Home > Split Second (Pivot Point #2)(7)

Split Second (Pivot Point #2)(7)
Kasie West

“Excuse me?” He popped the last bite of burger into his mouth.

“You need to convince Connor Bradshaw to tell me some things.”

“Is there a question in there somewhere?”

“No. You owe me.”

“Tell me what exactly we’re convincing Connor of and I might consider helping you.”

“You’ll see. It’s something for Addie.” It was low of me to use his feelings for Addie against him, but being low didn’t bother me. Especially if it yielded results. “Meet me in front of your house on Saturday at noon.” I stayed there for five more seconds, letting the happiness he offered snake through my arms and extend to my fingertips. Then I pushed away from the table and walked out the door. The happiness that had been dancing patterns inside my chest was gone, and I realized how seldom that feeling existed in me and why I had been so desperate to keep it.

CHAPTER 9

Addie: Is there such a thing as death by water bottle?

“Are you sure Trevor is going to be okay with you bringing me?” I sat in the passenger seat of Stephanie’s car the day after Thanksgiving, wondering if this was a good idea. Especially after the show I put on for Trevor at the bookstore. I wondered if I should tell Stephanie that I ran into him the other day. Is that what friends did? But I didn’t want to make a big deal about it. I didn’t want her to think I was trying to make a play for her ex or anything, no matter how much she claimed she was done with his issues. And really, it was no big deal. We had run into each other. We barely talked.

“Trevor won’t care at all that I’m bringing you. He’s like the nicest guy ever.”

“I thought he had issues.”

“Oh, he has issues, but he keeps them to himself, remember? That was one of the issues. He doesn’t talk to anyone, really, at least not about anything deep. Not even Rowan. And speaking of Rowan . . . ,” Stephanie said. “You said you knew him.”

“Yes.”

“He’ll be here, I’m sure. But a word of warning—he’s not exactly my favorite person.”

I had sensed that from our last conversation about him. I tried to remember Rowan’s personality from the football game. He seemed nice enough, maybe a little hyper. Laila liked him a lot. “Why?”

“Let’s just say that when Trevor and I were together, Rowan didn’t want us to be. He constantly sabotaged our relationship. I think he was jealous.”

“Why?”

“He was mad I took Trevor away from guy dates.”

“I see.”

“So anyway, if my witchy-ness comes out around him, I’m sorry, I can’t help myself.”

I laughed. “I completely understand.”

We weren’t the first ones to arrive. Several cars were parked in front of his house, which was good. The more people, the less I had to talk. Stephanie had to park a few houses down. She cut the engine, smoothed her hair, straightened her skirt, reapplied her lip gloss, and then got out of the car. It was a lot of primping for someone who claimed to be over the person we were about to see.

We walked up the path, and the sun reflected off something in the tree, catching my eye. At first I thought it was a bird, but that made no sense considering birds weren’t metallic, and when I looked again, it was gone. Stephanie knocked on the door.

Trevor answered. “Hey, Stephanie,” he said, and then looked over at me, his eyes widening slightly in surprise. “Oh, Addison. Hi.”

My cheeks warmed. “I hope it’s okay that I came.”

“Of course.”

“I didn’t realize you two knew each other already,” Stephanie said, an edginess to her voice.

“We don’t, really,” I answered quickly. “We have a mutual acquaintance. Duke Rivers.”

“Come in.” He stepped aside, and we walked into the house. The smells of nutmeg and cinnamon hung in the air as Trevor led us down the stairs into a large rec room. The smells reminded me of the sorry attempt my dad and I had made at Thanksgiving dinner yesterday.

“Steph!” Rowan called out from where he sat in a beanbag. He did a back roll out of it and came rushing over. “Hey.”

He stuck his hand out to me. “I’m Rowan.”

I shook his hand. “Yeah, we met at a football game a couple weeks ago.”

He looked confused. I rolled my eyes, knowing he probably only remembered one thing about that night. “I was with my friend Laila.”

“Laila . . .” He trailed off, obviously coming up empty.

What the . . . ? Hadn’t he kissed Laila all night? I didn’t think that was easy to forget.

I tried to give Stephanie a look that would say, Maybe he is a little weird, but she had already slipped away. I assumed it was because she didn’t want to hang out with Rowan.

Trevor pointed. “We’re getting ready to start the movie. You can go get some food and then pick a seat.”

“Is there water somewhere?”

“There’s a fridge right outside that door, in the garage. It’s full of water and Coke and stuff.”

“Thanks.”

I walked into the garage, and the heavy door automatically shut behind me. I waited for the lights to come on with my movement but then remembered they didn’t have sensors here. It was pitch-black, and I couldn’t see a thing. I kneed a few solid objects before I finally thought to pull out my phone for the light. I found the wall and flipped on the switch. With the lights now on, and my phone out, I dialed Laila’s number.

“Are you dying without me?” she answered on the second ring.

“What have you done?”

“You’re going to have to give me a time range, because I’ve done a lot of things.”

