“So he was like, perving on you guys having sex?” Emma’s face contorted with disgust as I told her what had happened last night. “What a sleazeball,” she breathed, processing it all while propped up in bed.
I couldn’t keep still, pacing the room anxiously. “Yeah, but I got bad vibes from Chris. Like, he sort of knew that Sam was from Bear Creek. I mean, how could he know something like that?” I asked, still unable to shake the bad feeling away that had played on my mind on loop.
Realization dawned on Emma’s face as she groaned. “Oh no. He asked where you were when you went to stay with your mom and I stupidly told him.” She flung a hand in the air, landing it with a slap against her duvet. “Shit. I wish I knew then what I know now. I wouldn’t have said anything,” she muttered regretfully.
It wasn’t her fault. She couldn’t have known about the inhabitants of Forest Lake, any more than I did. “It’s not your fault. I didn’t exactly keep it a secret, either. I bitched and moaned about visiting mom in Bear Creek for weeks. If he hadn’t found out from you, he could’ve easily asked someone from our class. That being said.” I dragged my fingers through my sleep tossed hair as I paced back and forth across the room. “Does this mean Chris knows about shifters? He said Sam looked like one of those guys from Bear Creek, so do you think he knows what they are?”
Emma’s eyes twitched as she thought. “I don’t like the sound of that, either.” She paused while pondering something. “Do you want me to ask if he’s ever been there? You said humans go to Hawcroft for vacations and stuff, right? So maybe his parent took him there or something.”
I stopped pacing, locking eyes with her. “No,” I shook my head vigorously. “That’ll seem way too obvious if he does know something.” Emma was about to say something else until I startled her by sucking in a shocked gasp. “Shit. What if he is one of those hunters?” My heart jumped in my chest. “Sam said they could be anyone.”
Emma’s face paled. “His parents are members of the same country club as my folks. His dad is always trying to get my dad to go hunting deer with him but dad won’t take him up on the invite. He hates guns,” she added.
“I’m not surprised he turned him down with your mom being vegan,” I remembered, reminiscent of all the plant-based dinners she would eat while we all tucked into steak and fried chicken.
Emma nodded. “Yeah, Dad’s a pretty good judge of character, being a lawyer and all. He said I ought to stay away from the likes of Chris, and that he’s as much of a bad influence as his father. Whatever that meant.” She shrugged. “I guess his dad gives my dad a bad vibe, too. Dad thinks he has some sort of hold over a couple of the other guys at the club. I heard him say to mom that he doesn’t want to be affiliated with his sort.”
Upon hearing that, I got the impression my fears seemed plausible. “Okay...” I scrubbed a hand over my face. “So let’s just say for shits and arguments sake, that Chris is a shifter hunter and he knows about Sam.” My heart throbbed painfully as I ran through the scenario. “Sam thinks I should tell people we decided to end things, just to be on the safe side. What do you think? Do you think he’ll believe it, or do you think he’ll cause problems?”
Emma nodded. “Yeah, that’d work. You’ll get shit from Brittany gloating but that’ll only make it seem more believable. Just keep well away from him to be on the safe side. In the meantime, I’m gonna do my own detective work on Chris.” Her eyes narrowed into cunning slits. “We can speculate till we’re blue in the face but we could be completely wrong.”
I shot her a warning look. “Well, be careful Nancy Drew. If we are right about him, then that makes him dangerous.”
Emma twisted her lips, sighing through her nose. “Yeah, but our advantage is that he’s clearly still interested in you and he doesn’t know you’re pregnant. I doubt he’ll wanna hurt you. If anything he’ll be more determined to get into your pants.” She swung her legs out of bed, sitting perched on the edge of the mattress.
“As soon as he finds out you’re single again... well, fake single anyway. He’ll probably come to me, fishing for information and that’s when I’ll drop subtle hints. You know, play the protective bestie, not wanting another asshole to break your heart. You never know, he might reveal something about the guys at Bear Creek and that’s when we’ll know for sure.” She slapped her fist against her palm. “Besides, having Chris panting after you like a lovesick puppy will piss all over Brittany's fire.” Emma’s lips twitched into a wry smile.
