“What?” Grey chuckled, taking a step closer.
“I know what you did last night or who you did rather.”
Grey pressed her lips together. If she suspected anyone to know she thought, it would be Patty who saw her outside.
“Care to elaborate?” Grey asked.
Ela picked up a flier and glided it across the tips of her nails then blew on them. “I thought you were brighter than this. Bright enough not to sleep with Sky Kiszinger too. Hello STDs?”
“What?” Grey gasped. Blood drained from her head and she thought she might faint.
“Calm down I’m sure he’s not dumb enough to catch an anything. It was so easy Grey.”
“Easy? You think I’m easy?”
Ela shrugged. When the memories of last night came flooding back. It all went down too easily. All because she thought she belonged here and Sky was someone she could actually see herself with. A guy with power, but with a soul and feelings under layers of gold and thousands of currencies. What was she thinking?
“Well? Aren’t you going to say anything?” Ela pressed.
“Does Mia know?” Grey folded her arms.
Ela shook her head, “The only way she will know is if Sky or you tell her. I advise against it.”
“You’re not going to tell her?” Grey’s eyes went wide. Then she thought blackmail was sure to follow.
“Why would I? We’re still in the beginning of the school year. Who needs that type of drama?”
“I just thought—’
Ela rolled her eyes and stood from the couch, “Just be careful who you sleep with. Sky hits on everyone and the rest of the guys need leashes too.”
Ela said before disappearing into her room. Grey could have rubbed the sweat dripping off the side of her head with her hand. All she wanted to do was forget that night ever happened.
She grinded her teeth together and hoped her blushed cheeks calmed down by the time she got to the castle, instead Grey didn’t go there she went to the lake. Back to the scene of the crime. The cottage was miles away.
She came to the lake when she needed privacy to just be Greyson Abbey the girl who loved to swim and sing in the shower even though she couldn’t. She also came here when it was time to call mom. Mom who would kill her if she knew the levels of lies she’d been telling.
“You just getting up” Mom asked.
“No, it’s like eight thirty here in money town.” Grey said as she kicked off her shoes.
“Money town wake up well this morning? No nasty hangovers from last night’s party?”
Grey snorted, Ela was defiantly hanging maybe Porsha. “Not me.”
“Didn’t have anything honey bun? I bet they had fancy stuff.”
Grey burst out laughing, “Please the princesses and princes of the golden universe like the cheap local stuff.”
“The real hard stuff.” Mom cackled.
“I certainly wouldn’t want to think it was because they were trying to save a buck.” Grey said, thinking about how she would have to get into the freezing water with her underwear.
“How’s that job keeping you? Were you able to get a couple things?”
“Uh…” she hadn’t started. “It’s okay and yeah I was able to get a few things, but you know the school caters to my basic needs.” Grey tugged on the zipper of her dress.
“The thing I fear the most is that you lose yourself out there, baby. You know you don’t belong there. In two years you’ll be back here and money town will be a distant memory.”
Like she needed reminding that the fairytale would end.
“I know mom, thanks.”
They said their goodbyes and hung up. Grey slipped out of the white dress. She didn’t care if it got stained. She unclipped her bra and tossed it on top of the dress. There wasn’t anyone around to see her naked. Hands over head she threw herself in and swam as far down as she could. She’s been swimming in the lake for weeks and she’d never come across any life threatening creatures. She wanted to keep it that way, nor had she come across any people living in the woods.
Grey went further down until it was hard to see. She loved pushing the limits, she always wanted to know how far she would go. In a way it was dangerous. Down there the line between life and death was slim. She thought she heard a thing fall into the water, but it was too dark to see anything. Her time down there had barely been a minuet when she felt the need for air. Besides she didn’t know what was down there with her.
Grey saw the sun shining on the surface of the lake as her lungs screamed for breath. Arms wrapped around her torso and shoved her up to the surface. It was only when the sun beamed on her and her lungs were filled with air did she realize that she was pressed against a naked chest.
“What are you doing?” Grey asked in between coughs.
West pushed his black hair back, “Me? You were drowning.”
Grey placed a hand on her chest. She’d over done it this time.
“I’m the best swimmer I know. I wasn’t drowning.”
“Then you obviously don’t know that many swimmers.”
Grey groaned and swam toward the deck. West followed. He stripped his shirt and kicked his shoes and pants off.
“What are you doing here anyway?” West asked when they were both out of the water.
Grey picked up her dress and made sure she faced the trees and not West, aware her breasts were out on display. However, West had a good view of her ass.
“I didn’t know you owned the place.” Grey rolled her eyes.
“Not all of it anyway.” West folded his arms.
“Of course.” Grey muttered. “I was just leaving.” She offered him a pressed smile.
Though, the sound of tires tearing up gravel rooted them both to the spot. Sirens followed which had them both scrambling in different directions.
“Not that way,” West grabbed her wrist and dragged her towards the trees.
