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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5. Open.

The sunlight had come into the woods, then, blinding me and obscuring the view of the guy who had spoken. I slid my hand across my forehead to shield the beams and got a better look.

His hair was a faded-black and choppy, his eyes almost the same color as mine, though a little darker. His lips turned upward, his snake-bites gleaming.

“Did I startle you?” he asked. He was holding a lighter. “I’m sorry if I did. I just didn’t expect anyone else to be here.”

“Yes,” I said. “I mean, yes, I need a light. I forgot mine.”

He lit my cigarette and sat down beside me. It was a very quiet few minutes before he spoke again.

“You go to Grandview?”

I nodded. “Yeah. Are you new?”

“I go to Fairfax,” he said softly. “But I wanted to transfer to your school.”

“How come you didn’t?”

“My parents thought I’d get into trouble.” He laughed. “I guess maybe they’d be right. I was arrested before going back to school.”

“For what?” I was annoyed that I was prying into this stranger’s life, and at the same time, comforted that he was letting me in.

“Someone died two days before I went back to Fairfax,” he said, glancing at me. “The cops saw me coming from the same direction and thought I did it. I had no idea the body was there until they caught me.”

“That’s awful,” I said, shaking my head. “But your parents backed you up, right? I mean that’s why you’re not in jail.”

“My folks weren’t around when this happened, they were on vacation and refused to come back and help me. My dad said I was old enough to deal with this situation myself.”

“What about your mom?” My heart thundered in my chest as I listened. It was like I was watching a movie and it was just reaching the climax. I was anxious to hear the rest.

“My mom and I have a strained relationship.” He smiled tenderly and extended his hand to me. “You know about most of my life, but not my name.”

I stared at his hand, at the scars going across his knuckle, and I frowned. I shook it softly.

“I’m Nixon,” he said, grinning.

“Casey,” I muttered, trying not to look too distracted by his hand. Curiosity tugged at my mind, compelling me to ask the question. I took a deep breath and opened my mouth.

“It’s nothing,” he said, his grey eyes sliding to the ground. He picked up a leaf and turned it over in his hand. “It was a long time ago. Don’t worry.”

I shook my head. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have asked.”

“You didn’t,” he reminded me. He didn’t look at my face, just pushed some hair from his eyes. “But I know people. They can’t help themselves.”

I looked at him; he had his head tilted up toward the sky, hair falling back, grey eyes calm. Almost as soon as he blinked, I felt a raindrop fall from the sky, landing on my shoulder.

“Damn,” I heard him hiss. “I’ve got to go.” He stood and wiped the dirt from his jeans as he stared at me. “Can I see you again?”

“Er-” The words were caught in my throat. I nodded briefly.

Nixon grinned at me, his eyes lighting up. “Same spot tomorrow?”

“I don’t go too far into the woods,” I said.

His eyes narrowed unexpectedly and I frowned, unsure if I had done something. “You should stay close to the road,” he informed me. Then he stuck his hand out.

For a moment I was confused. Did he want to shake my hand or hug me? Then, embarrassed, I looked down beside me at the lighter. I hadn’t realized he even put it there.

“Here.” I handed it to him.

“Thank you,” he said politely, smiling.

Then, without me hearing a sound, he was gone.

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