Please remember the trigger warnings from before. The rest of this story is going to get rather dark...ish. There is talk of suicide in this chapter and from here on out. Of course, never depicted, but they do discuss different methods. So please be aware.
A heavy breath leaves my lips. A longing clawing the back of my mind like a wild animal begging to leave the cage. Rattling me, surrounding me. The past few days they've consumed me. Wholly. Completely. Chase. Zepp. Seger. They filled every aspect of my days and nights, never leaving my brain. But Tristan. Oh, Tristan. We’ve been so quiet with each other. My other half. My guy. We’ve been through this before. Life gets busy, but it never eases the ache of missing him. The pain searing through my beating heart, constricting my expanding lungs. He’s the other piece to my soul, and he’s been MIA for too long. But so have I.
Me: I miss you
The minutes tick by, usually we text back right away. A ferocious ache stabs in my gut like a knife searing through my skin, burning from the inside out. I’m not whole without him.
Tristan: I miss you too.
Me: sorry I’ve been so busy…...
Tristan:...me too...I uh think I..met someone.
My heart pounds as I stare at his message. Jealousy roars through me. But I have no right. My Tristan. My best friend. Not my lover. Not my boyfriend. Hell, I don’t even know who he is. Besides, after what I did with my three. Mine. I swallow the green-eyed monster, trying to force herself up, boxing her into a cage where she belongs. There can’t be jealousy here. I have mine and he has his.
Me: uh..me too. Plus, my mission...it’s been hectic.
Tristan: definitely hectic. Looks like we may be going in different directions, but the road will always lead me back to you. You’re my girl, Addi. Always. But, just so you know, if whoever you’re seeing hurts you in any way….. I’ll kill them.
Me: snorts. Don’t worry... they won’t. And the same goes for you. You’re always mine. Don’t let that girl break your heart or I’ll break her face.
Tristan: promises…. promises….
I stare at my phone at the implication of they. Them. Multiple boys. All different in their own ways, but each holds an important piece of me in their palms. Equal pieces, molding me to them like a puzzle.
A sharp knock on my door brings me back to reality. Somehow, in a matter of a day, my room is back to normal. Whatever strings Zepp pulled with the help of Chase’s sway, paid off. Big time. It doesn’t look like anything happened. At all. They even replaced my once painted door with a new one. Luckily, I had time to get new clothes delivered from the local shops in time for our Italian dinner. Perks of Chase, again. That boy. He used his last name, taking advantage of it. I won’t complain this time.
I stand from my desk, happy my computers are back home in their rightful place. A floor-length mirror sits on the bathroom door, my eyes take in my appearance. I brush my long blonde hair over my shoulders, letting it fall past my middle back. If I’m not careful, it’ll grow to butt length before I know it. Sparkling blue eyes stare back at me from the mirror, radiating happiness for the first time in a long time. My mom always joked I was the milkman’s daughter, even though I look exactly like my dad. And nothing like my dark-haired, dark-eyed siblings. Shorter, smaller, but that doesn’t stop me. Nothing can stop me once I set my mind to a task.
I pluck at the loose red halter top I’m wearing, scrunching my nose. I never dress up like this. I never wear small heels or skinny jeans like these. I never. But today, this time feels different. Important. It’s for them. It’s for me. For everybody. I want to feel beautiful around them. Although they’d tell you I am already beautiful or something cheesy like that. I can’t help but smile, happiness soaring through me. Amid the chaos, these boys ground me, complete me. It’s odd to feel, really feel, deep down in my bones such happiness.
Another small knock comes from the door, pulling me from my thoughts. I take a deep breath, feeling odd. We’re all going out tonight, trying to forget about our worries. My problems. The twin’s problems.
Chase swallows hard when I open the door. His eyes devouring my new appearance. His grey eyes searching me from head to toe. A red tint glows over his cheeks, down his neck, and spreads to the tips of his ears.
“Shit, Kace,” he mutters, bringing his eyes back up to mine. Warmth spreads through me, heating my face too. I’m sure we look like two peas in a pod, ready to guide Santa on Christmas Eve. His eyes devour mine like a starving man looking at his first meal in three weeks. He doesn’t look too bad himself. With his fitted jeans and a nice button-down. Chase wasn’t kidding when he said he wanted to dress up and go out.
“Hey,” I say awkwardly, tucking my hair snug behind my ears. Chase’s grin widens, his head tilting to the side.
“You look hot,” he says through his signature lopsided grin, stepping towards me. All the confidence he oozes comes back to him. He cups my face in his enormous hands, leaning down. Our noses touch, eyes examining each other. There’s a wild hunger resting in his grey eyes, reflecting to me how much he wanted this.
“You’re not so bad yourself,” I squeak out as best I can, considering my voice is locking up at the sight of how handsome he is. Now, where did all my confidence go off to? And how the hell am I going to handle myself in front of the other two? Shit.
“Are you ready for the best night of your life?” He murmurs, lips brushing against mine. On instinct, my eyes close, and my breaths picking up in anticipation.
