Raveling you, p.6
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       Raveling You, p.6

         Part #2 of Unraveling You series by Jessica Sorensen
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  “There were no signs of kidnapping,” the detective answers. “But we haven’t ruled out that theory either. We also have a theory that maybe your brother was looking for the people himself.”

  My back straightens in the chair as an icy chill slithers up my spine. “Why would he do that? It would make no sense.”

  Ignoring me, he drones on until I can’t take it anymore. I need to know what that letter was.

  After a while, I lose my cool and snap, “What was that?”

  All three of them jolt at the sound of my voice.

  “What was what?” The detective feigns being clueless.

  I aim a finger at the folder. “That letter in there … It looked like it was from my sister.”

  “What’s in that file is confidential,” is all he says.

  I turn to Lila and Ethan for help, but they only look at me with pity. Then Lila gently pats my knee and directs her attention back to the paper, leaving me stirring in frustration.

  Why would they have a note from her? Is it old? New? Did she have something to do with this? Are they using her to help solve the case, too? Or is there more to it?

  Ethan clasps Lila’s hand when her eyes start water. “Honey, relax. Everything’s going to be okay.” He looks at me. “We’ll get through this together.”

  I know right then that the police are going to make me try to remember, that I don’t really have a choice in this, even though they say I do. Besides, if I don’t go through with it, I’m willingly making a choice not to help solve my brother’s murder.

  My throat thickens and my lungs constrict.

  Force the memories up.

  Then what?

  What will happen?

  To you?

  To the person they all knew?

  To the person you are right now?

  He’ll be gone,

  as the chains wrap around.

  Bind you in.

  Make your head spin.

  You’ll lose your mind.

  Lose control of your life

  Again.

  I only speak again when we’re back at home.

  I unstrap my seatbelt and say, “I saw that letter, and I want to know what it says. Is my sister helping the police, too?”

  Lila and Ethan trade a concerned look, and then Lila rotates in her seat.

  “Ayden, there’s some stuff we don’t feel like you’re ready to learn just yet,” she explains to me.

  I don’t want to get angry, but I feel the emotion scorching under my skin.

  Before I can react, though, Mrs. Scott comes barreling around the fence and over to the car. After a lot of hushed talking between her, Lila, and Ethan, they take me into the kitchen and inform me that Lyric told them about the guy staring at our house. They make me give them my description of the guy so they can pass the information along to the police. Then they inform me that, for safety purposes, I’m going to take Lyric with me to a self-defense class this afternoon.

  Even though I’m upset, I don’t argue. The class will be a good thing. Lyric knowing how to protect herself will be a good thing, especially with guys like William walking around.

  Honestly, I can’t wait to pick Lyric up from school. I feel so frustrated and know she will settle me down. Even in the midst of my darkness, through a storm of pain, Lyric brings me calm.

  Chapter 6

  Ayden

  The present…

  Lyric spreads her sunshine across my gloom the moment we reunite. Even when I tell her about the police visit, omitting the letter about my sister for the moment, I feel more at ease. The comfort remains during the entire drive to the self-defense class, but then the reminder of why we’re there to begin with creeps up on me.

  “Wait, I’m not dressed for something like this,” Lyric says after I park the car near the back of a small brick building located about fifteen miles south of our quaint neighborhood secluded in the burbs.

  I shut off the engine and slide the keys out of the ignition. “You look perfect to me.”

  “I’m sure I do, but as for being able to move around, which I’m sure is required in this class, these,” she flips her fingers against her jeans, “aren’t going to cut it.”

  “Yeah, your mom figured you’d probably need a change of clothes.” I reach over the console to the backseat and grab a bag. “She sent you this.”

  Lyric takes the bag from me and unzips it. “Where did she even get these?” She holds up a pair of black yoga pants and a purple tank top made of some kind of stretchy fabric.

  I tap the tag still stuck to the fabric. “She must have just bought them.”

  “Wow, they must have been preparing for this.” She tears the tag off, drops it into the bag, and tosses the empty bag onto the backseat. When she turns around, she starts undoing the zipper of her jeans.

  “What are you doing?” My panicked gaze darts between her jeans and her face.

  “Getting changed.” She unfastens the zipper, lifts her hips, and then tugs down on her pants.

  “Right here in the car?” With a lot of effort, I manage to keep my eyes on her face, even though my instincts beg to look downward.

  She shrugs, shimmying her hips out of her jeans. “It’s just underwear, no biggie. I’m even wearing my boy-cut panties that cover up more than my swimsuit.”

