Bash takes a wary step forward, motioning for me to stay put. My heart is racing. He peeks his head into my house and then steps into the foyer. I watch as he disappears. The minutes trickle by feeling like an eternity.
I’m about to go in after Bash when he steps back onto my front porch. His face is filled with worry and concern. “Bash?”
He barely meets my eyes as he answers, “Whoever did it is long gone, but I don’t think you should go in there, Greer.”
“What? Why?” I ask frantically, trying to peer around him.
“It’s not good.” He says nervously, scratching the back of his neck. I try to push past him to get inside, but he stops me. “Greer, seriously, don’t go in there. Call the cops.”
“Bash, move!” I shove him aside and step into my house. My heart drops clear into the pit of my stomach. My house is trashed. The pictures that were once on the walls are smashed on the ground by my feet. The front table and coffee table are on their sides, their contents were strewn about. The living room TV is missing. When I step further into the house, glass crunches under my foot. Tears stream down my face.
“I’m sorry,” Bash says, putting a reassuring hand on my shoulder.
“I need to call my uncle.” My voice sounds far away and foreign.
“No, you need to call the cops.” Bash instructs.
“You don’t understand, I have to call my uncle first,” I say nothing else before I pull out my phone and dial Leo’s number.
He answers on the third ring, “Hey, I meant to call you earlier, sorry. It’s been hectic here.”
“Leo, you need to come home.” I try to keep the panic out of my voice, but he hears it.
“Greer, what’s wrong?” He sounds panicked as well.
“Someone broke into the house, Leo.” I cry.
“What?” Something rumbles in the background as Leo yells. “Are you alone?”
“No, Leo, I’m with a friend. Bash checked the house before I went in. He said no one was here.” I let out a shaky breath. “The place is trashed, Leo.”
“I notified the police. They’ll be there soon.” I can hear his car starting up on the other end. “Are you okay?”
“I’m scared, Leo.” I sob. Bash keeps quiet behind me, his eyes scouting the house, sadly.
“I know, Greer. I know. Just sit tight alright?” He says to me.
I nod and then say goodbye. I hang up the phone.
“Is he coming?” Bash asks me.
I nod, “He called the cops, too.”
I start crying uncontrollably now. I’m so scared that whoever killed my parents has found me. That would mean having to change my name and move once again. I was just starting to get comfortable here. I didn’t want to move again. I’d miss Bash and Adam. They would never know what happened to me. I’d just disappear.
Someone yells and my door bangs open against the wall. A moment later, Bash is forced away from me. Bash stumbles and his back slams against the wall. He yells out in surprise. My eyes focus on what’s happening and I realize that Kaleb Nixon has Bash pressed firmly against the wall.
“Get away from her!” Kaleb growls into Bash’s face.
“Kaleb, stop!” I scream.
“What did you do?” Kaleb fists his hands in the collar of Bash’s shirt and slams him against the wall again.
Bash pushes against Kaleb, “Nothing! If you look around, idiot, you’d see that her house was robbed!” Kaleb growls in Bash’s face and doesn’t let him go. “Let me go before you make things worse!”
“Before I make things worse?” Kaleb yells and then laughs.
“Yes! She doesn’t need you flying off the handle right now!” Bash challenges Kaleb. “Why don’t you do us both a favor and get lost?”
“You want me to get lost? Why don’t you get lost! You’re the one that’s not good for her!” Kaleb’s voice is husky with anger.
“And you think you are?” Bash laughs in his face. “I don’t know how many times she’s told you to stay away from her! You’re not good for her, admit it. She deserves better.”
“And you think you’re better, pretty-boy?”
“As a matter of fact, I do!” Bash shoves away from Kaleb. “You’re a childish punk who wants what he wants when he wants it. Greer isn’t a conquest! She’s a person!”
“And you don’t think I know that?”
I don’t know what to do. I yell at them to stop once more, but they don’t seem to hear me. Suddenly, my house is engulfed in blue and red lights. I hear slamming doors and then cops are entering into my front room. The two officers notice Kaleb and Bash fighting and step in to stop it. They rip the two boys away from each other. Bash lets it happen, staring daggers into Kaleb. Kaleb fights against the cops for a moment.
“You guys, stop!” I scream. Kaleb and Bash’s eyes finally settle on me. Kaleb stops fighting. The cops let the two boys go. Bash’s eyes go nervously from the two cops and then back to me. Then his gaze settles on his watch and he curses. “Bash, go home.”
“I’m not leaving.” Bash protests.
“I’ll be fine, Bash. Please, go home.” I plead.
He reluctantly nods and steps closer to me. He kisses me on the cheek, and I notice how Kaleb tenses in the background. “Call me in the morning to tell me what happened, please.”
I nod and watch him retreat to my front door. He glares one more time at Kaleb before walking out the front door and driving away.
