Cataline Mercier Wintour had spent her whole life training to be an Olympic athlete, but when a tragic accident lands her and her party-oriented sister, Carson, across the country back in their old childhood home in Cape May, New Jersey. Cat can't help but give up on her dreams, but when she unexpectedly runs into striking, young, Frenchman Archer Corbett Henri Demonte and his group of strange friends her entire world is flipped upside down. Old secrets from the past start to unravel and when Cat becomes entrusted with the secrets of Archer and his friends things start to become a little complicated...


6. Chapter 6

    Waking up felt like the equivalent of dropping a brick on my head...repeatedly.
My eyes fluttered open and my hands ran over the material of the sheets. I bolted upright, my eyes taking in the fact I wasn’t in a hospital bed or my own. 
     “Wh...what?” I mumbled quietly. I clenched the sheets in my fists as I backed up against the headboard curling my knees to my chest when the door opened. 
     “You're awake.” A female voice said. My eyes immediately recognised her, she was the red haired girl from the café the day of the car crash. My eyes drifted down to the pendant hanging from her neck, it was the bronze sun charm with the leather cord I had picked out with Archer at Labryinthe de l’art. I could tell she noticed my eyes latched onto her necklace. She smiled as she touched it gingerly. 
        “Thank you. This is the first birthday present Archer has given me that wasn't his newest favourite CD.”
I couldn't help but smile.
       “I’m….” I started to introduce myself, but she quickly cut me off. 
       “You're cat. We all know who you are. Archer hasn't stopped talking about you since he saw you. I’m Madelaine.” 
       “Speaking of Archer, where is he? More importantly where am I?” I asked, my eyes still scanning the Victorian era room, decorated with fairy lights and a wall covered in candid shots of people from most of New Jersey, as well as France.
       “Why don't I let him answer those questions of yours? He's right outside.” Madelaine smiled as she walked to the door, opening it and walking out, allowing Archer to take her place. 
        “Hi.” I mumbled, making an attempt to sit up before collapsing again.
        “Cat...stop. You need to rest. You've been through a lot today.” He said calmly, placing his hand on my shoulder and easing me back into the bed as he poured tea from the heavy clay pot in front of me. 
        I scoffed, knocking his hand from my shoulder and standing up. 
        “I’ve been through a lot today?! Are you kidding me, Archer? You're best friend died, he was mutilated by a boat and you're standing here acting like nothing happened and pouring me tea?! What the hell is wrong with you?!” I shouted at him, I was overloaded with anger. Luc was basically a brother to Archer and he didn't even care, it was like there was no emotion behind him at all. 
     “Cat…” he started to say, but I cut him off. 
      “No. Don't even try and explain, I don't want to hear it. In fact, I don't even want to see you, ever again. Stay away from me Archer.” I said coldly as I walked out of the room and ran out of the house. It wasn't until I was at the large wraiths iron gates that I heard what sounded like a heavy teapot shattering. 


   The next few days, I had fallen back into the dark hole I was in after my parents’ death. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep, I could barely breathe because every time I closed my eyes, all I could see was Archer and the hurt look I had left on his face. My sister and grandparents grew worried and didn't make an effort to hide that fact from me.
      “You need to eat something chaton. You look so thin.” Gran cooed as she pushed my plate towards me. I poked my eggs with my fork, moving my food around my plate. 
       “I'm not hungry, Gran. I have to go to school.” I sighed pushing my plate away, standing up, grabbing my book bag, and walking out the door.  
     The days after the fight with Archer, I saw him every where. Every time I walked down the street or looked out my window, he was there. He was always there, except it was never him. 
     Weeks after Luc’s death and the fallout with Archer, I gave in and walked into Cafe Atlantic. My heart stopped when I turned around after getting my coffee, Archer. I was certain it was him, my breath caught in my throat when I saw him consoling a crying blonde sitting on the couch next to him. Her face was covered in her hands as she placed her head on his chest and he wrapped his arm around her. Tears burned my eyes and my glass slipped from my hand and shattered on the floor. Archer looked up at me, his gaze empty, his arm remained unmoving from the blonde girl. I had remained somewhat calm until she looked up at me and it was then I realised I was staring at my sister. Carson, with her red-rimmed eyes and her head on Archer’s chest. Her eyes widened when she realised it was me. She immediately stood upright, pulling out of Archer’s grasp.
    “Cat!” She called but it was too late, I had already burst out the door and was running down the street.
    I turned a corner and dropped to my knees as my lungs burned in need of oxygen and tears were running down my cheeks. Why was Archer with Carson? Why was Carson with Archer? More importantly, why hadn’t Carson told me she was going to see Archer? All the questions racing through my head spin so fast I thought I was going to black out. I didn’t even realize someone had walked up to me until I jumped about three feet off the ground when I felt a hand grip my shoulder and pull me back into reality.
    “Cat? Are you okay?” 
    My head perked up at the sound of Madelaine’s voice, finally someone who I was happy to see. 
    “Yeah, I’m fine.” I said managing a smile as I picked myself up off the ground.
    “Really because you have a salt lines on your face, red-rimmed eyes, and tear streaks through your makeup, and if that’s not enough, you have dark circles under your eyes and you’re much thinner than the last time I saw you, and you’re already skinny, so that’s saying something.” She observed. I wiped my tears and rolled my eyes, ignoring her obvious concern.
    “I’m fine Maddy, really.” I said blatantly, flashing a smile to try and convince her I was okay, when in reality I was falling apart.
    “You haven’t eaten or slept in days, Cataline.” She sighed. I flinched at the use of my full name. No one had said it, since my parents’ funeral back in LA, my father had chosen my name, it meant pure in Greek and for the longest time it had been completely accurate. A few months before the accident I had gone through my rebellious stage, as so many teenagers do and it infuriated my parents. I had gotten my nose and belly button pierced as well as a tattoo I got using my fake ID. My father had been smothering me for weeks after I had gotten caught one night at a bar and my dad had to come and bail me out of jail. My mother thought it was a good idea for her and my father to go out by themselves that night and leave me with Carson. She said she wanted to “give me space”, so they went out to dinner on a ferry boat. My mother had tripped on a cord running along the floor and fell into the ocean, my father, being the hero he was, dove in after her trying to save her. Her dress had gotten stuck to something under the boat and before my father could undo it he was caught by the engine turbine and my mother drowned. I blamed myself for their death and never gone by my full name since then.
    “I’m fine, Madelaine.” I snapped, turning and walking away from her.
    “Archer’s the exact same way, Cat! He’s not leaving his room and hasn’t eaten or slept in days! He needs you!” 
    I wanted to stop walking, I wanted to talk to her and see what Archer was really feeling, but my feet wouldn’t stop moving away from Madelaine and her connection with Archer, with Luc, with their whole world. A world that I wanted to understand more than anything, but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t be part of a world that didn’t care that one of their own had died. 

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