III . MYSTERIES AND DEALS
I was absolutely paralyzed in terror due to the scene unfolding before me. There, leaning on the parapet of our five-storeyed building was Jayden Salmon with blonde hair and chestnut brown eyes.
“What are you doing Jayden? Get down immediately!“, our headmaster shouted at the blond-haired boy.
Jayden was the eye candy of our school. Girls were crazy for him even though he was an asshole. He was the perfect stereotypical bad boy who had girls tucked in his pockets. Jayden and I dated for a few months until we parted ways sourly.
However, the current daunting sight made me forget my hatred for him momentarily.
Amelia, his present girlfriend, was sobbing now as she pleaded, ”Jayden baby? Please get down. Please. Why are you even up there?"
The headmaster repeatedly asked him to get down, but he didn’t. There was a weird glaze in his eyes. He looked like he wasn’t even there, only his body was. His movements were almost robotic as he took another step forward.
I looked around frantically for help, but not seeing anyone to volunteer, I decided to go there myself when someone gripped my arm.
I turned around to see Cameron. In my haste and terror induced shock, I didn't even realize when they followed me and came here.
"I’ll go," and with that, he sped off into the building.
And just as I blinked, there he was, in the rooftop, tackling Jayden to the ground. He held Jayden’s head between his own hands and switched their positions. Since Cameron’s back was turned to us, we could not see Jayden. However, a minute later, I saw Jayden walking away. My eyes widened. How the hell could Cameron be that fast? It was like the speed of the wind.
And what the fuck was that?
Beside me, Carter made a tsking sound and shook his head, with a dark look on his face. But the question that kept spinning in my head was how Cameron did that? It wasn’t normal. Even QBs and athletes couldn’t do that, and I’m pretty sure about it.
As if on cue, Cameron walked up to us with a sigh.
"Brother, that little act of heroism was totally unnecessary," Carter fixed a pointed dark look at Cam.
I glared at him, “What do you mean? That guy there was going to commit suicide. He saved a life, and you think it was unnecessary?"
“I don’t care about that, and my brother knows what I care about.”
"Well then what do you care about?”
“Stay out of this Hazel,” he snapped at me and walked away. Christina gave me an apologetic look before following her brother and giving Cam a, ‘we need to talk’ look.
“Care to expl-” I started but before I could complete it, he waved me off and followed his siblings outside.
“Rude much?”I heard Maria asking me, but I just shrugged my shoulders.
Something super fishy just happened here.
Holly Heads usually always remains crowded because, in a small town like Victoria Falls, people have got only one option for gathering and chilling out. Whether be it a social event or an everyday diner, people always keep it crowded. I sometimes wondered what if this place also started arranging marriages, since there is only one church in our town and that too a shut down. As much funny as it sounded, it was a plausible possibility.
I was cleaning the dishes when Latan came up beside me, ”Hey beauty. How are you doing?"
“Not really great”, I answered as he promptly wrapped his arms around me.Latan was a really good friend of mine. Well, we were kind of like friends with benefits.
I ran my hand through his golden-brown long hair which reaches just up to his chin, that he mostly ties in a messy knot. He leaned down to kiss me, but I stopped him, “Hey not here okay? There are others. You know I hate PDA."
“Who cares Kris?” he asked smirking at me and gripping my waist slightly as he pulled me close to him.
“No L. No,” I breathed out.
He looked into my eyes as if searching for any hint to the irritation I showed. Then seemingly not finding anything, he gave up.
“Ugh. Okay fine,” he let go of me and ran a hand through his hand, a sign of frustration, "you know you’re becoming boring.”
“Well then don’t stick around,” I glared at him and took my notepad out. Just as I was about to reach the door, he called out.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” he said, and I heard a strain of emotion behind his voice which I couldn’t quite place. So I just shrugged and exited.
As I was taking an order from Hailey who was also a good friend of mine and a very regular customer, she spoke up, “You know Latan likes you. He told me once, but I knew way before that. The way he looks at you is not for fooling around."
My eyes widened a bit, “You sure? Cause a person who likes someone definitely doesn’t act like an asshole to them."
“Well, my dear, they are boys. It’s in their genes to be dumb. Blonde or not. No offense,” she laughed, and soon I joined her too.
“But you should probably give him a try, ” she started sucking on the straw of her milkshake.
“Well... I am not really in the mood for dating now. Crystal clear,” I shrugged.
“Like your name?”Hailey smirked at me.
“Like my name," I smirked back at her and left her cubicle.
When I was passing by the back of the diner, I heard a familiar gruff voice with a British accent.
I quietly approached their cubicles, making the least sound as possible.
“- you know that brother. So fucking well. They did it as a bait. They wanted to spot us so that they can get near her and now they know we are here, they’ll do everything to find her. Hell, we don’t even know who the hell is she. They’ll destroy the whole town. It’ll be a massacre. Now is that better than the death of that stupid blondie?" he groaned.
