Raveling you, p.11
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       Raveling You, p.11

         Part #2 of Unraveling You series by Jessica Sorensen
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  Mr. Scott briefly glances at me, and I feel like somehow he knows what I was doing with his daughter, even though there’s no way he possibly could. Our parents are clueless about our stolen kisses and heavy making out. If they did know, I’m sure they’d start making us keep our bedroom doors open when we’re together and stop allowing Lyric to occasionally fall asleep in my bed.

  Mr. Scott tears his attention off me and focuses on Lyric. “You said I needed to see you play. That, if I did, I would be begging for you to be in my lineup.” He drops down in a fold-up chair near the door, reclines back, and folds his arms. “So let’s see your awesomeness.”

  Lyric looks at me helplessly. She’s terrified of messing up, of her stage fright, of not impressing her father.

  With my guitar still in hand, I step behind her and lean over her shoulder. “You’ve got this,” I whisper, grazing my finger along the inside of her wrist. “It’s just like the first time you sang in front of Sage. Pretend it’s only you in the room.”

  She turns her head toward me, our lips almost touching. “Can I pretend you’re in the room with me?”

  I nod as my heart swells in my chest. Her words pierce my soul. How much she trusts me. How much I want her to trust me. How much I’m pretty sure we’re not just friends anymore.

  We’re so much more.

  Chapter 10

  Lyric

  I feel like I’m going to throw up as I raise the microphone to my mouth and prepare to sing in front of my dad. I’d rather run out the door and hide. What keeps my feet planted on the floor is what Ayden whispered in my ear.

  Just him and me in the room.

  No one else is here.

  No one at all.

  No one.

  No one.

  No one.

  The music starts playing, a cover song we jam out to a lot. And with a deep breath, I open my mouth and sing.

  Like the first time I sang in front of Ayden and Sage, my voice is slightly wobbly. I stabilize my tone quickly, though, and before I know it, I’m rocking out, putting on a show. I hit pitches I’ve never reached before and carry notes longer and more in control. Smooth is the first word that comes to mind when I’m finished. I performed smoothly.

  “Well, what do you think?” I ask my dad after we finish the song.

  I’m panting and sweaty like I always am after I sing. My heart dances lively in my chest as I wait in anticipation for his response. Usually, I can pick up what he’s feeling, but right now, he appears neutral. I start to grow worried that maybe he didn’t like it, that perhaps he’s trying to figure out a way to let us down gently.

  Stop being so self-doubtful!

  I square my shoulders while I wait. When a grin spreads across his face, I release a trapped breath.

  “You guys have a name yet?” he asks, leaning forward in the chair.

  “Alyric Bliss,” Sage responds, dropping his drumsticks to the floor.

  “Well, Alyric Bliss.” He stands to his feet. “You just got your first gig.”

  I run over and hug him, even though it’s probably super unprofessional.

  “Thank you, Daddy,” I say, hugging him tightly.

  “Don’t thank me.” He hugs me back. “As much as I love you, I wouldn’t have let you be in the lineup unless I thought you were good enough.”

  “Well, thanks for thinking we’re good enough.”

  “More than good enough. You’re really talented.” He embraces me tighter and lowers his voice. “And I’m sorry for what happened the other day. You were right. Your mother and I should have told you.”

  “You’re totally off the hook.” I pull back to look at him. “Just as long as you never do it again.”

  He draws an X across his chest. “I promise.”

  I smile and step back. “Do you want to stick around and play with us for a while?”

  “I was supposed to go home and help your mother with something.” He rubs his jawline, tempted by my offer. “But I guess I could spare a few minutes.”

  A few minutes stretch into a few hours. By the time he leaves the garage, it’s nearing eleven o’clock. He tells me to be home by one then adds that we might want to consider at least singing one of our own songs next week.

  My stomach churns at the idea. Yeah, we’ve played a few of my songs, but the idea of spilling my soul out to a room adds to the stage fright.

  Fortunately, I don’t stress about it for too long, because Sage suggests that we go to Maggie’s party. Suddenly, we’re piling into Aunt Lila’s car and heading toward the ritzy side of town near the docks.

  “Who’s DD?” Sage asks as we pull up to Maggie’s dad’s three-story mansion.

  The party has moved outdoors, people are crammed on the front lawn, around the garage, and gathered around the numerous cars parked around. Music blasts from inside and flows through the air. Twinkle lights cover all the trees and dimly light up the yard.

  “I’ll be,” Ayden and I say simultaneously.

  “You two are no fun,” Sage comments as he hops out of the car.

  Nolan follows and the intoxicated people swallow up the two of them.

  “So, tonight’s been interesting.” I remark when it’s just Ayden and me in the car.

  “Definitely.” He stares at the party and the lights from the trees reflect in his eyes.

