Home > Split Second (Pivot Point #2)(10)

Split Second (Pivot Point #2)(10)
Kasie West

It took me a minute to realize Stephanie was in the middle of a sentence. I tried to catch up. She was telling a story about cheer and some girl named Lindsey. I was completely lost until she said, “So Lindsey thinks Trevor might still like me. What do you think?”

“Do you still like him?” I already knew the answer, but I wondered if she had admitted it to herself yet.

“I don’t know anymore. I don’t want to, but we have this history together, you know? And it’s hard to just erase history.”

“True.” It’s actually very easy, I thought. “You want my honest opinion?”

“Yes, of course.”

“I think you should give yourself some space from him. Let yourself live without him for a while. I bet you’ll realize you’re happier that way.” I didn’t want to say, Because I saw the way he was with you, and it wasn’t promising. That would’ve been heartless. But she had to feel it. One-sided relationships didn’t feel right. And she’d see that once she got into a healthier relationship where someone appreciated her more.

She sighed. “You’re probably right. Thanks for listening.”

“Anytime.”

“I gotta run. My dad is calling on the other line.”

“From downstairs?” I asked with a laugh.

“Yes, he’s such a weirdo,” she said, laughing as well.

“Have fun.”

“Bye, Addie, and thanks again.”

I hung up and looked at the phone for a minute, then dialed Laila’s number. It had been a few days since I’d spoken to her.

“Addie. Hey.”

“My dad just stole my flash drive and is keeping a secret hidden from me at a park full of bronze bulls,” I said without a formal greeting.

“Whoa. What?”

“My dad is keeping secrets from me, and they have to do with a DAA program, a cemetery, and pioneer statues.”

“What kind of secrets?”

“If I knew that, they wouldn’t be secrets.”

“Oh, the secret kind of secrets. Why didn’t you clarify?”

I smiled. “I have to figure it out. Do you happen to still have Rowan’s phone number?”

“Rowan . . .” She trailed off, and I could tell she was trying to remember who he was again.

“You know, the guy whose memory you Erased.”

“Oh, Norm Rowan with the exceptionally good kissing abilities.”

“Too much information, but yes.”

“Yeah. Why? He doesn’t seem like your type.”

“I don’t like him, but I’m going to see if he’ll take me to the fake bulls.” I hadn’t planned on asking Rowan; I had hardly talked to him at all. But he had offered to show me around town, and I decided to take him up on that.

“Good call.” Laila gave me Rowan’s number. “And since we’re on the subject, I’ve been thinking about trying to advance my ability.”

“Um, we weren’t on that subject at all.”

“Wait for it. It really does relate. Connor.”

“The guy who almost hit me with his motorcycle?”

“Yes.”

“What does Connor have to do with DAA programs and bull cemeteries?”

“Well, he has nothing to do with cemeteries, but Connor is the one who always sells me the black market programs.”

“You mean tries and then fails to sell you those programs.”

“Uh, sure, okay. I got Connor to tell me who the creator of these advancement programs is. Now I just need to meet him . . . or her.”

I closed my eyes. “Do you hear yourself talking right now? Bobby advanced his abilities and he almost killed us, Laila. Killed us. And now you’re saying you’re going to meet someone else, like Bobby, who has the same screw-the-system-and-the-rules attitude and ask him to help you? Is that really what you’re saying?”

She hesitated for only one beat before saying, “Yes. That’s what I’m saying. What are the odds he’s another Bobby?”

Sometimes talking to Laila made me feel like an adult, because I had the overwhelming desire to scold her. I took a deep breath. “Why do you want to advance your ability, anyway?”

“Who doesn’t want to advance their ability?”

“I think I damaged mine,” I blurted out. Fear tightened my chest as I admitted that out loud.

“What?”

“I don’t know. Something is happening with my ability. It’s weird, and when I push it, my head hurts really bad. And now I can’t even Search without getting the worst headache ever. What if I lose my ability? What if my ability advanced too early and now I’m broken?”

“Calm down. It’s probably just stress.”

“What if it’s not? What if I pushed myself too hard? You need to just wait, Laila. The DAA program is supposed to be the most natural. Your ability will advance when it’s supposed to advance.”

“I may or may not actually do the DAA program on a daily . . . or weekly basis. There are other ways, faster ways. People do it all the time.”

“I can slow down time.”

“What?”

“It started at Bobby’s, and now at random times, out of nowhere, time slows down. I can’t control it. And when it’s over, I get the worst headache.”

“Slow down time? Awesome. So that must be your advancement. It makes sense, because you’ve always been able to manipulate time in a way, kind of walk forward through it.”

“It’s not awesome. I can’t Search anymore, and I can’t control this.”

“It’s just your growing pains. You’ll be fine when your mind settles into it. See, this is what I’m talking about. I want that.”