“You’re malevolent... and I love it,” I complimented her slyness. “But I don’t want to lead him on or give him any false hope. If anything, I just want to get through these last couple of weeks and go home to Sam.”
Emma nodded, agreeing with me. “Don’t worry, I won’t let him anywhere near you,” she promised.
A determined knock had us both whipping our heads around towards the door. “Finally, breakfast.” I hurried over and turned the latch, pulling the door open to find Sam struggling with an overfilled brown paper bag in one arm, a cardboard tray containing three coffees balanced in his other hand and a paper bag that had been folded closed, dangling from his teeth.
I took the smaller bag from his mouth, giving him the ability to speak. “Ah, thanks,” he muttered, passing me by and placed the bag and tray down on the white, veneer dressing table. “Sausage and egg McMuffins and hash browns,” he announced. “Sorry I didn’t wake you, you looked so peaceful,” he apologized giving me a heart stopping smile.
“It’s alright,” I replied, delving into the bag and retrieving a McMuffin. My mouth filled up like a reservoir as I unwrapped the greasy paper. “I’m fucking starving,” I admitted, before sinking my teeth into my little grease ball of heaven.
“Mmm.” I moaned pleasurably as I chewed, not giving a shit that the cheese slice had gotten stuck to my teeth. Usually, I hated that but this morning I was way too hungry to care. Sam and Emma grabbed one each. She sat down on the edge of her bed to devour hers while he took a seat on the vanity stool. He ripped open two sugar pouches at once and emptied them into his coffee cup.
“I saw your friend Brittany while I was out,” Sam mentioned, causing me to swallow hard. He stirred his drink with the long wooden stick that he took from inside the bag.
Both Emma and I glanced his way. “What?” I asked, not knowing what to expect next.
“Don’t worry.” Sam chuckled, witnessing my reaction. “She didn’t notice me. She was power walking towards town but looked like she’d been crying.” His brows drew together giving the look of sympathy. That was one of his many redeeming qualities, his consideration for others. It made me stop and take a look at myself, wanting to become a better person.
“Crying?” I reiterated, turning my gaze to Emma, who returned me an equally baffled look. “I wonder what happened?” I spoke my thoughts aloud.
Fair enough, we weren’t big fans of hers but to hear she’d been crying wasn’t exactly music to my ears. I wasn’t a heartless bitch. I disliked the thought of anyone being upset, even if it was Brittany, knowing that she would probably laugh in my face if our situations were reversed.
“She probably realized she was being used as a booty call,” Emma mumbled, unwrapping her own McMuffin. “Men are such fucking ass holes,” she commented, then realized what she said and backtracked. “Present company excluded from that. You’re not an asshole Sam.” She turned her attention to me, hearing me snort with amusement. “Helen, you’re lucky you found a flower amongst a field full of weeds,” she dramatized her words, sharing her critical outlook of the male species.
Sam’s face brightened as he gave a genuine laugh in response. “I’ll take that compliment then.”
“You better.” I raised my brows, speaking with food in my mouth. “She doesn’t often dish them out.”
After we stuffed our faces, Emma broke the silence, “So what’s the plan?” Her eyes flicked between me and Sam.
Sam took a sip of his coffee and swallowed. “Well, now that I’ve fed you, girls, I’m gonna take off like we discussed.” Sam turned to me, his brow creased with tortured conflict. “I hate this but it won’t be long until you come home.”
He was worried, I could tell. My shoulders drooped as I sighed. “I wish I could hide you in my room for the next couple of weeks.”
“I wish,” Sam muttered, tapping his thigh as an invitation for me to sit on his lap. I obliged, discarding my greasy wrapper in the empty bag and snuggling into him.
“I wish, too,” I mumbled into the crease of his neck. Sam smelled warm and manly. His natural scent of honey and citrus was my favorite scent in the whole wide world. I had done my best to recreate it using candles and essential oils but found nothing in comparison. He rested his chin on the top of my head, stroking his fingertips along my spine through the thin cotton of my night dress. “But there’s still so much work to do on the guest house,” he sighed. “Our home won’t build itself.”