  “I mean, my dad randomly shows up and gives us our first gig. Sage gets mad for some silly reason when he catches us making out…” I trail off as Ayden raises his brows.

  “You really don’t know what that was about?” he questions skeptically.

  “Should I?”

  “Lyric,” he starts.

  I heave a sigh. “Fine, I know what it’s about, but I don’t want it to be about that. I don’t want to have drama in the band.” I pick at my sapphire nail polish. “Besides, I don’t think of him as anything more than a friend, never have, especially when I like someone else.” I smile at him, but my mood plummets when he frowns. “What’s wrong?”

  “Are you sure that you…?” He huffs out an aggravated breath. “Are you sure you want this—want me? We’d have to move really slow.” He looks away, embarrassed. “I’m not even ready for you to touch me yet, at least not intimately.”

  “Of course I want you,” I climb over the console and straddle his lap, “slow or fast or simple or complicated. I’ll take whatever, just as long as you’ll give it to me.” I smile thoughtfully. “Hey, I’m totally putting that in a song when I get home.”

  He chuckles. “It would sound pretty good, wouldn’t it?”

  “It would,” I agree. “You know, one day, we should write a song together and then sing it as a duet.”

  He chuckles again. “You are so ambitious sometimes.”

  “That is the best compliment you’ve ever given me.” I lick my lips and move in to kiss him, hoping he doesn’t lean away.

  “What are we going to tell our parents about us?” he asks as my mouth inches toward his.

  “I think we should hold off on telling them for a while; otherwise, they might put restrictions on our time together, and I don’t want that.”

  “Agreed.”

  Our lips connect, breaths mingling.

  I’m about to dive into the kiss when someone taps on the window. When I turn my head, I see William grinning at us from the other side.

  “So, this is why you wouldn’t hook up with me?” he asks with a shit-eating grin on his face. “Wow, I knew you were all about being nice to everyone, but seriously, you’ve lowered your standards to him?”

  “You’re just pissed off because he kicked your ass,” I say haughtily. “Nice nose by the way.”

  “You little cunt.” He reaches for the handle.

  Ayden shoves me back into the passenger seat and gets out of the car as William opens the door. Ayden has him by a few inches, but William is definitely bulkier. Ayden once called William a steroid freak, and with his moodiness, I’m starting to wonder myself. Or perhaps he’s just a
n asshole.

  “You’re going to walk away, back to the party, before I bash my knuckles into your face again.” Ayden’s voice is low and firm, and his hands are balled at his sides as he struggles to remain cool.

  William’s fingers dart to his crooked nose, probably remembering what happened the last time Ayden punched him. “Whatever. You two can go fuck yourselves,” he spats, then storms back to the party.

  Ayden slides back into the driver’s seat and shuts the door, locking us in.

  “Well, at least I got my first encounter with him over with.” I blow out a shaky breath. I don’t like the vile feeling stirring inside me.

  “Tonight’s been full of drama, hasn’t it?” He tucks a strand of my hair behind my ear, and his fingers linger on my cheeks. “I won’t let him hurt you.”

  “I can take care of myself, Ayden, but thank you. For protecting me.”

  A smile touches his lips then he leans over the console to kiss me. But before our lips can reunite, his phone vibrates.

  Sighing, he moves back to retrieve his phone and check the message. A frown etches his face as he glances at the screen. “We have to go home.”

  “Why… We still have an hour and a half left before curfew.”

  “Because… the police are after a man that fits the description of the guy we saw that night standing in front of the house.”

  “Why are they after him? Was he hanging around outside your house again?”

  His eyes are wide, sheer terror radiating from his pupils. “No he broke into my house.”

  Chapter 11

  Lyric

  We text Sage and Nolan, telling them they have to find their own ride home, then we leave the party. By the time Ayden and I arrive at the house, my parents and the entire Gregory family have gathered in the living room of my home because Fiona, Kale, and Everson are too scared to go home. So scared, in fact, that they all brought their sleeping bags and pillows over to spend the night.

  When we walk in, they sit us down and tell us what happened.

  The Gregorys came home from dinner and Uncle Ethan caught the guy snooping around in Ayden’s room. Before they could do anything, the guy dove out the window. Uncle Ethan chased him for a mile but lost him in the park where a neighborhood Christmas party was taking place. The police are currently searching for the man and dusting for fingerprints even though Uncle Ethan is pretty sure the guy was wearing gloves. The worst part, though, was the tattoo Ethan saw on the back of the man’s neck—black ink and circles around solid lined symbols. While he didn’t get a really good look at it, he’s pretty sure it’s the same tattoo that Ayden has branded on his side.

  “We’re going to find a way to get that tattoo off you.” Uncle Ethan says to Ayden as he paces the living room, more riled up then I’ve ever seen him. “We’ll get you laser surgery or you can go get it covered up, but it’s coming off.”

  “Fine by me,” Ayden mutters, shutting his eyes and sucking in a breath.

