Discovering Alexis: The Wildly Crazy Day, Page 2Jessica Sorensen
He chuckles, focusing on me again. “You went right for her heart, huh?”
“Of course,” I reply, trying to smile. But he keeps looking at her, and it’s making me want to frown underneath rain clouds for weeks on end. “You know how I work. I don’t fuck around.”
He smashes his lips together, biting back a smile. “So, you’re saying you’re tough?”
I narrow my eyes at him, but it’s a playful move. “Are you challenging my toughness?”
“Not at all.” He’s on the verge of laughing.
“Fine, you want to see toughness? I’ll show you toughness.” Shaking my head, I reach out and pinch his arm.
He busts up laughing, hunching over. “Oh, my God, that was the daintiest pinch I’ve ever felt.”
“Hey, don’t you dare call me dainty.” I lunge for him, to do who knows what, but slam to a stop as the towel is yanked loose from my body.
Masie snickers from behind me. “Gotcha.”
“Dammit.” I spin around, moving too quickly, and trip over my feet.
I lose my balance, teetering toward the water, when an arm slips around my waist and pulls me back to a standing position. My heart thunders in my chest as I realize the muscular arm wrapped around my waist belongs to Blaine. His fingers are splayed across my bare stomach as he tows me against him, my back lined with his chest.
Mother of all that’s holy hell. There goes the butterflies and fireworks and bunnies having a disco party.
“You okay there, clumsy girl?” Humor dances in Blaine’s tone.
I pretend to grimace, but deep down, I’m still hanging out in lust land.
“Do not start with that nickname again. You promised you’d stop calling me that. I’m not even clumsy.”
With another chuckle, Blaine dips his lips toward my ear and pulls me closer. “No, I’m pretty sure you demanded I stop calling you that. But I never agreed to it, and I never will. You’ll always be my clumsy girl. Even this I’m-too-tough-for-everyone version of you.” His warm breath dusts across my skin, and it takes every ounce of my strength not to shudder.
Masie grins from in front of me, still holding my towel. “Aw, aren’t you two adorable?” Then she holds up her hand and pretends to take a photo. “Dammit, I really wish I had my camera right now.”
I glare at her, while Blaine simply laughs, holding me for a beat longer before releasing me.
“You know what I think?” he asks, stepping up beside me, his eyes glimmering mischievously.
I shake my head and inch away from him. “With that look in your eyes, I’m sure I don’t want to.”
A devilish grin spreads across his face as he winks at me then lunges for Masie. She squeals as he picks her up by the waist and tosses her into the pool. Water splashes everywhere, drenching both Blaine and me.
I gasp from the coldness and step back from the edge of the pool.
“Oh no, you don’t,” Blaine says, coming at me.
“Don’t you dare,” I warn, pointing a finger at him as I continue to back away. “You know I hate getting in the water.”
He’s still grinning like the evil devil himself. “Which makes this much more fun.”
He steps toward me.
I step back.
Grinning, he rushes at me.
I may be tough, but with him, I don’t even stand a chance. Still, I whirl around and run toward the house.
Two steps in, and his arms wrap around my waist. But, unlike Masie, I’m not going down without a fight.
Writhing my body, I kick and try to wiggle free. My skin is still wet from Masie’s splash, and his hands nearly slip off me, but he manages to hold me tightly, carrying me over to the pool and tossing me into the air.
I let out a string of curses that get cut short as I splash into the water. I suck balls at swimming, so it takes me a moment to kick back to the top. Right before I surface, a body dives into the water beside me. Blaine, I’m sure, which means he’ll have his shirt off and be all hot and sexy and dripping wet.
Okay, maybe being in the water isn’t too terrible.
Breaking through the surface, I suck in a huge breath of air. It takes me a couple of breaths to get my bearings, and by the time I do, Blaine is popping up through the water beside me.
I get a brief, yet not nearly long enough, glimpse of his wet chest before he sinks back down, leaving only his head and shoulders out of the water.
