Wide Awake - Academy of the Fallen Series (10 page)

BOOK: Wide Awake - Academy of the Fallen Series
11.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads
 

EIGHTEEN

 

 

 

I woke up to find Hunter still sitting in my room, just listening to his iPod and reading a book.

 

“You stayed up all night?”  I asked.

 

He didn’t hear me, which was not surprising considering how loud his music was. 

 

I had actually slept well, and was in an extremely good mood.  I grabbed a stuffed animal and threw it at him.

 

He looked at me, startled.  Then he smiled as he turned off his iPod.

 

“Aren’t you a little old for stuffed animals?” he asked.

 

I shrugged.

 

“Did you not sleep at all?”  I asked again.

 

I didn’t know whether he was lying or not, but he assured me that he got plenty of sleep and that he always woke up early.

 

“Sooo, I guess you better get going so you can get ready for school.”

 

He stood up… way too fast. 

 

“You are right,” he said.  “So how are we doing this?”

 

“Doing what?” I asked confused and still not fully awake.

 

“School...  Are we acting like we don’t know each other or what?”

 

I instantly felt bad for acting like such a jerk when he was clearly trying to help me all along.

 

I smiled and without giving him a direct answer, I said, “Do you need a ride to school?”

 

He smiled back in a way that gave me butterflies and literally made me wonder how in the world he didn’t have tons of girls from school after him.

 

“You know, people will talk, right?”

 

I laughed.  “People always talk.  Your point is?”

 

“Can’t argue with that,” he said in a sarcastic tone.   “Can you come by my house in let’s say, 30 minutes?” he asked.

 

“I will need a little longer than that… Let’s make it 45.”

 

He rolled his eyes.  “Girls!”

 

“Uh-huh.  You better go before you make us late.”

 

He was just about to open the door, which made me wonder why he didn’t just vanish or did whatever it was that he could do, when I stopped him.

 

“Umm… Do you mind doing something for me before you leave?”

 

He looked at me puzzled, waiting to hear what I wanted.

 

“Can you open my closet and make sure no one is there?”

 

I don’t think I ever heard someone laugh so hard.

 

“Alright, just go.  Andrew and Kelly are going to hear you if you don’t stop laughing.”

 

Still laughing but able to keep it down, he walked over to the closet, opened the door, looked inside and met my gaze.  “Nope, neither one of them is here today.”

 

“Haha funny!  Just go.  I will see you soon.”

 

I could have probably taken forever to get ready, especially being rested and in a good mood.  I would have taken the extra time to get my hair done, makeup… but I didn’t want Hunter to be late on my account, so I put on the school’s uniform, put on some eye liner and lip gloss, and left.

 

When I got to Hunter’s, he heard my car and came outside, holding two juice boxes and two packs of pop-tarts.

 

He got in the car.  “Got you breakfast.”

 

“Thanks, but I need some caffeine with my breakfast.”

 

“You really need to cut down on that caffeine.  You know very well that you need to rest to be able to get to Carolyn.”

 

I rolled my eyes at him, “And you think all this sugary stuff you are trying to give me will help?!”  I took the pop-tart and juice, and drove us to school.

 

Driving to school, I felt worry-free, and then I drove into the parking lot and wondered why the parking lot just had to be the hang out place until the first bell rang.

 

I parked my car, we both got out, and my mood instantly changed when I saw Justin and Ashley, Justin standing beside her, with his arm around her waist and Emily and Jess hanging out with them again.  Last I had heard Justin had moved on to someone else… rumors I guessed.

 

Emily and Jessica did look as if they were about to come in my direction, but then they glanced at Hunter, gave me a what-the-hell look and went the other way.

 

“Should I just go the other way?” he asked.

 

I didn’t know if it was the way that he asked me, or me seeing Justin’s reaction when he saw Hunter and me together, but I told him no; that I did not want him to go anywhere.

 

Hunter got closer to me.  “You know, I don’t mind at all if you use me to make him jealous.  I kinda like it really.  It just seems to piss him off, like he is not over you…and why would he be?”

 

I looked at him and again I noticed him in a different way, as this nice guy, caring, smart, good-looking…

 

“I mean it!” he said.  “I’d love to give that jerk what he deserves.”