My lips curved into a smile. As much as I wanted him to stay here with me, I knew he was working hard to build us a future. If Sam leaving, meant putting a safe distance between him and Chris, then so be it. The next couple of weeks would fly by in a heartbeat. Then I could spend the rest of my life at Sam’s side, raising our family in Hawcroft.
“I know, and I’m so proud of you. You’re so talented,” I told him, my voice full of pride.
His fingers tickled under my ribs and I squirmed on his lap, “Don’t!” I squealed.
His husky laughter rumbled through his chest.
“I’m gonna go pee, then take a shower,” Emma announced, getting up and discarding her own wrapper. “I’ll give you guys some privacy.”
The door closed behind her with a soft rattle, leaving Sam and I just holding each other. He pressed his lips against my skin, trailing the curve of my throat with soft kisses, tickling my skin with his coarse beard. My back arched and my skin erupted in goosebumps.
“You like that, huh?” Sam whispered in a husky rumble that sent moisture pooling in my sweet place. Fuck! Even hearing his voice set my nerve endings on fire.
“You know it,” I breathed, loving the feel of his warm breath blowing against my ear. His teeth nipped my lobe and I gasped, jolting on his lap and feeling the evidence of arousal through his jeans.
“Does she take her time showering?” Sam asked, dropping a hint as to how much time we had.
“Hmhm,” I mumbled, feeling his hands delve beneath my nightdress and cup either side of my bare ass.
Sam seized the moment, lifting me and taking me by surprise. One second I was in the air the next my back hit the mattress with a soft bounce. The buckle to Sam’s belt jingled as he undid it, then there was the sound of buttons popping open before his jeans hit the floor. I squealed as my legs were dragged to the bottom of the bed, my nightdress was pulled over my head, then he tossed it away, not caring where it landed. Sam crawled over me all naked and ready, nestling himself down between my legs. As I reared up to meet him, his lips crashed against mine, pinning me back down against the mattress.
“Ahh,” I moaned into his mouth, feeling the tip of his cock break through my lower lips, sheathing himself slowly. My walls burned as they stretched, feeling his hips meet with mine.
“I think we’ve got time for a quickie,” Sam mumbled against my lips as we kissed.
Sam broke the kiss, leaning up on his elbows just to look at me. “You feel like home,” he spoke, gazing down on me with so much love and affection I thought I might burst with happiness.
“Love you, too,” I replied, pulling him down to kiss me again, then buried my fingers into his silky, brown hair. He rolled his hips as we kissed, dragging his cock through my walls, finding a slow, sensual rhythm. I mewled with pleasure, taking everything he gave me. A chorus of ragged breathing and grunts filled the room as our pace quickened, not knowing how much time we had.
Sam’s breathing became more uneven as his release drew near. He knew just what to do to drive me right over the edge, needing me to come with him. Just how I liked, he lifted my ass from the bed and began pounding himself into me with pure carnal abandon, sliding himself deeper into my cavern. Rough moans tore through my throat as lights flashed behind my fluttering eyelids.
My stomach tightened and my pussy clenched around his cock, stroking him into a wild frenzy. My legs wrapped around him as he pushed me past my breaking point, digging my fingers in his shoulders. Sam’s face scrunched with parted lips as he came with a loud groan. Both of us snatched ragged breaths as we rode the crest of our orgasms, slumping relaxed, our bodies tangled together, all sweat glistened and spent.
After we showered, Sam left to head back to Hawcroft. Saying goodbye wasn’t as hard this time around. Not when we both knew it wouldn’t be long until we could see each other again. I only had to count down the days.
Emma and I jumped straight into phase one of our plan: Make people believe I was single again. We invited a couple of girls back to our dorm for a pamper night, in aid of cheering me up.
“Aww Helen, I’m so sorry.” Vicky, a pretty red-haired girl from two doors down, sought to comfort me. Her brow dimpled in a sympathetic frown. “You’re a beautiful girl. You’ll soon find someone who’ll appreciate you.”
