“Julia. Julia, are you okay?” Logan reaches out and touched my arm, and I realize that my whole body is shaking, and tears are going down my face.
‘Yep. I’m fine,” I say, dragging my trembling hand to my face to wipe off the tears. Stop crying. Stop it. I close my eyes and take a few deep breaths, trying to keep from getting hysterical. You’re okay. You’re okay. You’ve got this. Don’t let him intimidate you.
I let out a relieved breath and open my eyes. “Okay.” I remember that Tiffany is still in the room and turn around, about to talk to her.
“You’re crazy. Absolutely crazy,” Tiffany says. I stare at her for a moment, not sure how to take her, and she slowly begins to smile. “In a good way. That was awesome.”
“Oh. Well, thanks, I guess. I’m sorry about bringing you into all this though. If you think Marcus is going to be angry at you for helping us now that he knows, you don’t have to do it. I don’t want you to get hurt because of us.”
“No, no, I’m helping you guys. I didn’t want him to know at first, but now I don’t really care. I’m doing it anyway.”
I smile, a real smile, relieved that she’s still going to help us. “Thank you. You and Logan should go to school now, since you’re already late. I’ve got blood on me and I should probably clean this up.”
Tiffany’s head tilts just a tiny bit to the side. “Wow.”
“What?” I ask.
She shakes her head. “Never mind. Yeah, I’ll go now. We can start training and I’ll tell you everything I can after school.”
“Okay, then. I’m–I’m gonna try to get this blood off me now.” I grab a fresh pair of clothes from my room, then head into the bathroom to rinse the blood of me. I find Logan already in there, washing her face in the sink. She waits until I start my shower before saying anything.
“You know, I hadn’t really . . seen a whole lot of Tiffany until now, but . . does she seem familiar to you? I keep thinking that I’ve met her before.”
“I don’t know,” I say. “I thought so, too, but it’s probably just because of seeing her at school. But anyway, do you remember that photo album we have of Dad? The one that’s mostly just him, Mom, and some of their friends when they were younger?”
“Yeah. Why? You thinking about what Marcus said?”
“That and there’s a specific picture that came into my mind earlier that I want to find. Do you think you can put it on my bed before you leave while I’m showering?”
“Yeah, sure,” she says. She wipes her hands off on her jeans as she turns to leave.
“Logan?” She stops and looks at me. “Remember–remember what I said last night. Don’t listen to what Marcus said. I’m going to protect you, Logan. I’m not going to let him hurt you.”
Logan’s head tilts to the side, a sad look in her eyes. “Julia, he’s–he’s right. I deserve it. And if he wants to kill me . . so be it.”
“What? Logan, no. No. Don’t think that way. We’ll figure out how to get rid of him. And if we can’t, we’ll run. We’ll go somewhere where he won’t be able to find us. But if–if something happens before then, if he tries to kill you before we get out, promise me you’re not just gonna let him kill you.” She continues to stare at me. “Promise me, Logan.”
Her eyes flicker between mine, and I’m afraid she’s not going to agree, but then she gives in.”I promise.”
I sigh, relieved. “Thank you.” She gives me a small smile before leaving. I can only hope that she means it, but the way she was speaking about it really scares me. I can’t let Marcus have a chance to get to her because I’m not sure if she’d actually try to get away from him or not. I sure hope so.
Upon looking in the mirror, I see that there is more blood on my face, as well as on my neck and the top of my white shirt. I doubt I’ll be able to get that out. My messy hair has a little bit in it, too, so now I need to get that out before I can go see Mom.
I quickly rinse off, then slide into the dark jeans and long-sleeve mint-green shirt that I picked out. The rest of the house is silent so I assume that Logan left to take Tiffany to school. When I get into my room, I see a photo album sitting on my bed so it looks like Logan found it for me.
I scoot it over to make room, folding my legs underneath me as I sit down. The coral color on the cover is starting to fade, as well as the corners wearing down from the years of use. It’s been a while since I last looked through this album.
I unwrap my hair from my towel, drying it as I browse through the pictures. My parents’ smiling faces–my dad’s, specifically–tugs at my heartstrings, but I set that aside to find the picture I’m looking for. He was always so happy. God, I miss him. I wish he were here. He could help Logan and me. No, he would help Logan and me. Just focus on finding the picture, Julia, I tell myself before I can let the tears come to surface. I need to find this picture. Now. If I’m remembering it correctly, it could change nearly everything I know about this person.
I lay my towel down on the bed and begin flipping through the album faster, in a hurry to find out if I’m right or not. Then, I see it, having to stop and go back a page. That’s it. My hand drops away from fiddling with my wet hair, and I stare at it in shock. I was right. I didn’t want to be, but I was right.
Oh my god.
There’s two happy men in the photo; best friends from what I can see. The one on the right, my father, is definitely not faking that smile. Same for the other man. I just don’t understand how that could be. According to the date, this picture was taken nearly ten years ago, though my dad looks almost exactly the same as he did when he died four years later.
They both have their police uniforms on, probably just getting off of work that day and hanging out with each other. I obviously already knew my dad was a policeman, but I had no idea about the other guy. I know for sure that he’s not anymore though, and I still don’t understand what exactly this means for Logan and me.
I just can’t believe that Marcus and my father were friends. Not just friends; they were close friends. I guess it explains why he seems to know my mother. And why he gave me the same feeling I got when I met Tiffany when I opened the door this morning. He felt familiar, but I wasn’t sure why he would be. But it makes sense now: he’s familiar because I’ve met him plenty; I was just young when it happened. It also gives a little more insight on what Marcus was saying earlier, though as if right now, it still doesn’t make complete sense. This isn’t what he was telling me to find, but it sure does help.
Marcus and my dad knew each other. Could this be why he’s so obsessed with me? But . . but why would he want to kill Logan if that was the reason? What exactly is his plan here?