Read The Wrong Path_Smashwords Online

Authors: Vivian Marie Aubin du Paris

The Wrong Path_Smashwords (8 page)

BOOK: The Wrong Path_Smashwords
4.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

And then in an instant she understood. Her heart ached as she saw the cops leading Ebony and a few of Will’s other friends out of the school.

“Step back, son,” one of the officers ordered, holding Will at bay as he tried to get to his friends.

“No. What the hell is going on?” he demanded.

The officer, clearly not appreciating being sworn at, paused and straightened to his full height. He was taller than Will, and much more menacing. The handle of his gun gleamed in its holster in the sunlight. Annabelle could barely take her eyes off of it.

“These kids friends of yours?”


“Were you involved in the illegal drug usage today?”

Will was silent. Annabelle’s heart raced as she waited for his answer. When he continued to give none, to just stare down the cop, her fear and anxiety twisted inside of her and she abandoned all thoughts of self-preservation. Her mind whirled desperately to come up with a believable story as she hurried forward.

“Will!” she cried, rushing toward him and the officer, who broke their stare to look at her. Will’s eyes flashed. “What’s going on?” She turned to the cop, deliberately making her eyes wide and full of tears. She didn’t need to fake fear—that was real enough. “Are we in trouble for skipping class? I’m sorry, it’s just that as soon as I discovered it was missing, I had to find it, and Will offered to help me, and—“

The cop frowned, holding up his hand. “Miss, calm down, please. We received some reports today regarding some students and illegal narcotics. This has nothing to do with skipping class.”

She clung to Will’s arm, looking up at the officer with what she prayed were innocent, shocked eyes. “Illegal narcotics?” she repeated. Could the officer hear that fake note in her voice? “We’ve been looking for my bracelet almost all morning. We weren’t doing drugs!”

The officer studied her, but she must have looked frightened and believable enough, because after a hard look at Will, he nodded and looked back at her. “You two get back to class. Look for your bracelet
school.” He eyed Will one more time, then turned and went to his police car, the last one left.

Will stood there for a long time after the police had driven off with his friends. Annabelle trembled so hard she couldn’t make herself let go of his arm. She had lied. To a police officer. She had lied to a police officer for Will.

Slowly, he turned to face her, breaking her hold of his arm. His face was unreadable when she met his eyes. Was he angry? Was he grateful? Had she done the wrong thing?

“Do you want to get out of here?” he asked.

She automatically looked up at the school, but just the thought of going in after what she had done and what she had witnessed made her sick to her stomach. She looked back at him and nodded slowly. He studied her for another moment, then wordlessly turned on his heel and headed to the student parking lot. She followed him to the convertible and climbed in, still shaking.

They were silent as he drove. She couldn’t stop trembling, but beside her, Will was calm and firm. She was grateful for his steadiness, because she was a complete mess. The radio blared some hard rock music she only vaguely recognized, but somehow the background noise helped drown out the screaming in her head at what a horrible thing she had done. She had lied to a police officer. Wasn’t that an offence she could get arrested for? What had she been thinking? Will could have gotten himself out of trouble. No one expected her to jump in and help him. And if he was guilty, he probably deserved to get into trouble for it.

Didn’t he?

Will finally stopped the car, putting it into park and killing the engine. She looked around warily, eyeing their surroundings. They were next to a two lane road in what appeared to be a small forest, but she couldn’t remember ever having been there before, even though she had lived in New Kingston her entire life. Will had pulled off onto a dirt shoulder that looked like it had been made to park on, and as he climbed out of the car, she followed slowly, hesitantly. She wasn’t the least bit afraid of Will, but being out in the middle of nowhere with someone who wasn’t her boyfriend—even someone who was—didn’t seem particularly safe.

“Where are we?” she asked, as he started walking through the trees.

“The overlook.”

The… what? She followed him through the trees, confused. She had definitely never heard of the overlook.

The trees thinned, and to her surprise, opened up to reveal, just as Will had said, an overlook. She sucked in a breath at the beauty they stood over, dazzled by the scene. They were above the town, which looked small and impossibly far away. Beyond the town she could see an expanse of forests, and in the distance, large snow-covered mountains completed the sunny scene.