Her roommate, Sarah, a bubbly blonde haired girl splayed her fingers wide as she spoke. “This calls for chick flicks, chocolate, and ice-cream.”
“We’re going into town, so we’ll pick up the snacks,” Emma announced.
“Alright,” Vicky replied. “Then we’ll go to the liquor store and pick up some wine.”
I looked to Emma, seeing the color drain from her face. “Uh, you see....” I tried to think of a valid excuse why I couldn’t drink, without giving away my secret, then Emma cut in, beating me to it. “She can’t drink, she’s on antibiotics for a thing...” She hesitated, looking back to me for help.
“Yeah,” my eyes winced as I tried to think of a lie. “I’ve got a thing...that effects my...”
“...Vagina.” Emma blurted out at the same time as I mentioned, “...gums.” I shot her sly eyes as she cringed back at me in apology.
Vicky and Sarah both stood there with wide-eyed expressions, listening to me fumble around for an explanation.
“You see, it’s my lower region. That's the private little nickname we gave it.” My face burned in awkward embarrassment. “My lower gums,” I spluttered out in a fluster. If I didn’t laugh, then I would’ve cried.
Sarah mouthed 'oh' then added, “I get it.” She winked. “Your secret's safe with us.”
“A vaginal infection? Thanks a lot,” I huffed, glaring through the passenger side window as Emma drove us into town.
“Sorry,” Emma apologized, sounding sincere.
“Hmph,” I huffed in response.
An awkward silence hung over us during the journey. We didn’t even bother to turn on the radio. Every now and then both of us would steal a fleeting glance, just to try and guess what each other was thinking. The worried frown that etched itself onto Emma’s face drowned me in remorse. Guilt consumed me, having been way too hard on her.
“I’m sorry too,” I caved in like one of us always did. Our minor squabbles only ever lasted a few minutes.
“It’s OK.” Emma’s lips twitched in a fragile smile. “You wanna go to the makeup counters first and try on some testers?” She asked, trying to lighten the mood.
We often did that right before a night out. The both of us would dress up ready to go to a club and pay a visit to the mall, spraying expensive perfume and applying the latest designer lipstick or eyeshadow. I reckon the girls on the counter knew what we were up to but truth be told, everyone did it.
Emma wasn’t used to being broke like me but whilst she studied, her parents gave her a limited allowance. It was just enough to live on each month, which wasn’t supposed to be used on partying. Her folks weren’t stingy with money, they just wanted her to focus. Her dad said he saw how wealth corrupted people, especially rich kids with more money than sense. Emma was raised to respect that money had to be earned. If you worked hard in life, it’d pay off in the long run. I liked her parents, George and Dahlia. They had good values and always been good friends to mom and me, especially after my father died.
Now that I was mated to Sam, it technically meant that I wasn’t broke anymore but I never asked him for a single dime. Nor did I use the debit card he sent me after setting up our joint bank account. He’d invested most of his own savings into the guest house as it was, so I continued to live off my student loans. Married or not, I felt awkward spending his money. Fending for myself these past few years had made me rather independent and financially aware.
“You betcha. Just like old times minus the clubbing part,” I answered.
“Do they have nightclubs in Bear Creek?” Emma raised a question that made me have to really think. “Um... I’m not sure to be honest, but they do have bars. I don’t think they have nightclubs like what we’re used to in the city. The bars I’ve seen have live music playing but I don’t know if any are considered a night club as such. There’s a rough ass biker club in the scary part of town but Sam said he’d rather drink out of a public toilet than step one foot in there. Why do you ask?”
Emma turned the car into the parking lot behind the mall. “I’m just asking, you know... for future references,” she mumbled, searching for a free space.
Emma was curious about Forest Lake but not in a way that suggested she was anxious or afraid. I don’t even know why but whenever I romanced about what my future in Hawcroft would look like, Emma was always a part of it somehow, like she belonged there, too.
“Bear Creek is kind of Country, you know. Kind of like going back to basics. It makes you really appreciate the simple things in life, things you take for granted,” I explained. “It has all the mod cons like cable and internet but I didn’t bother with any of those. I spent most of my time admiring the beautiful landscape.... and doing my husband.” We both chuckled.
