Bad Wolf(7)

By: Jo Raven


No way out alive.





Chapter Three





Gigi





When I started school here, in this town almost three years ago, it was horrible, as things often were those days. Leaving all my friends back in Destiny still stung. Plus, back there I knew the bullies. There was Ross and his buddies, and I knew how to avoid them.

Not that he picked so much on me as on my sister, but still. I know about bullies. I know them well. Calling you names, tripping you in hallways, stalking you on social media and posting insults, tearing your locker open and filling it with used condoms, ripping your backpack to shreds, cornering you and lifting your skirt, just short of raping you right in front of everyone.

But here they weren’t any better.

Sydney, my bestie, suffered from them as much as I did, or so she says. But she had three boys protecting her, and she said I should do the same.

Easier said than done.

The first time I talked to Jarett, I’d just been following him from a distance all the way from the school bus stop. I’d started doing that at the beginning of the school year. The strategy was simple: choose a tall, muscular, mean-looking boy walking in the direction of my house and stick close to him. Pretend you know him, that you’re walking home together.

Keep the bullies at bay.

If the boy is alone, bonus points. It means he won’t show off to his buddies by picking on you, won’t gang up on you.

This boy seemed perfect. Though not new to the school, he was a loner, and living in my neighborhood. We took the same bus, got off at the same stop.

He wasn’t bad looking, either.

Okay, so he was frigging hot. Which made it all the weirder that he never had any following as he hoofed it home from the bus.

Well, except for me. I was his most loyal follower.

I took notice of everything about him—how he limped sometimes, how his eyes tracked everything, how his lip curled when someone stood in his way.

Just… hot.

And now he flicked the cigarette he’d been smoking—well, the joint, I can smell weed as well as the next person—and turned to look at me.

I froze and did my best not to show it, barely slowing down. I smiled instead.

His expression did something weird. It stilled, though his eyes seemed to darken. He stumbled a little, almost coming to a stop.

Taking advantage, moving before I thought about it too hard, I crossed the street and joined him.

“Hi,” I said, “I’m Gigi. What’s your name?”

He kept walking and didn’t say anything for a long while, not until we were almost at my house, his hooded eyes flicking sideways at me all the way.

And right before I skipped away to a promise of warm lunch and an afternoon listening to music and doodling, he said, in his deep, rough voice, “Jarett.”

I think I’d fallen for him already, from a distance, but that one word, his name, sealed it. I didn’t know it then, but this was the boy who would one day break my heart.



The club is so full we push through people as Sydney pulls me after her in an unknown direction.

“Syd, stop.” What’s going on tonight? Why does everyone think they can drag me around like a rag doll, like I don’t have a say in any of it? “Jesus, stop. What’s the matter with you?”

We stop near the bar, and she turns to face me, her face a mask of guilt. “Sorry, I…”

But my mind is not on her right now. I turn in a circle, trying to see above the heads of the people, but even in my stilettos I’m not that tall. “Dammit.”

“What is it?”

“That guy I was with. Can you see him?”

That’d be a long shot. Goes to show how out of my wits I am right now. Sydney is much shorter than me, high heels or not.

I start back the way we came. “I need to find him.”

“Why?”

“Because…” And I halt.

Because he looks like Jarett. The first boy who ever got my attention. My full attention. And never returned it.

But that’s not what the other guy called him. He called him Fen.

Was I mistaken?

“Gigi?”

“Never mind.” I rub my hands up and down my bare arms, shivering despite the heat inside the club.

It has to be Jarett. Maybe Fen is a nickname. Jarett’s brother’s name was Seb. Sebastian. The coincidence is too much.

And it shouldn’t matter to me. Just because he pulled his brother off me and took me out to the alley to get fresh air, that doesn’t mean anything.

“You think I want you?” So amused.

I bet in his eyes I’m still the silly girl who ran so desperately behind him years ago and blabbered on about every stupid thing going through her mind.

Still I’d have loved to talk to him, ask him how he’s been. The urge to go looking for him, to take his hand, is a physical need, an ache in my chest.

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