“It’s beautiful!” she gasped, turning to Will. She felt all of her fear and anxiety fade as she looked out over the bluff, a hidden little recluse undiscovered by others.

Will smiled slightly. He hopped up onto the edge of the stone wall, leaning against one of the pillars. She hesitated, peering over the edge. There was a small platform under it, jutting out from the hill, but it was still a long way down. Despite her fear, she steeled herself and carefully lifted herself up as well, leaning against the pillar opposite Will. Even with both of their legs stretched out, they didn’t quite touch.

“Do you come here a lot?” she asked.

He let out a slow breath and looked out over the valley. “Yeah,” he admitted.

She couldn’t hold back the smile that turned her lips up. He looked almost reluctant to tell her, in a boyish, shy way, but at the same time, he seemed so pleased with his space. “I can see why,” she said, looking back over the bluff. “It’s really nice here. Peaceful.”

He said nothing in response, but unlike normal, she didn’t mind the silence. She could hear the wind rustling through the trees, and the birds chirping around them. The tranquil atmosphere soothed her nerves and she felt herself relaxing, filling her with a sense of serenity.

She couldn’t help but think it was odd that Will liked to hang out here. He didn’t strike her as the type to appreciate nature’s beauty so much… He seemed more like the type to hide in the back of a coffee shop, looking around with disdain.

“Do you think your friends will be okay?” she asked finally, looking over at him.

At her question, his eyes fell closed. When they opened again, they were impossibly dark. He shot her an arrogant smile. “Of course. If anyone can get out of that kind of trouble, it’s them.”

She fidgeted, fingering the edge of her skirt. “That’s good.”

He cocked an eyebrow. “You should practice your sincerity.”

She flushed and looked down at her lap. “I don’t know what you mean. I’m glad they’ll be fine.”

“Really? Last I checked, it was their fault that the entire school is talking about you.”

The amused challenge in his voice, coupled with his words, made her flinch. So he had heard. The memory of the other students’ words came flooding back into her mind and she had to force back her tears, twisting her fingers in her lap. “It’s not their fault,” she argued quietly. “They didn’t put it in my drink.”

“Oh, yeah, that’s right… It was, who…? Your friends, wasn’t it? The jocks you hang around? My friends might provide, but they certainly wouldn’t dose someone’s drink.”

She quickly slid off of the waist high wall, his mocking words stabbing straight into her heart. “I’m sure they were just trying to help me relax and have a good time,” she insisted quietly. “We should go. Can you take me back to school?”

He was in front of her before she could take another step, his hand holding her arm. “Really?” he persisted, his voice flat. “You really believe that?”

She pulled her arm away. “Of course I do,” she insisted. “Everyone always gives me a hard time about being uptight. None of my friends would maliciously try to—“

His derisive snort broke off her sentence. She scowled up at him, annoyance lighting sparks in her veins. “You can’t honestly be that naïve, Belle. They dosed you on purpose, and they did it to get in your pants.”

She flushed and turned away. “No,” she declared shakily, though even as she spoke, she could see Parker handing over a twenty to the boy pouring her drinks almost as if it were happening right in front of her all over again. “No, you’re wrong. You don’t even know them. How would you know?” She turned back accusingly, glaring up into his carefully guarded expression. “Your friends are the ones who brought the stuff in, weren’t they? Maybe they stuck it in all of the drinks and it was an innocent exchange. You don’t know!”

He crossed his arms and glared back at her. “Are you always this illogical?” he demanded, sounding like he was trying not to shout. “You’re like a ten year-old. You can’t think the best about everyone all the time, you know. They’re going to stab you in the back and leave you to drift down a river.” And then, as if he hadn’t driven his point home enough, he continued with a cold smirk. “Or date rape you, as the case may be.”