She parked up, turning off the engine. “What about Hawcroft?” She inquired, her eyes full of childlike wonder.
“It's a little more modern than Bear Creek. The wolves own it and they have plenty of money to throw around. They own the neighboring town called Stonevale, too. Apparently, it has a Californian vibe. I’ve never been but Sam said it’s full of mansions like Beverly Hills. Hawcroft is sort of like a mashup of three shifter communities all rolled into one. I’m trying to find the best way to describe it.” I thought for a moment. “Think of country and western meets Puerto Rico, then throw in a splash of Manhattan. That’s sort of how Hawcroft is.”
“I would love to see it.” Emma’s eyes glazed dreamily as she envisioned it in her mind.
“You will,” I promised, seeing how her face brightened as she smiled. “You’re gonna love it there.”
We were lucky to beat the mid-afternoon rush, strolling around the mall before the place began filling up with anxious shoppers. I couldn’t fucking stand people pushing past me, bashing shopping bags into my shins, elbowing their way up and down the escalators like manners were never invented and shopping had become a blood sport.
What was the rush? Was there a fire? We’re they trying to trick their Fitbit's into thinking they’d walked more steps? What was their deal? I was what you’d call a laid back shopper. Taking my time to browse, hunting for bargains, glancing in store windows at all the shit I couldn’t afford and dreaming of what I would buy if I ever won the lottery.
I’m the gal people in a hurry huff at because I’m walking in front of them at a snail’s pace, or standing in the way of something they want. Yes, I do it on purpose and no I won’t loosen my grip on the escalator banister so you can push your way past. I turned and shot the woman who tried to squeeze past me a warning scowl, watching her shrink back like a tortoise hiding in its shell.
The three-story mall was a fairly new shopping complex, built four years ago. The interior was a stunning cream and gold marble design, with matching floor tiles that glittered with gold fleck. Inside was made to look like mount Olympus, having Greek statues, exotic plants and water fountains throughout.
Enormous crystal chandeliers hung from the domed glass ceiling, sparkling as they captured the light. Jets of water shot out of the mouths of the mythical stone creatures in each fountain, reaching as high as the third floor as if they were having their very own water spitting contest.
The upper floors had glass paneled edging, topped with brass rails which swept down the banister rails at either end of the building. We had the option of taking the stairs but me being lazy, opted to use the escalators which were closer to the center. Alternatively, there were lifts located by the main entrance but I didn’t much care for being crushed in a box like sardines. Anyway, I preferred the view from the escalator. It gave me the opportunity to spot people I wanted to avoid. As we neared the second floor, I stepped off first, followed closely by Emma. “Where do you wanna go first?” She asked, gesturing left or right.
“The beauty box,” I suggested. “They always give away free samples if you get there early enough.”
Sure, they were teeny tiny packets of foundation or moisturizer but if you collected enough of them you could save yourself a small fortune in the long run. Beauty essentials and toiletries ate up the majority of our monthly budget. There was no shame in scrounging something for free when you were a poor student.
We headed straight for the Beauty Box, passing the middle-aged security staff as they guarded the entrance with their judgemental scowls. Emma and I were like two moths gravitating towards the blue, seductive glow of an insecticutor. We were drawn towards the products with a desperate sense of need. As any female could appreciate, want and need were to entirely different things.
Yes, we may have wanted that new Dior perfume as it enticed us from where it glittered on the countertop. It even had its own banner that read 'Try me!'
Want went beyond all sense of reason and it suddenly becomes apparent that we needed it, dousing ourselves in it. Just like I felt that I needed the new Lancôme mascara because of how it made the sales assistants eyes pop. Her luscious lashes resembled feather dusters, they were so perfect.
Fuck these clever sales tactics, trying to lure me into financial ruin. Making me need things that I shouldn’t want, and want things that I couldn’t afford. Fuck that fuckery, fucking fuck! I whined internally. “Maybe we should just go and rob a bank,” I mumbled to Emma.
“Can I help you?” The glamorous kiosk lady asked, looking like a walking advertisement of the products she was selling. All perfect and immaculate. Double triple fuck! Now I needed all of that shit.
