so hyper. I don’t think we could live together, not if we want to remain friends.
I get in my car and start it. I’m about to take off when I notice there is an envelope stuck under my windshield wiper. I unbuckle my seatbelt and get out. I reach for it. On the outside it says my name.
This can’t be good.
I pull a piece of paper out of the envelope.
We need to talk.
It’s the only thing it says.
I know the handwriting. It’s Brian’s.
I take the note and throw it in a nearby trashcan. I hope he’s watching right now. I want him to know that there is no way I am going to
to him. Ever. You know, if it wasn’t obvious enough after I found out that he stalked me for nine months.
A good liar.
When I turn on my new phone, a ton of notifications come through. A lot of texts. I ignore the ones from Gabe and Ty, because they’re from earlier in the day and I’ve talked to them since they sent these. I see a few from Micah. I will deal with him
later. I cringe when I see I have ten texts from Andrea.
I hope she’s not mad that I ignored her.
Hey Andrea. Sorry I’ve been so quiet. My phone quit working. Just got a replacement.
I was beginning to think you were dead. We need to meet up. Maybe grab some dinner?
Do I really want to meet up with Andrea when I have Brian out there watching me? I so don’t want her getting mixed up in this. What if he kidnaps her like he did Ariana? Because of him, Ariana is no longer a part of my life.
No. I can’t let this happen again. I can’t let him bully me into abandoning my friends. Besides, more time spent with Andrea, less time I have to be with Gabe and Ty. I’m not sure I can be with and still be sane.
I send a quick text to Ty and let him know what I’m up to.
Got a new phone. I’m going to go out with Andrea. See you later?
K. I’ll move your stuff to my dorm room for now.
I roll my eyes.
Thirty minutes later, I meet Andrea at a cafe just off campus. It’s never too crowded here, which is nice. There are always so many people around campus that sometimes I feel overwhelmed.
I walk inside and see Andrea sitting in a booth towards the back of the restaurant. I look at her shirt and laugh. It’s a unicorn, pooping a rainbow. Which is exactly why I love Andrea. She’s such a nerd. But an adorable nerd. She has gorgeous blonde hair that almost reaches her shoulders and light blue eyes. You might not notice her in a big crowd, but once you get to know her, you realize what an amazing catch she is. I’m lucky she’s my best friend.
Let’s just hope Brian doesn’t kidnap her.
I take a seat across from her and force a smile. I am so
getting her involved in my ex-boyfriend drama.
warn her. I should tell her to look over her shoulder... maybe even carry some pepper spray. But the selfish part of me can’t tell her. If I do, she might not want to be my friend. I wouldn’t blame her. I wouldn’t want to be my friend if I were her. I can’t lose her, so for now, I will just pretend everything is all sunshine and rainbows.
“Glad you’re alive,” Andrea says, grinning as I take a seat. “I ordered you a vanilla latte with extra vanilla.”
“Thanks,” I say.
She remembers my coffee order, which is pretty much a requirement of a best friend.
“What’s going on with you?” she asks. “You disappeared from the Halloween party and I haven’t heard from you since. I even stopped by your dorm room a few times, but you weren’t there.”
“Yeah, I... umm...”
Why wasn’t I staying in my dorm room?
“There was a snake in my dorm,” I say, going with a version of the truth. “So while animal control took care of the situation, I stayed in a hotel.”
“Oh, my God,” she says. “A snake?”
“I’m going to have nightmares.”
“You and me both,” I say. Because, really, my
is a nightmare.
“I’m going to check my room every night before bed,” she says. “Your dorm is only two floors below mine. If a snake got in your dorm, one could get into mine too.”
“I’m sure it won’t,” I say. “You’ll be fine.”
“Still,” she says, then cringes. “Poor you. I would hate the idea of sleeping in there after that.”
“I’m actually not,” I say. “I called my dad and he’s getting me an apartment.”
“That’s awesome!” she says. “I can come stay with you, like, all the time. I seriously don’t know how much more I can stand to listen to my roommate having sex at three in the morning when she thinks I’m asleep.”
“Actually, my dad doesn’t want me getting an apartment alone, so I’m kind of sharing,” I say, bitting me lip.
“Oh, God,” she says. “Don’t tell me... it’s one of the ex’s, isn’t it? Ty or that other dude?”
“Ty,” I say.
She snorts. “You two have so much sexual chemistry. I probably won’t want to stay there anyway.”
Her mouth falls open. “Please tell me you’re joking.”
“I wish I were.”
And I’m beginning to rethink her
The waitress walks over and sets down two cups of coffee in front of us.
“Anything else?” she asks.
Andrea is still laughing.
“We’re good,” I tell the waitress.
She walks off.
And Andrea is
I glare at her. “It’s not funny.”
“It is,” she says, catching her breath. “You... and them...” she starts laughing hard again. “Both of them!”
“I’m glad you’re amused by my discomfort,” I say sarcastically, then take a sip of my coffee.
“Sorry,” she says, taking a breath. “You’re right. I’ll be supportive.”
“This sucks... bad,” I tell her. “I’ve spent the last two months avoiding Gabriel Johnson. Now, we are going to be living together. This is going to be so awkward.”
will be awkward?” she asks. “Come on, Kihanna. You’ve been sleeping with Ty and you’re practically dating Micah. Imagine Micah bringing you home from a date and having both of your ex-boyfriends waiting up for you.”
I lower my head and bang it against the table. “My life is over.”
“Your life isn’t over,” she says. “Just your sex life.”
She’s right. How am I ever going to bring home a guy? That must have been Dad’s plan all along.
I feel my phone vibrate, so I pull it out, expecting it to be Ty or Gabe. Instead, I have a text message from a private number.
I’m always watching.