“Shut up!” she shouted angrily, shoving him as hard as she could away from her. She took great satisfaction in watching him stumble backwards, his smugly crossed arms falling to his sides to help him maintain balance. “Just shut up! You stand on the edge of everything, causing pain to your brother who loves you, and trying to kill your mother, who is sick and weak enough without you coming in and making it worse! You have no right to judge anyone!”

His eyes flashed coldly. “Since when did you learn so much about my family, Belle? You’ve been dating my brother for, what? A day? That doesn’t exactly give you the insight you need to be casting dispersions.”

She seethed at him. “You think people don’t talk? You think your mom doesn’t talk to mine? I know all about the heartache you cause her.”

Will’s expression was dark… almost murderous. “This song, again?” he asked quietly, his voice low and filled with fury. “Did my
brother ask you to talk to me about how I’m ruining the family? About how Mom’s failing health is all my fault and has nothing to do with the cancer that’s eating her from the inside out? About how everything she and Dad fight about is related to me, and how it would be easier for everyone if Mom would just let them ship me off to boarding school?”

She felt her anger subdue, the pain under Will’s carefully disguised rage evident. He might have accused her friends of trying to drug her, but she shouldn’t have attacked his family. She knew how sick his mother was, and it was a low blow… It had been downright hateful of her.

“Will—“ she tried, reaching for his arm.

He yanked it away, turning away from her. “Let’s go.”

She felt tears brimming in her eyes, but afraid of doing more damage, she followed wordlessly. Whether or not she agreed that her friends had deliberately drugged her, Will
been the one to save her. And how did she repay his warning, even if it was unfair and off-base? By accusing him of digging his own mother’s grave. She was a spiteful, evil person.

When she climbed into the car, she tried to discreetly wipe the tears from her eyes. The music was so loud she couldn’t even hear herself sniffling. Will drove like a maniac back to the school, but even though she felt like they would inevitably crash into a tree at some point, he came to a screeching halt in front of the school. He waited with his foot on the brake, clearly not intending to get out.

She wanted to thank him for the ride—to apologize to him—but the words didn’t come out. After a hesitation, she climbed out of the car and slowly shut the door, watching as the black car zoomed off.

She opened her locker just as the last bell rang. Students came pouring out of the classrooms, filling the previously empty space. She felt strangely lost in the sea of people, more isolated than she had ever felt before. Wasn’t this why she said nothing when following Claire around? So that she wasn’t alone?

Almost on cue, Claire appeared, flanked by Mary and Claudia. “Where have you been all day?” Claire demanded. “People are going crazy talking about you.”

Annabelle lowered her head. “I know…”

Claire held up a hand in a “stop” motion. “Don’t worry. I set them straight. Everyone knows that those… vermin that crashed the party were responsible.”

Annabelle’s head shot up. “What?” she asked, startled.

Claire was smiling as if she expected an outpouring of appreciation. “Someone even called the cops on them and they got busted. The police checked out their lockers and hauled them out of here.”

“I heard there was practically a pharmacy in Frankie’s locker,” Claudia added smugly. “He’ll be in juvie forever with that.”

Annabelle felt her head swim. She was going to throw up. She felt as responsible as if she had made the call herself. And it was her fault, wasn’t it? The rumor had been about her, and to defend her Claire had placed the blame on Will’s friends. Claire had been trying to be a good friend to her, and Annabelle was grateful to her… but now it was Annabelle’s fault Will’s friends were going to juvenile hall.


She felt an arm slide around her shoulders, and looked up into Trevor’s concerned face. “Hi,” she greeted, a little breathlessly.

“I was worried about you when I couldn’t find you earlier… Are you okay?”

She melted, relieved. She should have gone looking for Trevor when she had been upset. Trevor would have made her feel better. “Yeah. I’m okay. Are you?”

BOOK: The Wrong Path_Smashwords
4.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Truth Dare Kill by Gordon Ferris
Lover Avenged by J. R. Ward
Seduced 1 by P. A. Jones
Dorothy Garlock by Glorious Dawn
Keeping Secrets by Suzanne Morris
Children of the Tide by Valerie Wood
Practice Makes Perfect by Kathryn Shay
Celandine by Steve Augarde