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Unraveling You, Page 10

Jessica Sorensen


  Sage and Nolan are in the car with me as we roll up to the house in Lila’s BMW. The fancy car blends in with the rest of others parked around the house. No surprise, since the house is a freaking mansion. I mean, the home I live in is pretty fucking big, but this damn thing looks like it has three stories and a basement. I’m never going to find Lyric here.

  I’ve already sent her multiple texts by the time I enter the home, but she still hasn't responded. As soon as I step foot into the foyer, I discover why. The music is blaring so loud the floors and windows are vibrating.

  “Dude, this music sucks balls!” Sage yells over the noise, pulling a repulsed face at a machine pouring fog across the dance area, like we’re in a freaking club or something. He rakes his hand through his hair. “I need a fucking drink.”

  As he vanishes into the crowd and the smog, Nolan stuffs his hands into his pockets. “I’m going to go find Anna. Are you going to be okay?”

  “I can take care of myself, man,” I say, even though the amount of people crammed into the room is making me feel as if the walls are closing in. This is the last thing I needed tonight after finding out Lila couldn’t find anything out about my brother.

  I need to find Lyric and get the hell out of here.

  “But I know how you get in crowds!” Nolan has to yell in order for me to hear him over the song. “And around people!”

  I wave him off. “I’ll be fine. Go get some.”

  He grins then the crowd swallows him up as he dives into the insanity.

  I start my search for Lyric, pushing my way through sweaty, intoxicated people, until I manage to find the enormous kitchen that could easily be as big as the entire top floor of my house. I ask if anyone has seen her, but since I usually don’t speak until I have to, it’s apparent that’s made the people I go to school with skittish around me.

  Finally, I stumble across Maggie. She’s near the dance area with a cup in her hand, her attention fixed on a short, stocky guy that looks like he’s in college.

  I squeeze past people, moving in her direction across the room. Everyone is dancing, and I get rubbed up on more than once. Add the smoke in the air, and I feel like I’m going to suffocate to death. I still keep going, though, telling myself to suck it up. That this isn’t the past. Just a party. Nothing more. But images of my brother and I chained to that damn wall creep up and stab me in the brain. It feels like my skull is bleeding. All I want to do is find a place to curl up and cry.

  He disappeared without a trace.

  Gone to who knows where.

  Lost in a sea of people.

  Who will never understand.

  Maybe he isn’t just lost, though.

  Fuck, what if he’s dead?

  “Hey, have you seen Lyric?” I ask when I manage to get beside Maggie, one of the few people who aren’t afraid of me.

  Her drunken gaze lights up as she scans me over from head to toe. “Hey, sexy. I feel so special. You never come to parties.”

  The stocky guy she’s with gives me a nasty look, like I’m trying to cramp his style. But one good thing about my intimidation factor is when I retaliate with a dirty look, he backs off.

  “I thought I’d come and see what this whole thing was about,” I lie. “But I need to find Lyric and check in on her. I promised I would.”

  “You are so good to her. I wish I had someone like you for myself.” She trails her fingers up and down my stomach then flattens her palm against my chest.

  As memories prickle at the back of my mind, I almost shove her.

  Breathe, just breathe.

  Breathe, breathe, breathe.

  Into the light, out of the dark.

  To the life with Lyric.

  Where no one can touch you.

  Break you apart.

  Where you don’t have to see or feel.

  What was done to you.

  What destroyed you.

  I inch out of her reach, and her hand remains suspended in the air as her brows dip.

  “Look, I really need to find Lyric,” I tell her, stuffing my hands into my pockets to keep from pushing her away.

  Her face bunches up as she frowns. “The last time I saw her, she was heading into one of the bedrooms with William.”

  My heart hammers inside my chest, my eardrums ringing louder than the song. “Where is this bedroom?” My voice comes out sharper than I mean to, but seriously, what the hell is Lyric thinking going into a bedroom with William Stephington?

  Maggie points her finger toward the back of the house. “It’s back there, down the hallway.” She swigs a mouthful from the cup in her hand. “God, Ayden, you need to chillax. She can go back to a room with a guy without your permission.”

  I scowl at her then start shoving through the crowd, roughly pushing people out of my way. It takes me a few minutes to get to the hallway Maggie pointed to, but I manage. The first door I open is a closet. The next is a bedroom, but it’s empty, so I try the next one. And the next. All are vacant, except for the last one, which has a couple occupying it. They’re going at it like rabbits, and I get an eyeful before I get the door shut.

  What the hell am I doing? If Lyric is back here doing something with William, then what? I’m going to walk in and tell her to stop? Then she would get pissed off at me, and honestly, I don’t think I could handle seeing her doing that with a guy.

