Gabby wanted to implode into a single atom.
Above her, through the semi-transparent dust cover stapled to the wooden box spring, she could hear kissing, breathing, and saliva being shared in ways she didn’t want to think about. It was nothing like the movies. No crescendo of string music. No mood lighting. No romantic words being whispered into each other’s ears. It sounded wet, slobbery, and gross.
She didn’t know which base Logan was attempting, but the sound of bedsprings urgently hopping away from him gave her a hint.
“Slow down,” Missy said. “We don’t have to rush into things.”
“I’m sorry,” he said. “It’s just, you’re so beautiful and I want to get to know every inch of you.”
The nauseating conversation, combined with the stench wafting from Logan’s sneakers, made Gabby want to vomit. Considering her location, she avoided the urge. It would have just fallen back onto her face.
“Tell me what you said to me before,” Missy said.
“What do you mean?”
“You know. What you texted me the other night.”
Logan’s pause didn’t sound like it was for dramatic effect. It seemed like he couldn’t remember.
“What was said is in the past,” he said. “I want to focus on the future. Our future.”
Gabby had never wished for a superpower before, but people like Logan made her want to crush their testicles with her mind. She could be called the Nutcracker. Men would fear her and women would love her. She wasn’t sure if she’d wear a cape, but her hat would be memorable, snug with a large brim, so people would know her, even in silhouette.
Gabby focused her mind, trying to conjure up such telekinetic powers, but to no avail. Logan continued to talk and slide, ever so slowly, toward Missy.
“Babe, can I tell you something?” he asked. “Something I’ve never told anyone?”
“Sure, Logan. What?”
“I’ve never been with anyone before.”
Gabby blurted out a chuckle, then quickly covered her mouth with both hands, muffling her laugh.
“Did you hear something?” Missy asked.
“Yes, my heart pounding, for you. Would you… would you be my first?”
“Awww, Logan, that’s so sweet. Yes, I will!”
His body hopped next to hers.
“But not tonight,” Missy said. “Tonight, I want to talk to you. Get to know you more.”
“Tonight is perfect, Missy,” he said, a hint of impatience surging. “Just you and me. Together. Right now.”
The springs creaked as he leaned in toward her.
“Wait,” she said. “Slow down.”
“I can’t slow down what I feel for you.”
“Logan, please,” she said firmly. “I’m not ready.”
“Yes, you are. You’re ready. I’m ready. Tonight is the night.”
“Logan… I just don’t think we should. Not here. Not now.”
“Yes, here. Yes, now.”
“Shh…” he whispered. “Just relax. Show me how much you love me.”
More saliva swapping and groping sent a wave of nausea through Gabby’s body.
“I just… I’m not sure…” Missy said.
“Yes, you are…”
“Wait!” she said, pushing him away. “I’m not sure. I don’t think-”
“Then don’t think,” he said.
“Logan, not now.”
“No, I…” she stammered.
“Shh. Don’t let my parents hear you.”
Unable to take it anymore, Gabby slid out from under the bed and rose to her feet. “Logan!” Gabby yelled. “She said no!”
Logan and Missy jolted back.
“Who the hell are you?” he yelled.
“Not so loud, Logan,” Missy said, buttoning up her blouse. “Your parents, remember?”
“Shut up, Missy!”
Gabby leaned toward him. “In between performing throat exams with your tongues, did you hear the words coming out of Missy’s mouth?”
“What are you doing in my bedroom?” Logan asked.
“She said she wasn’t ready. She said to wait. She said no.”
“She would have gotten around to it,” he said. “The others did.”
“Hey!” Missy said. “You said I was your first.”
“Yeah, my first today.”
“You’re a pig.”
“Thank you!” Gabby agreed. “Now we’re getting somewhere.”
“Who the hell are you?” he asked again.
“A friend of a friend who wants her phone back. Abigail.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Gabby smiled. “Yes, you do. You want to know why? When I mentioned Abigail’s name, you glanced at your backpack on the floor. It’s amazing what people say without talking.”
“Get out. I’m calling the police.”
“I wouldn’t do that,” she said, bending down and lifting his backpack onto the bed. “See, distribution of child pornography is a crime.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
Gabby dumped all the contents of the backpack onto the bed, a few of the heavy books bouncing off onto the floor. “You’re a senior, Logan. Eighteen years old. Missy here is a freshman. So is Abigail.”
“Who is Abigail?” Missy asked.
“So are most of the others,” Gabby continued. “Sharing their pictures with your friends is a crime. A sex crime.”
“You sent my pictures to your friends?” Missy asked.
“Do you know the punishment for a sex crime, Logan?” Gabby continued. “You become a sexual predator for the rest of your life. You’ll never be able to get a job, move into a neighborhood, or go to church, if you even do that, without the police and everyone around you knowing you’re a pervert who preys on young girls. So here,” Gabby said, picking up his phone from the end table and tossing it to him. “Call the cops. Tell Sheriff Durant that Gabby says hi.” She fumbled through his empty backpack, finding Abigail’s phone zipped in a side pocket. “Voilà.”
“Do you know who my father is?” he asked.
“The parent of a pervert?”
“That’s not funny.”
“It’s a little funny,” she said.
“He’s a district attorney. I could share pictures of Missy, Abby, Jenna, Dory, and all the other girls with whoever I want. And I will again. You really think there’s a chance in hell of me ever being convicted of anything in this town?”
“If your dad has any ethics, yes.”
Logan dialed his cell phone. “The sheriff works for him.”
“That’s unfortunate,” Gabby said. “For you, I mean.”
“Why?” he asked.
Gabby held up her phone. A red microphone flashed on the screen. “I’ve been recording you.” She punched a button. “Oh, look, it’s already saved to my cloud account.”
