I was ten years old the last time I took a nap. One shower with Dakota, and I was knocked out by the time I went to dry myself with a towel. We lazily got ourselves dressed and collapsed into my bed a little after noon. Dakota’s chest made a perfect pillow to rest my head on. We got a good two hours of sleep before waking up again.
It wasn’t willingly.
There was a loud knocking noise downstairs, coming from the front door. Since I was a heavy sleeper, it woke Dakota up before it affected my sleep. “Who do you think it is?” I asked, putting on my house slippers.
“I don’t know. Maybe your family got home early?”
“No way. This isn’t them.” I ran to my window to double check and I was right. Their car wasn’t in the driveway. It was Ronnie’s. What could she possibly what? It felt so out of the blue, driving up to my house on short notice.
“We don’t have to open the door,” Dakota offered, linking his arm to my waistline. “We could shut the blind and pretend we’re not here.”
“I’m not doing that.” I said, going for the door. “She’s got to be here for a reason.”
“Or she’s here to be a nuisance.” He muttered, but I didn’t pay attention to it. Dakota was trying his best to spend as much time with me as possible while my family was gone. We had about two more hours until they’d come home.
“Be nice.” I pleaded, pausing before pushing the door open. “Don’t be mean to her.”
Dakota kissed my wrinkled forehead, frowning at him. When he did that, the frown melted away. “I won’t be mean.”
Let’s see how long that lasts.
I unlocked the door and began to twist the knob. “Hey R-” I gasped once the door was fully open and I saw the bruise on her cheek. “What happened to you?”
Her shirt was ripped and her shoes were caked in mud. Her hair was tangled, half braided and half undone. “It’s a long story.”
“Go grab her a towel.” I instructed Dakota and he raced up the stairs, going towards one of the bathrooms. I ushered Ronnie in, discovering that she had a strange limp whenever she walked. “You’ve got to tell me what’s going on, Veronica.”
“I will. I will.”
“Do you want a glass of water?”
She let out a cry, collapsing on to one of the chairs in the dining area. The cushions were made with leather so I didn’t mind. I could easily wash off the mud and debris with a wet cloth.
“Here’s the towel.” Dakota came up from behind me, handing it to Ronnie. “You look like hell.”
“Thanks.” She growled with gritted teeth. “I didn’t know you’d be here.”
“I didn’t know you’d be here either.” He countered.
“You’re back together?” she asked.
“Yeah, we are,” Dakota answered. “What the fuck is wrong with you though?” I nudged Dakota. “Ouch. Okay. Sorry. What the heck happened?” He inched closer to my ear. “Better?”
“Better.” I nodded and turned to Ronnie, waiting to see if she’d reply to Dakota’s pending question.
“Heath’s in my car. You can ask him.” Ronnie wiped her dirt-covered chin with the towel. “He’s the one who got me in this mess in the first place.”
“I’ll get Heath.” Dakota pecked my cheek and went for the door. “I’ll ask him to come inside.”
“Are you official?” Ronnie asked me when Dakota was out the house and in the drive way.
“I’d consider us official.” I smiled to myself. “Don’t try to change the topic, Ronnie.”
“I’ll tell you.” She assured me, groaning when she stretched out one of her legs. “But only after I catch my breath.”
. . .
I told Ronnie she could use our shower. After giving her another towel and some spare clothes, she went upstairs and cleaned herself up. Heath wasn’t as muddy as her, but his shoes were dusty and his shirt, just like Ronnie’s, was distressed and torn from the side.
Once Ronnie came back down to the living room, the four of us sat in the living room. I didn’t know where to begin. With their random visit and Ronnie’s inability to answer a single question, I was lost as to what I was supposed to say to them.
Dakota wasn’t. He jumped the gun and asked Ronnie before she could settle into one of the couches. “What’s going on? Neither of you are speaking. Either tell us what’s going on or leave, because I actually have plans with Silvia today and none of those plans involve you two.”
“Dakota...Be nice," I reminded him, folding my hand into his.
His hard features softened and he eased back in the sofa, snaking one of his arms around me and pulling me in closer until my legs were resting on his lap and his chin was propped on to my shoulder.
“We..we kind of fucked up.” Heath’s grim gaze was fixated on the hardwood floor as if his life depended on. “I’m sorry I got you involved in this Ronnie.”
Ronnie and Heath exchanged a dark look, holding a secret I couldn’t decode.
“I’m lost.” Dakota whispered into my ear.
“Me too.” I replied.
“If there’s anyone who should explain,” Heath breathed heavily, “it should be me. A while back, I convinced Ronnie to take back Finn. Not in a real way, but just so she could get close to him. When we found out about the audio recording they got from your private conversation, we wanted to do something to get back at him.”
“We wanted to end Segg.” Ronnie said.
“Are you two insane?” Dakota huffed. “Taking Segg down isn’t something only two people could do.”
“We thought it was worth trying.” Ronnie croaked, hugging a throw pillow close to her chest. “We got a clue, but it turned out to be a set up.”
“Finn figured you guys out?” Dakota inquired.
“No.” Ronnie responded. “When I stole his black book full of names, I contacted one of the people on there. One of his second in command friends. But it ended up being a dead-end.”
“He has eyes all over the school and you don’t think Finn’ll put two and two together?” Dakota asked, growing annoyed. “You could’ve gotten really hurt.”
“Don’t you think we thought of that?” Ronnie snarled. “We were being careful.”
“Obviously not careful enough.” Dakota raised his head from my shoulder. “I’m even more ticked off that you didn’t tell either of us about it.”
“We thought the less people who knew, the better our chances would be.” Heath got up from his seat, sitting on the arm rest. “I’m so sorry I got you tied up into this mess.”
“It’s okay,” she mumbled into the throw pillow. “At least we can say we tried.”
“You should try again.” I broke my silence and contributed into the conversation, at last. “I think you should try again. This time, we can help take Segg down. Four is stronger than two.”