“Yes,” I whisper, need slipping into my tone. He’s so close. So close to me and my body remembers what happened the last time we were together. Those images flash through my mind, as Chase brings his soft lips to mine. Pecking my lips.
“If I take too long, those other idiots are going to come to track us down.” His breaths brush against my flesh, going in for another soul-stealing kiss. If I was ready, I’d slam the door and say fuck the spaghetti. But I’m not ready, not yet.
“Then you better get me to that fast car you promised me.” A smile takes hold of my lips as he kisses my cheek. Groaning and muttering about wanting to stay in my room and please me. Which, I mean, come on! Who wouldn’t want that? But like my grumbling stomach is reminding me, I need to leave. So not ready for the next step.
Chase’s phone vibrates in his pocket, spilling some ridiculous rap song as the ringtone. With lines like “my annoying best friend”. He rolls his eyes in frustration, taking my hand in his. After locking my door, we head down the hallway and out the front door. He never lets go of my hand, his eyes watching around us. Making sure no one messes with me or him.
“Fucking finally,” Seger gripes, leaning against his baby blue Porsche with his arms across his chest.
“I thought you locked yourself in her room,” Zepp says, taking the same stance as Seger, reminding me of the first time I saw them. Identical in every way. Except for the mole resting beside their eyebrows. Zepp’s on the left. Seger’s on the right. Drool threatens to slip out of my lips at the sight of them too. If I thought I would pass out at the sight of Chase in his outfit, these two melt my panties right off. In their tight jeans, nice button-downs, and sneakers, they’re fit for a night out on the town. Phew. I might need to fan myself.
“Careful boys, your jealousy is showing.” Chase snarks back, squeezing my hand in his as he pulls me toward his ridiculously fast car. Decked out in orange and black and sitting low to the ground. I wouldn’t stop him if he wanted to open the motor up and press the pedal to the metal on the highway. No way in hell would I stop him. Sometimes, I crave the speed beneath me with the open road in front of me. It’s exhilarating but controlled.
“Psh, jealous?” Seger waves a hand in our direction, grumbling more about how much time Chase took to fetch me from my apartment.
“Alright, alright, we ready?” Zepp asks, taking a step toward me. Finally, looking me over with his calculated stare. Oh — his stare. He could bring down the most powerful advisory with a single glance. Those green eyes take in every inch of me. I’m surprised he didn’t ask me to twirl so he could get a look at my ass in these jeans. I would — maybe I should, too. My cheeks heat under his scrutiny. Just hours earlier, they sandwiched me between all three of them. Stroking. Licking. Petting. Urgh…..
“I’m starving,” I say in agreement. Chase takes us all to his car, jumping up and down like a Golden Retriever ready to play fetch. His blonde, shaggy hair bounces with every step he takes and that smile. Nothing could wipe off that beautiful smile sitting on his happy lips.
“You’re going to love this,” Chase says through a grin, basically vibrating with joy.
Seger steps up behind me near the passenger’s side door, wrapping an arm around my waist. “Make sure to buckle up,” he mutters in my ear. His fingers squeeze against my waist, opening the door for me. “Because this dick is crazier than any other asshole behind the wheel. I’d rather you survive this journey.” Seger smirks over the hood of the car, interrupting a bro conversation between the other two. Chase’s face drops from playful to deadly, zeroing in on Seger like he’s the deer in his headlights.
“I wouldn’t put our girl in danger,” he seethes, throwing the driver’s side door open. Zepp grumbles, squishing himself into the backseat. Who knew a sports car like this would have it.
“But you’ll still go fast, right?” That radiant smile I swore couldn’t fall off his lips reappears on his face at my words. Winking as he sets himself into the driver’s seat, he settles in.
“Oh, now you’ve fucking done it,” Seger grumbles like a child, smashing himself into the backseat of the tiny sports car. I almost snort at the sight of them, shoulder to shoulder, looking more like giants than normal humans.
The engine rumbles to life, vibrating under my seat. I flush as the vibrations work through me, turning to see Chase’s heated gaze boring into me. His wrist hangs lazily over the steering wheel, a seductive grin plastered on his face. His grey eyes rake over my body, noticing how clenched my thighs are. His teeth sink into his bottom lip, head shaking with a chuckle.
“Hang on, Sunshine, you’re about to go for a hell of a ride.” The horny bastard winks at me, pulling out of the parking lot at break-neck speeds. I hold on for dear life, feeling the speed soar through my veins. The exhilaration. The adrenaline spilling through my heart and into my bloodstream. My head swims in the euphoric feeling, savoring it. Enjoying it. When he shifts, the car jerks, sending jolts through me.
I lean my head back, reveling in the feeling of the speed. “You’re liking his crazy ass driving a little too much,” Seger whispers in my ear, squeezing his hand on the side of my neck. His lips brush against my ear, feeling the sly grin against my flesh.
“It’s a turn on,” I joke through heated cheeks, looking back at the two massive boys squished into the tiny backseat. Zepp closes his eyes, groaning at the thought.
