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Christian was still fuming by the time we got back to his house. His dad was gone for the week, which was good for us, because we needed some talk alone to talk about things.

"I cannot believe her, your own mother," he snapped as he put me down on the couch. "How could she say all those nasty things to you, and then go and hit you like it was nothing? I mean, fuck, Kendall! Aren't you even mad at her?"

"Of course I'm mad at her," I said, glancing at him. "I'm just choosing to not express it as volatile as you are."

"It's frustrating to see you go through all of this and not react," he said as he sat next to me. Then he hugged me close, his lips pressed into my hair. "I think your session with Dr. Alder tomorrow is going to take longer than usual."

"I don't think I'm going," I murmured. "I don't want to have to see her, take up her time, with every little bad thing that happens. She can't help with my mom, or the dreams, or even what happened with Jude."

Christian blinked, untangled himself from me, and said, "What happened with Jude?"

I bit my lip, mentally cursing myself, and took a breath. "He's been watching me." No use telling him about the kiss. "He said he was paid a lot of money to get information on me. I didn't meet him on accident."

For a few minutes, Christian didn't speak. His silence was sometimes worse than his words, and this time I didn't blame him for being quiet. I wouldn't have known what to say if I were him. I closed my eyes and waited. Waited for him to start cursing and screaming. Waited for his horrible temper. Waited for him to break something.

"What a fucking prick," he mumbled. "Did you punch him in the face?"

"I really wanted to." I shrugged, glancing at him. I reached out and gripped his hand, squeezing his fingers. I was grateful when he returned the gesture. "But I was too stunned to do anything, especially after I found the pictures."

This time he looked at me, his eyes narrowing, darkening. His grip on my hand tightened before he growled, "What pictures, Kendall? What the fuck is going on?"

"They're just of me. Nothing too creepy. But whoever wanted information on me probably wanted to know what I looked like, too. Ugh." I placed my head in my hands and shook it. "This is all so weird. First the letters, then this. What's next?"

"Letters?" Christian muttered, raising an eyebrow. "Jesus, Scott, you're holding out on me."

I looked away from his face, unable to tell him the biggest secret. The wounds I'd suffered through all of this had been too much, and I just needed to calm down before I told him anything else. I laid my head against his chest and closed my eyes, said I needed a minute, and tried my best to relax.

The next time I opened my eyes, it was dark out. I lifted my head and looked around the quiet room. When I didn't feel him beside me or hear him breathing, I started to get up. Since it was pitch black, I didn't see the ottoman in front of me, so I tripped over it, landing on the floor. I let out a shriek and watched one of the lights in another part of the house turn on.

"Are you okay?" Christian's shadow loomed in front of the light from the kitchen, and as he bent down, his body swallowed the glow. He touched my head, my hair, my cheeks and lips. Then he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me close.

"I'm okay," I said. "I just tripped."

Even in the darkness, I could feel him smiling when he said, "That's typical of you. Are you ready to tell me your other secret now?"

Before I replied, I heard a soft vibration. My phone. I could see it trembling, the light from the screen illuminating the other side of the couch. I reached for it, flipped it open, and read the message.

One New Message From: Unknown Number

Turn on the news.

When I found the remote and hit the power button, the TV flooded with white light at first, then a voice spoke. It sent chills down my spine.

"The body of a local teen was found in this clearing behind me. Authorities believe the body to be that of missing boy, Jared Davis. No further details can be provided at this time."

I dared a glance beside me, where he sat.

Christian was gone.

The End

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