“You Erased his memory, didn’t you?”

“How did you find out?”

“I just talked to him.”

She grunted. “I don’t believe he told you. Why were you talking to him, anyway?”

“Because he’s at this party. Wait, who are you talking about?” I asked at the same exact time she did.

“The fact that you have to ask, Laila, really scares me. How many memories have you Erased? I’m talking about Rowan.”

She gave a little laugh. “Oh yeah. Rowan. How is he?”

“Clueless. Who were you talking about?”

“Maybe Duke.”

“You Erased Duke’s memory?” I tried not to register the tiny bit of hope that sprang up inside me over that thought. If he couldn’t remember me, I didn’t have to feel like such a fool every time I saw him. Instead I concentrated on the overwhelming amount of indignation I felt about it.

“Just five minutes of them.”

“Why, Laila? Why would you do that to someone without their permission? That is so wrong on so many levels.”

“Duke deserved it. And as far as Rowan goes, it was the humane thing to do. I couldn’t leave his memories of kissing me intact, or he would’ve searched the world and come up empty. No girl would’ve ever lived up to me. It would’ve been tragic. This way he has a chance at happiness.”

“There is something very wrong with you.”

She laughed.

“Stop Erasing memories.”

“You’re no fun.”

“I better go. I’m at this lame party.”

Laila blew air between her lips. “You think all parties are lame.”

“Exactly.” I smiled and hung up. When I turned around, my breath caught in my throat because Trevor stood just inside the door. His face was relaxed, so I wasn’t sure if he’d heard my conversation, including the part about Erasing memories, or if he had just walked in.

“I was looking for the water.”

“It’s in the fridge.” He pointed, then went there himself. He handed me a water and pulled out a few sodas.

“Thanks.”

“Not a problem,” he said, and then headed to the door.

“It’s an inside joke,” I blurted out, pretty sure he had at least heard the last part of my conversation.

He turned back around. “What?”

“I think all parties are lame. I’m kind of antisocial. So it was just a joke. Your party is fine.”

He nodded. “All parties are lame, but what am I supposed to do when people invite themselves over?” He leaned his shoulder against the wall, his eyes shining with a teasing smile.

“Hey.” I laughed. “Stephanie invited me. I promise.”

“Well, you did recently save my brother. . . .” His relaxed position became a little tense with the mention. Was it the thought of his brother falling that caused the change in his demeanor, or did he suspect my secret? It was hard to believe that someone without any knowledge of the Compound could come to any sort of real conclusion. But he had witnessed me move faster than any human should and then possibly overheard me asking Laila about Erasing memories.

My mind flashed to the man in the Tower with the scar across his cheek. Crap. Did Trevor overhearing my talk with Laila count as me telling someone? I looked around as if someone could be watching me, right now, in Trevor’s dimly lit garage. Was that even possible?

The way Trevor trailed off about me saving his brother made it seem like he expected me to finish his sentence, fill in the blank he wasn’t seeing. When I didn’t say anything, he opened the door. “The movie’s about to start.” And with those words, he walked inside.

I followed after him and looked around for Stephanie. She was squeezed in between two girls on the couch, laughing and talking. So much for feeling out of place. Rowan came up next to me, popping the tab on his soda and taking a long drink. “Hey.”

“Hi.”

“Did you have a good Thanksgiving yesterday?”

“Yes. Ate too much, slept a lot. The norm.” But really it wasn’t the norm. It was odd. My first holiday away from my mom. My dad acted weird and nervous and kept asking me if I wanted anything else. Maybe for the next little while I’d celebrate holidays away from both my parents. Twenty years or so should do it.

I probably sounded more bitter than I meant to, because Rowan said, “Well, if you want something out of the ordinary, you should let me show you around town.”

“Um . . . yeah, sure.”

“You want to sit down?”

“I think I’ll just stand for a while.”

He gave me a once-over, almost like the reason I didn’t want to sit with him would be written somewhere on my body. “Where did you say we met again?”

“At a football game. I go to Lincoln High.”

“Ohh. That’s right. Duke’s girlfriend.”

“No.” I said the word with some hostility, then sealed my lips to keep from adding more.

“Well, that’s good. I was going to say that I was surprised Trevor invited you here. He’s not a fan of Duke’s.”

“He’s not?”

“At the last football game he found out Duke and some of his lackeys have been playing dirty. Purposely injuring the competition. Trevor was one of the victims. Ruined his career.”

“Purposely?” How much did they know? Was it possible they knew about abilities? Was that why Trevor seemed so suspicious when he saw me save his brother?

“Cheating. Hitting after the whistle. Just dirty plays. And Trevor had a lot of respect for Duke, so when he found this out, it really bothered him.”

I took a relieved breath. Those were all things any Norm could do. “So he doesn’t like Duke.” Maybe the suspicion I’d sensed in Trevor was really just his feelings about Duke. Maybe seeing me reminded him of Duke.

“That’s an understatement. No worries, though, he’s a good Southern boy, so he’ll be polite to you.”

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