“You’re soaked then, aren’t you?” Chase teases through a rasp, swerving on the road. Ugh. So not the time to think about this. A warm hand rests on the upper part of my thigh. “I mean... we can skip the restaurant,” he says briefly looking over at me. “Dinner is right here.” His voice strains again at the thought, fingers working up my thigh. Swirling around the seam of my jeans, sending electricity from his touch through my limbs. My breaths hitch at what he’s implying, as his fingers drift further and further up my leg. Almost coming into contact with my jean covered center, the soaking promised land.
“And dessert,” Seger says, lips brushing against my cheek, running his tongue along my skin.
“Horny bastards,” Zepp groans, slapping a hand onto Seger’s shoulder pulling him back into his seat. Seger grumbles, punching his brother in the shoulders, as he holds him back from the action.
“As much as I agree, let’s have an actual dinner, then we can play.” My cheeks heat hotter at Zepp’s tiny wink. Only meant for me. On the inside, I’m thankful for his well thought out plan and on the other inside, well — she’s needy. Whiny. And wants more—soooo much more right now. Like, take off your pants going one-hundred miles an hour needy.
“Yes, food, then dessert,” I say, clutching onto Chase’s hand, weaving our fingers together, finding comfort in his grasp.
As we drive, my eyes drift out the window watching the elite town pass by. Tall towers illuminate the darkened sky. Surely packed with the town’s richest folks, hard at work making their next million dollars. People pack the streets, taking advantage of the holiday tomorrow. No work. No school. Might as well pack the bars and restaurants for a good time. East Point Bluff is a small town, filled with the world’s richest people. Movie stars, rock stars, and other wealthy people flock here in droves. And it shows. The people walking on the sidewalks in front of the designer stores deck themselves in jewelry and the latest fashions. Their shoes probably cost more than my modest VW bug sitting in the school’s parking lot.
“How did you manage to get a reservation for this place?” Zepp asks, eyeing the large crowd standing outside the dark looking restaurant. ‘West Coast’s Tuscany’ displays proudly above the doors and crowd, illuminated in a fancy cursive font. I’ve heard of this place before, very exclusive, and very expensive. Chase pulls the car up to the curb and abruptly slams it into park, jostling our bodies forwards. The valet, standing outside, cocks his head to the side, unsure if he should approach. Chase holds up a finger, turning towards us.
“Reservation?” He gapes, looking back at the boys. Horror fills his eyes the second he asked like it never crossed his mind to get them. Maybe it didn’t. Everything has always been easy for him, handed to him on a silver platter. Sometimes you can’t even tell. He’s grounded, funny, polite, and an all-around great guy. Definitely not the man I thought he was at the beginning of the school year. Thanks, Magnolia, for all that.
“Oh, you fucking genius. You didn’t think four people could waltz into the West Coast’s most famous Italian joint without a fucking reservation, did you?” Seger asks, leaning forward, eyebrows in his hairline.
Chase eyes me for confirmation, jaw tightening. I give a small, subtle nod, trying not to pop his excited balloon. But by the defeated look in his eyes, I know I’ve done just that. Poor baby.
“Well shit, I’ve never had to do that before. We always just kinda show up.” He shrugs, waving a hand in the restaurant's direction.
“Using that Benoit charm, I’m fucking sure.” Seger throws back with a smirk.
“Well,” he eyes me again with a grin. “It works, doesn’t it?” A chuckle rumbles through my chest at his flirty behavior. He winks, sending heat to my cheeks again.
“Might have, haven’t decided yet.” I shrug playfully, sending a flirty wink right back. Determination burns through Chase’s eyes, reaching for the door handle.
“Stay here, I’m going to go work my magic,” Chase says, unbuckling his seat belt and bouncing out the door again. There’s a pep in his step as he heads towards the packed front door, speaking to the valet first. Several couples move out of the way for him, whispering to each other with wide eyes and smiles. By the look on their faces, they know exactly who he belongs to and they want a piece of him. Mine — I think. He’s all mine.
“He’s going to get us a seat, isn’t he?” I say, watching him disappear through the front door with confidence surrounding him. When that boy sets his mind to something, he gets it done. Using that charm, which totally worked on me, by the way. Just don’t tell him that, it might go to his head even more.
“If there’s one thing I can say about that idiot is he will do anything for the people important to him. And you…” My eyes connect with Zepp’s. His hand rubs against his jawline like he’s deep in thought.
“You’re fucking important,” Seger says, bringing my eyes to him. “To all of us.” He lightly kisses my temple, squeezing my shoulder again. “And if you could fit back here, we’d secretly defile Benoit’s car.” A sly grin takes over his face, hands bolting toward my waist. I squeal as he pulls me through the front seats, setting me on his lap. Zepp snorts, putting a hand on my knee. Their touches don’t burn. Their touches soothe my soul, relaxing me back into Seger’s chest. And this is what contentment feels like. Nestled between these massive men in a tiny backseat.
“He’d kill us,” he says with that devilish smirk, eyeing the front driver’s door. Seger circles his arms around me, letting my back snuggle comfortably against his hard chest. My head leans back against his shoulder, as his breaths fan across my jawline.
