Delude

Casey just wanted to have a normal life. She would only be so lucky. She despises school, especially after she meets Evan Fynn. In seconds, he's undone everything she's worked hard to maintain; he's taken everyone from her, filled their minds with lies to drive them away. She is desperate to find out why, even if the truth is more terrifying than she expected.

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29. Belong.

Nixon didn’t make an appearance in the woods. I know because I waited for an hour to see if he would show. Of course, I hadn’t really expected him to. Not really. I was just hoping that he would so I could talk to him.

I knew, even before I set foot on the dirt and fallen leaves, that he wasn’t coming. The oddest feeling from that realization?

I didn’t care.

All I wanted was to see Noah.

As I went deeper into the woods, I found that old, lonely stump. I sat on it and tilted my head back to stare at the cloudless sky.

Everything would be okay.

A tugging sensation formed in my gut, suddenly, and I grabbed my bag. I rummaged through it before finding what I needed.

The pack of cigarettes, safe in their package, seemed the best idea right now. Today was not a school day for me. I didn’t know if I ever wanted to go back.

I put a cigarette between my teeth and reached into the depths of my bag again. My hand came up empty. I closed my eyes, sighing.

Leaves crunched in the distance. I heard footsteps and the click of what was unmistakably a lighter.

Then a voice said, “Need a light?”

My instincts took over, regardless of the person, and I swung my bag. It whooshed the air, falling short, so I lifted my leg and swept the ground, tripping whoever was standing over me. Before I could leap away, a hand grabbed my ankle and dragged me down to the ground. I was going to scream when I caught sight of the man’s eyes.

Honey bore into grey.

My heart felt like it slammed into my chest as I looked up at Noah. He had his hands on either side of me, as well as his legs. In our struggle, he had pinned me and I hadn’t noticed.

“Jesus,” I whispered, breathing heavily. I laid my head back against the leaves and started laughing.

“You should be careful,” he said, smiling. “There’s no telling what kind of monsters are lurking around here.”

He sat up, leaves and dirt stuck to the back of his blue shirt. He almost looked normal dressed in jeans. His hair was tied back, his head turned toward me. I reached to brush his clothes off and he smirked at me.

“You modified my mom’s memory.”

He nodded. “It was the safest thing I could think of. But I wouldn’t do that to you, not unless you wanted me to.”

I brought my knees to my chest.

“Where is Nixon?”

Noah frowned. “I thought he’d be here, actually.”

“He’s not,” I muttered. “He hates me.”

When Noah started to laugh, I narrowed my eyes at him.

“He doesn’t hate you, Casey, his job is just done.”

“What am I?” I asked, looking at him. “I think since this is all over, I have a right to know.”

Noah smiled, reached out to grip my chin, and brushed his lips across mine. “You don’t need to worry about what you are now. Just remember who you are and you’ll be alright.”

“That really doesn’t answer my question.”

“Have you been able to use your powers since you’ve been back?” he asked, moving to sit in front of me. He grabbed my bag and held it out to me.

“I don’t know what you’re doing,” I said, raising an eyebrow.

“Try moving the bag,” he said. He chuckled.

I stared at the black bag, not exactly sure what happened before, or how I was really able to do it. All I knew is that I could.

I concentrated.

Nothing.

Noah lowered the bag and frowned. “That’s interesting,” he murmured.

“You don’t look too interested,” I said, shaking my head. “Why can’t I do it?”

Noah shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe you talent is only accessible in the other world. But I guess that is good, then. Now you won’t get mad and accidentally kill someone.”

I looked down at my hands. “That’s not funny.”

“Sorry, sorry. Tactless humor.”

I frowned. “I guess this is okay for now. But what if I run into some mind control―”

“Not gonna happen,” Noah said, reaching for my hand. “I’m going to be with you from now on.” He smiled. “So any guys making eyes at you will have to shove their hanging tongues back in their mouths.”

“I don’t understand.”

This statement didn’t seem to surprise Noah. He shook his head, grinning. “I’m starting to think this dense thing isn’t an act, darling.”

“You’re horrible,” I said.

“Not the first time I’ve heard that,” he said, laughing.

“What did you mean before about being with me?”

"I belong with you, Casey."

He dug into his pocket until he pulled out a small rectangular card and showed it to me.

I stared at it before my brain registered what it was.

“You’re going to the same college that I am next year?”

He nodded.

“How did you pull this off?” I asked.

Noah grinned and leaned forward to kiss me. “I’m just full of all sorts of tricks.”

I smiled and didn’t doubt that at all.

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