ON THE RIDE BACK TO THE CITY I fell asleep. Some time between the passing scenery and traveling back on the ferry exhaustion set in. The pretend therapy session at Dr. Grave's office drained more strength than I anticipated and darkness descended upon me with the reassurance that my efforts to distract her would not be in vain. The files were what we came for.
We were a step closer to unveiling the truth behind my therapist's reasons for hypnotizing me, and what exactly she tried to keep dormant in my head. Everything was staring to make more sense. The dreams I thought were nightmares, crafted from guilt to haunt my sleep. Charlie's involvement with the case. Subjecting my childhood crush as the killer because he was there that night. Sending me to be hospitalized at the Mental Health Institution for three years, so I would never find out what he had done.
Well, now I was aware.
A tap on my nose uplifted the fog of sleep, and I flinched back into reality.
"Time to wake up, little psycho."
I opened my eyes and looked into pure green. Like a forest over shone by a sunrise against an unforgiving stark sky. "Where are we?"
Nix smiled down at me from where my head rested on his surprisingly comfortable shoulder. "Your boyfriend's diner."
I lifted off him and rubbed the grogginess from my eyes, appalled that I somehow shifted towards him while asleep. Almost as if it was instinctive.
"Hannibal is not my boyfriend."
He threw a mock brow at me. "Does he know that? You obviously still harvest feelings for each other."
"It's complicated." I didn't give him my expression. Afraid he might see the lie on my face as those piercing green orbs studied me. Instead I focused on Anthony's Diner and the customers arriving and departing, staff scurrying between tables to take orders inside and out on the deck overlooking a beautiful view of the Elliot Bay and Mt. Rainer.
A couple seagulls flew overhead, and a series of depressed clouds transformed with warning as we hopped down from the Rover to join the others. Kieran and Ridley found us a spot. With them Hannibal sat in a chair across wearing Bluebird Prep's school uniform and a white apron shrugged over his shoulder, casually, like he finished with his shift moments ago.
Taking the open seat adjacent Kieran I was nervous as Hannibal was situated across, staring intently as I moved and Phoenix took his spot vertically from Ridley. He was scrutinized harshly under the vice president's soulful eyes, but for a much different reason than a lost love between past enemies.
If looks could kill, Phoenix would be six feet under.
"What took you so long?" asked Ridley, a low growl under his breath.
The green-eyed boy shrugged nonchalantly without lifting his head. "I got distracted by the view."
I secretly glanced at Phoenix from the corner of my eye while he stared vacantly at the menu in front of him. Was he talking about me or the actual view?
I shook my head.
Maybe I was overthinking things. We never expressed how we felt about one another, nor did we revisit the time I rudely rejected his kiss at the lake. Our interactions beyond that day were less frequent, as were moments spent alone, unless the others were around.
I unintentionally poked a hole in his ego, but there was no regret of what I had done. Their intentions had been tainted with a unreasoned hatred and vengeance for Beau.
Ridley's face narrowed, darkly. "Perhaps you should focus less on the view and more time breaking that firewall."
"You seem awfully hurried to search through those files. Any reason for that, vice president?" His tone was suggestive as he stared mockingly at Ridley.
"Yes. I want this shite to be done with." His steel glare locked on me. "I want this girl to be out of our lives, and for her depraved stalker to stop causing problems for us and our own families."
I smiled prettily back at him, and the result was a very nasty death glare in return.
"Careful." I tilted my head; red curls falling over my green eye. "Someone might assume you are afraid of my depraved stalker."
His face scrunched up in anger. "He doesn't scare me."
I leaned forward. Due to the minimal space in the table structure, our faces drew close. The proximity surprised Kieran's right hand and he started to pull back, but a challenge rose in his eyes that encouraged him to meet me in the middle.
"Is it me who scares you, then?" I teased.
He scoffed. "What about you would possibly make me-?"
"The way I make you feel. You hate the part of yourself that is attracted to me."
All eyes were on us now.
He faltered for a moment as though at a loss for words, but then regained his composure with more menace than before. "Your assumptions couldn't be further from the truth. I do not feel attraction towards and never will I."
"Here they go again," Phoenix mumbled on the side, but we paid him no mind.
"Why must you two continue to pester each other?" said Kieran, shaking his head at both of us.
"He makes it too easy," I said, smirking without looking at Kieran.
Ridley grew more frustrated, clenching his hands into fists at his sides. "You test my patience, princess."
"That's the point." I smirked.
Teasing him was so fun. Plus, it passed the time while we waited for Phoenix's computer skills to encrypt my therapist's secrets.
"You're delusional," he growled and slouched back into the chair with crossed arms.
I shrugged a delicate shoulder. "Not the worst someone has said to me."
"Drinks?" another voice asked that wasn't a part of our group.
I looked up and a handsome waiter stood over us.
Clearly, foreign. Asian. He was handsome with a wave of ink black curls wistfully falling into his face. Pale skin. High cheekbones layered with specs of freckles like mine, and beautiful blue eyes that reminded me of the pacific ocean.
"Four waters," said Hannibal, nodding appreciatively at the young boy. "Thanks Mako."
"You know him?"
Phoenix gestured towards the waiter working efficiently to pour filtered water into four glasses at the front counter.
Hannibal tossed a look over his shoulder, then back at Phoenix with a suspicious twinkle in his polar irises. Color him intrigued.
"Makoto? He works here. How would I not?" His brows rose in arches. "Why the weird interrogation about my new employee?"
"I'll explain later," Kieran said once our drinks arrived and the man in question lifted a pen and pad to write our orders, while oblivious to the Sparrows' blatant guarded demeanors.
"Do you know what you want?" he asked, sweeping over the boys and coming to a rest on me. His aquatic orbs squinted for a moment before withdrawing.
Okay. That was weird.
"Not right now, Mako," Hannibal told him, lightly dismissing him.
"Hey," Phoenix complained. "I'm starving!"
"Your stomach can wait," Kieran said.
With a pout on his lips, Phoenix groaned and sank down into his seat.
Hannibal gave Kieran a look that said the class president needed to explain their abrupt hostility before he strangled the information out of him.
"What are you not telling me? I don't see the harm our new waiter poses, however you four look at him as if he is some kind of traitor. Spill."
Kieran regarded Hannibal over the rim of his glass of water. As seconds passed my ex was close to a breaking point until an inquisition fell into his lap.
"What do you know about your new friend?"
"Not friends." Hannibal sat back with slow effort. "Work companion. I hardly know him, but his background check came out clean. He came to seattle when he was ten after his adoptive father and mother brought him to the states from his birthplace in Tokyo, Japan."
"Who is his father?"
"No clue." Hannibal shrugged. "I suspect someone high in the business department."
"What makes you think that?" said Ridley, intrigued.
"Rumor has it he wants to transfer from his previous school at Rainier Beach High."
"A public school." Kieran's expression was disbelieving. "That does not insinuate his father is a man of high class."
Hannibal shook his head. "What about a full paid tuition and dorm at Raven Oak Prep?"
Kieran's beaded eyes sparkled with something akin to child-like wonder.
He smirked. "Now you have peaked my interest."
Mako is finally scripted!!! So excited for everyone to fall into his charms and see what he can bring to the table. He might be my favorite villain/hero besides Monster that I created for this book.
Why do you think Mako works at Anthony's? Do you think the Sparrows suspect he may be working for Tobias and Monster? If so what do you predict will happen once school starts? How will Madelyn react when they finally meet?
Like. Comment. Share your thoughts.
Next chapter on Saturday.