 

After that, I stopped thinking things through and just let things happen.  With a smile and a slight nod, he understood that I was up for it.

 

His hand reached for mine, our fingers entwined, as we made our way into the school.

 

Of course, people were staring and talking, but I just didn’t care at all.

 

***

 

We only had a few classes together, but for the most part those teachers were pretty strict on chatting during class.

 

Emily did manage to get a note to me, asking if Hunter and I were really together.  Not knowing what to say, I held on to that note until I could figure out what to tell her.

 

Hunter and I walked out of class together and went to the cafeteria.

 

“Do you still want to keep this up?” he asked.

 

I shrugged.

 

Just as I sat down to eat lunch, I got a text from Justin.

 

‘Kay, we need to talk.  Meet me by the gym.’

 

“Guess it is working,” I told Hunter as I showed him the text.

 

I searched around for Ashley and found her sitting with Emily and Jessica.  They all occasionally glanced at Hunter and me.

 

I was now just playing around with my food.

 

“What is wrong?”  Hunter asked.

 

I hesitated, but then thought to myself…whatever.  “What did you mean when you said he is not over me…and “why-would-he-be?”  Gesturing quotation marks as I spoke that last part.

 

“I meant exactly that.  Between you and Ashley, come on now.”  And he just left it at that, leaving me more confused than I was before.  Although later on I took it as him just being nice, and really just going along to get on Justin’s nerves.

 

Hunter finally changed the topic of the conversation, which I was glad to avoid… I hated awkward silence, but on the other hand, the topic didn’t get any better.

 

“So, about me finding information about your… well, your biological father.  I know this is going to sound weird, but I need at least your real mom’s name as a lead.”

 

“Well, I’m not going to ask Kelly and Andrew, and as I told you before, I don’t want to be a part of it.  I’m sure we can get rid of Benjamin without even trying to find out what he wants.”  As I said that, even I didn’t believe in those words.

 

“Better safe than sorry, Kayla.  Besides, maybe… Benjamin is somehow related to your family…that could be enough information as a lead to what he really wants.”

 

I sighed.  “I have the name of the adoption agency.  I will give you that and I don’t want to hear anymore about it,” I said in an annoyed tone.

 

“What, do you expect me to just be able break in and find your records?”

 

“It doesn’t seem like breaking into places is a problem for you.”

 

He sighed.   He then got closer to me, as close as the lunch table between us allowed him to get, and in a low tone, he said, “It is not as easy as it seems…’that’ takes a lot of energy from me.  Probably as much, if not more energy than it takes for you to get rid of Benjamin.”

 

“How do you know about that?”

 

He shrugged.  “I know you pissed him off because of it, and as far as how much energy it took from you, well… he is what he is, that makes him stronger than the ones like Carolyn.”

 

That was when the bell rang.  We each went our separate ways for the rest of our classes, arranging to meet out by my car when school was out.

 

I was lucky enough not to see Justin for the rest of that day, although I did see Emily and Ashley.  Emily asked me again if I was with Hunter, and I told her that we were just hanging out.  She also asked if I was going to start being anti-social like him.  Ugh, I just asked her how long exactly she had known me for, and that was the end of the questioning.

 

As for Ashley, I was glad I didn’t have to look at her much more during that day.  She felt really sick after lunch and left.

 

After school, I met Hunter by my car and we left right away, eager to get home and try to get Carolyn out of this so-called Otherworld where she was trapped.

 

 

 
 

NINETEEN

 

 

 

Kelly was home when we got there.  She was getting ready for her doctor’s appointment.  Kelly was now in the second trimester and as usual, she was looking forward to ultrasounds, listening to the baby’s heartbeat and pretty much anything else the doctor had to offer.

 

She couldn’t even hide the excitement in seeing me with Hunter.

 

“Oh!  Hey, Hunter!” she said in a very cheerful mood.

 

He did a quick wave.  “Hi, Mrs. Gallagher.”

 

“Oh, please call me Kelly… I told you that last time, and the time before that.”  She laughed.  “I actually really have to get going for my appointment, but there are snacks and drinks in the kitchen and you guys can reach me on my cell if you need anything.”