“But what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, right?” I rasp through a playful smile, bringing Zepp’s lust-filled eyes back to mine. There’s a fire burning in him, ready to ignite. Ready to engulf the entire car, taking me with him. Those fiery eyes dip down towards my lips, taking in my plump, pink lips. He’s begging me to let him kiss me, to have me right here and now. And I’d surrender to him, give myself to him right now.
“That’s my fucking girl,” Seger whispers against my neck. His lips brush along the sensitive skin, sucking it in between his teeth. A shiver of pride soars through me. His girl. Their girl. Oh god. My body’s on fire with the cool sensation of his lips on my neck, rolling my eyes into the back of my head. Every touch. Every kiss. I’m on fire with a need for more.
Zepp leans over in the crowded space, taking my face in between his palms. His eyes drift to my lips again. Dragging all over my face, taking in, memorizing every freckle, and crinkle. His Adam's apple bobs with each hard swallow as he leans in. He brushes his lips against mine. Not asking this time. This time Zepp takes exactly what he wants. I can’t stop him. I won’t. Don’t want to. His tongue mingles with mine like it belongs there, floating in my mouth, dancing together in slow motion. A slow dance between our tongues and bodies. I lose myself. My consciousness floats above my body, witnessing the beautiful carnage between us. He pulls me closer. Nose against nose breathes wild. My body squirms, grinding into Seger beneath me. I need friction. I need something, they’re awakening more lust inside of me.
Seger groans against my neck, his tongue dragging up toward my ear lobe. “Dude, you’re making her squirm like crazy.” He grunts, taking my earlobe in between his teeth like the hungry, lustful, savage he is. His hands guide my hips along the hardness growing underneath me, colliding with my throbbing clit. With each grind, I grow wetter and wetter, soaking through my new panties.
Zepp chuckles into my mouth, pulling me harder towards him like he can’t get enough. He wants to fuse us, mold us into one functioning human. His free hand brushes up my thigh, rubbing against my clit in smooth circles. I cry into his mouth at the friction. Need. More. Now.
“DUDE!” Chase shouts from the driver’s seat, looking back at us with wide eyes. My whole body jumps, but the stubborn boys don’t move, keeping their lips and hands-on me, still grinding against me. “I haven’t even done that in my own car! What the shit!” He yells, staring between the three of us with outrage pouring from his voice. His grey eyes move between the three of us, narrowing in on the placing of their hands.
I lick my swollen lips, peering over at him with my most innocent eyes. “They made me,” I accuse playfully, his eyebrows shooting up.
“Oh, yeah, throw us under the bus,” Zepp mumbles through a smile, kissing my lips one last time. He pulls away, adjusting himself in his seat, smoothing out the very large and very hard bulge in his jeans.
“So?” Seger asks, gesturing towards the restaurant.
“You get us in?” Zepp asks in a raspier voice than normal, showing off his arousal.
“Well, maybe just me and her now. I don’t know if I should even allow you, shitheads, to come with.” Chase huffs, narrowing his eyes again. I smile, disentangling from Seger’s arms, leaning forward to take his face into my hands, kissing his lips.
“Can we all go in?” I whisper, searching his darkened eyes. He nods, nudging his nose against mine.
“Yeah,” he breathes. “I got us all in.”
“Fucking Benoit charm!” Seger says, throwing an arm in the air. “Seriously?”
Chase’s new smile reaches the depths of his gray eyes. Letting me see happiness finally touching his soul. “Let the wooing continue,” he whispers just for me to hear. A flutter of butterflies invades my stomach, weakening my legs. I hold on to him for a second longer, staring into his eyes, relishing in this minuscule moment of happiness. No worries. No murderers. Just us—- together, enjoying each other’s company.
After reluctantly untangling myself from the backseat, they all escort me into the restaurant. Other patrons complain around us, sending hate-filled stares at the four high school kids taking their tables. Some hurl whispered insults. Some whisper about the boys and who they are. Or more accurately, who their fathers are. Even then, they’re famous, recognizable because of their fathers. And then there’s me, a nobody. Kind of. My father is as famous as theirs, but he’s more behind the scenes. The reclusive writer, mystery man. I try not to pay attention to the gossip surrounding us, focusing on the three sexy men surrounding me. And I mean sexy. Damn. I can’t take my eyes off them. Those plump, football driven asses really fill out those tight jeans. Urgh. I wonder if everything about the twins is identical? My face flushes again for the millionth time at the thought of that. What have they done to my libido?
“I’ve never been on a date before,” I mutter before I can stop myself. Heat fills my cheeks again, blushing slowly, becoming my go-to trait around them.
“I hope we don’t let you down then,” Zepp says, brushing his fingers against mine. Sending goosebumps up my arm and a sharp shiver through my body.
“Once you leave here, there won’t be anyone else on your mind,” Chase grins.
“Fuck no,” Seger grumbles possessively.
“Mr. Benoit,” the young, red-headed hostess greets. She smiles at him like he’s a prize, eyeing his delicious toned body up and down. Her blue eyes never stray from him, even when she reaches for the menu beside her.
