“Tyler? You okay? You’re completely out of it.”
“What?” I look away from the rain sliding down the glass and turn back inside and see Ryan’s cousin, Bethany watching me with concern.
“No, he’s distracted by a girl that doesn’t exist. We found him on the beach this afternoon saying that he’d been talking with a girl who somehow disappeared when we got there,” Aaron says.
“Maybe she was a mermaid,” Ryan suggests with a grin.
“Oh, I’m sorry I ditched practice, but there was this amazing voice and it belonged to this hot girl with a tail,” Aaron adds.
“Lay off,” Bethany says as she hits the back of Ryan’s head.
“She’s real, I swear. She just left when you two showed up,” I say as I turn back toward the window.
“Of course she is, Tyler. But just know that there are three things that can cure delusions of women,” Aaron starts as he raises another glass.
“Aaron, keep in mind there is still a girl in the room. You can ‘educate’ him after you leave my house,” Bethany says with disgust.
Aaron sighs and sits down at the table. “What happened to your cousin and his friend? She was hot.”
“Aaron, my cousin was a guy, and he’d personally kill any guy who looked at his girlfriend,” Ryan says as he rolls his eyes. “And besides, we haven’t heard from Raven in awhile. What happened to your brother anyway, Bethany?”
She shrugs. “Don’t know. After he moved with dad, I never really saw him except for holidays and that one time you guys met him.”
Ryan leans back in his chair. “Wasn’t his girlfriend’s name Zoë or something like that?”
Bethany nods. “Zoë Wren.”
“What’d she look like?” I ask. This was before I met Ryan.
“Tall and slim, athletic build, very long black hair, charcoal eyes,” Bethany answers. “She looked dangerous.”
Ryan nods. “I remember that. I accidentally made her mad and she threw a knife at my head.”
I laugh. “What’d you do to make a girl that mad?”
“Nothing,” Ryan replies.
“If he won’t tell, I will,” Aaron interjects. “He was drunk and kept asking about her tattoos.”
“And so she threw a knife at your head for that? That seems like a harmless question.”
Ryan shakes his head. “Not to her, and not when they start on her shoulder and go down to her hip. She acted like she was ashamed of them or something.”
“I don’t know why she would be, they were really cool,” Bethany says as she sits down beside her cousin. “Raven had some too. He said it was from the new school dad enrolled him in.”
“What kind of school gives out tattoos to students?” Ryan asks Bethany.
She shrugs. “Dad wouldn’t talk about it, and Raven would never tell me the name.”
“Zoë never told you?” I ask.
“Zoë never really talked to anyone except Raven. It was weird.”
“Well, if there’s a school out there that has hot girls with weapons and tattoos, then please enroll me,” Aaron says as he attempts to stand, then falls back into his chair.
Bethany shakes her head and opens her mouth like she’s about to say something, but is interrupted by a loud banging at the door.
“Who on earth would be out in this storm?” Ryan wonders aloud as Bethany stands up and walks through the kitchen to the side door.
“Can I help you?”
“Bethany? I don’t know if you remember me, but I’m Zoë, Raven’s girlfriend. I need help.”