Collide: Riverbend Series Book #1
Fallout Boy. That’s whose voice was blaring through my earbuds as the bad omen stepped out of the back of her drivers black shiny piece of plastic that probably cost more than my parents house. I tried not to stare as she self-consciously tucked a few strands of her long black curls behind her ears, but I couldn’t help my stupid self. It’s a shame something so fine was kept in hiding all this time. The skirt she was wearing showed enough of her legs to make my imagination run wild. If only it were a tad shorter. . . I felt an elbow plow into my side. I pulled my ear-buds from my ears and frowned.
“Damn, Havock. You’re gonna bite a hole in your lip. What has your attent-” Jude’s eyes landed on her ass. He inclined his head just enough to get a better view. He smiled in appreciation. “That my friend is the definition of perfection.”
“Or insanity.” The bell rang and we grudgingly headed towards the school building. “She’s like something expensive on display. So shiny you can’t help but stare but if you touch it your mom will beat your ass. She’s bad news, man.”
“Ah, you don’t believe all that shit do you?”
“No, but I plan on staying as far away as possible. That girl is nothing but trouble. Talk about family drama…” I opened my locker, got the few books I needed, then looked at Jude who had a neighboring locker. I started to say something to Jude but low and behold there she stood in front of us apparently lost. She whispered below her breath to herself.
I couldn’t help but laugh. “Talking to yourself won’t help your already shattered rep in this town,” I said before reminding myself that I’d made a promise to myself earlier this year to do better about filtering the things that came out of my mouth.
A tear fell down her cheek as she clutched her books tightly against her chest causing her cleavage to show a little more from her v-neck shirt. Of course the universe would put something so perfect on this Earth that was too crazy to get close to. It was punishment to men everywhere. She only made eye contact with me long enough to make me feel like a total dick then started down the hall.
“She’ll never survive in this school,” Jude said as he shook his head. “They’ll chew her up and spit her out before the week is over.”
“Before the day is over,” I concluded.
I walked into Speech and saw her sitting at the back nervously drawing on the back of her notebook. I groaned a little when I noticed I’d be sitting right behind her. It wasn’t her fault that she had such a bad rep. She was the daughter of the Mayor who went mysteriously missing, and her mother was murdered when we were in elementary school. And there she was. Untouched. I agree, something seemed odd about that, but something also told me she was innocent. But my intuition sucked and definitely wasn’t enough for me to want to be anywhere near her. And dammit, now I’d have to sit behind her.
I took my seat and watched from behind as she continued to scribble. I was sure she’d use up all the ink in that pen before first period was over. And damn. Did she really have to smell so good? I leaned back in my seat and looked toward the front as Mrs. Sanders started to teach.
“Just a few reminders about your debates coming up in a few weeks. I will split you into teams before class is over. I think it’s going to be a really good experience for you guys. The debate topic will be about school uniforms. One team will be given the task to oppose them while the other will be for them,” Mrs. Sanders smiled at us all then turned to write our daily discussion question on the board.
As she wrote, Janzy turned around to look at Reese. “You must be brilliant. Being able to get away with murder and all.” Reese continued to draw, never looking up. “So why don’t you play nice and just tell the police where our Mayor is. Or do you enjoy this game of hide and seek? Did you bury him? Is he locked in a dungeon somewhere?” Janzy giggled.
I rolled my eyes and started tapping my pen against my desk. At least school would be somewhat entertaining now. And I’ve only undressed Reese six, no eight times, in my mind since we’ve been in class. I chewed on my bottom lip. I messed with my lip ring with a slight grin on my face. This year might not be so bad after all.
The bell rang and I grabbed up my things, slinging one strap of my backpack over my shoulder. I stopped and waited for Reese to pack up her things so I could leave. She was blocking the way, and I really needed to sneak a smoke in-between my next class.
“Any day now would be nice,” I mumbled.
She never paid me any mind and continued taking her precious time. I scoffed. “Seriously, princess? You won’t be treated like royalty here. You could at least let me go around you.”
She never responded. She finally moved out of the way, and I cursed as I walked around her. Who the hell did she think she was?! There was no way I’d get a smoke in before the next class. I sulked into my math class and sat at the back.
The teacher announced to pass the homework to the front. Just as the paper slid from my hand, my name was called over the intercom. What had I done now?!
“Havock Satterly, you are needed in the office.” I raised a curious brow. I grabbed my things and left the class. When I entered the office, Mrs. Wells held the phone out toward me. I pointed to myself. She nodded. Weird. I didn’t have a missed call on my cell phone.