“Marlee,” he nods, averting his eyes from her. His hand snatches mine again like a lifeline, pulling me close to his body. Marlee’s smile drops the second our flesh connects. Her shoulders sag and she sneers in my direction. Interesting….
“Follow me,” she regains herself, bringing that fake as fuck smile back to her face. I don’t think Chase caught her demeanor, but I’m momentarily afraid to eat their food. I think of that ridiculous movie Bodhi made me watch last year. You know, the one with Ryan Reynolds depicting the life of a waiter. All I can imagine is this redhead in charge of my plate of food, handing it down the line of cooks, spitting in it, among other horrid things they did in that movie. I cringe.
Zepp’s eyebrows raise an inch, perceptive eyes turning towards mine. He sees everything I do. I nod. I saw it too. Even though she looks older than us, she’s spent a night in Chase’s bed before. I can see it in the way she looks at him, desperately trying to get his attention. In the way she swings her hips in her uniform, trying to draw his eyes to her ass, but she doesn’t succeed. Chase is doing everything he can to keep his eyes forward and not on her. She leads us to our table, leaving menus in front of us, and walks back to her post. From where she stands, she turns to look at all of us, eyes focusing in on Chase still. We settle into our seats in the restaurant's corner. A round table with four chairs and a flower centerpiece, perfect for our night.
“Man, this place doesn’t even have prices next to the food,” Seger states, staring over the menu.
“That’s how you know it’s good food,” Chase retorts from across the table.
The boys continue perusing the menu, but I can’t keep my eyes off the red-headed hostess sneaking looks at Chase. The storm in her blue eyes says she’s furious with him. But why? Did they date? I don’t remember seeing her face on his FlashGram account. And believe me, with as much stalking, I mean research, as I did, I know. He had quite a few ladies hanging from his arms in those photos. Harlow made an appearance several times. Of course, she was their girlfriend too. It was mostly from the red carpet events or parties he attended with his high-class friends. So, why is this girl looking at Chase like he broke her heart?
“Did you fuck her?” My eyes are still on the glaring hostess with the hostile eyes, boring daggers into Chase’s back. The chatter from the boys dies down, bringing me back to reality. Shit, I said that out loud.
I shake my head, looking across the table at Chase. His lips part and his eyebrows are up into his hairline. I think I’ve shocked him stupid. Well, they’re all staring at me. Gaping, really. Me and my stupid mouth. Sometimes I wish my brain worked slower and my mouth didn’t blurt out ridiculous things. Stupid, stupid….
“Sorry,” I shake my head, squirming in my seat. “I can’t control it sometimes, I didn’t mean to blurt that out. I---”
“I did,” Chase says, sneaking a peek at the woman in question. “At the beginning of the summer. It was just for fun—for me, anyway.” He shrugs through a grimace and I can tell there’s way more to this story.
“But not for her?” He nods his head, running a hand along his forehead.
“Nah, she—she got really clingy. Called nonstop. I told her we were done and had no interest, even from the beginning she knew where I stood. She just….” He sighs.
“Wanted more, and you didn’t?” He nods again, confirming the thoughts swirling in my head.
“But believe me,” he leans his elbows on the table. “You’re a very different situation. I like you. I want this with you. You’re not some hook up I’ll never see again.” The conviction in his eyes penetrates through me, filling me with relief.
“We’re in this together,” Zepp says, taking my hand from under the table. He gently squeezes my hand in his, trying to comfort my mind. “You’re overthinking again.” He says tilting his head with a soft smile. And he’s right. I never saw myself in this sort of situation. Three guys? Ugh, how does that even work? Oh — you saw how it worked just a few hours ago, dummy. I snort to myself, trying to fight off the flush of thinking about our last encounter and how I can’t wait to do it again. With all of them. If Seger is a savage with his tongue, then Zepp…well Zepp is so calculated. I can only imagine what he’d be like. Slow. Methodical. Mmmm…. And Chase seems like he’d tease me, rile me up, bringing me to the brink, and then back off. He’d make me beg for it.
“So— together?” I look around the table and all their eyes are focusing on me like I’m the center of their world right now. Chase’s grin lights up the entire restaurant like sunshine in a jar, instantly lifting the weird cloud around us.
“Now she gets it,” he says, slapping the table.
“Yeah, New Girl, if me sticking my tongue in your pussy wasn’t a sign of how I feel, well, let me clarify.” My cheeks heat at his brash words and the sensual way his tongue runs the length of his bottom lip. Almost like his thoughts are returning to a few hours earlier, like mine keeps doing. “You. Are. Fucking. Important. To me, to them. One for all and all for one, and shit.” I snort.
“How romantic,” I quip, grinning at them. “But I’ve never done this before... and there’s—shit — there’s three of you.” I bite into my bottom lip.
“Don’t overthink it, Kace. Just—let it be. We’re here for you..” Zepp says through a breath, squeezing my hand once again.
“All of you,” Chase adds with a wink.
“Less with your dick, more with your heart,” Zepp grumbles, throwing a roll at Chase’s head. I smile as Chase ducks, moving out of the way of the roll. He laughs, picking it up off the ground.