  Her pants are so far down I can see those black boy-cut panties along with her upper thighs. Her skin looks so soft, so touchable. My hands quiver just thinking about brushing my fingers over her legs.

  She suddenly halts her torturously slow strip tease. “Wait, am I crossing one of those boundaries again? I never know sometimes.”

  To Lyric, changing in front of her best friend is probably on the same level as wearing a swimsuit, completely innocent. But her swimsuit doesn’t have lace at the bottom and a tiny pink bow on the front.

  God, I just want to touch her.

  My breathing accelerates with my thoughts as I desperately try not to panic.

  Lyric must sense my anxiety because she begins pulling her jeans back up.

  “Do you want to go find a bathroom at a gas station so I can change?” she asks, inching the fabric back over her thighs.

  There are probably locker rooms in the building where the class is. I should tell her that or just take her to a gas station. But even in the midst of my semi-panicking, I’m so turned on I can’t bring myself to utter those words.

  “No, you’re fine.” I rip my eyes off her body and dig my phone from my pocket to busy myself with something other than gawking at her. “Unless you really want me to.”

  “I’m good changing wherever,” she replies hesitantly. “And you don’t have to look at your phone if you don’t want to. I’m comfortable with you, Ayden.”

  I believe her. She’s made it pretty clear that she wants to be with me as more than a friend. Right now, I wish I wasn’t completely fucked-up so I could have her that way.

  Have her on the backseat.

  Touching her everywhere.

  Her warm body underneath me.

  Flesh to flesh of blazing heat.

  Drowning me in warmth.

  Taste it.

  Drown in it.

  Beg for more.

  Kiss her like my life depends on it.

  Like the blood running through my veins.

  Kiss her until the darkness fades.

  Kiss her, kiss the hurt away.

  “Ayden?”

  My attention drifts back to Lyric. Fuck. She doesn’t have a shirt on. Her bra has the same lacy trim as her panties do, with a pink bow right between her breasts.

  “Are you okay?” she asks, fiddling with the bow in the center “You’ve been zoning out.”

  “Huh?” I blink away from her chest. “Yeah, I’m fine.”

  “Are you sure?” She bites the tag off the shirt. “You seem really out of it. And I’m worried the visit with the police is,” she lifts her arms to pull her shirt over her head, “messing with your head.”


  The visit with the police…

  Where stuff happened…

  Where I was reminded of my past…

  My head becomes foggy...

  She hasn’t pulled the shirt over her bra, still struggling to get the super tight fabric over her chest.

  “The police visit did mess with my head a little, but that’s not what’s making me so out of it right now. It’s just … I mean, it’s you … and … you changing in my car in front of me.” My cheeks warm.

  Her lips form an O as her gaze drops to the shirt stuck on top of her breasts.

  “It’s really distracting,” I add, feeling like an idiot when my skin burns hotter, “to see you like … that.”

  Instead of tugging the shirt down to cover up, she leaves the fabric up and bites on her bottom lip. “Good distracting?”

  Her bluntness shouldn’t surprise me—this is Lyric—yet I am. I’m stupidly surprised to the point that I just gape at her. She stares back, thoroughly amused.

  What I wouldn’t give to be like Lyric.

  So at ease with life.

  So comfortable in my own skin.

  I sneak another peek at her chest then face the steering wheel and open my texts, even though I have no messages. “Of course it’s a good distraction. You’re gorgeous.” My voice is low and husky in a way it’s never been before.

  Lyric is breathing so ravenously I expect her to say something dramatic and sexual. She never utters a word, though. When I finally look up at her again, her shirt is on, and she’s putting her hair up.

  “You ready to get this show on the road?” she asks coolly.

  I nod and open the door, the cool air sweeping in and swirling around the cab, adding fog to the already fogged up windows.

  “Wait. What about you?” She points at my black jeans, T-shirt, and combat boots. “Aren’t you going to change, too?”

  “Into what? Tight yoga pants?” I crack a smile for the first time today, but it still takes a lot of effort.

  “Hey, you might look good in them with that cute, little butt of yours.” She extends her hand toward me to pinch my ass, but I jump out of the car. She hops out, too, laughing her ass off as she shuts the door. “You should have seen the look on your face. It was adorable.”

  “And what would you have done if I hadn’t moved?”

  She skips around the front of the car and snatches hold of my hand. “Um, totally copped a feel and I’d have been damn proud of it.”