“That wasn’t very funny,” I tell him as I paddle my arms to stay afloat.
“You’re right.” He grins cockily. “It was freaking hilarious.”
I mimic his cocky grin, splashing water into his face. “So was that.”
He curses, but laughs, wiping his face with his hand.
Before he can pay me back, I blast him with a sassy smirk then swim toward the edge. I don’t climb out, mostly because, when Blaine threw Masie into the pool, she had my towel in her hands. So, I don’t have anything else to cover up with at the moment.
Masie swims up beside me and grips the edge of the pool with a big, old grin on her face. “Holy shit! He’s totally flirting with you.”
I roll my eyes. “He so is not. If anything, he’s flirting with you.” It hurts like a motherfucker to say it, but I manage to keep a neutral expression.
Yep, that’s me. Unfeeling, emotionless Alexis.
She rolls her eyes. “Like Blaine would ever flirt with me. Please. I’m not even his type.”
I snort a laugh. “Yeah, right. You’re exactly his type.” My words ache with truth.
She rolls her eyes, her expression carrying a drop of uneasiness. “Blaine doesn’t have a type. I mean, sure, he’s dated a lot of blondes. But, so what? I’ve seen him check out brunettes and redheads, too.” Her eyes pop wide open when I frown. “I so didn’t mean he checks out other girls all the time. I’ve just seen him do it occasionally … when he’s drunk … Really, really drunk.” She’s a babbling mess of lies. That’s okay. She’s only trying to make me feel better.
“Masie, I’m fine,” I insist, back paddling toward the ladder so I can climb out of the pool, so over this water thing. “I know Blaine checks out girls. I’m not fucking clueless.”
She smiles, but it doesn’t quite reach her eyes. “Maybe partially.”
I flip her the middle finger. Then, with a deep breath, I hoist myself up onto the ladder and climb out. Water rivers off my body, and even though it’s hot as a devil’s flame, goose bumps sprout across my skin. Wrapping my arms around myself, I shuffle toward the back door of Masie’s house.
“Hey! Don’t you dare drip water all over my floor,” Masie shouts after me.
“That’s what you get for ruining my towel,” I throw back, gripping the doorknob.
“Alexis,” she whines. “Please don’t. I just had the floors cleaned.”
“Yeah, well, maybe you should’ve thought about that before you ruined my towel.” I’m totally fucking with her. I turn around, grinning, but my smile promptly fades.
Blaine has swum up to her and is saying something with his head tipped close. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but the position they’re in looks very intimate.
Is something going on with them?
Masie catches my eye and rolls hers, nudging Blaine away. Her lips part, but Blaine grabs ahold of her and swims farther into the pool. Masie screeches like she’s upset, but her laughter reveals otherwise.
“Blaine, stop!” she gripes through her laughter.
I turn around and enter her house, not wanting to see any more of their flirting moment.
Because I’m not a total bitch, at least not to my friends, I remain in the washroom until I’m not dripping water anymore. Then I go into the guestroom to change into my clothes. I more than happily peel the bikini off, then put on a pair of cut-offs, a black tank top, and then tie a plaid shirt around my waist. I leave my wet hair down, and tug on a pair of clunky boots. When I check my reflection in the mirror, I pull a face. I look like a mess. A big, old, hot mess
. So, yeah, I pretty much look like I always do.
I comb my fingers through my tangled, wavy hair a couple of times, then sigh and turn away from the mirror. I grab my bag, my car keys, and the wet bikini before heading back outside.
I was supposed to hang around at Masie’s then go to a party later tonight with her. But I think I’ll go home to shower and wash the chlorine out of my hair then meet up with her later.
However, the instant I step outside, all thoughts of parties and showers go bye-bye, see ya later as I spot Masie and Blaine making out in the pool. He has her pressed up against the side, his hands resting on the edge, her head pinned between them. Her hands are gripping his shoulders, pulling him closer as she kisses him.
I want to look away, but my damn gaze is being a little uncooperative motherfucker.