“Our promise always stands,” Chase says, throwing the dinner roll back at Zepp’s head.
“We’ll never pressure you, never make you do anything you don’t want to,” Zepp confirms, putting the roll on the table.
“You do want this, right?” Seger asks. Shifting in his seat, he droops down like he can’t bear to hear my answer. The longer lengths of his hair fall into his eyes, encasing him in a protective shield. Seger may walk around like the most confident man in the world, but like every other human on the planet, he’s insecure. Especially about this, I wonder how many women he’s fallen for and has been rejected by them?
I swallow hard. I’d never thought about it. Never had a chance. They all kind of fell into my lap. Or pants. But I liked them, they get me. Zepp reigns my mind in. Chase makes me smile. Seger makes me laugh too. He fights for me, plots with me. They protected me when danger lurked.
Seger shifts again, looking down at the menu. His leg shakes under the table and I grab it, bringing his green eyes to mine. Doubt rushes through his mossy green eyes as he pins me with his stare, captivating me. If my soft eyes could convey how I feel, he’d have no worry about if I wanted this or not.
“I wouldn’t have let you do those things with your talented tongue if I didn’t want you, all of you.” I squeeze his thigh, his body relaxing into my touch.
“You hear that boys, I have a talented tongue. Beat that!” He sniggers, quickly coming out of his insecure black cloud.
“Yeah, yeah,” Chase grumbles, sitting back in his seat.
“Ahh—Mr. Benoit, how wonderful to see you again.” Chase smiles up at the man standing beside the table looking down at him with a grin. “I see Miss Ainsley isn’t with you this evening.” He looks around the table, nodding at the other two. “Mr. West, Mr. West, and Miss?”
“Cole,” I say, tilting my head. My dad isn’t near as famous as the other guys. Usually, it’s the women, the older women, who recognize the name.
“Ah—yes, Miss Cole, so wonderful to have you. What can I start you all off with tonight?” He asks a little more loudly, as loud laughs erupt from behind a swinging door behind our table.
Seger grins, digging into his back pocket. “Ya know, Jeeves, I think we’d like to start with a bottle of your best champagne, we’re celebrating.” He grins, side-eyeing me.
“Nice try, Mr. West, but I know for a fact the four of you are barely legal.” The man stiffens his posture, zoning in on Seger’s hand sliding across the table.
“Take another look and then tell me again,” The waiter picks up the wad of bills, and I say wad because there’s probably five 100 dollar bills there. His eyes widen at the sight of all the green in his hands, darting around and then back to Seger.
“The best, you say?” Seger nods and then pulls out a crisp 100 dollar bill.
“And some of that fake wine shit, that…” he snaps his fingers together
“Sparkling grape juice,” Zepp finishes for him.
Jeeves, or whatever his actual name is, nods, takes the cash, and scurries off toward the bar.
“You remembered,” I breathe, looking over at him. He surprises me at every turn with his memory.
He shrugs, “Yeah, I guess I did.” I can’t help the smile that crosses my face, as I lean over and kiss his cheek. They instantly blossom into a red tint.
More laughing spills out from the private room next to our table. Waitresses hurry out with trays in hand and worried looks on their faces. “You must excuse the large party,” Jeeves, who I don’t know his actual name, says. He passes around glasses, filling each of them with the champagne. He passes them to us and sets it back into the chilled bucket of ice with the bottle of grape juice.
Another waitress hurries into the room with an arm full of champagne bottles. Men in suits fill the room, red-cheeked, and boozed up. Smoke pours from the cigars nestled in their mouths. Plates and plates of food line the table. They reach across them, laughing, and enjoying their conversations.
I swallow hard, taking in their jovial faces. Their lying, cheating, manipulative, high-powered faces. Laughing, enjoying life, toasting each other with glass after glass of champagne.
“You're paling,” Zepp leans in, whispering in my ear. “What’s wrong? Is this too much? Is this?”
“What? No, this is amazing.” I whisper, not taking my eyes off the men in the other room.
“What’s wrong then?” He squeezes my hand in his, bringing my attention back to him.
“I understand now,” I whisper, furrowing my brows, going over the laughing men who lined that room. “The coroner, the sheriff, the mayor, the judge…….” Zepp looks back at the door and then back to me.
“They’re all in there?” I nod, trying to wrack my brain on who they all are. They all signed off on Magnolia’s death. Each stating no wrong-doing in her case. They all signed the paper stating it was a suicide, not a murder. They covered it up. Every single man in that room is corrupt and with my plans, they’ll all pay for it.
The door swings open again, staying that way. They usher in more food on trays, in heaps, looking like they could feed an army, not a group of men. A man stands at the head of the table, raising a glass to his friends. They raise theirs in return, taking a long drink. The man standing is the only one I’ve never seen before. His slicked backed blonde hair sits perfectly on top of his head. His grey suit fit his muscular form. But his eyes are so familiar. I feel like I’ve seen them before. His eyes narrow in on the surrounding men, evaluating the men around him as he begins a speech I can’t hear.
“Do you know who that is?” I ask, nodding towards the man in question.