“You want to slow down time?”

“No, I want to restore memories.”

“Restore memories? How do you even know that’s how your ability would advance?”

“I don’t.” She said it, but I heard the hum in her voice that meant she was lying.

“You do. How?”

“I don’t. I just think it would be cool.”

“Why are you lying to me? I’m so tired of people lying to me. Do I not deserve the truth? Do I look like someone who can’t handle it?”

“You told me I could restore memories before I Erased yours.”

CHAPTER 12

Laila: Remind me to think before I speak next time.

All I could hear were Addie’s quiet breaths. In. Out. This was not something I should’ve told her over the phone. What was I thinking? “Addie?”

“What do you mean I told you? Why would I tell you that?”

I cringed. I should stop and wait to tell her the rest when I saw her.

“Tell me,” she said, her voice strong.

“Because you wanted me to restore yours. You wouldn’t tell me why. You actually didn’t even tell me that I could restore memories. You wrote yourself a note. In that note you told me.”

“If I wrote myself a note, why do you seem to know its contents and I know nothing?”

Because I’m selfish. “Because I didn’t want to stress you out any more than you already were. I just wanted to learn how to restore memories and then surprise you with it when I came next week.”

“Surprise me with the fact that you’ve damaged your mind by hanging out with Bobby-like criminals?”

“It sounds like brain damage can happen regardless of who I hang out with.”

Addie went completely silent, and I squeezed my eyes closed.

“I’m sorry. You don’t have brain damage. You’re going to be fine. Talk to your dad about it. He’ll probably know what to do.”

“He told me to rest.”

“See. There you go. Rest.” She didn’t sound like she thought that would help, but her dad was smart. She probably did need rest. The Bobby situation got to her more than it did me. Her headaches probably had more to do with that than anything. I hadn’t had a single headache since that night. And besides, her note was proof to me that I was fine when my ability advanced before, in the other version of her life. I would be fine in this version too. “Just trust me. You wanted me to restore your memory. I’m going to figure out how. Do you trust me?” I shouldn’t have asked the question, because I wasn’t sure if she did anymore. Not since Duke.

“I don’t want you to get hurt. Will you just use the DAA program? I can wait if it takes a while to work, Laila.”

I couldn’t help but notice she hadn’t answered the question. “Yes, I’ll use it.”

“And the note?”

“I’ll give it to you when I come.”

“Okay.”

“I’ll talk to you soon.”

She hung up. She knew as well as I did that I wasn’t going to wait. I didn’t have awhile to sit around and wait for the DAA’s program to work. I wanted to advance my ability now. I laced my heeled boots and applied some gloss.

As I parked the truck, a motorcycle rumbled up behind me. I should’ve known who it was by the confident way he dismounted, but I couldn’t tell for sure until he took off his helmet and ran his fingers through his shiny hair.

I stepped out of the truck. “You even made it sound like a Norm motorcycle.”

“I knew you’d come here without me even though I told you not to,” Connor said, ignoring my comment.

“How did you know I’d come tonight, though?”

He reached into the bed of my truck and pulled a tiny metal device from beneath the rim. “Tracker.” He pocketed it. “And they’re expensive, so I’m glad it didn’t get lost.”

Anger surged through me. “You were tracking me?”

“Does that bother you, princess?” He took off his gloves and tucked them in his back pocket. “I don’t trust you.”

“Then next time just shove the tracker down my throat, for more accurate data.”

“I would’ve, but I wasn’t sure you’d end up here in forty-eight hours, and like I said, these things are expensive.”

“Well, for the record, I don’t trust you either.” It was a grade-school comeback, but I couldn’t think of anything else to say. “And I don’t need you here tonight.”

“I’m not here for you. I’m here so you don’t ruin my relationship with my supplier.”

“I wasn’t even going to mention your name. But I’m pretty sure he’ll know who sent me now, since, you know, he’ll see you.”

“Just let me do the talking and shut those pretty little lips of yours.”

“Little? I’ve actually been told they’re quite full, which makes them very hard to shut.”

“You are infuriating.”

“I was thinking the same thing about you.”

By this time we were at the door, and Connor knocked. When no one answered, he started to leave. “Guess he’s not here.”

“Okay, see you later.” I rang the doorbell several times, and Connor sighed and rejoined me on the porch. Eventually, the door slid open. A man in his midtwenties answered. He didn’t look like I expected he would. He was clean-cut, shaven, with unmarked skin. First he looked at me, and I could tell he liked what he saw. That would help. Then he looked at Connor, and his stance relaxed.

“Oh hey, man. What’s up?”

“Can we talk inside?”

“Sure.” He stepped aside, and I walked in first. I didn’t need Connor here, and I wanted him to know that.

“Are you here to pick up another pack already? That was fast.”

“No.” He pointed to me. “I’m here because of her.”

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