This can’t be happening. I must be reading the situation wrong.
Still, no matter how many times I try to convince myself, the truth is hard to deny when it’s right there in front of me.
Move, Alexis. Move your damn feet and walk away before you get even more hurt.
I start to turn to go back into the house so I can run out the front door, when I end up tripping over my own feet. I manage to catch my balance, though not before accidentally kicking a flowerpot off the back porch and onto the barbeque grill below.
“Oh, shit.” Masie lets out a string of panicked curses. “Alexis, wait.”
I don’t even look behind me as I rush into the house and haul ass for the front door. When I barrel outside, ready to get the hell out of here, I slam to a screeching halt as I reach the driveway.
“Shit, where’s my car?” Though I know I parked it in the driveway, I still stupidly glance around, looking inside the open garage and at the curb in front of her house. Nope. No such luck. And my car is really hard to miss, too. A beat up 1969 Chevelle I recently bought with some of the money my parents left me when they died.
I cried like a wimp when I bought it, mostly because my dad was into classic cars. It was the one moment I let myself cry since their deaths, and I want it to be my last.
“Shit, did someone steal my fucking car?” The thought makes my anger boil even more. “I’m so going to kick the ass of whoever took it …” I trail off at the sight of something in the driveway.
Tucked underneath a rock where my car was parked is a bright red piece of paper with my name scrawled across it. Bending over, I slip the paper out from under the rock and turn it over.
If you want to find your car, you need to follow the clue. If you don’t find it by sunset, we’ll tell Blaine how you feel about him. And make sure not to go to the police, or again, we’ll tell Blaine your secret.
Printed below the note is a strange circular symbol with a series of patterns and shapes.
What. The. Fuck. Is. This? And who or what the bleep left it here? And what freakin’ clue?
My detective instincts kick in as I skim the ground in search of a clue that might reveal who the jackass is that jacked my car. Except, the driveway is completely clean, and so is the grass beside it.
That’s about as far as I get before Masie burst out the front door. She has a towel wrapped around her and panic in her eyes.
“Alexis, please just wait a second. I can explain.”
For a brief second, I consider running up and kicking her ass. But, since I’m still in a little bit of trouble for the last fight I got into, I turn and run like hell down the driveway and into the road. I keep running and running without looking back, wishing I never had to look back again. Wishing I could forget it all—Masie, Blaine, my friendships with both of them. I want to forget either of them exists.
I want to forget everything.
Fuck. Ridge isn’t having very much luck with tracking down West’s phone number. We tried Ellis and Steel’s too, but they must have listed their phones as private, which makes them even harder to track down.
Seeing no other choice, I head into the bedroom to talk to Zhara and ask her to call Alexis. Although, I hate putting this on Zhara’s shoulders. But if something happened to Alexis that I could’ve stopped, she’d never forgive me.
When I enter my room, she’s awake and sitting up in the bed. She looks exhausted with dark circles underneath her eyes, her hair is a tangled mess, and she doesn’t have a drop of makeup on. She looks gorgeous.
“Hey, sweetheart,” I say as I take a seat on the edge of the bed.
She flushes at my little nickname for her. “Hey… Sorry, I slept for so long and took over your bed.”
“You’re fine,” I tell her. “I wouldn’t have been sleeping anyway… I have too much work stuff going on.”
“Is there anything I can help with?” she asks, tucking strands of her hair behind her ears. “Or do I still need to do more training before I can help?”
“Actually, you can help me with something.”
She looks more than eager to help and I’m starting to wonder if she likes this whole undercover thing. The thought makes me smile, but I worry about her getting hurt. Not just physically, but emotionally.
“I need you to call Alexis,” I explain. “And see if you can get her to come here for a bit.” While my plans are to have West, Ellis, and Steel keep an eye on her, I can’t make that happen until I get a hold of them.
Her back stiffens. “Why? Is she in trouble?”
“Not yet.” I take her hand to try to calm her down and then give her a quick recap of what’s going on with Alexis.