“Fuck,” Seger groans. “That’s Cushing Cunningham, you know, Cruel’s dad.” He spits like it hurts him to say it. I swallow hard because Cruel’s dad is in with the corrupt men.
“Of course,” I whisper hoarsely. “But why…. what does he have to do with them?” I researched Carter, his family, everything about him. Magnolia pointed a finger at him. So I had to look. So why is my research turning up loose ends like this? Piper’s mother married his father…. And that wasn’t in there. Even now there’s no record. Nothing. Everything these days is on the internet, but these people? Not a trace. It’s like they don’t exist.
I rub a hand on my forehead, trying to come up with a solution. “He’s a detective with the state police,” Chase says through tight lips. “Do you think he has anything to do with... Maggie?” I look at all of their somber expressions.
“I don’t know,” I sigh. “But that’s Coroner Williams, the man who signed off on Mags’ autopsy, stating her cause of death was drowning, because of suicide.” I swallow again, looking around. This night was supposed to be a night away, not a night immersed in this mysterious bullshit.
“So... the mayor, the judge, the sheriff, the detective, and the slimy coroner are all in cahoots with each other,” Chase says rubbing his chin. “But how are they connected to Maggie?” He asks softly, looking over at me.
“That’s exactly what I want to know,” I whisper, reaching for the glass in front of me. I sniff the actual champagne and knock it back. I’ve never liked the taste of alcohol, but this? This tastes good, bubbly in my throat, and on my tongue. Next time, I’ll have more of this.
“Careful,” Seger says, taking the glass from me. “Can’t have you doing too much of that on an empty stomach.” He reaches for the bottle of grape juice, twists off the cap, and pours me a glass.
“What is their connection to her? Who would pay them to cover it up? And why?” I gape, trying to force myself to figure it out. I need answers. I need them now. Everything I thought was true isn’t. My head spins in the confusion of it all. Or maybe that’s the champagne? Whatever/
“What about.. her dad?” Chase spitballs, leaning back in his seat.
“He died when she was three. It was just her and her mom for ages until Crowe came into the picture.”
“And how much do you know about him?” Zepp asks, staring into the room full of men again, rubbing his chin.
“I-I checked into him from the beginning. Everything is crystal clear. Clean bank statements, clean business practices, clean everything. It’s almost…”
“Too fucking clean,” Seger says, taking a swig of his glass. “Don’tcha think, baby?” He raises an eyebrow.
“Ugh,” I groan. “How did I miss that? What the hell is going on in this town?”
Our talk dies down as the waiter takes our order, bringing us another bottle of champagne and grape juice. “I can’t believe you ordered spaghetti and meatballs at the fanciest place in town,” Chase says through a lop-sided grin, egged on by the alcohol swimming in his veins.
“I like what I like, asshole,” I grin, sticking my tongue out. I try to settle my nerves, even with potential murderers in the next room. This whole situation is growing bigger and bigger by the minute. Here I thought the kids at school were the culprits, but they aren’t the only ones. The men who run this town have their fingers dipped into the pot and they won’t be so easy to take down. They have millions of dollars at their beck and call and us? We’re simple high school students trying to survive.
“Did you hear that?” A waitress asks as she breaks through the swinging door with wide eyes, staring at another waiter beside her.
“Holy shit,” he whispers. “Did they say another one?” He whispers back to her, skin blanching.
“That makes what? Like 5 now?” The man shakes his head, rubbing his fingers along his forehead.
“No, this is 6, that cop in there said it was some boy from Talon Prep a city over.” His voice drips in sadness.
“Did you hear what happened? How did they find him?”
The woman swallows hard, grabbing the man by the arm. “Hanging on the Bluestone Bridge.”
“The missing kid? He’s been gone, what 5 days?” I swallow, listening in on the conversation. The boys are eyeing me, listening in on the conversation too.
The swinging door blows open with Cushing Cunningham and the Coroner hot on his heels. “We’ll be there in five, don’t remove the body until we investigate. Damnit.” Cushing says into his phone, anger filling his voice.
“Fuck, fuck, who found the kid?” The coroner whispers to the detective, eyes darting around the room.
“Keep your fucking voice down and let’s get this over with,” Cushing says, pulling him out of the restaurant and out of earshot.
“There was a missing kid?” Seger asks, leaning forward, shaking his head. “What in the ever-living fuck is going on around here? Are we in some fucked up episode of the Twilight Zone?”
“Seems to me, a serial killer is going around offing random people,” Zepp says through a sigh, taking a drink of his champagne.
“There’s been 6 deaths?” I ask, eyeing around the table, and they all nod. “How? Who?”
“The first one was around March, some kid from the local high school down in the bluffs.”
“Oh, that one was fucking gnarly,” Seger says, swirling his drink. “I remember hearing about that. Lots of blood sliced her damn leg.” Seger says, cringing at the thought.
“Suicide?” I ask, tilting my head.
“Nah, they said there were too many bruises and shit for that. They think someone forced her to do it.” Chase adds.
“That’s how they all were. She went missing five days before they found her in her own damn bathroom. Just like the rest, missing. Then found dead with some brutal wounds.” Zepps says, still stroking his chin.