I gasped. They were talking about Jayden. Not only him but something to do with a girl and massacre and them. Oh God this was so confusing. Too many questions were revolving in my head but a hand on my mouth snapped me out of my thoughts. I peered up to see the pool of blues.
Carter. It’s always him.
"Hello, love. Mind telling me what you were trying to do by eavesdropping?“, he removed his hand from my mouth and not so gently pulled me into their cubicle. I scrambled inside and found Cameron and Christina look up at me with curiosity.
“Uh well, I work here if you haven’t noticed, duh”, I pointed at my blue tank top and golden pencil skirt, “such a shame that these beautiful eyes can’t be used,” I mocked him with his own words and saw his lips tugging upwards but was soon replaced by a scowl.
“I came here to take the orders,” I justified myself.
"Well, if you haven’t noticed, we’ve already ordered food," he pointed to the table and walked over to them as he seated himself.
“Okay, I didn’t know. But I’ll go I guess. Have fun. See you tomorrow at school“, I was about to walk away when Carter asked me, “How much did you hear?“, and he was again in front of me. His eyes boring into mine as if searching for my soul.
Again that inhuman speed. What’s wrong with the brothers?
I gulped not sure of what to say, ”A lot actually about Jayden-"
“You mean blondie?”
"-and a girl, massacre and oh some ′they′," I continued ignoring him calling Jayden ‘blondie’.
His eyes darkened as his grip on the work tightened, causing his knuckles to pale.
“Uhh. okay. I have a question. Are you guys terrorist?" I mentally facepalmed myself. What kind of a stupid asks that? As if they would really tell ′yeah we are. Wanna hang out?′
Cameron gave me a nonpulssed look while Carter's face remained impassive. That guy had no emotions and the only thing he could do well was to make snide comments and be cocky.
Christina on the other hand, let out a heart warming chuckle, her brown orbs glimmering jovially.
“Krystal seriously? You’re worse than my pancakes and apocalypse."
Even Cameron laughed a little who had been otherwise quiet for a very long time.
I gave them a sheepish smile.
“Okay, I’ll go,” I said and waved to them which they returned except Carter. Jerk. He was still glaring at me for God knows what.
But one thing was clear. These guys were untypical teenagers. They were pretending to be something they were not. They were holding some dark secrets and a part of me wondered if they had any connection with all the murders that’s been happening lately.
They were the danger.
They were trouble.
My shift was on the verge of ending as I was packing my things when my phone pinged. I unlocked it to see a message from Maria.
Maria: Where are you? Are you done?
Me: Nope. Just a little. Hold on.
Maria: Okay. What bout your ride?
Shit. The ride was completely out of my mind. I have forgotten about it until now.
Me: Don’t worry. I’ll manage it.
Maria: Well text me if you can’t. I’ll do something.
Me: Thanks.Will do.
Maria: Okay. I’m sending you the address.
Maria: 19A street, Kerrington Mansion, Victoria Falls
Me: Alright thanks.
I rubbed my forehead. I didn’t know what to do. I had no idea who’s gonna be my ride because there was absolutely no one I could ask. Suddenly I heard a familiar gruff British accent which caused me to look up.
It’s only been one day, and I’m already seeing so much of him. Suddenly a hideous idea popped into my mind and before I could talk myself out of it, I found myself grabbing Carter’s arm like a five-year-old, prompting him to look at me questioningly.
“Hi,” I breathed out.
“What do you want?”Carter rolled his eyes and pulled his arms from me, causing my cheeks to redden in embarrassment.
"Well, aren’t you a little ball of sunshine," I commented sarcastically as he gave a bored look before continuing,
“If you’re just gonna fuck with my time then I gotta go, Hazel. Because I have real work to do."
Sure you do.
He started walking away, and that’s when I shouted, “Wait. I need your help. I need a ride," I tried not to think about the possibilities of him being antisocial.
He turned around and quirked an eyebrow, and taking it as a cue I walked up to him outside. The cool breeze causing me to shiver a little.
“You need a ride? From me? I thought you didn’t like me?" he wiggled his perfect dark eyebrows.
"I still don’t,” I caught the amused expression on his face and realized what I said, so I corrected myself before continuing, "I mean I do. But it doesn’t matter cause I need help right now. I could go to my apartment on my motorbike but after that, the place where I’m going is huge...you know, rich lavish, and I don’t wanna make a bad impression cause it’s gonna affect my best friend. So please?" I made the best puppy dog eyes I could manage but internally cringed at the thought of it. I never liked anyone making puppy dog eyes, but I guess desperate means call for desperate measures.
After a moment of silence, Carter spoke up, “Give me one good reason why I should give you a ride,” he placed a hand under his chin feigning a thoughtful expression.
My eyes widened. Didn’t this guy listen to any of the things I said just now? Is he on drugs?