Five blue and white police cars grounded to a halt followed by Constable’s car down the side of the hill leading up to the cottage. Grey and West watched as the officers walked towards the trees.
“Tell me they aren’t here for you?”
West scrawled, “Why would they be after me?”
“You’re the one who likes hanging out in forests.”
West shot her daggers, but didn’t say anything.
“Let’s go. They shouldn’t find us here.”
“Got another way out of here?” Grey clutched her stuff to her chest.
Wandering the woods naked and wet with a muscular and dripping wet man. Another weird thing bound to keep her up tonight. The police were probably here because they heard about cocaine or something related.
“Not exactly. I’ve got a place we can wait.” West said.
Trekking barefoot in a murky forest didn’t leave her feet as sore as she thought. West brought her to a cabin smaller than the cottage.
“Are your clothes wet?” West asked.
Grey looked at her dress. Wet and stained. All she had is a pair of sneakers and a bra. West put on his pants somewhere along the walk. Grey discovered more than one cabin sticking out between the trees.
“Why do you think they’re here?” Grey asked when West took her dress to throw it in the dryer.
It was pretty bare for a cabin. Single couch, fireplace stocked with wood and a brown rug with a moose on it.
“Other than me?” West lifted his brow.
Grey rolled her eyes, “Yes, other than you.”
West’s gaze fell from her face. She followed his gaze and instantly slapped her hands over her nipples and turned. She gave him her bra too!
West burst into laughter. Grey felt him get off the couch and stand right behind her. She groaned.
“It’s a little too late for that now, don’t you think?” He whispered in her ear.
“It doesn’t mean you still get to see.” Grey said through clenched teeth.
“Shame, it’s a nice view.” West smirked.
Grey’s cheeks became as red as they possibly could. West’s laughter told her that was his goal.
“I’m not easy,” she blurted out. Why did he need to know that?
“Not since last night?”
“What are you talking about?” Great another witness.
“I don’t need to spell it out for you Grey.”
West hauled himself off the couch and startled towards her. West was certainly build better than his younger cousin. Wide broad shoulders, sculpted legs that surely took intense hours in the gym. Her eyes beckoned to slid passed his waist band, but she had to hold them still. It was awkward enough.
“What?” Grey whispered.
West had her trapped between him and the fireplace like Sky did with the car.
“I want to know one thing.”
“Princesses and princess of the golden universe? Is that the best you could come up with?” West’s brows burrowed.
Grey scrawled and ducked under his trap. “You were spying on me the entire time?!”
“I was waiting for you to leave the lake.”
“You don’t own it!”
Grey slumped on the couch and ran her hands down her face. A knock came at the door freezing them both.
“Expecting anyone?” Grey asked.
West stared at the door before vanishing to the bedroom. He came back with a black t-shirt and tossed it at Grey. He started for the door before Grey had the shirt over her head.
“Wait shouldn’t I—”
West yanked the door open to reveal Constable standing on the other side. He poked his head inside then sighed. Grey bit her lip, he’d already come to the wrong conclusion. West being shirtless didn’t help.
Erwin Constable pushed his glasses up his nose and faced West.
“You’ll have to leave the cabin. This is forbidden territory for a while.”
“Why? I’m allowed to be here.”
“Yes, but there are things going on that I can’t tell you. You should both leave immediately.”
West looked at Grey who had an equally quizzical expression. West had a four by four hidden behind the cabin. The forest was packed with cops and rangers. Had someone hidden a bag of weed out here or what?
“Stay out of trouble Grey.” West said when she dropped off in front of the girl’s dorm building.
“I wonder what you’ll do now that you can’t hide out in the trees.”
West tilted his head at her before driving off. Ela was right he was mysteriously handsome. Though, the idea was to remain on the low and focus on herself. Tomorrow she definitely had to get that job.
The sun had fully gone down when Grey got to the dorm the girls were all there. Ready for whatever schemes they had planned for the evening.
“Out with the mystery man?” Porsha grinned when she walked in.
“Looks like you really had fun this time.” Mia winked, taking a second away from drawing her brows.
Patty brushed her hair in front of the mirror. Ela wasn’t among the group.
“Where are we going?” Grey asked, hoping to change the subject.
The girls laughed, “You’ll spill eventually.” Mia said.
“Club twenty-one. Down town at least we won’t have to worry about anyone crashing the party.” Patty said.
Geez it was a Monday how could they be thinking about clubbing. Grey had to admit the idea excited her. Run down bars in her hometown were not fun or exciting.
Ela’s door burst open and she rushed out holding her phone. Porsha’s hand slipped and she ended up drawing a pink line on her cheek. Mia had a long and abnormal brow from eyeliner.
“Ela?” Mia growled.
“You’ll never believe this.” Ela said.
“This better be good.” Porsha
“They found a body in the woods.”
Grey gasped, but her counter parts followed with deadly silence.