The Great Wide Somewhere

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Chapter 2

I sipped my black coffee, reaching for the newspaper. My eyes scanned the headlines, searching for something noteworthy, though I doubted I’d find anything. I sat down in my favorite leather chair as gray sunlight filtered in through the windows. Kai followed my every step, clearly having missed me. I set aside my coffee, unfurling the parchment as my eyes ran across something that piqued my interest.

18 Year Old Valedictorian, Harvard Bound Girl Presumed Dead.

Ouch. What a headline to wake up to on a Saturday morning. Below the black, blocky title was a picture of a beaming young girl with flowing brown hair and bright, topaz-brown eyes. I idly reached for my coffee, quickly reading through the fine print of the story. She’d gone missing just two weeks ago, but a bloodbath had been left behind and her father was a prominent scientist in the area. Foul play suspected. I went to set my coffee down, becoming more invested in the story, when a pounding shattered my peace and quiet, causing the mug to slip from my hand and crash to the floor. I stood in a flurry of rage, throwing down the newspaper.

“Fuck!” I hollered as hot coffee seared my left hand. I stomped to the hall, Kai barking at the door (doing his damn job for once), though I knew who it was just by the impeccable timing. I tore open the door, staring down at a smirking Jonah.

“Hi,” he quipped, bouncing upward with his greeting.

“What do you want?” I seethed.

“Uhh, it’s Saturday, dipshit.”

“So?”

“So tonight is the party,” he pushed his way inside. I closed the door, shaking my head in disbelief, rubbing a hand down my face. I’d forgotten. Why hadn’t I feigned the stomach flu or food poisoning?

I followed Jonah into the kitchen, watching as he poured himself a mug of coffee while I dug around for cleaning supplies.

“You do realize the party isn’t for like, I don’t know, twelve fucking hours?” I said pointedly before walking back into my sitting room and dropping to my knees. He followed, plopping down on the window seat.

“I figured we could…hang out?” He shrugged all too innocently. I shot him a glare as I scrubbed at the stain on the area rug.

“You mean, you wanted to come ask me for advice on how to get Evette into bed with you?” I raised a brow at him. He scoffed, feigning innocence.

“Me? Never!”

“I really hate you sometimes.” I said to the floor. Kai whined at my side as I nudged him away.

“Just give me like, two pointers, then I will leave you alone.”

I snorted.

“You need way more than two.”

I felt bad for Jonah, knowing he was lonely. He’d only ever made out with a girl, from what he’d told me. He wanted the attention and never got it. I shunned the spotlight but women were drawn to me. I rolled back, standing up and going to sit back in my chair. Mrs. Potter would love to have something to clean for once.

“Just tell her how you feel,” I said, shrugging. He made a face of sarcastic surprise.

“Wow! I’d never thought to do that!”

I bit back my insult.

“Seriously, Nick, I really like her.” He lowered his voice, staring at his mug of coffee. I sighed, taking in his nerdy appearance. He was wearing a gray, short sleeve Star Wars shirt. And thick rimmed glasses. And his curly hair was just a mess. But he was my brother, and he had a heart of gold. I wanted the best for him, even if I acted careless.

“She’s kind of a stuck up bitch, Jonah.”

He shot a glare at me. I held up my hands in surrender.

“It’s true and you know it. She goes for the guys that every girl wants, because it’s a game to her.”

“You mean a guy like you,” he pointed out. I sat back, sighing heavily.

“You know I’d never do that to you.”

He nodded slightly.

“I’m just saying, don’t waste your time with some bimbo. Find a girl who…likes you for you.”

I watched as a small, sly smile crept onto his face. I gave him a puzzled look.

“Mom wants to know when you—”

“I don’t date.” I said, effectively cutting off the conversation. I never intended to date or marry. End of story. I liked being alone, I liked my space, being responsible for my own self. Sure, I’d had a string of really hot one night stands when I felt the need. But that’s all they were. Pretty face after pretty face to quench my lust for the night. It was detestable, but I never wanted anything more than that, for obvious reasons.

“Well, you probably have a kid floating around out there somewhere,” he smirked.

