020Mature

020

“He wants you to come to his house for dinner? Is he serious?”

It was Aria who had spoken, her voice barely a whisper. We were sitting in the library with tables full of people. I wonder if any of them knew. I didn’t think so.

“Tate!” Caleb hissed, poking me in the arm. “Did you hear what she said?”

“I heard her,” I mumbled, distracted. “He is serious. We’re going to talk and I’m going to end it.”

“What if he doesn’t let you?” Aria asked.

I looked at her and shook my head. “What does that even mean? He can’t stop me from breaking it off.”

Aria and Caleb exchanged glances.

“What?” I said.

“It’s dangerous and stupid,” Aria said, leaning forward. “I don’t trust him.”

“She thinks he killed that person they found in the field,” Caleb explained, running a hand through his hair.

“That’s sick,” I said angrily. I glared at Aria. “Elias is not a murderer. You’ll just say anything to keep me from going over there. I thought you hated him and wanted me to end it.”

“I do,” Aria said. She stood up, pushing the chair across the carpet into the wooden table. “But this has gone far enough. Cal mentioned you talked to Elias about the death and he didn’t sound surprised about it.”

“That doesn’t mean anything,” I replied defensively, standing.

I finally stood up and started to walk away from them. But I knew something about his reaction was off. I couldn’t tell them who I thought it was that had been killed. If I said it out loud then that made it true.

“Where is Hunter?” Aria asked behind me.

My heart seemed to stop as her words reached my ears. I stopped moving and took a breath. I wanted to make sure I was alive, that I hadn’t slipped into some alternate universe as she spoke.

“Tate.” Someone was shaking my shoulder. “Where is he?”

“I don’t know.” I closed my eyes. My body started to tremble, my vision once again blurred. “I was with him the other day and he disappeared, and now I think…”

Caleb made a noise in the back of his throat and I could smell his cologne. I turned around blindly and flung myself into his arms. He held me tightly and said something to Aria. I felt her walk passed me.

“Where is she going?” I whispered into his shirt.

“She’s going to find Hunter,” he told me.

I shook my head and pulled away from him. I looked into his face as he wiped away my tears. “She won’t find him, Cal,” I said, my voice low. “Hunter’s gone.”

“Gone?” Caleb stared at me. He took my hand and we left the library. As we walked down the hall, he stopped. “Where did he go?”

I needed to say it. It was true and I needed someone else to know.

“I think Hunter’s dead.”

“What the hell are you talking about, Tate?” It was Aria, her shoes squeaking on the floor as she came towards us. “Hunter’s not dead. Are you feeling okay?”

“No.”

I felt dizzy as I broke away from them and headed for the bathroom. I barely got the stall closed before I collapse, clutched the sides of the toilet, and vomited into it. I could smell the scent of sweat and puke as I passed out on the cool floor.

The End

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