 

And just like that, she was gone. 

 

I stood there, shaking my head.

 

“What is the matter?” Hunter asked.

 

“Oh, nothing.  She just… she really trusts you.  Whenever Justin was over we were never alone.”

 

Hunter smiled.  “Guess she is a good judge of character.”

 

“Right!” I said as I rolled my eyes at him.  “Okay, let’s get this done.”

 

I started to walk toward the stairs when Hunter stopped me.

 

“Umm, this house has a basement, right?”

 

I nodded.

 

“Good.  That is where we are going.”

 

“But, why?”

 

“Just easier for them to get through to closed in, dark spaces…that is what they are used to.  You should have noticed that by now with your little closet situation.”  He laughed trying to make a joke out of it, which totally didn’t work.

 

“Ugh.  Let’s go… I guess!”

 

I led him to where the basement was, grabbed a flashlight and opened the door.

 

I was just about to go down the stairs when Hunter took a quick step forward, stepping right in front of me.  He looked back just long enough to hold his hand out for the flashlight.

 

I just gave it to him, no questions asked.  I told him where the light switch was as I followed him down to the basement.

 

I took a deep breath.  “Okay, the first time I saw her in this house she was inside that closet,” I said as I pointed to the small closet in the back of the basement.  “Does that make a difference?”

 

He shrugged.  “It could.”

 

We walked closer to the closet, opened the door, and he said I should sit inside it.

 

“Ha.  You are funny!  There is no freaking way that is going to happen.  I will sit right here, right outside the closet where I know no doors will be closed on me.”

 

He looked hurt.  “I will be here with you.  Just trust me.”

 

“Sorry, but don’t push it.  I will never be able to concentrate if I’m sitting in there.”

 

“Fine, outside the closet it is.  Just do what you usually do.  I will be here with you, so focus on Carolyn and I will make sure you are protected if Benjamin shows up.”

 

I nodded, and slowly sat on the floor, which was filthy.  Andrew really needed to get someone to clean this basement.  

 

So, I sat on the floor and before I closed my eyes and started to reach out for Carolyn, I looked up at Hunter and said, “If you don’t mind… aside from Benjamin, please make sure any other disgusting things stay away from me too.”

 

He looked at me, puzzled.

 

“You know…spiders, bugs, whatever.”

 

I could tell he was trying hard not to laugh, but he just ensured me he would do his part.

 

I sat there for hours, until we heard the sound of a car parking in the driveway.  Usually by now I would have gotten a sign that Carolyn was there… somewhere, but this time I got absolutely nothing.  And I knew I had done my part…I was physically and mentally exhausted.

 

We rushed upstairs to the kitchen before whoever it was got inside the house and wondered what we were both doing in the basement.

 

Hunter looked really concerned.  “This is not good,” he said.  “You will have to keep trying and try harder.”

 

Sounding a whole lot more optimistic than Hunter, I asked, “What if this is good?  What if she was able to get past this place?”

 

“Not likely.”  He sounded so sure, so determined, I didn’t even see the need to ask him why.”

 

Kelly walked in and that was when I realized we had been in the basement longer than I thought.  Not only had Kelly gone to the doctor, but she also had time to go and get her hair done.

 

“Hey guys.  Hunter, you are staying for dinner, right?”

 

“Thanks, Mrs. Gallagher, but I can’t.”  She looked a little disappointed.  “I really wish I could but I really need to get going.”

 

“Alright, maybe next time…”

 

“Absolutely.”

 

I walked Hunter outside, just then realizing that I was his ride.  “Oh, just wait here for a second.  I will let Kelly know that I’m taking you home.”

 

He stopped me.  “No, I’m not going home… I’m going to the … umm to the adoption agency.”

 

“Oh.”  I frowned.

 

“Do you want me to come back?  You know…tonight?”

 

As much as I wanted to say no, wanted to stop this vicious need for his help, I couldn’t.  “If you don’t have anything else going on, I guess.”

 

“I will be here.”  He waved goodbye and walked away.

 

Kelly was still in the kitchen when I went back in.

 

“I really like Hunter.  I think he is a good influence on you.”