“Greer Evans?” The older cop addresses me.
I nod, “Yeah.”
“My partner is going to have a look around, okay?” He asks and then nods to his partner.
“Okay.” I watch as the other cop makes his way around the house.
“My name is Officer Daniels.” The older cop gives me an easy smile. “Can I ask you a few questions?”
I nod, my eyes snap to Kaleb’s. He keeps his distance.
“When you got here, was anyone here?”
I shake my head, “No, sir. My friend that just left made sure.”
“I know this is a hard question to answer but is anything to your knowledge missing?”
I look around once again, “The TV in the living, for sure. Other than that, I haven’t had a chance to look, I’m sorry.”
“That’s okay, thank you.” He scribbles down something in his notebook.
“Greer!” My uncle calls to me as he comes running into house. I instantly jump into his arms and sob into his shirt. He holds me tight, “I’m so sorry, are you okay?”
I pull back away from him, “Yeah, I’m fine. Just shaken up.”
He nods, then his eyes meet the cops. “Daniels.”
“Hi, Leo.” Officer Daniels gives my uncle a smile.
“Can I speak with you in private?” My uncle asks the older cop and then pulls him away.
My knees feel wobbly underneath me. I find one of the table chairs and sit down. Kaleb watches me carefully. “Greer...”
I cut him off, “Why are you here? How are you here?”
He looks away from me awkwardly, “I followed you, actually.”
“You what?” I yell.
“Yeah, I had to make sure you got home safe. I don’t trust that guy!” Kaleb says back.
“You’ve got to be kidding me?” I laugh. “I can’t believe you’re stalking me now.”
“I am not stalking you! I just wanted to make sure you were okay.” He informed me.
“Well, I’m not, okay? Happy now?” I yell, tears streaking down my cheeks once again.
“No, I’m not happy.” He says quietly.
My uncle steps back into the house then, clapping Officer Daniels on the back. He thanks the cop and then both the cops exit out the front door. Leo sighs as he steps in front of me. His eyes fall on Kaleb’s.
“Leo, this is my English partner from school, Kaleb Nixon.” I introduce the two.
“Not under the best circumstance, but nice to meet you,” Leo says to Kaleb.
Kaleb nods, “Yes, sir.”
Leo’s attention reverts back to me, “You can’t stay here tonight.”
“What, why?” I question.
Leo hesitates, unable to answer because of Kaleb. “It’s just not safe. I’m going down to the station. I have to figure out what to do with you.”
“She can stay with me,” Kaleb speaks up quickly.
Leo and my eyes snap to Kaleb’s. Leo doesn’t look happy about it.
“I have a guest bedroom and my guardian, Irene will be home,” Kaleb explains. “She’ll be safe there.”
Leo nods reluctantly, “Fine, thank you.”
“It’s not a problem.” Kaleb answers.
“Greer, can I speak with you real quick?” He pulls me away from Kaleb.
Once we’re alone, I speak first, “Was it them?”
He instantly knows what I’m talking about, “I don’t think so. There was another house broke into down the street. I think it was a random thing. Until I’m sure though, you can’t be here.”
“Are you sure you’re okay with going to this kid’s house?” He asks.
“Yes,” I answer automatically before thinking it through. Strangely, I am okay with it.
Leo leads me back to where Kaleb is standing. I watch as the two talks for a moment, but I’m suddenly too tired to follow their conversation. A moment later Kaleb steps up beside me, “You ready to go?”
I nod, “I just need to grab a few things.” I move towards my room, but my feet stop. I can’t get them to take me to my room.
“Greer?” Kaleb says with concern. “What is it?”
I turn back to him, tears falling from my eyes. “I don’t want to go in there.”
Kaleb nods quickly, “You don’t have to. I’ll pack some things for you.”
I don’t like the idea of Kaleb going through my things, but right now I’d rather him be in my room. I list off some things I need and he instantly walks down to my room. He timidly pushes open my door. He stands in the hallway a moment longer, giving me a sad look before stepping into my room. I don’t want to know what the look means. Kaleb’s only in my room for a couple of minutes before he steps into the hallway with my school bag and a duffle bag.
Leo hugs me one last time, “I’ll call you in the morning. Let you know what’s up.” I nod but say nothing. Leo looks to Kaleb, “Thanks again, for letting her stay with you.”
“It’s no problem, sir. I just want to make sure she’s okay.” Kaleb nods.
“Okay, you should go,” Leo instructs and walks us out the front door. Kaleb loads my stuff in his back seat and then helps me into the passenger seat. I wave goodbye to my uncle as Kaleb gets behind the wheel and backs us out of the driveway.
I can barely keep my eyes open. I’m so tired from what’s happened tonight, that I can’t stay awake. I’m lulled to sleep by the tires on the road and Kaleb humming along to his music.