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.


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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