Fear Me Page 2

There was a smaller boy standing close to him who favored him. He was staring at us; watching our silent exchange. Without giving a response or another glance I continued on, the moment gone, but the awareness very much present. However, I didn't get my foot on the next bar before he stopped me again – this time with a hand on my right leg. His eyes seemed even darker up close. It made me pause.

How did he get over here so fast?

“No,” he said this time. It almost sounded like a growl, but that couldn’t be right. People don’t growl. But apparently he could because he continued speaking in the same forceful tone. “He got himself up there, he can get himself down.”

What? He was just a little kid, I thought angrily. But then so were we.

“Look, I don't know who you are or what your deal is, but he needs help and he is going to get it from me. Got it?” I rushed out when I found the courage to speak. Truth be told, he was scaring the crap out of me.

I immediately realized I made a mistake. But no, it wasn’t the shocked sounds from the other kids surrounding us that made me realize my error. It was his hand that tightened and the anger growing in his eyes turning them black.

I looked around and saw Willow in the same spot where I left her. She was chewing on her lip with a worried expression on her face. I assumed it was for her brother, who had stopped crying and instead watched us with wide eyes.

Still, I yanked my leg free and continued my climb, quickly reaching the top of the monkey bars. I started to move closer to the younger boy waiting for help.

Don't look down.

I should have looked down.

The split second warning as I reached out my hand to Buddy, when his eyes widened in a terror, unlike what I witnessed below, didn’t prepare me for what would happen.

Something shoved me and then I was falling.

Pain unlike anything I’ve ever known rushed through me, almost blinding me after I hit the concrete below on my left side.

I managed to roll over onto my back and look up. Once again I met his eyes as they watched my tears fall.  He no longer seemed so beautiful to me. He looked like the monster I never knew I needed to be afraid of.

“I told you I couldn't go up there.” It was Willow speaking from somewhere far away. “Keiran wouldn’t like it.”

Chapter One

Ten years later…

“Lake!” I snapped out of my daydream as the last bell of the day rung, signaling the end of school and junior year.

I survived.

I knew why, although I didn't dare speak it aloud foolishly, believing that reason would appear suddenly in front me like a dark cloud.

Be for real, Lake.

I looked over at my best friend who was looking at me with questions in her eyes. I said nothing, gathered my books and stood by the door. Willow finished collecting the many colorful pens she used to take notes in class. That's just Willow. She’s flamboyant in everything she does—no exceptions. The rest of the class along with the teacher had already disappeared. Everyone was equally eager for the start of the summer.  Willow stood and approached the door with the same mischief in her eyes that was present from the very first day we met.

I closed my eyes briefly. Don't think about that.

We silently walked to Willow’s purple Eclipse in the parking lot. Of course it was purple or it wouldn't be Willow. I cut my eye at her waiting for whatever was on her mind to spill out. I knew I wouldn't have to wait long because Willow was a talker.

“So did you hear?” she asked as she stopped just outside the driver’s side. I waited patiently, but she hesitated to unlock her door as if she didn't want to let me in.

No, I pleaded silently. There was only one thing Willow was cautious about with me or rather one person. Don't bring him up. Don't bring him up. She continued on, completely missing the change in my body language. One would think after ten years we could read each other better or maybe we were just too comfortable to care.

“No, what?” It slowly became harder to breathe.  Sometimes I think I enjoy pain, physically and mentally. Sick right?

“The Dark Lord of Bainbridge High returns next year.” I met her worried gaze. I guess she isn’t as oblivious as I thought. She’s warning me.

Breathe.

I used controlled, breathing exercises to keep myself from hyperventilating whenever he was brought up. Ironically the habit developed after he left last year. After years of allowing him to control me out of fear, you would think I would be skipping with joy after he left. I finally controlled my breathing and looked up to find her on my side now rubbing my back soothingly.

“I’m fine,” I said only after I was confident my sanity was intact. “Besides I have all summer to prepare myself and your slightly illegal antics to distract me,” I stated, attempting humor to lighten the mood. Willow looked away and began chewing her lip. Okay…

My heart was beating fast now—too fast. My breathing was out of control again as I waited for the final blow to my sanity. “My parents are sending me away this summer…and he’s already here.”

I died.

* * *

No, I didn't die but it was a close second.

I woke up to find the school nurse standing over me, pressing a cool cloth to my forehead. The principal and gym teacher were sitting with a crying Willow in the corner, attempting to console her. “It’s all my fault,” she kept repeating as Principal Lawrence hugged her.

“She’s awake,” Nurse Kelly announced.

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