By the time I’m finished, she’s on the verge of freaking out.
“You don’t know why these hackers are going after her?” she asks, worriedly biting her fingernails.
“Not yet. But I promise I will. And once we get a hold of West, Steel, or Ellis, we’ll have them keep an eye on her and make sure she’s safe.”
Zhara nods, getting a funny look on her face. “I can’t believe West is part of the organization.” Shaking her head, she grabs her phone out of her pocket then stares at the screen. “Any suggestions on what I should say to Alexis?”
“Why don’t you call her and then hand the phone to me,” I suggest, moving up beside her.
Nodding, she dials Alexis’s number. Then she waits. And waits. And waits.
“She’s not answering.” She hangs up. “Let me send her a text to call me.” She types in a message and we wait for a reply.
But after five minutes of silence, I start to worry that we might be too late. That perhaps Hacker Hearts Anonymous already found Alexis.
A Note and a Missing Car
Instead of running on the side of the road where Masie and Blaine can find me—that is, if they’re even looking for me—I take a shortcut through the park nestled in the heart of countless cul-de-sacs enclosing Masie’s neighborhood.
I have the strangest feeling I’m being followed, but every time I glance over my shoulder, the trail is empty. I chock it up to being paranoid, probably because of the card in my pocket.
When I reach the playground area, I flick a glance over my shoulder, and then my heart bottoms to my stomach. Blaine’s truck is driving down the road. Shit. He’s the last person I want to talk to right now. Well, Masie might be on the bottom of the list since she knew about my crush and Blaine didn’t.
Picking up my pace, I sprint toward the playground then duck into the top of a plastic tunnel that leads to a series of slides. Out of breath, and completely out of shape apparently, I peer out one of the oval, plastic windows and at the road.
Blaine’s truck is creeping down the street at the pace of doped-up snail. I worry he’s spotted me, but then the truck moves past the park and disappears down the street.
Releasing an exhale, I sit down and prop my feet on the wall in front of me. I sit in silence, completely alone. Well, at least I think I’m alone. For some reason, I feel like I’m not. However, I can’t see anyone else around.
To distract myself, I fish out the note from my pock
et it. After reading it several times, I feel as lost as ever. I mean, what am I supposed to do? Go back to Masie’s house and search for a clue? No way is that going to happen. I need another starting point, and I think I have an idea.
I dig out my phone to do some research, frowning at the seventeen missed messages displayed on my screen. Ever since I ran away from Masie’s, my phone has been buzzing in my pocket like a crazy lunatic running away from her two best friends. Most of the messages are from Masie, while a few are from Blaine. My twin sister, Zhara, has also texted me, which is weird. We barely talk anymore, not since our parents died and I decided to leave my good, sweet girl persona behind while she latched on to it.
Zhara: Call me ASAP, please! I need to talk to you about something super important!
I sigh heavily. More than likely she wants to talk about my behavior and how I need to change into a better person—it’s a conversation we’ve had a lot. I can’t deal with that right now, though.
I blow out a breath and decide to message Zhara a bit later, after I’ve calmed down. Then I check the rest of my messages. I have a text from Loki, my older brother, who got guardianship of our brother and sisters after our parents passed away.
Loki: Are you coming home tonight?
Such a simple message, but to me, it says so much more. Like, how he’s tired of me coming home late. Tired of me in general. I don’t blame him. I’m a tiring person. I feel bad, but I just can’t be the girl I was before our parents’ deaths. That girl felt too much.
Still, I send him a message.
Me: Probably to take a shower, but then I’m leaving again.
He doesn’t respond, his silence showing how agitated he is with me. Now that I graduated, he doesn’t chew me out as much. Still, I can tell I annoy him whenever I disappear and don’t tell him where I’m going, when I refuse to set plans of going to college, whenever I get fired from a job. Deep down, I know I need to make a decision about college, but the truth is, I don’t think school is for me. I love art. I love painting. I love creating. That isn’t really a career. At least, according to a lot of people.