I jumped through the door just as Abby's voice echoed down the corridor, a close call. The room was shrouded in darkness, but the sounds of someone breathing softly alerted me that I wasn’t alone. I felt a brush against my arm and the quiet breathing hitched, the sudden silence caused a lump of fear to catch in my throat. I opened my mouth to ask who was there but immediately I clamped it shut again. Abby was already on the other side of the door; I couldn’t risk her hearing me.
I moved to flatten myself against the wall but as I did so long fingers wrapped themselves around my wrist, I tried to ripped away from them, but whoever it was were strong. I sensed them closing up to me, then all of a sudden their body had mine crushed up against the wall.
As a light passed the small window of the rain I caught a glimpse of the person in front of me. "Zach?" I breathed in disbelief and annoyance. I was annoyed at myself for blowing my own cover.
He didn't look happy, the usual emotion that graced his features but none the less it made me feel a little disappointed. "Are you completely insane?" He hissed in my face.
"Depends." I whispered, cocking an eyebrow as I did so.
Zach huffed. "You should not be here." Before I could say anything he continued. "Do you realise the danger… No, I suppose you don't."
At that second the train lurched and we both fell away from each other, as I straightened myself up, I decided it was time to defend myself. "I'm here for Macey, You know, that girl who I managed to protect last time we were in danger." My voice rang with sarcasm and I almost regretted speaking like that to Zach, off all people.
That was until he opened his big mouth. "Oh, because that worked so well for you didn’t it. Have you seen yourself lately, Gallagher girl?" All of a sudden the smugness I felt previously, vanished, replaced by bitter hurt.
"That was uncalled for." I sneered at him.
"What?" He seemed confused, I imagined a V shape formed between his eyebrows as he digested my bitter words. "I… didn't mean it like that." Before I could ask him what he actually did mean the door started to open, a thin light shining through the crack and finally letting my see his face properly, before I could truly appreciate him the door closed again and Zach was immediately pulling me towards something I couldn’t see. When he had us flattened against a soft fabric I immediately figured it was one of the bunks. In one motion he had us closed in and once again we were in close proximity. We stood cramped quietly together as we listened intently as the door to the room opened and Abby’s voice was heard. "You stay in here until I come get you. Don't let anyone else in."
"Zach, I saw you." I couldn’t help break the little silence we had going.
"Be quiet." He hissed.
"I saw you in Boston." I pressed. Zach let out a sigh that tickled my neck.
"I'll explain later." In a voice that told me he had no intention of explaining. I wasn't going down that easy.
"You followed me, didn't you?" The voices outside were drained out by music.
"Yes." He said bluntly.
"Why?" I pressed again.
"Why do you think?" He whispered into my ear. I hadn't expected him to deflect the questioning on to me. Without answering I shuffled round till we brushed noses.
"I think you know something. But I also think that you care about me." I knew I was stepping over so many boundaries that both of us put out in front of us. I didn't know what was coming over me, having him so close made me feel dizzy.
"Look at you." He cooed. "You clearly can think properly." And I definitely hadn't expected that either. And I didn't know what to say. I felt his hand tense on my back, as I let out a slight breath. I was incredibly thankful that I scrubbed my teeth this morning.
I soon realised I was leaning into him because I could feel his breath blowing on my upper lip, I didn’t know what came over me but in the next moment I pressed my lips to his chin and he froze, I felt some encouragement when he didn’t stop me, so I began to press soft kisses to his skin until I reached his lips, he kissed me back only a few seconds then moved his face away. "No, Cammie.” He said softly.
I glared at the darkness I knew to be Zach. "You're right that was totally stupid." I growled, trying to hurt him like he just hurt me. Why was I allowing such an arrogant teenage boy control my emotions?
"I'm sorry." He said, I felt his cold hand brush my cheek and I shivered. Suddenly the surface we were leaning on fell from beneath us and we were falling, I landed on something hard that caused me to grunt in pain, just as quickly Zach landed on top of me making the pain worse. I harshly pushed Zach off of me and stood up to face Macey who was staring wide eyed at us. I rubbed at my back not caring as she stared at me with questioning eyes.
"Miss McHenry, are you ok?" A deep voice shouted through the door. I gazed at Macey, begging her not to say anything that would give us away.
"I'm fine." She shouted. "I just dropped a tray."
"It's not what it looks like." I said as Zach stood up next to me. Macey didn't look convinced.
She turned her gaze onto Zach who stepped closer to me. As if I'd protect him. "Oh, so what does it look like?" She was still looking at Zach, with an unreadable glint in her eye.
"It's exactly how it looks." Zach said. "Cammie just kissed me." His voice was smug and I turned to glare at him. Just as I did he licked his lips. I could feel a blush threatening to expose me. He grinned down at me. "Don't worry Gallagher girl, I liked it too."
Macey watched the exchange with a raised eyebrow. "You do know Abby will be back anytime now and if she finds either of you here, you're in big trouble. So why don't you get this little romantic moment out of the way and get out of here."