I held the phone to my ear. “Hello?” I asked with hesitation.
“Hey, sweetie. It’s mom. I lost my phone and well, I couldn’t remember your cell number. Bad mom of the year award goes to me, I know,” she giggled. “Listen, I need a huge favor.”
I leaned against the desk. “O-kay?”
“You know the Mayors daughter?”
I groaned. “Who doesn’t?”
“I need you to bring her home today after school.”
I laughed in shock. “To our house?”
“Shouldn’t you be asking Garrett do this?”
“He can’t. He already has plans. I’ll explain later. I need to get back to work and you need to get back to filling that brilliant brain with knowledge. Love you, Havock.”
I hung up. I was speechless. I’d have to invite the bad omen into my old as hell Chevy and into my home. Mom had that high pitched, you’re not gonna like this but you can’t talk me out of it, tone and it had me worried. I decided not to go back to class. I needed a cigarette in a bad way. I went out the back door near the gym and stuck my hand in the side pocket of my backpack, pulling out my pack of cigarettes. I set my bag down and leaned against the wall. As I inhaled I held the smoke in my lungs as I thought about all the possible scenarios of why this girl would be coming home with me. Just as I exhaled, the door opened and long black curls came running past me. I dropped the cigarette on the ground and put it out with the sole of my shoe. I barely got two hits in. That girl was determined to keep me from smoking.
“Hasn’t anyone told you that you can’t run from your problems?” I called after her as I snatched up my bag and caught up with her.
I watched her hands grip the straps of her bag tighter causing her knuckles to turn white. I should have been more sensitive to her shattered emotions. She had been through a lot. She could thank my snarky attitude to the lack of nicotine in my system. When the color left her cheeks and she swayed on her feet a little, I caught her just in enough time before she hit the ground. She started apologizing in a whisper as I steadied her back on her feet.
“Maybe I should take you to the nurse?” I offered as she hugged herself tightly.
She shook her head as she continued to apologize over and over again.
“Are you sure? I mean, you just almost face planted in the dirt.”
She blinked her eyes a few times before actually looking at me. “I…I didn’t eat.” Is all she said as she looked away.
I could have pressed her for more answers. Like, why was she running? And, where exactly was she going to run to? Instead I shook my head and held out my hand. “Havock Satterly.”
She took it tentatively, her hand shook. “Reese Johnson, but you probably already know that. I’m also known as Murderer and Bad Omen.” Her voice not much more than a whisper as she spoke to me.
I wondered if she knew I’d be the one taking her home. I wondered if she knew why. But starting the conversation was hard for me. She was already acting like a freak show and if she knew nothing about the arrangement, she’d freak even worse.
“We should get back in there. They take skipping school pretty seriously.” Not that I cared but it was a good reason to get her back inside.
She looked at the door and her grip tightened on the strap of her bag again. A tear slid down her cheek as she walked past me to go back into the building.
Once in, she turned to the left, the opposite way I was heading, and kept her head down saying nothing to anyone.
The school counselor flagged me down before I could make it any further down the hall. “Mr. Satterly, I need to see you in my office.”
I followed her and sat down in the leather chair across from her messy desk. She sat down and picked up a file.
“Since Reese will be living with your family I’d like to talk with you. I’ve already spoke with Garrett.”
She didn’t flinch. “She is an emotional wreck. The only people she knows are gone. This morning she became a ward of the state and when your mom heard, she immediately started the paper work to let her stay with you guys until she graduates or until her father is found.”
I blinked a few times. How convenient it was that mom was a social worker for DHS. Was she crazy? That girl was trouble.
“Are we done here?”
“I want to tell you I’m here if you need to talk. This isn’t going to be easy. All of you are going to have to make her feel as welcome as possible.”
My mother was the Betty Crocker of Riverbend. She’d overwhelm her with being too welcoming. My dad too. I raised a brow.
“I’m talking about you and Garrett mainly.”
I nodded. “Welcoming. Got it. Anything else?”
“I’ll be breaking the news to her shortly.”
“Why do you say it like that?”
“She doesn’t do well with strangers.” She started working on her computer, and I took that as my okay to leave.
Doesn’t do well was an understatement.
Collide: Riverbend Series Book #1
Thank you for joining us for 5 days in Riverbend! Feel free to ask any questions, and we’ll do our best to answer them! We are so excited about this series and can’t wait to share it with you guys!
~ J.L. Hackett & Sara Daniell