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Keep (Seaside Pictures Book 2)(8)
Author: Rachel Van Dyken


Because I found my stupid self getting into the truck.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, was how Ted Bundy did it. Charm, wit, and a killer smile.

And yet. I was still in the truck as he leaned against it and smirked. “I don’t like the word no. It’s short, clipped, and completely negative in its effect on the world. Therefore, I need to know what your weaknesses are so I can use them against you. Favorite foods, drinks, songs you sing in the shower, places to go, things to see. TV shows—do you prefer Friends or Big Bang Theory. If I was a superhero, which one would you want me to be?”

I shook my head. “Do you ever…pause? Stop? Take a time-out? And why do you need to know these things?”

“Because,” he said, pulling back, “I think they’re right. I’m not finding inspiration in the house. Therefore. I’m bringing you to the house.”

“To kill me.”

“To ravish you, my lady.”

“Oh good, the accent’s back again,” I said as much to myself as to him.

He lifted one shoulder. “It felt right again.”

I sighed. “You’re taking me back to your cave and expect the fact that another female body in your presence is going to make you spew out words about love and devotion?”

He angled his head and seemed to think about it and then nodded. “By jolly, I think you’ve got it!”

“Are we a Scotsman now?”

“Eh, harder accent.” He grinned. “I’ll take you to the house for two hours, and in return, I’ll do you a favor.”

“A favor for a favor.” I tossed the idea around in my head. “What about a rain check for a favor?”

“That works too.”

“Do we shake on it?”

“No, we kiss. We always kiss. That’s how these things work between boys and girls, four eyes. Just like you always circle yes.”

“Circle yes?”

“When I ask you if you want to skate with me then be more than friends.” He grinned. “Or when I ask to hold your hand then share your Mountain Dew, you always say yes.”

“Because no is a bad word?”

“The worst,” he agreed with a solemn nod.

“You’re a dangerous man, aren’t you?”

His eyes did that shutter thing, like a layer of his true self peeled back before he looked down at the ground. “We all have our secrets, don’t we?”

“Yeah.” I stared at him blankly before putting on my seatbelt and fully committing to the insanity that was my day. “We do.”

He moved to the other side of the truck then started it. “But first, we mallow.”

“Mallow?”

“Don’t ask questions, four eyes, questions get you killed.”

“Really quick, you aren’t on any drugs are you?”

“Marshmallows are my drug. That’s all you need to know. Everything else? All me.”

“Lucky me.”

“Right?” He winked and then we peeled out.

 

 

Chapter Five

 


Zane

 

SHE’D CAUGHT ME BY surprise by completely throwing me off my game, then pissed me off so horribly that I seriously wanted to do physical damage, something—anything.

Ribs.

She said she’d seen ribs. Like I was hungry.

And of course, because words had the power to bring back memories and with those memories feelings—I was transported, like I was living it all over again: the hollow feeling of being starved, the helplessness as she gave me more of her food since I was a growing boy. And the guilt, that while she tried to strengthen me, she grew weaker and weaker.

“When you said marshmallows were your addiction, I thought you were exaggerating.”

“Does this look like an exaggeration?” I pointed to the four grocery bags we’d just loaded up from the store and shrugged. “Besides, you never know if they’ll run out or if zombies take over the world. I mean what if the only food zombies can eat to return to their natural human state is marshmallows?”

“Yes.” She nodded seriously. “What if?”

“You’re mocking me.”

“You’re making it painfully easy.”

“How old are you, four eyes?”

“Old enough to get the Friends reference, not old enough to drink.”

“Twenty.”

“Nineteen, actually, turning twenty next month.”

“And you’re not in college because?”

“I didn’t jump in the truck so you’d play twenty questions with me.”

“No, you jumped in the truck because your cat died, remember?”

“Yes, um, Olga.”

“Oscar.”

“That’s what I said.”

“What color was he?”

She nervously licked her lips and then narrowed her gaze like she was trying to remember. “He was an, um… orange calico, with a black nose.”

What a little liar! It was too amusing to call her on it, so I played along.

I took a right and headed toward the cliff that overlooked the bay. “How’d you get him?”

“You know…” She gripped the seat with her hands and grimaced. “I’m boring, let’s talk about you. Besides Ultron makes me sad.”

Holy epic shit. It was so hard not to laugh. When was the last time someone made me actually laugh? Dani. She made me laugh. But she wasn’t mine, and I’d known it right away when I saw her with Linc, which meant she was off limits. Besides, she was a friend. And she needed a friend back. But Fallon? I might just adore my little four eyes more than I should.

“Ultron made everyone sad. He was a killer,” I said with a shrug.

“I wouldn’t go so far as to say Ultron was a killer…” She laughed nervously, still not getting the reference.

“Iron Man created him for killing.”

“What?” She blinked up at me. “Iron Man doesn’t have a cat.”

“And neither do you.”

“Yes, I do.”

“You just called your dead cat Ultron.”

“That’s not right…” She outwardly cringed. “Odwalla?”

“That’s a drink. You’re actually getting worse at lying the more you talk.”

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