  “The police also want you, Lyric, and Ethan to go in and look at pictures,” Aunt Lila says. “See if maybe someone can identify him.”

  “Okay,” all three of us mutter simultaneously.

  The room grows quiet as reality seeps in. The guy had the same tattoo, which means he has to be part of the group that held Ayden hostage three years ago.

  “We should turn a movie on,” Aunt Lila suggests to my mother, breaking the silence. “It might take everyone’s minds off this and help them fall asleep.”

  My mother agrees and the two of them start rifling through the DVD collection while my dad and Uncle Ethan wander into the kitchen to make a snack for everyone.

  Ayden remains pretty quiet as Lila asks everyone what we want to watch. His silence is concerning me. He says stress sets off his panic attacks.

  I scoot close to him on the sofa. “Want to go up to my room and talk?” I whisper in his ear.

  Ayden nods once then gets to his feet, pulling me up with him.

  “Where are you going?” Everson asks. At fourteen-years-old, the kid is sassy for his age, but I prefer his sassiness over Kale’s gaping, especially after what Ayden told me.

  Lila glances up from a stack of DVDs on the coffee table. “Ayden, you can’t go anywhere, not for a while anyway.”

  “Lyric and I are just going up to her room, if that’s okay?” he asks politely. “We need to work on some songs.”

  “Songs?” Lila asks, her face contorted with puzzlement.

  “Did your father hire you, then?” my mother asks as she searches the couch cushions for the remote.

  “Yep, he sure did.” Even though the night ended stressfully, I still glow with excitement and nerves, knowing that, in less than a week, I’ll be doing my first performance.

  “Good. I’m proud of you.” She discovers the remote near the fireplace. “Just make sure you’re careful, okay? The environment at those kinds of things is very adult.”

  “Mom, I turn eighteen in two months. I’m pretty much an adult already.”

  “You’ll always be my little girl, Lyric Scott.”

  “Aw, are you getting soft on me, Mom?” I dramatically touch my hand to my heart. “Usually, you’re the tough one and Dad gets all emotional.”

  “I am the tough one.” She sternly points the remote at me. “But I love you just as much as him, which is why I’m going to come to the performance and keep an eye on you.”

  I dramatically stomp my foot. “Crap, there goes my plan of doing drugs and hooking up with guys all night.”

  “Lyric Scott.” Her eyes enlarge as she shoots a warning look, pressing that we have an audience. “There are children in the room.”

  “Not really.” Fiona’s been doodling in her sketchpad the entire time we’ve been home but stops drawing to chime in. “I’m the youngest and I’m almost fourteen, which hardly makes me a kid anymore.”

  “You are a child.” Lila strictly points a finger at her. “No matter how hard you try Fiona Gregory, no matter how much makeup you put on, you are still my little girl.”

  “You know,” I intervene, offering my two cents. “I’ve often wondered why my mom and you and even Uncle Ethan and Dad all use our last names when you’re angry. I mean, it’s not like we don’t know who you’re talking to if you say Lyric.”

  “Lyric Scott,” Aunt Lila scolds me, but then smiles. “Fine, you have a good point, but like how you and Ayden hold hands all the time, using your last names when we’re angry is something we’re going to do.” She glances at my and Ayden’s clasped fingers.

  Kale tracks her gaze and frowns, like he’s just realizing Ayden and I do such a thing. On top of feeling awkward, I feel bad for him. I’ve had a ton of crushes over the last few years and it never feels all that great when you realize nothing will ever happen with the person you’re momentarily obsessed with.

  Ayden’s grip on my hand strengthens. “We should go get that thing done,” he says to me.

  “Thing?” Her attention descends to our hands. “I thought you guys were going to work on a song.”

  “We are,” I say, hurrying toward the doorway before they can stop us.

  “Keep the door open!” she calls out after us.

  “Do you think she knows?” I hiss as I steer Ayden toward the kitchen to grab a snack before we head upstairs.

  “About what?” Realization clicks and his jaw drops to the floor. “You mean about us… kissing?”

  I nod as we enter the kitchen. The air smells of cinnamon and hot chocolate and makes my mouth water. “Yeah, it seemed like she might have known about us.”

  “Known what about you?” my dad asks, his voice scaring the bejesus out of me.

  I slam to a stop near the island, quickly realizing he and Ethan might have overheard us.

  “Um, that Ayden and I haven’t gotten any of our homework done over holiday break,” I lie poorly.

  My dad pops a chunk of chocolate into his mouth then trades a look with Ethan. “You two seem awful nervous
right now.”

  I rack my brain for what to say and catch a whiff of cigarette smoke. Jackpot! My out.

  “About as nervous as you two,” I retort, scooping up a couple of pieces of fudge from off a platter on the countertop.

  “What do you mean?” The microwave beeps. “We’re not nervous.”

 
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