His eyes burned with anger, but she didn’t flinch. He wasn’t nearly as scary as other eyes that had bored into her soul.
Logan hopped off the bed, his large stature intimidating in the small room. “I’m going to kick your ass. And then you’re going to delete that file.”
“‘Aww, Logan!” Gabby said. “I stopped recording before you admitted you don’t mind hitting women.” She pushed record and pointed her phone at him. “Can you say that again, this time on video? And try to recreate the self-centered inner misogynist you displayed a few seconds ago. I can tell it came from the heart.”
“You’re such a—”
“Don’t say it,” she interrupted. “I have been called that name so many times it has lost its effect on me.”
Missy started for the door. “I think I should leave,” she said.
“I think you should never come back,” Gabby said. “Ever. And tell your friends to avoid Mr. Steroids, too.”
Missy nodded, opened the door, and then paused. “But what about the pictures I sent him? And all the others?”
“Logan will delete them right now, in front of us, or my audio file gets sent to his dad and the sheriff.”
Logan’s face turned an unhealthy shade of red. “You’re bluffing.” His phone chimed.
“That’s a copy for you,” Gabby said. “For nostalgia. Play it for your kids, assuming you ever get another date.”
“You want me to delete the files on my phone?” he asked.
“You are a quick learner.”
“Fine,” he said, opening his window. “Do it yourself!” He threw the phone outside. Gabby watched it skip across the high screen porch above the pool, stopping on a sagging middle section.
“You are such an ass, Logan!” Missy said.
“The blind finally see,” Gabby agreed. “You really think that stunt is a detriment to me, Logan? Wow. You really have no idea who I am, do you?”
“No,” he said. “And I don’t care.” He tossed his backpack at Gabby, which she avoided by dipping down, accidentally knocking Missy down the stairs. Gabby tried to turn and follow after her, but Logan grabbed her by the belt and pulled her back inside, tossing her onto the bed.
“Your vocal charms won’t work on me,” she said.
“I wouldn’t waste them on a hat-wearing freak like you,” he said.
“You don’t like my hat? What’s wrong with my beret?”
“It’s on your ugly head.” He grabbed her wrists and squeezed. Within seconds, her fingertips gripping her phone felt prickly from a lack of blood.
“Now, let go of your phone!” he said.
“I will say this. You do know how to manhandle a woman.”
“You know what they say—practice makes perfect.”
Gabby struggled to clench her phone with numbing fingers. “I always wanted to be a superhero, did you know that?” She grunted. “The Nutcracker.”
“The what?” Logan said, fighting her for control.
“The Nutcracker.” She lurched her knee upward, but his tree trunk-sized thighs pinched closed, stopping her before she hit her intended target. He kicked her knee to the side and blocked her legs from attempting another strike.
“Give me your phone!” he said, violently shaking her arms, jerking her cell from her hands. It ricocheted off the wall and slid across the floor near the door.
They both lunged for it, but Logan slid under her and Gabby landed on his back. She held on for dear life, looking like David trying to wrestle Goliath.
“I have to warn you, I almost killed a man once,” she said. “Of course, he was about half your size and a third of your weight.”
“I almost kill guys every week on the football field,” he said. “Get in line.”
He spun his thick body in a circle, flinging Gabby aside like a play toy. She landed on his bed and rolled into the wall, knocking her beret askew. As she adjusted her hat, he held up her phone with a smirk.
“First, I’ll delete that file,” he said “And then I’ll delete you.”
“You sound like a terminator,” she said. “A really bad-acting terminator.”
He smirked and raised her phone, punching a few buttons, but his expression quickly changed. “You bitch!”
“I told you not to call me that. You need to be more creative. Wench. Communist. Vegetarian. Any of those would work.”
“You already sent it to my dad!”
“And the sheriff. And the principal. Oh, and your coach.”
His nostrils flared and his forearms tightened. “You’ve ruined everything!”
“Yeah. I tend to do that.”
His veins protruded on his neck as his long, thick fingers wrapped around her phone until it disappeared into his fist.
“Think of the bright side,” she said. “I can’t kick you in your nether region from here.”
“Well…” She pointed behind him. “She can.”
Logan turned as a disheveled Missy planted her foot in his groin. Within a microsecond, he crumpled to the ground, grabbing his crotch.
“You…” he squealed. “Both of you…”
He fell on his side, whimpering, as Gabby scooted off the bed. Missy joined her, and they stood over his muscular body scrunched into a fetal position.
“Now, give me my phone back,” Gabby said.
“Kiss my ass,” he groaned.
“Don’t make me unleash Missy on you again.”
“Fine,” he said, his shaking hand lifting her phone toward her.
As she reached down, a smile percolated through his grimace, and he flicked his stocky arm, tossing her cell out onto the pool screen.
“You are such a grade-A jerk!” Gabby said. “You know how much that phone costs? I can’t replace it and neither can my dad. Go get it!”
“If I had the time, I would!”
“What did I ever see in him?” Missy said.
“His muscles? His popularity? His money?” Gabby asked.
“Am I really that shallow?”
“Depends,” Gabby said, moving over to the window. “To how many of those did you answer yes?”
“Oh my gosh!” Missy put her face in her hands. “I am that shallow!”
Gabby lifted her foot through the window and gently placed it on a crossbeam of the screened-in porch.
“Where are you going?” she asked.
“To get my phone. And your pictures.”
Tomorrow – Chapter Three
This novel follows up almost immediately after the events which unfolded in Kneel & Prey and Lost & Found. If you haven’t read the first novel, download it for free. I hope you’ve enjoyed this free sample and let me know what you think in the comments.