“God forbid.” I laughed. “Feel better, though?” I asked, truly caring for him. He sighed.

“Yeah. Hey, can you drive me to the comic book store so I can hit on some poor, underpaid girls?”

I laughed heartily.

“I’ll grab my keys.”


Ten PM. An acceptable time to show up to a party. The log cabin was already crawling with scantily clad women and tattooed, brawny men. Jonah and I knew all of them, having been raised with them. If there was a pyramid to depict the chain of command in regards to the mafia, our family was the top. Everyone knew it. The Fordson’s owned not only this city, but this country. Our cousins would be here, our allies would be here—everyone who was anyone would be at a party like this. Why? Because it was the middle of nowhere, somewhere we could all be ourselves without fear.

The Baptiste family was a bit lower on the scale, though still held in high regards. At least, their patriarch was. Their two dumbass sons, Gerard and Levi, were nothing but bags of muscle. I’d witnessed them pick on Jonah as a child. They’d received a beating they never forgot, while both sets of fathers turned a blind eye and let us kids sort it out on our own. We learned to fight young. I learned to win.

I pushed open the door to my brother’s jaguar—the most ostentatious car he could find at the moment. Clearly, he was trying to impress a certain someone. As I stood to my full height and scanned the premises, I felt my wall go up. I hated these people, save for my family. A few giggling blonds teetered by on stilettos, shooting me lusty glances. Smart, I thought. Gravel and heels seemed an appropriate wardrobe choice. I turned, peering over the top of the car as Jonah waved to them, his jaw somewhere on the ground. I smacked the roof, causing him to jump to attention.

“Seriously?” I said. He gave me an impish smile and shrugged.

“Shall we, Sir Nicholas?” He said. I growled, pushing forward, drawn to the cabin and the music pulsating within.

We were bombarded immediately by old friends. Most wanted to hear about my run-in and ultimate escape in Japan, to which I gave Jonah all the credit, hoping to score him some points with the women listening in. I refused drinks on principle, though Jonah found it necessary to indulge.

“Keys.” I commanded, giving him a stern look. He passed them over without hesitation. Little shit. It had been his plan all along. He sipped at his bitch drink, trying so hard to dance. The music was blaring, the smell of stale beer wafting around as pool balls clacked against one another. There had to be three to four hundred people on the property. It was overwhelming.

“I need to go sit,” I yelled over the music, pointing to the couches off to the side by the pool table. Jonah nodded, still with the straw in his mouth. I pushed my way through the crowd, feeling relieved that the couch was empty. I sank down into it, my knees rising to my chest.

“Hey!” A grating female voice quipped as the couch dipped down slightly. That didn’t take long.

She wore a black leather skirt and what looked to be some sort of black bra. And heels. Did women not wear clothes anymore? Or was I an old curmudgeon?

“Hey.” I said out of bland politeness.

“I know you!” She said, leaning closer, pressing her breasts together for my viewing. I mean, I wasn’t about to stop her.

“You do?” I asked. Shit. Did I know her?

“Yeah! You’re Nick Fordson! Everyone knows you!”

“I am?” I bit back, not wanting to indulge her any further. She flipped her fake blond hair over her shoulder, batting her big brown eyes at me. I felt my fist clench. It had been a while…I decided to humor her, to give her what she wanted and get what I needed and part ways. I reached for her hand, and that seemed to make all her resolve fade.

“You’re so funny! There’s a free room…maybe we could go talk?” She suggested. Talk. I snorted, nodding. She towed me up, leading me through the crowd of people. I caught Jonah’s eye as he was grinding up on a very drunk Evette. He gave me two thumbs up. I laughed, hoping he’d remember this momentous time in his life.

The blond pushed open a door on the main floor, locking it behind us. I prayed my ribs would remain intact for this. Before I even knew what was happening, before I even knew her name, I had her on all fours. It wasn’t a memorable time, or a good time. It was empty, void of any emotion, but I was driven by my primal urges. I finished, collapsing onto the bed and breathing raggedly, my chest throbbing. She smiled dreamily at me.

“You’re so muscular and…big,” she breathed, biting her lip, gripping my bicep.

