Home > Split Second (Pivot Point #2)(8)

Split Second (Pivot Point #2)(8)
Kasie West

I started to respond that he had been nice to me when I realized what Rowan was saying—that it was an act. Was Trevor forcing himself to be kind to me? He probably really wished I hadn’t been invited to the party.

The television went blue and the movie started. With a wave, Rowan took his place back on the beanbag.

I settled into a chair along the back wall, crossed my arms, and tried to watch the movie. Every time Trevor laughed, a wave of frustration washed through me. He was going to judge me because of Duke? I finished my water and had an overwhelming desire to throw the empty bottle at the back of Trevor’s head. Why was I having such a strong reaction to him? I didn’t care what he thought of me. I resisted releasing the bottle in the air, by twisting it around and around in my hands. Soon, the paper around the bottle had turned to a shredded mess.

After the movie, Stephanie craned her head around. She pointed to the now empty cushion on the couch next to her like she wondered why I hadn’t sat there. I was new at this friend-making thing. I walked over and sat down.

“I wondered where you disappeared to,” she said.

“I sat back there.”

She introduced me to her friends, and then they picked up whatever conversation they had been having before I sat down . . . something about comics?

“Graphic novels are cool,” I said. When all three of them stopped and looked at me, I realized they must’ve been on the other side of that opinion, so I added, “What did you think of the movie?”

That did the trick, and they started talking again. A couple of empty soda cans sat on the coffee table in front of us, and I wondered if Stephanie would get the hint I was ready to leave if I started to clean.

I gathered some cans and then headed to the garage, where I saw a large recycle bin. When I came back in, Trevor and Stephanie were talking. I observed her body language for a minute, the way she leaned toward him, how she twirled a section of her dark hair around her finger and laughed too loudly at whatever he said. She was not over him. But it was more than obvious he was over her. He looked at anything but her, his arms were crossed over his chest, and for every small step she took toward him, he took a step back. If they talked for too long, he would eventually back into the wall. Despite his body language, though, he was doing exactly what Rowan had claimed he did—being friendly by smiling and nodding at whatever she was saying. Poor Stephanie. It sucked to be in a one-sided relationship.

“Addison!” I turned at my name and saw Brody barreling toward me. I was surprised when he wrapped his arms around my waist.

“Hey. I didn’t know you lived here,” I said, teasing him.

“Yeah, Trevor’s my brother, remember?”

“Oh yeah. How could I forget? How’s the drawing going?”

He took hold of my hand and pulled me toward the hall. “Come see. I drew the Millennium Falcon. It’s so cool.”

“Okay, slow down, we wouldn’t want you falling down any stairs.”

He gave a little giggle. “You were fast that day. Really fast. Trevor says you were at the top. How did you do it?”

“No, he just doesn’t remember. I was already walking down.”

“That’s what my dad said, but then Trevor said, ‘Dad, she’s beautiful. I remember where she was standing.’”

My cheeks heated up with the compliment at the same time that my stomach clenched at the implication. Not only did Trevor suspect something, but he was telling people. Great.

“You have a good little memory, don’t you?” I wondered how good. Did he remember time slowing down? When I had touched him, he came into the moment with me while the world around us continued to swim. Was it possible he couldn’t see what I saw?

“Yup,” he said innocently, and led me down the hall.

“Where are we going exactly?”

“Trevor’s room.”

I stopped and jerked him to a halt with my abrupt movement. “Can you just bring your drawings out here? I probably shouldn’t go into your brother’s room.”

“Okay, wait here.”

“Waiting.” The hall was filled with family pictures taken over Trevor’s and Brody’s lifetimes. Not just formal ones, of them stiffly posing for a camera in a studio, but candid ones as well. Camping, boating, barbecuing. A lifetime of memories. Could those memories be gone in the blink of an eye if the Compound found out that Trevor might be onto something? Surely Scar-Face didn’t mean a complete memory wipe. He just meant the memories about the Compound, about abilities. Didn’t he? I wasn’t ready for my memories to be wiped either from one little slipup. Trevor needed to believe I was completely Normal. How could I convince him of that?


Laila: What’s that lame saying about a pen and a sword? It might be true.

The difference between Duke and other Mood Controllers was that Connor wouldn’t be anticipating Duke’s ability. And if, like the rest of the school, Connor still thought Duke was Telekinetic, then maybe it could work to our advantage. It was the first time in the last two weeks I was glad I hadn’t announced to the whole school what Duke was, like I had wanted to.

“What’s Connor’s ability?” I asked Duke as we drove to his house.

“I’m not sure. He was in a lot of Bobby’s classes, so maybe he can manipulate mass.”

The way he said Bobby’s name so casually made me flinch a little. As if Bobby was still just his neighbor and best friend, not a convicted murderer. I cleared my throat and shook off the feeling. “I thought you knew everyone’s ability. Addie said you printed off some roster from the school computers.”

“Yeah, but I was only interested in certain abilities. I didn’t pay attention to the others.”

