The Quiet

I followed her gaze to the other side of the room, where there were two windows. One was closed tightly. But the other was opening slowly. I could see some kind of shadow come over the bottom.

Someone was coming inside.


14. Accusation

“What kind of favor do you need from me?”

I waited.

Clay’s mouth twitched. “I need you to befriend Lena.”

I blinked at him, completely taken back, and then I snorted. “You can’t be serious. Why the hell would you want me to do that? She hates me.”

“If you were friends with her, she’d leave me alone.”

“Oh, I see.”

Clay dragged a hand down his face. “I don’t mean all this in a bad way. You can say no if you want. It’s okay.”

“Why not just tell her to go away?” I asked.

He laughed. “That doesn’t work with her. She gets more attached if you push her away.”

“So, she’s like that creepy guy at the movie theater?”

He nodded. “That guy behind the register? He’s a total creeper. But, no, she’s a little less than him. She likes attention, and she gets mad when she doesn’t get it.”

“That’s stupid,” I told him. “She just seems like a whiny, spoiled little girl.”

“It’s a good cover, huh?” He smirked. “She acts like that on the outside, but on the inside, she’s really sweet.”

“Oh, well, of course. I could see that by the way she had her hand down your pants.”

Clay looked at me, his eyes tense. “You’re jealous.”

Had I heard him right? I shook my head. I’d obviously misunderstood. He hadn’t just said what I thought he did. That wasn’t possible.

“What did you say?” I must have sounded confused, because he looked at me blankly.

“I asked if you were jealous of Lena.”

“No you didn’t,” I snapped. “You accused me of being jealous. Why would you say that?”

Clay, who moved toward me, stopped. He put his hands up in a form of surrender. “I didn’t mean anything by it, Cari, I swear.”

Anxiety rippled through me so suddenly that I gripped the door handle. I jiggled it, knowing it wasn’t going to open, so I rested my head against the window. I took a breath.

“Please,” I said softly. “Let me out of the car, Clay.”

“Hey, are you okay?”

Please,” I pleaded, my voice strained. When my hands shook, I heard a click as the door unlocked. I couldn’t get out of their fast enough. I was on my hands and knees beside the car in minutes.

“Cari!” He dropped in front of me and touched my face. “What’s wrong?”

I tried to breathe normally. I don’t know what caused the attack this time, and I hadn’t gotten them in a long time, so I didn’t understand why it had happened now.

“I’m okay,” I whispered. “I just need to…stay like this for awhile.”

Clay nodded and sat back on the pavement. He didn’t say anything for a long time. Then, “This is my fault and I'm sorry.”

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