“How did you even get here?”
I blink at him, confused by his question. “We live here.”
“You live here, in these woods?”
When Kaiden stumbles across Serena Scott while hunting in Sorrow Woods he thinks all of his birthdays have come at once. Finally, the girl that’s haunted and intrigued him and his parents for the last fourteen years is standing in front of him.
And she’s alive.
Serena should have known that he would shatter her life into a thousand pieces. It wasn't because of the gun, or the tattoos that snaked around his arm, but because he was the first boy that she’d ever set eyes on.
He wasn’t just any boy either; he was Kaiden Matthews.
He was dark, dangerous and strangely alluring.
And he was beautiful.
Serena’s life as she knows it is destroyed after Kaiden drops his bombshell. As the consequences of his actions begin to penetrate through into her life she vows to stay away from him, and while she might have been in his past, she refuses to be his future.
Kaiden knows that in order for either of them to salvage anything from the mess he’s made he needs to make sure the secrets of his past stay hidden, but as they start to rebuild their lives they find themselves stuck in a whirlwind of secrets and confessions that could threaten to break their already fragile relationship.
I shake my head. I can’t have her being intrigued. Not now. “Honestly, Mrs. Scott. I’m fine. Just boy stuff.” I look up at her and give her a weak smile.
She wrinkles her face up. “Ah, in that case I’ll leave you to it, unless it’s a problem about a girl. I used to be ones of those, you know. I might be able to help you.”
I laugh. I actually open my mouth and laugh out loud. Angela Scott grins at me and tucks a piece of her short, fine blonde hair behind her ear. For the first time in months, her green eyes are sparkling.
“There is a girl but it’s not what you think.”
She raises her eyebrows. “Oh really?”
I nod. “But it’s complicated.”
Now she frowns. “Is she pregnant, Kaiden?”
I shake my head. “No.”
“Good,” she says, “having children causes so much worry.” She sighs heavily and looks at me with that look that I’ve seen many times before.
I freeze. I need to say something. Anything. “How’s the campaign going?” Shit. I should have said anything but that.
She shrugs. “It’s the same as it always is. We run the campaign, we get a few calls, we spend all the money on chasing those calls, but it turns out to be nothing.”
She turns her head and looks out of the window. “I probably would have given up by now,” she says, tapping her chest, “but I can feel that she’s still alive.” She taps her chest again. “In here.”
I nod, even though I don’t know how she feels. “I guess it’s hard.”
“It gets worse. I thought it would get better with time, but each time those photographs come out, it gets harder. The wound in my heart opens up just that little bit more. I imagine all the things she’d be into now. At nearly seventeen, I imagine she’d be a nightmare like every other hormonal teenage girl. But the truth is, I’d have her arguing with me every single day over not having her at all.” Something catches in her throat and when I look at her, I see tears filling her eyes. She sniffs and I look away.
After a few seconds, I take a deep breath and look back at her. “Do you think it would be strange if she just walked back into your life?” I ask, hoping she doesn’t find the question too strange.
She blinks at me. “I would imagine it would be equally wonderful and terrible at the same time. I have no idea what sort of life she’s had. All of these horrible thoughts go through my head every single day. It would probably take a lot of adjustment on her part if she’s been living a completely different life.” She sighs. “Sometimes, I wonder if she even speaks the same language as we do. Can you imagine if she came back to us and we couldn’t even communicate with one another?”
I shake my head, but don’t look at her. I shouldn’t be talking to her about this.
“I never thanked you,” she says, surprising me.
I look up at her and sip the last of my coffee. “Thanked me for what?”
“For helping us over the years. I know you were only little when she was taken and it was your parents that originally ploughed all of their efforts and money into helping us with the campaign, but I know you’ve helped over the last few years. Your Mother told me.”
I swallow, suddenly feeling like there’s a piece of cake stuck in my throat. “You don’t need to thank me,” I whisper.
I didn’t help at all, so God knows what my Mother has been telling her. The worst part about all of this is that I’ve resented the Scotts and how much time my parents have spent at their house and how much they have talked about them and their missing daughter. I hated that they seemed to feel guilty whenever they looked at me. It was as if they felt bad because their child hadn’t been taken.
She takes a deep breath and stands up. “Well, I am. So, thank you.”
She offers me her hand, which I shake.
“See you again soon, Kaiden. I hope you manage to think about whatever it is that you needed to come here and think about.”
I smile. “I think you helped a lot, actually.”
She leaves the café. I stare at her and watch as she crosses the road. Decision made.
I hope she’ll be able to forgive me.
Beckie's real name is Rebecca, but she get’s called (and answers to) any of the following…Beckie, Bek, Becca, Rebecca, Pip, Pippy or Stevo.
Beckie is the author of 'Sorrow Woods,' the 'Existing' series and 'Noah and Me.'
She is due to publish more YA, NA and Adult novels in 2015/16.
She lives in Staffordshire, England, with her partner and two children.
Beckie likes putting music on in the house and dancing around like a mad woman.
When she isn’t playing with her children, doing housework, dancing around the house like a mad woman, walking, cycling, reading or writing, then she can be found working in an investment bank. Or sleeping.
BeckieStevo Blog: http://beckiestevenson.blogspot.co.uk