He was only interested in the abilities that would get him what he wanted—a look at his future. I tried to hold back the growl rising up my throat. “When you get home, look it up for me.”

“I would, but I destroyed that list.”

“Then get another one printed off.”

“One, it’s not as easy as you make it sound. And two, you’d have to fill me in on some more details in order for me to become that invested. Last time I schemed, it kind of blew up in my face. I’m sure you remember.”

He parked in front of Connor’s house and shut off the engine.

How could I forget, seeing as how I was one of the pawns in his scheme? My phone chimed, and I read the screen. It was from Eli: Think of something. I smiled. I had told him last night that if he asked me that one more time I was going to think of his death in vivid detail. I texted back: Ha-ha. You wish you could read my mind from five miles away. As much as the thought of him reading my mind at all bothered me, I really wished he would at least pick up on something here or there.

I looked over at Duke. “When did you Present?”

“I was twelve. Worst day of my dad’s life. He wanted a Telekinetic son. He got me.”

I wasn’t exactly the type that people opened up to, so I wasn’t sure what to do with that information. “Whining makes you less attractive. Don’t do it anymore.”

He laughed.

I glanced up the drive. Once again, the garage door was open. Connor was tinkering around inside. The boy loved his bike. I took a deep breath and shook out my hands. I wasn’t used to talking to a guy without the safety net of being able to Erase whatever I wanted to when the conversation was over.

“So what do you want me to do again?” Duke asked.

“Trust. He needs to feel trust. Comfort. Ease.” I cleared my throat. “And a little lust never hurt anyone.”

Duke shook his head. “I don’t think he needs my help with that one. Isn’t that the one emotion you have control over?”

“He doesn’t like me. He’d rather date his motorcycle.”

“Is that a first for you?”

“Shut up. Just do it. And for the love of all that is living, try to be subtle about it.”

He leaned close to me. “If I remember right, you didn’t suspect anything.”

I shoved him back. “Stay out of my bubble, pretty boy.”

We got out of the car. I kept at least a foot of space between Duke and me as we walked up the drive and into Connor’s garage. He didn’t seem as surprised to see me this time. “I don’t give refunds,” he said, wiping at an already shiny piece of metal on his bike.

“I don’t want a refund. Just a friendly chat.”

“Hey, Connor,” Duke said, his annoying smile painted across his face. “Nice bike.”

I should’ve told him not to talk. To just stand to the side like the shiny little toy that he was. I didn’t even know why I bothered bringing him. Connor had probably mastered blocks for all the abilities, like he had with mine.

“Thanks,” Connor said, and I could’ve sworn his tone was a little less edgy than his original greeting. Maybe Duke would be useful after all.

I turned my back to Connor and mouthed the word Trust to Duke, who gave a slight nod.

“It is a nice bike,” I said. “Looks like she’s all fixed up from her meeting with the pavement. Addie told me what happened. Crazy. You’re lucky you didn’t hit her.”

“I don’t think luck had anything to do with it,” he said.

What did he want me to do, tell him he was awesome because he managed to avoid hitting my friend at the last second? I ran my hand along the seat, testing his reaction. When he didn’t flinch, I threw my leg over and sat.

“What do you want, Laila?” Connor asked evenly.

“Just what I always wanted.” I met his eyes. “Information.” Come on, Duke, make him feel trust. “What would it hurt? I won’t even mention where I got it from.”

“They’re not stupid. They’ll be able to make that deduction.”

“It’s not like I’m some narc. I’m a customer. A paying customer.”

“A partially paying customer.”

“I’ll pay you back. That’s not the point, though. The point is that I need help and I’m willing to pay for it.”

“Ability advancement. That’s what you’re after?”

I felt Duke’s gaze shift to me in the background, but I didn’t turn to look at him. “Yes. Just a name. I’ll figure out the rest on my own.”

He tilted his head at Duke, and for a second I worried that maybe he felt Duke crawling inside him, but then, without looking at me, he said, “Get off my bike.”

I used his shoulder, acting like I needed it for the task. As I did, I gave a quick glance back to Duke. I could tell by the set of his perma-grin and the intense look in his eyes that he was concentrating hard on his task. I squeezed Connor’s shoulder as I straightened up and then dug a pen and scrap of paper out of my purse. “Just a name.”

He grabbed the pen and paper and began writing. I tried to keep the heightened beat of my heart to myself, but it sounded like it was broadcasting to the ends of the earth.

“I will give you information on one condition.”


“When you go, you take me with you.”

“Fine,” I said, even though I didn’t mean it. He handed me the paper and I looked at it. “This is just an address.”

“I’ll give you the name when we go.” And then he said, “Hey, Duke.”


Before Duke could even finish the word, Connor threw the pen at him like a knife, end over end. It stuck into his shoulder for a beat before falling to the floor. “Telekinetic, huh?”

“Ouch,” Duke said, rubbing at his shoulder.

“Don’t ever try to mess with my head again,” he said to Duke, “or I’ll mess with yours. And believe me when I say you don’t want me inside your head.”

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