A few seconds later, my phone vibrates and a picture of Andrea and me sitting across from each other comes through. I look around to see if I can spot Brian, but he’s long gone. Another text pops up.
Nobody you love will ever be safe.
I slip my phone into my pocket and look up at Andrea. She’s looking at her own phone, probably checking her Snapchat.
“I have to go,” I tell her, standing up.
She frowns, looking up at me. “So soon?”
“Yeah, sorry. My dad needs me to call him,” I lie.
“Okay,” she says, believing my lie.
I hate how good I’m getting at lying.
“I’ll talk to you later,” I say, throw some money onto the table, and then walk out of the cafe. By the time I get to my car, there are tears running down my face, probably smearing my mascara. I can’t bring myself to care.
By the time I get to Gabe and Ty’s building, I am a sobbing mess.
Andrea is probably the best girl friend that I have ever had, and now I have to stop being friends with her.
Who am I supposed to plan on exercising with and then ditch the gym five minutes in to eat ice cream with? And who I am supposed to complain about my ex-boyfriends to? Who will I get boy advice from? And who is going to tell me when I’m being stupid? Nobody else will be as brutally honest as she is.
I wipe under my eyes, trying to clear away the mascara, but then I realize that I don’t care. I just get out of my car and walk towards Gabe and Ty’s dorm, not caring who sees me with mascara running down my face. I don’t even care that I look like a crazy person right now.
There isn’t anybody in the common area, but I pass a few people on the stairs and in the hallway. Nobody is paying attention to me. I’m just trying to keep it together. It’s times like this that I
being a girl. Why can’t I be strong right now? I’m just letting Brian see that he’s getting to me. That’s absolutely the last thing I want. I hate how weak and defenseless he has made me.
When I get to their dorm room, I hesitate for a second and consider knocking, but then I just decide to walk in. I’ve seen them both naked before, so it really doesn’t matter if they are now. Thankfully, they are both fully dressed. Gabe is sitting on his bed with a text book in front of him and his phone in hand. He has a big smile on his face, so I can only guess he’s texting some girl. Ty is typing something on his computer, but stops when he looks up and sees me. He doesn’t say anything, he just gets up from his bed and I walk into his arms. It’s amazing how safe I feel here with him.
“What’s wrong?” I hear Gabe’s voice from behind me.
“My phone,” I tell Ty. My voice is shaking and it’s so low that I’m not sure if he heard me, but he reaches into the back pocket of my jeans and pulls out my phone. He hands it to Gabe and holds onto me tighter.
I’m always watching. Nobody you love will ever be safe
,” Gabe reads out loud. Ty looks over my head at the screen and I feel his body stiffen.
“I thought this was over,” I say, trying to control my sobbing. “I just want to be safe. And now it’s happening again, and I don’t understand why.”
“We have to turn this in to the police,” Gabe says. “We made the mistake of keeping it quiet before. This time, I want every single thing to be reported. Whoever is doing this will be caught soon.”
“Who could it be?” I ask, pulling back from Ty’s embrace. He keeps one arm wrapped tightly around my waist as I stand beside him. “It can’t be Mike Newman. I mean, Brian is obviously capable, but he doesn’t have the money. How can he afford to stalk me? Where does he live? How does he still eat? He can’t be doing this alone.”
“I don’t know who it is, but I promise I will figure it out,” Gabriel says, and I believe him.
Gabe may have been a terrible boyfriend, and sure, he lied to me a lot, but I know that he cares a lot about me. I care about him too. He will do whatever it takes to keep me safe, and I love him for it. I hate the circumstances that have forced Gabe and me to become friends again, but I’m glad he’s here. I missed having him in my life.
Ty and Gabe are the reason I don’t regret what happened to me last year. Without going through what I did, where would I be? Probably nowhere near the two of them. I can’t imagine a life without them. So, as crazy as it sounds, I’m sort of glad it happened. I have two of the most incredible people by my side. It feels good to know that when I need them, they will always be there.
Gabe calls the detective while Ty comforts me.
Suddenly, I’m not so afraid anymore.
Wednesday, November 3
Ty and I have been looking at apartments for over three hours now.
Gabe has class, and I’m really jealous. I never thought I’d actually
to be in class. But apartment hunting sucks!
I really thought this whole process would be easy. I imagined looking at one place and instantly falling in love. But, no. Every place so far has sucked. The last one was nice, but I saw a mouse crawl across the floor and then I couldn’t get away from there quickly enough.
Now, we are stopping at the last apartment for the day. If this one isn’t a match, we will be looking again tomorrow.
I really hope this is a good place.
When we pull up to the building, I notice there is a large parking garage beside it. Most of the other places we looked at only had one or two parking spots available and most of the parking was on the street. As soon as the relator says we can rent up to five spots, I am sold. Well, you know, if the inside doesn’t suck.
Ty and I follow the realtor to an elevator, and we go to the top floor. The building is only twenty stories high. If the electric was ever out, twenty flights of stairs would be a killer, but not impossible.
The elevator opens up to a hallway.
“There are only two apartments on this level,” the realtor explains. “This one is open now and ready to move in. If you want it, we will have to do this today, because it will go fast.”
He pulls out his keys and opens up the apartment. I walk in first, follow by Ty and the realtor.
I like the place immediately. There is a big, open space. There is a floor to ceiling window that shows the amazing view. And it’s very bright.
There are cherry-colored hardwood floors through the open area. The kitchen has stainless steel appliances. There is a large dining area to the right of the kitchen by the window. There is a bar separating the kitchen and living room, which I love. I feel like this would be a great place to host small parties.
The living room is pretty massive. I’m already envisioning a sectional couch and a large screen TV. There is also an electric fireplace, which will be nice when there are cool winter nights.