Fear Me (Broken Love #1)(11)

by B.B. Reid

“No,” I lied again. I didn’t owe him an explanation on anything I did.

“We’ll see,” he replied smoothly, but I heard the threat in his words and saw the promise in his eyes. I knew I made a big mistake by lying, but it was too late to do anything about that now. My mind was occupied with Willow and what I heard just minutes ago.

Sometimes I wondered if Keiran’s empty threats were just that– empty. But the look in his eyes would always warn me that they weren’t. So what held him back? I’ve been enduring his tricks and torments for ten years. It wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle with only a year left and my freedom right around the corner. I was going to make it.

“So, Lake. How do you like the fact that Keiran is back? I’m sure he has a lot of catching up to do with you. I cannot wait,” Anya cackled and her robotic friends laughed with her.

“I don’t think he’ll have much time to do anything if he’s too busy using you. I heard it was his favorite hobby.” There were a few muffled laughs and snickers around the table from the guys, and Anya turned a deep shade of red.

Normally, I would just ignore Anya but the frustration from dealing with Willow and Keiran this morning, had me a bit touchy. I decided to ignore her anyway and discreetly texted Willow for the third time. I had to think of a way to get out of here and away from the firing squad.

When I returned my attention back to the people at the table, I noticed Anya was still glaring at me. I met her start and lifted an eyebrow in mock challenge. Her lip curled as she leaned forward and spoke words that I definitely wished I could have slapped right back down her throat. “Didn’t you and Jesse Fitzgerald have a thing last year? I mean, you two were pretty cozy for a while, but who could blame you. He was a major hottie. So what happened to that? You finally get a boyfriend and couldn’t keep him?”

The table grew deathly still as silence descended after Anya’s question. A few guys shifted in their seats and looked at Keiran nervously which was weird because I was the one he was looking at like he wanted to kill. I avoided his gaze and looked down at the empty space on the table.

Jesse was the only other person I could have ever called a friend. He was a military brat that moved here with his family after Keiran left. After a month or so of school, we crossed paths when I’d gotten stuck in the mud after a hard rain swept through Six Forks. I was having bad reception and couldn’t call my aunt for help or a tow truck and no one was around. I stood there for maybe fifteen minutes trying to get a signal when I heard the rumble of a bike pull up next to me. I remember looking into the second most beautiful set of eyes I’d ever seen. It didn’t give me that familiar jolt that Keiran’s did though. I instantly recognized him as the new kid but he was more than that too. Jesse had quickly ascended the ranks at Bainbridge and had an endless supply of girls chasing him, so when he befriended me, it nearly caused an uproar within the school. People constantly tried warning him away, including me, but he never paid any attention. Pretty soon, a rumor had started that Jesse and I were an item but it couldn’t be further from the truth. We were hanging out often and managed to grow close when his father was suddenly deployed and his mother felt better being closer to family, so they moved back north, halfway through the year. I had him for six months and then he was gone.

“Hey, Keiran, listen man, we were going to tell you–,” one of the guys spoke up. Before he could finish, a fight between two guys broke out on the other side of the cafeteria. Chairs and tables were flipped over as a stampede formed to get a closer look, quickly turning the cafeteria into a stadium.

Just then, Willow walked through the door with wide eyes and looked around. When she saw me her eyes grew larger and she rushed over to me.

“Gosh, Lake. I’m mad at you for five seconds and you try to commit suicide.” The group at the table took one look at her in her dark green overalls and lopsided bow and erupted into laughter, but she didn’t spare any of them a glance. “Let’s get out of here,” she said, taking my hand. I didn’t waste any time arguing and jumped up from my seat before Keiran could stop me again.

* * *

“So what happened this morning when Keiran took off with you? That was scary.” We sat down in our seats, waiting for French to start after hiding out for the rest of the lunch period. I’d been looking over my shoulder ever since Anya dropped that bomb and I ran away from him.

“Willow I told you I needed to drive to school.”

“You forget people talk right? Especially when it involves Keiran, so try again.”

I took a deep breath and thought of what to say. Willow was pissed that I just lied to her but what could I do? I couldn’t tell her truth. “Oh you know...he just wanted to start the year off traditionally. I’m sorry, Willow. I just didn’t want you to worry.” That much was the truth at least.

She stared at me before shaking her head and pulling out her usual assortment of colored pens. I needed to change the subject and fast.

“I’m also sorry for accusing you of keeping secrets. Whatever is wrong, you can come to me when you’re ready. I won’t pressure you. Best friend?” I wasn’t really sorry for wanting to know what was going on with my best friend but I wasn’t willing to hurt her over it.

She looked at me with relief on her face and I felt like an ass. “Best friend, she relented. “I’m sorry too, Lake. I’ve been a butt. Hey, want to do something later? I have to work tonight but we can see a movie tomorrow night.”

“Sounds great. How did Pepé take you being gone all summer?” Pepé was Willow’s ferret that she named after the cartoon skunk Pepé le Pew.

“I still can’t get him to play with me. The little shit sure can hold a grudge. He just gives me the stink eye. It kind of reminds me of the she-witch, Anya.” I laughed. I never believed an animal, especially a ferret really had personalities but Pepé certainly was a character.  “So…are you and Keiran really dating?” she asked.

I hesitated, feeling like I was suddenly under a microscope. Willow knew all about Keiran believing I framed him. I still haven’t told her about the pharmacy and I couldn't tell her about his threat.

“As if, Keiran would really date you. Un-believable.” Willow and I looked up to find Anya and her posse standing over us.