“Um, we’re just looking thanks,” I replied, mustering the willpower to reply sweetly. My hormones were playing havoc with my mood lately. I was an inch away from leaping over the counter top to grip her pristine, white uniform by the collar like Gollum and hiss, give me the precious.
Emma had sprayed about five perfumes in different areas along her arms, choking on the dense mist around her and swatting the air. She wrinkled her nose then covered her face as she sneezed. “Achoo!” She sniffled. “Shit, I can taste it in my mouth.” She grimaced, spluttering.
I giggled, finding the faces she made amusing. My eyes became distracted by something I saw over her shoulder, catching sight of someone watching us intensely through the window display. Emma saw me staring and turned to follow my line of sight.
“Who’re you looking at?” She muttered. “Is that Sean?” Her face flushed crimson with anger. “I’m gonna go give him a piece of my mind, the dirty little bastard.” She stormed away, flexing her fists.
“Emma, just leave it,” I called after her. “Shit!” I hissed, hurrying behind. Sean darted away having been spotted. By the time we left the store, he’d disappeared amongst the crowd. Emma stood on the tips of her toes searching. A determined look fixed firmly on her face. Wherever he went, he obviously didn’t want us to follow him. This only fuelled our suspicions.
Curling my fingers around the crease of Emma’s elbow, I gave her a soft nudge. “He’s not worth the effort, let’s go.”
She let it drop, begrudgingly. “Wherever that little rat is, Chris won’t be far behind. Let's go this way to avoid running into him,” she suggested. “Wanna go look for some sexy lingerie in the sales?”
“You had me at Sale. Everything I own comes from a sale rack,” I admitted, unabashed. Emma cast a glance over her shoulder which forced me to look for myself, paranoid.
The mall was filled with a sea of faces, indistinguishable from each other. “Don’t keep looking for them, you’re making me nervous,” I commented as we walked linking arms.
We bought dollar thongs in assorted colors, taking advantage of the three for two offer. My bladder was close to bursting point, so a trip to the restrooms was the next port of call.
Women stood in line, waiting their turn, chatting over the blaring noise of the hand dryers. One of the sinks had tissue paper stuffed into the drain hole and had been filled to the brim with a murky concoction of soap and water. Liquid soap oozed from the dispensers, having been tampered with by bored kids who hated being dragged around the mall. I waited in line, smirking at a girl leaving a cubicle with a scraggly strip of toilet paper attached to the heel of her shoe. Her friend chased behind her trying to step on it.
As soon as it was my turn, I bolted for the cubicle, fumbling with my pants and hovering over the toilet seat. I’m not a germaphobe but my ass wasn’t going to make contact with the rim of that seat if my life depended on it.
Faint sniffles could be heard coming from the next cubicle as if someone was crying. It wasn’t my place to pry, so I finished what I was doing, then went to wash my hands. While I stood washing the soap suds away under the flow of water, my eyes flicked up to the mirror, seeing Brittany emerge from the cubicle next to mine. Our eyes met in the reflection for a split second. I flicked the excess water from my fingers then passed her en-route to the hand dryers.
I half expected her to say something bitchy as per usual but she didn’t. Her eyes were tired and bloodshot and the skin around them was puffy and raw. She splashed water on her face, patting at her cheeks and dabbling her fingers under her eyes.
It took me a moment to realize that her face wasn’t clawped in inches of thick heavy makeup like it usually was. her skin had a scattering of freckles across her nose and cheeks and her hair was scraped back in a simple ponytail. There was a vulnerability about her that I’d never noticed before, something fragile and childlike.
She caught me staring and blew out a shaky breath. “What’re you looking at?” She asked weakly. Her eyes were downturned with a saddened look of defeat.
I felt a deep swell of pity brewing inside of me. “Are you OK?” I asked the dumbest question known to man, knowing that she obviously wasn’t but didn’t know what else to say.
She looked away and huffed, suggesting that she’d much rather sever off a limb than admit anything to me right now. “Do I look OK?” She gestured towards herself, her voice laced with utter sarcasm.