  Giving up on the bedrooms, I spin back around and make a path for the kitchen again. Halfway down the hall, my phone vibrates from inside my pocket. I pause to fish it out and exhale a breath of relief when I see the text is from Lyric.

  Lyric: U didn’t by chance come to the party, did u?

  Me: Yeah, I’m here right now. Where r u?

  Lyric: In the bathroom.

  Me: Okay, meet me in the kitchen when u come out.

  Lyric: I can’t.

  Me: Can’t what? Meet me in the kitchen?

  Lyric: No, come out of the bathroom.

  Me: R u sick?

  Lyric: No.

  Me: Then what’s wrong?

  When she doesn’t respond, I grow anxious.

  Me: R u hurt?

  Lyric: Kind of.

  Me: Lyric, where the fuck r u?

  Lyric: I’m in the bathroom on the second floor near the start of the hallway. But, Ayden, u don’t need to come up here. I’m fine.

  Like hell I don’t.

  I knock people out of the way as I storm back through the kitchen and toward the massive spiral stairway that coils to the second floor. Different scenarios play in my head as my mind goes wild, trying to figure out what happened. With Lyric, it’s hard to say. The girl is a freaking daredevil, but for some reason, I’m betting this has to do with William.

  The top of the stairs is much quieter and less populated. Only a group of seven or eight are lurking around, drinking and smoking, including Sage.

  “Hey, do you know where the bathroom is?” I ask him as he takes a deep hit from a joint.

  He coughs smoke in my face as he exhales, passing the rolled up paper to the next guy. “Sorry, about that,” he says as I fan my hand in front of my face. “Yeah, it’s the fifth door down, but I wouldn’t bother. Some chick’s been locked in there for like an hour.”

  I’m off before he can even finish his sentence, rushing past doors. When I reach the fifth one, it’s locked, so I bang my fist against the heavy wood.

  “Lyric, open the door. It’s me.”

  A beat goes by before I hear the lock click. I push the door open and step into the dark, narrow room. Moonlight trickles in from the window above the bathtub, highlighting Lyric’s silhouette.

  “Why the hell do you have the light off?” I feel around on the wall until my fingers brush against the switch. I flip it on, blinking against the bright light.

  “You were right,” Lyric says, only her voice sounds so wrong, like it’s excruciating to speak, which might be because she has a swollen lip. “I’m way too trusting for my own good.”

  My lips part i
n shock at the sight of her. Her cheeks are enflamed and one of the straps of her dress is missing, as if someone ripped it off. The front has fallen down, too, so I can see the top of her bra. Her blond hair is tangled around her pained face and mascara and tears stain her cheeks.

  She cups her hand to her cheek. “God, my face fucking hurts.”

  That yanks me out of my trance.

  “What the hell did he do to you?” I pause when her fingers drift to the hem of her dress.

  God, no. Please don’t let it be that. I don’t know if I can handle that. It’ll be too much, and I need to be able to handle this for her.

  “Did he …?” I can’t even say it aloud, as I’m pulled away to a different time, place, life that binds me at the wrists and slices my flesh open.

  I don’t want to remember it.

  Please.

  Don’t let me remember it.

  Right now.

  Ever.

  She shakes her head, hugging her arms around herself. “No, he didn’t get that far.”

  My breathing comes out ragged as I battle to stay calm. “Where is he?”

  She shrugs. “I don’t know. Probably icing his balls.”

  I cock my head to the side. “Huh?”

  “Well, I did kick him there enough times that he probably won’t be able to have children anymore,” she says matter-of-factly, her eyes lacking so much emotion it kills me to look at them.

  I miss her fire. Her life.

  He better not have stolen that away from her.

  Taken anything away from her.

  I pierce my nails into the flesh of my palms. “How did you get the fat lip and the welt on your cheek?”

  She lowers herself onto the shut toilet then drops her head into her hands. “I thought we were going outside and realized too late he was taking me to a bedroom. When we got in there, he locked the door and shoved me down on the bed. I hit my face on the headboard and bit my lip.”

  I cautiously inch past the sink toward her. “What about your dress? How did it … get torn?”

  Her breathing quickens and her bottom lip quivers. “I said he didn’t rape me, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t try.” She drags her fingers down her face as she stares helplessly at me. “God, I’m so stupid. You were right. I do think too much with my heart.”

  Something snaps inside me. Breaks. Shatters. I’m not sure if it’s because she doubts her heart, or that he tried to rape her. Whatever it is, I can’t stop the thoughts from emerging.

  House of locks. Walls of metal.

  Searing pain. Scorching into me.

  Branded forever, like bleeding ink.

  I suck in an uneven breath.

  William is going to fucking pay for what he did.

  “I’ll be right back.” My voice is low and controlled, despite the fact that I feel more out of control than I ever have. I reel around and yank the door open.