 

“Uh-huh.  Still, we are not dating… just friends, mom, so let it go.”

 

She smiled as she usually did when I called her mom, which wasn’t often.

 

“So, how was your appointment?”  I asked.

 

“Good. Everything is going well, just as it should be.  The doctor was able to tell the sex of the baby, but we decided we don’t want to know.  We want it to be a surprise.”

 

“Cool.”  I just never understood people who didn’t want to know that kind of thing, I mean, how can you shop for baby things if you don’t know, right?  Oh well, not my decision to make.

 

“Your hair looks nice.”

 

“Thanks, Kayla.  By the way, I saw Emily’s mom at the hair salon.  There seems to be a lot of drama going on with Ashley today.”

 

“What do you mean?  She left school early because she was sick, how much drama could there be?”

 

Kelly hesitated.  “I think it is better if you hear from her.”

 

Last thing I planned on doing was to talk to Ashley, but I knew that if there was drama, Emily and Jessica were sure to know all about it. 

 

I quickly excused myself saying that I had homework.  I grabbed my cell phone and practically ran to my room.

 

Since Kelly said she had talked to Emily’s mom, Emily was the one I called.

 

“Hey, Emily.”

 

“Hi Kayla.  I’m so glad you called!  Have you heard about Ashley?”

 

“Nope… I mean… I heard that there was something going on but not what exactly.”

 

“O.M.G.  You are never gonna believe what happened!”

 

And after that she went on and on, without even giving me a chance to get a word in.

 

“So, Ashley’s mom calls over here this afternoon wanting to know how to get a hold of Justin’s parents, right?  So, my mom gives her the info, and asks if everything is okay, and Ashley’s mom just bursts in tears on the phone.  It turns out that Ashley was feeling sooo sick this morning that her mom took her to the doctor and she is pregnant!!!!  Can you believe that?” 

 

I was speechless, but good thing I didn’t have to say anything because Emily kept going. 

 

“So, apparently Ashley told her mom that was impossible and she claims to be a virgin, but of course, doctor’s exam, including ultrasound and all… what more proof does she need?  So she asks Ashley if Justin is the father, being that they are dating and all, and Ashley says she doesn’t know who the father is.  Can you believe it?!”

 

“Wow” that was all I managed to say.

 

“Yeah, that is one way to put it.  So, she was going to try to reach Justin’s parents, she says that if he denies it, she wants a DNA test and all that mess.”

 

“So do you think it is Justin’s?”  I asked.  My voice sounded weird, as if I was afraid to know the answer.

 

“Yeah, I mean, who else would it be?  I know we say she is a skank and all, but I don’t think she was dating anyone else.  She is always with Justin.  OMG, are you okay with me talking about all this, Kayla?  Sometimes I just completely forget that you two used to date, even if it was like yesterday! … But you seem to be into Hunter now, right?”

 

“Oh yeah, I’m good.  Just surprised.”

 

“No kidding.  Hey, I gotta go eat dinner, but we will talk tomorrow, okay?”

 

We said our good-byes and hung-up.

 

Kelly was calling me down to eat dinner, and although I felt as if I was going to just throw up if I ate anything, I forced myself to go downstairs, grab dinner and eat a few bites.  Andrew wasn’t home yet, so we ate in the living room while we watched TV.  Good thing, because Kelly was into her show enough not to notice how much I actually ate, and after that I just rushed to my room.

 

Trying to get Carolyn back that day had really made me exhausted.

 

I walked into my room, got ready for bed, and wondered how long it would be until Hunter got back.  I was afraid to fall asleep and have Benjamin show up, and even though it was still only seven, I was just too tired to resist.

 

It felt as if I had just closed my eyes, when I woke up with his hand clasped over my mouth.

 

 

 
BOOK: Wide Awake - Academy of the Fallen Series
11.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan
Cartas cruzadas by Markus Zusak
The Night Cafe by Taylor Smith
A Hidden Place by Robert Charles Wilson
Osiris by E. J. Swift
The Survivor by Rhonda Nelson
An Unmentionable Murder by Kate Kingsbury
A Word with the Bachelor by Teresa Southwick
Destry by Lola Stark