Emma came over from the far corner of the restrooms, having just seen who I was talking to. She approached us with caution. “What’s going on?” She asked, looking back and forth between Brittany and me.
“Nothing,” I answered truthfully. “Brittany was upset so I asked her what was wrong.”
Emma looked at Brittany. “Are you here alone?”
Brittany gave a brief bitter laugh before dropping her gaze to the floor. “Story of my life.” She blinked away tears. “Excuse me, I have to go.” She pushed her way past and made for the exit.
“Hey,” I called out to her. She stopped and did a slow turn. Maybe I was going soft, or maybe I was a sucker for a lost cause but I could tell she needed somebody and her army of trolls were nowhere to be seen.
Past history aside, we all used to be friends once upon a time and from the look of her, heartbroken and distraught, I knew she could really use a friend right now.
“We’re having a girly get together, tonight in our dorm. It’ll probably be bad facial products that’ll bring us out in zits, pigging out on ice cream and chocolate. Knowing Emma with her David Bowie infatuation, we'll be watching him dance his way around an enchanted labyrinth, dressed in spandex tights. You’re welcome to join me, I just got dumped, pity party if you like?” I shrugged, giving her a small glimpse of my own vulnerable side.
I noticed her frown slightly when I mentioned my own heartache. Even though it wasn’t true, I had to pretend like it was. “You got dumped?” She asked, in a way that actually sounded like compassion. I almost fell through the floor in shock. “Yeah, apparently, I wasn’t the one,” I sold her the lie and it seemed like she bought it.
“Sucks doesn’t it,” she replied, her voice cracking with emotion. “Men are pigs.”
Emma’s fingers clutched the strap of her shoulder bag. “Our dorm at seven thirty. Vicky and Sarah are supplying wine but if you’re you know...” She shrugged her shoulders awkwardly, “then there’ll be plenty of soda.”
Brittany managed a weak smile. “I’m not really pregnant,” she revealed what we already suspected. “I just said that because...” She wiped away another tear that fell. “You know what, I don’t even know why I said that,” she muttered, choking back the urge to cry.
“You don’t want to be pregnant to a jerk like Chris,” Emma commented. “He talks to you like shit and you deserve so much better.”
Brittany half laughed. “Thanks.” Her expression altered as her eyes flicked to mine, growing more serious. “Helen, be careful when it comes to Chris, okay. He’s got this weird obsession when it comes to you. I mean it, watch yourself,” she warned, leaving me unnerved.
“Us girls have to stick together,” Emma added, gaining approval from both Brittany and myself.
“I have a meeting with Mr. Hammond in an hour, so I better get going,” Brittany excused. “Seven thirty, right?” She double checked.
Emma seemed as surprised as I was that she showed interest in coming. “Um, yeah, that’s right. Cool. I guess we’ll see you then,” Emma confirmed.
We got the snacks for the girls night, plus the added extras that stretched the purse strings. With only a couple of weeks left to go it hardly mattered anymore. By the middle of next week, our entire dorm block was planning on having a huge blow out party. Not that I’d be staying for that fiasco. By then I’d be relaxing in the dip pool in Sam’s back yard, filled to maximum capacity by a muscle-bound hunk of a bear shifter. Now that was my kind of a party.
“Where the fuck did we park?” Emma’s eyes scanned the parking lot in a state of panic and confusion.
“Oh, not again,” I huffed irritably. “This is the second time this month we’ve lost the car.”
Emma pressed the key fob a few times to see if she could make out the flashing headlights amongst the ocean of cars. “There it is over there,” she placed a hand over her chest, relieved.
Both of us giggled as we weaved through the parked cars. Emma walked around one side and I walked around the other absentmindedly, neither of us paying attention to who was sneaking up behind us. Emma’s scream caused me to drop my bags in shock. My own scream lodged in my throat, feeling a rough hand grip the back of my neck forcefully. Whoever it was, flung me face first against the car, causing stars to burst in my vision.
Emma’s cries fell silent and I screamed, thrashing against the heavyweight that pinned me into place. A foul-smelling cloth was clamped down over my airways and then the world went dark.