  “No, Ayden, don’t,” Lyric begs, hopping up from the toilet and chasing after me.

  But I storm out the door, slamming it behind me with only a single thought in my mind.

  Make William pay.

  Protect Lyric.

  Like no one ever did for me.

  I find the douche bag in the kitchen, near the drink section, chatting with some girl from our school, standing a bit awkwardly as he throws back a shot.

  Of course he’d be with a fucking girl.

  He spots me when I’m about two steps away from him, and by the way the color drains from his face, I can tell he knows why I’m here, and he’s afraid. He fucking should be. I had been good at refraining from violence for a while, but I’m making an exception right now for Lyric.

  I don’t even slow down as I reach him, my feet keeping momentum as I crane my arm back. He starts to stagger back into the counter, but not quick enough, and I bash my knuckles straight into his nose. There’s a crack then blood streams from his nostrils, and then he crumples to the floor. The crowd creates a gap as people skitter away from the scene, some cursing, and a few girls even start crying.

  “You’re going to fucking pay for that,” he growls as he rolls onto his back, cupping his bloody nose.

  I crouch down beside him, and his eyes widen and fill with fear. “If you ever so much as look at Lyric again, I will put you in the hospital. You got it?”

  He shakes his head, cursing as blood drips down the back of his hands. “I’m going to sue your ass for this.”

  I lean down in his face. “Do. You. Get. What. I’m. Saying?”

  Scowling, he nods. It takes every amount of my strength to stand up without punching him in the face again.

  By the time I reach the stairway, my fists are trembling and blood is staining my knuckles and scars. I start to hyperventilate. I try to force the images back, but the flashbacks are too intense this time and emotions overwhelm me.

  Claws.

  Blood.

  The walls are closing in.

  They tell me this is how life is supposed to be.

  For me to be trapped.

  Confined.

  A prisoner in a home filled with madness.

  That my mother stuck me in.

  Gave me up.

  Just like that.

  As if I was a stray dog she didn’t want.

  I can almost feel the metal biting at my wrist, and all I can do is grip onto the railing, and pray they’ll be over soon.

  That I’ll forget again.

  Chapter 10

  Lyric

  This is one of the worst nights of my life. I’m lucky, though. It could have gone a lot worse. William could have gotten what he was trying to steal. He got as far as kissing me and reaching under my dress before I managed to knee the crap out of his balls. Then he collapsed to the floor, and I ran out of the room.

  But the damn idiot stole my first kiss!

  That I can never get back.

  And now Ayden has gone after him to do God knows what. I’ve never seen him that pissed off before. It has me extremely worried.

  I’d been hiding out in the bathroom, embarrassed about how I looked, like everyone would be able to tell what happened by my appearance.

  After sending Ayden countless texts, I give up and crack the door open, peering into the hallway. I spot Sage, his bright blue hair making him stand out like a bluebird in a sea of crows. He definitely has his own unique style. Tall and lean, he wears a lot of different shades of clothing, yet all of them are dark with murky tones. He has countless piercings, including three in his brow and one in his tongue.

  He’s chatting with his buddies, so I open the door all the way and stick my head out.

  “Sage,” I hiss, waving him over.

  When he glances at me, his brows knit as he strides over. He has a joint in his hand and reeks of pot, but Sage is known as the school pothead, so it’s no surprise. He can play the drums like a boss, though, so he’s cool in my book.

  “What’s up?” His blue-eyed gaze scans me. “Holy shit. Are you okay, Lyric?”

  “I’m fine. But can you go find Ayden? I think he might be in some trouble.”

  “Yeah, I saw him storming down the hall, looking like he was about to murder someone.”

  I bite down on my lip, instantly regretting it when pain sears across my face. “I’m kind of worried that he might try exactly that.”

  He positions the joint between his lips. “I’m on it.”

  I shut the door as he strides toward the stairs. Then, I sink to the floor and very impatiently wait for Sage to either come back, or hopefully Ayden to return. Seconds tick by. Minutes. Right in the midst of deciding to go out myself, the door finally swings open.

  “Oh, thank God.” I sigh in relief as Ayden trudges into the bathroom. My gaze immediately drops to his hand cradled at his side, and I jump to my feet. “Why is there blood all over your knuckles?” I grab his hand and jerk it toward me. When his face contorts in pain, I loosen my hold.

  “I haven’t hit someone since I was fourteen,”
he mutters, stretching out the fingers of his uninjured hand. “I forgot that I wasn’t supposed to use my knuckles.”

  I gently wipe some of the blood off his skin, surprised he doesn’t stop me when my fingertips graze his scars. “But whose blood is this? Because I don’t see any fresh cuts.”