“I’ve gotta…uh…pee,” I lied, needing an escape. Hopefully I could drag Jonah off Evette’s leg long enough to get him into the car.

Her face fell as I pushed myself back up off the bed, fumbling around in the darkened room until I found the doorknob to the bathroom. In all reality, I wanted to shower off the gross, grimy feeling I had. I was a beast, in that manner. A barbarous, animalistic beast with no emotion. I pushed into the bathroom, slamming the door closed and locking it.

I gripped the sides of the sink, staring at myself, staring into the emptiness of my eyes. I growled, running my hands under the water and splashing my face. I wanted to get the hell out of here and go home. I needed to be done with shit like this. I was too old for it.

I nearly wrenched the door from its hinges as I tore it open. The lights in the room were now on, but the blond girl was gone. Instead, one of the Baptiste brothers—Gerard—stood, staring at me in surprise. He was a short, muscular man with a prominent chin and black hair slicked back across his skull.

I shook my head.

“Sorry, just had to…use the bathroom.” I said. He snorted, moving to shake my hand.

“It’s alright, just didn’t think anyone was in here.”

My brows furrowed. Out of the corner of my right eye, I caught a slight movement on the bed I’d just fornicated on. My gaze zeroed in on a petite young woman, her round eyes wide with fear plain as day in them. Was she afraid of me?

Her brown hair cascaded in silky waves down her back. She was only wearing a white tank top and pink underwear. Clearly I’d interrupted something. I made a noise in the back of my throat.

“Sorry,” I muttered, feeling heat rise in my cheeks as I looked back to Gerard. He chuckled darkly.

“Ahh, it’s fine. Good to see ya, Nick.”

I nodded to him, though something about the girl pulled my attention back to her. She was rather familiar, but I couldn’t place it. She trembled all over, tears pooling in her brown eyes, her bottom lip quivering. I nodded to her as well, exiting the room to give them their privacy.


The drive home was hell. I’d had to pull over three times so Jonah could puke.

“I told you not to drink that sugary shit. But no, why listen to me?” I said, my knuckles white on the steering wheel. Jonah only moaned beside me. I rolled down the window to dispel the smell of vomit. Thank God this wasn’t my car. I pulled up the driveway, parking the car, wondering how I could coax Jonah to walk inside of his own volition. There was no way I could carry him in my current state.

“Hey,” I nudged him. He stirred and glared at me.

“Get out, go inside. Evette is in there.” His eyes widened drastically as he fumbled with the handle. I prayed he wouldn’t remember the lie. I barely made it to the front door before he did. As soon as I unlocked it, he barreled inside, tripped, fell in the hallway, and began snoring. I’d count it a success. Kai sniffed at him in concern. I locked the door, checking my alarms, before going into the sitting room and grabbing a blanket to drape over him.

I decided a fire was in order. The napkins and newspaper from this morning’s fiasco were still on the ground, ready to become kindling. I balled up the paper, crouching in front of the fireplace, fumbling for a match. I made a nice stack of wood intermingled with paper and tossed the tiny flame into it. My eyes narrowed, though, onto a familiar face. Before I had time to pull the newspaper back out, it became engulfed and burned up.

I sank into my leather chair as the fire began to blaze, wracking my brain. Where had I seen her before? I’d read the paper this morning, but I felt like I’d….

I felt the color drain from my face. Jonah snored behind me. I reached for my phone, getting onto the internet to search for the article or any other news clips about the missing girl. Her picture was bright on my screen, her dimpled smile and big brown eyes staring right at me. My heart felt pierced. She had been presumed dead. But I’d just seen her with Gerard. Had she run away with him? What so-called smart girl would run away with that loser?

I set my phone down, drumming my fingers on the arm of the chair, sorting through the options in my mind. Maybe she had snapped. The pressure of being a prominent scientist’s daughter, and going to Harvard…it was easy to connect the dots. She’d met someone wild and reckless, and she wanted to immerse herself in that life.

I still felt a pit in my stomach, though, thinking of such a purely beautiful girl with a scummy slime ball like Gerard. I felt heat flash through my veins, an emotion I wasn’t accustom to winding its way into my heart. Jealousy.

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