“Any evidence?” I ask.
“That’s the kicker….” Zepp says.
“They never find a damn clue,” Chase says through a frown. My mind works in overdrive.
“Then... then what if Magnolia was a part of that? What if it’s 7 bodies instead of 6, but they pulled hers off as suicide instead?”
“I’m gonna be sick,” Chase mumbles from across the table, a green tint taking over his face.
Although this day started well, the night turns sour. Our food comes, we eat in silence. Thinking about all the information we just learned. The men from the private room pile out of their room with jovial faces still. Joking with each other, but they don’t give up any more information.
Seger grabs my hand when we step out of the stuffy restaurant. My lungs fill with the chilled night air. Chase grumbles toward his car, staring at the ground. His hands find comfort in the pockets of his jeans.
“I’ll be right back,” I whisper to Seger, nodding towards Chase. Who looks like he’s slipped back into his previous state.
I take off after Chase, stopping in front of him. His broken eyes stare into mine, ripping my soul in half. “What’s wrong?” I ask, running my hands up his arms toward his shoulders.
He scoffs, “What’s wrong? Ugh. Tonight was supposed to be a celebration, a good time, and this place ruined it. I just wanted to--“ I roll my eyes before he can go off on another tangent and force my lips on his. My fingers work through his hair, pulling him against my body. His body heat pours into mine, fingers settling on my hips.
“Tonight was perfect. Not only the company, the champagne, but we got some leads. I loved it tonight. Please don’t beat yourself up over it. I had fun, a lot of fun. Today has been perfect. No matter what, if I’m in your company,” I look around and the twins have stopped next to us, eyeing me and Chase. “Then I’m safe and…”
“Adored,” Chase finishes for me, life returning to the shadows of his eyes. I may not be able to save him from the depths of depression, which is impossible, but I can make it easier. I can be there for him, lie in bed with him, and support him through it. I never in my life want him to beat himself up about anything.
“And you two,” I keep my hand on Chase’s cheek, reaching up to kiss the lips of Seger and Zepp. “Amazing,” I breathe. “Thank you.”
We all pile in the car, with our hearts in our throats. The night was amazing, despite the tension from our newest lead. I know what I need to do, what research I need to look into. Zepp agrees to help me too. He can look into those kinds of things, which will help me out.
“FUCK!” Seger shouts from the backseat in a wild panic, hitting the back of my seat with his hand. We pull through the student parking lot, stopping in Chase’s assigned parking spot. A sweat breaks out on his forehead and cheeks, panic soaring through his veins.
“Great,” Zepp says sarcastically as we park the car. We all jump out and stare at the two identical Porsche’s sitting side by side. The shattered glass from the windows sits on the ground, their doors beat in, headlights broken out, and words scrawled on their doors.
“You’re next,” Zepp says, staring at the words on his car.
“And then you,” Seger grumbles, kicking at his car. “Whyyy the fuckkkk? My fucking carrrrrrr!” He shouts into the air, pounding a fist into the metal of his car. I rush to his side, taking his hand in mine.
“The cameras,” I say, nodding toward the cameras hanging from the buildings and light posts. “I’ll check them.”
“Kace,” Chase whispers from beside my VW bug, a solemn look plastered on his face. My heart sinks at the implication, but I walk over anyway.
“Soulless assholes,” I whisper, running my finger over the etched words on my door. “They aren’t even that creative.” I grumble more at the words “Dumbass Freak” keyed into every inch of metal on all sides of my car. Great. How in the hell am I going to explain that to my dad? Oh, hey dad, I’m getting bullied out the ass, and they tore up the car you got me for my birthday. Sorry! Yeah—even I know he won’t take that well at all. Fuck me.
“This had to take them at least an hour to do,” Chase says rubbing his chin, looking back at his car. “And they better not touch my baby.” He says pointing back to his car. “Or you...you know...you’re both my baby.” He says with wide eyes, making a smile fall on my lips. I snort, watching him try to backtrack over his words.
“One step forward, two giant leaps backward,” Zepp says coming to my side, his phone against his ear.
“Well—one thing for sure,” I say, running my finger over the ruined metal, praying to the Heavens my father won’t pull me out of this school.
“What?” Chase asks.
“We have a lot of work to do to connect all of this.”
“And I’m guessing we’re about to see you unleash your genius?” Seger asks through a frown, eyeing my car. I smile and nod.
“I’ll help,” Zepp says, putting his phone away. “Two brains are better than one. I can access the coroner’s report about the missing kid and you…”
“Can access the camera’s and see if we have any culprits to put the blame on. If they haven’t erased it already.”
“Seems to me everyone inside these walls is a fucking snake ready to attack,” Seger says, kicking a rock with his shoe.
“Let’s get to work,” I say, gesturing to my apartment. The boys agree and we walk towards my room for the night.
SOOOOO I will post another chapter soon, since I usually do a 2 chapter a week update! So expect one later ;).
SO How's everyone's theories working out?? What are you thinking nowwww? Feel free to discuss!