  I roll my tongue along my teeth as a massive grin threatens to reveal itself. There are times when I wish I could spend every waking hour with Lyric. I’d smile a hell of a lot more and be way less depressed.

  “You’re blushing,” she teases, moving in front of me and walking backwards without releasing my hand. “It’s cute.”

  “No, I’m not.” A lie. My cheeks are blazing hotter than the sun.

  “Okay, if you say so.” She turns back around and walks beside me, gazing up at the blue sky, musing over something.

  “What are you thinking about?” I ask as we approach the back entrance of the building.

  Her fingers wrap around the door handle. “Nothing.” Her head tilts to the side and I can see wheels turning in her head. “It’s just that…” Without warning, she reaches around and pinches my ass.

  “Shit.” I skitter back, my fingers falling from hers.

  “Ha! Don’t pretend you didn’t like that.” She yanks the door open and scurries inside, laughing.

  I did like it. And I didn’t like. I’m conflicted. Confused. Dizzy. Sick.

  There’s been so much touching today.

  So much happening…

  So much going on…

  So much stress…

  I think it might have been too much…

  Too overwhelming of a day…

  Something’s wrong. I gasp for air as I shove the door shut, remaining outside, hoping Lyric won’t see me like this.

  My chest compresses, suffocating me. My vision gets spotty, and my surroundings are growing blurry. My bones ache, feeling as though they’re going to collapse.

  A young mother with children,

  dancing on her grave.

  Every day a battle,

  never to be saved.

  She can barely keep her head,

  let alone her children fed

  as she battles the monster

  living inside her,

  pushing her deeper into insanity.

  She hangs on the edge

  about to tumble into an abyss,

  never to see daylight again.

  Her skin cracks apart.

  Her heart bleeds and rots.

  She doesn’t want this.

  She wants to be saved.

  Taken away.

  That’s what they promise her.

  Saviors of the dark,

  with empty promises of tomorrow.

  Give into us, and you’ll feel no sorrow.

  Pathetically, the mother surrenders,

  gives up her children to feed the monster within her.

  They take the children,

  drag them into their tomb,

  cuff them up so tightly,

  so achingly

  they can’t even move.

  The pain sears their souls.

  But that’s just the start

  of an unthinkable torture

  that will shatter the children apart.

  First, they take a hammer

  and bash in their bones.

  Then comes the needles

  that dig into their skin.

  “Ayden, can you hear me? Oh, my God. Please look at me. Ayden…” Lyric trails off as my vision comes back into focus.

  It takes me a moment or two to process where I am; sitting on the asphalt, hugging my knees to my chest and gasping for air. Lyric is crouched in front of me. Her skin is pale and her eyes are wide in horror. My head is throbbing as adrenaline pounds through my body. The worst part of the situation is the tears falling out of my eyes.

  Crying for myself.

  For my brother.

  For my sister.

  Crying because I almost saw the capturers’ faces. And I don’t want to see their faces, don’t want to remember.

  “I’m sorry.” I quickly wipe my eyes with the back of my hand. I can’t believe I just cried in front of Lyric again.

  “Sorry for what?” She cups my cheek in her hand and tenderly smoothes her thumb across my skin.

  “For freaking out in front of you.” I put my hands on the ground to stand, but my legs wobble, weak like me.

  Lyric places a hand on my arm and gently guides me back down to the ground. “You shouldn’t stand up yet,” she insists. “You were breathing pretty hard before you fell.”

  “Fell?”

  She slides her hand up my arm to my shoulder then along my neck all the way up to my head. “Can’t you remember what happened?” She softly combs her fingers through my hair as she studies me.

  “No. I can only remember getting ready to walk inside. That’s it.” I rack my brain for what happened.

  Lyric opened the door to walk inside. Then she pinched my ass for fun. The contact broke something inside my head, something I thought I’d locked away to be forgotten. Add that to the stress of the police visit, and I lost it, completely crumbled. It’s been a while since a blackout has happened, the last time being at the party where William assaulted Lyric.

  “You’re shaking,” she whispers, scanning over every inch of my body. “Oh, Ayden. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have touched you like that. I set something off, didn’t I?”

  I shake my head, not wanting her to feel responsible for my mental instability. “It wasn’t you. I honestly don’t know what happened to me. I just sort of zoned out and sank to the ground.”

  “I think I should take you home.” She stands to her feet then offers me her hands.

  “No, you need to take the class.” When I set my hands in hers, she helps me up.

 
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