Zach nodded picking his bag up from the floor. "Agreed." He walked to the train window and looked out. "This is the end of the line for me anyway." He looked back at me and I saw a hint of regret in his eye. Then he turned to Macey. "You mind?" He asked her. Macey nodded and stepped out from the cabin. I heard her talking to a man. Zach stepped out with her sneaking out from the man's view. I followed closely behind him.
As we approached a door, Zach turned back to me. "Do something for me will you?" He said, leaning into me. I was too frozen in place to move back. I nodded. "Don't go being stupid." Just then he leaned all the way in and kissed me lightly on the lips. My heart raced.
As he stepped back towards the door and opened it slightly, an ear crushing sound made him look back at me. The expression on his face was a look of terror as he gazed down at my body, I followed his line of sight to see my clothes soaked in a red substance. I could hear myself screaming in my head but the rest of me felt numb, my gaze returned to Zach who was already moving towards me again, before I could feel him touch me again a darkness enveloped me.
A blinding light spread pain above my eyes as I slowly peeked out beneath my eyelashes, I saw a white long vertical blind hanging to the left of me that looked spotless. A strange uncertain smell filled my nose as I tried to move my head to take in what was around me. An irritating consistent beeping noise was close by my head and I wondered if I was in a hospital, gazing down my body I saw that clear tubes were sticking out from the back of my hands, feeling a tug on my nose as I did this I realised tubes were up my nose as well, confirming that I was indeed in a hospital.
"Cammie, you're awake…" My head snapped in the direction of the voice, once again tugging at the tubes in my nose. Zach's soft, warm hand was sliding into mine while I searched his face, his red rimmed eyes confused me, he looked ill.
"Why am I in the hospital?" I asked, as I spoke Zach shifted closer and the beeping close by sped up slightly. He either didn't hear or didn't care as his hand came up to smooth my hair, the expression on his face was full of worry a look I had never seen on his face before.
"You was shot." He said hesitantly, like he was scared of his own words.
"Shot?" I pretty much screeched at him, making us both wince from the intensity of my voice. It was then that I started feeling my body again and the pain on my body became intense, I sucked in a deep breath.
The door opened and a nurse appeared pushing a metal cart. Zach watched her intently as the she set up what looked like needles. My heart raced again and the beeping machine evidenced it. I hated needles more than I hated not knowing things. Zach seemed to finally notice my displeasure because he started to smooth his fingers over my knuckles. "Your mom is on her way you’re your friends.” He leaned away looking pointedly at the nurse who had stuck the end of the needle into a clear tube to lead to my hand.
"What's that?" I asked clenching my fist as if it would stop whatever she was doing.
The nurse turned to me and smiled sweetly. "Just a sedative." my eyes drooped and a sudden sleepiness took over; I tried to fight it but it slowly beat me until once again I was shrouded in darkness.
I couldn't quite believe it at first, I fought my ears were playing tricks on me when I heard the muffled sobs close by. But when I opened my eyes and saw a teary eyed Zachary Goode, I think I finally saw the boy beneath the mask. At that moment he looked like a young school boy, his hands were shaking and the tears flowed freely down his cheeks. "Zach?" I asked pulling against the tubes to stroke a tear from his cheek.
"I’m sorry." He sobbed, pressing his cheek into my hand.
"Zach, look at me, please." He did as I said. "Who shot me?"
"I didn't stick around to find out, I had to get you out of there." He pressed my hand to his cheek once more, just as the door to my room burst open and my mother rushed in frantically. Bex, Liz and Mr Solomon right behind her. Zach kissed my hand quickly, then jumped up to join Mr Solomon. My mother was instantly in Zach's place, tears in her eyes as well.
"Mom…" I sobbed as she kissed my face so softly, like she thought I’d break. I suddenly started to feel uncomfortable, this situation was not something I envisioned would ever happen. Zach crying, Mum crying, what next a bird at my window singing in sorrow?
"Oh…honey, I was so worried, although Cammie, when we get you back to the school you're staying in you're room and I will come check." Her serious expression faltered and turned to relief as I glared at her.
"You're a wonderful mother." I said truthfully however made it sound sarcastic, she saw through it of course and smiled brilliant.
"I'm just glad you're ok. You shouldn't have even left the school but you did and no grounding is going to change that…"She eyed me for a second taking in my reaction, I stared blankly at her. "However it will make me feel better so you're grounded until I say so." With another smile she bent down and kissed my forehead. I had never seen her so affectionate in front of so many people. Catching the eye of Zach he smiled sadly and mouthed 'goodbye' as he backed out of the room. My heart raced, how could he just leave? I wanted to race after him but my mother kept me in place, and she didn’t seem to notice my displeasure at a certain absence in the room.
It felt like it was hours later, that she left along with my friends, but all I could think about was Zach, where he had gone… If he was going to come back. What that kiss on the train had meant and what he meant by saying he liked it too. Did this mean we were something now? Or was this another moment we’d ignore again when we next saw each other?
I didn’t know the answer to any of that, the only thing I did know was that I really loved the sound of his voice, the husky beautiful sound, as he said “I liked it too.”