"Are you on cocaine or something? What about everything I told you right now?“ I scoffed at him.
Giving me his classic smirk, he continued, ” Let me rephrase that. I meant, what do I get out of this?" he twirled his index finger in a circle at the space between us.
Is he being serious right now?
Of course, he is Krystal.
I racked my brain thinking about something I could give him, and that’s when it hit me.
"I’ll pay you. I’ll pay you for the whole ride,” I glanced at him, half expecting him to object again and throw some snarky comments, but instead, he started walking over to his car and shouted,
“Get in. Or I’m leaving without you."
Grinning like an idiot, I ran up to his Audi. After settling down and giving him my apartment address, we soon vacated Holly Head’s parking lot and drove up to our destination.
The silence in the car was comfortable, and I was enjoying it along with the soft music playing through the music system. Turns out Carter doesn’t have that bad a taste when it comes to music, and in fact, there’s a lot common between us.
I finally asked him a question that’s been constantly nagging at the corners of my brain, “Where’s Cameron and Christina?"
“They left a while ago,” he said keeping his face straight and focused on the road.
Why? I wanted to ask but thought better of it and kept my mouth shut.
The rest of the ride was spent peacefully accompanied mostly by silence and occasional hummings by Carter.
After reaching my apartment, I invited him in, but he said he would rather stay outside than get in the ’hut of the mouse’.Rolling my eyes at him and gave him a shrug before walking up to my door.
As soon as I was inside, I walked into the bedroom to see the amazing dress that was sprawled out on the bed with a yellow note stuck on it. I immediately recognized the handwriting.
If you like this dress too much you can keep it. It was made for you. – Maria, xoxo.
I smiled at the warm gesture and took the fabric in my hands before going to change. After dressing and doing my makeup, I texted Maria telling her that I’m leaving. I grabbed my room keys from the counter and hurried down the stairs.
After meeting with Carter in the basement, his expression told me everything I imagined and wanted. My knee-length dress was dark purple which hugged my body perfectly. The sleeves were off-shoulder and glass length with intricate brocade work, and my waist was sequined with beautiful stones and pearls. My lips were also coated with a dark purple color and my eyes were lined in a wing shape giving it the perfect smoky look. When I first saw the dress, I thought it was perfect and now Carter just proved my point. His mouth was slightly parted, and his cheeks were flushed. The moonlight casted a dark shadow on his face, softening the texture of his lips and highlighting the glimmer in his blue eyes. However, the thing that caught my attention was his dilated pupils. We were standing too close and his six feet two body loomed over me, allowing me to feel the heavy rise and fall of his chest.
“Woah...,” he breathed out slowly, more like murmured. It was almost as if he was in a trance.
The corners of my lips twitched which seemed like a wake-up call to him as he immediately collected himself and said, “Right. So ready to go?"
“More than I’ll ever be,” I grinned at him before getting in his car.
After giving him the address that Maria sent me, we settled into a comfortable silence.
That is, until I spoke up, “How do I look?"
“You look...okay,” he replied, his eyes focused steadily on the road. I could see the rigidness of his shoulders as they barely fitted his black leather jacket.
“Okay? Well, that certainly wasn’t your first impression when you said 'Woah'," I gave him a smirk due to which he cursed.
“That was not...because... of your look. It was because...you took way too long to get ready,” he grumbled.
“Sure, Carter. Whatever helps you sleep,” I laughed causing him to mumble some incoherent words about how he won’t be able to sleep tonight, and this caused me to burst out laughing while he kept glaring at me through his peripheral vision.
Once we reached our destination, I got out of the car and took out some money from my purse. I held them towards him, “Here."
He gave me an incredulous look for a second and then spoke up, ” I don’t need the money, Hazel. Keep it. "
“I just wanted to mess with you,” he winked at me.
Of course, he wanted to do that. Jerk. But right now I wasn’t mad at him. Instead, I was thankful that helped me when I was in this trouble.
"Thank you. Really thank you,” I genuinely smiled up at him.
“It’s fine. By the way, do you have a ride home?" he asked as his brows drew together in concern.
“Yep. Is that concern I see in you, Carter Harvey?"
He rolled his eyes before replying, “Don’t flatter yourself."
"Trust me. I won’t”, I grinned cheekily at him.
There was a beat of awkward silence between us before I broke it, ”Thank you again. Really. You have no idea how big I owe you for this."
"Well then you better be ready when I ask you for it,” he smirked at me.
“And here comes the jerk again,” I laughed causing him to smile.
“So will I see you tomorrow?” he asked as he started his engine.
“Sure. Good night Carter.”
“Good night Hazel,” he gave me a final wave before driving off into the darkness.
I turned around to see the huge mansion of Kennington. Taking a deep breath I walked towards it with the pleasant memory of the moment I just spent with the hot-headed and arrogant Carter Harvey.