“Apparently, you don’t know as much as you believe.” I waited for the bait to take, and when it did, I drove on. “Those poor kids, as you like to describe them, were the worst kind of enemy for your niece.”
“Worse than you?” she countered. A few months ago, she would have been right, but a lot had changed, including me. She seemed good at measuring people. I recognized the calculating shift of her eyes. She didn’t carry the same naiveté her niece did. She seemed to find whatever answer she was looking for because she turned to go.
“Mrs. Anderson,” I called.
She turned back and pinned me with an angry stare. “It’s Ms.”
“Well, isn’t that a shame?” I flashed a sarcastic smile to which she didn’t even flinch.
So much for family genes.
“How do you know Mario Fulton?”
For a moment, she looked like she would answer, but she only said, “Stay away from my niece, or I’ll have you arrested.” She walked away, and I was forced to simply watch her retreating form as she left me in suspense. I would have to do digging on my own.
Something else about Mario I could store for later. This war just kept getting better.
As for Monroe, I would stay away for now, but I had no intention of letting her go. She would have to be pried from my cold, lifeless fingers.
The grocery store was filled with the typical Sunday afternoon shoppers. Aunt Carissa was deeply involved in her next novel so that left me to take over the reigns, which included grocery shopping.
I hated grocery shopping.
Aunt Carissa would always get annoyed when I would come back with junk food and frozen dinners, which led to her having to do the shopping herself.
“Well, the good thing is we won’t starve,” she would comment. Hours later, additional groceries would magically appear without explanation.
Over the last two months, the relationship between us had been strained and becoming more so as time passed. The day Keiran stormed from our house, she confronted me about him and accused me of keeping secrets before forbidding me to see him. She never explained why and I never asked her to. She was right, of course. I did keep secrets.
The only part of our argument I fought internally was staying away from Keiran, but the feat proved easier than I thought. The decision was made for me Monday morning at school when Keiran breezed past me as if I didn’t exist. Not a glance or even a flicker of acknowledgment. I might as well have been a ghost.
I told myself I didn’t care and it would be the last time Keiran played me for his fool, but later that same day I had confronted him in the hallway before lunch:
“Am I invisible?”
His eyes flickered over me hungrily before dimming to a bored dull. “Can I help you?”
“You aren’t still upset about Friday, are you?”
“Upset? No.” He shrugged and pushed off from the wall he was leaning against. I expected him to invade my space as he was fond of doing, but he maintained his distance with a shit eating grin. “I just decided someone as ungrateful as you are isn’t worth going to jail for.”
Keiran was back to being the revered basketball star of Bainbridge High, and I was once again invisible and unimportant… at least to the masses. I clung to Willow and Sheldon for support, and they seemed to do the same.
Ten frozen dinners and many sugary sweets later, I was ready to check out when the voice of a stranger stopped me.
“Wow. You’re prettier than I expected you to be.”
I looked around curiously, not really expecting the comment to have been directed at me, but when I saw the owner of the voice look me over, I knew I was the intended audience.
“I’m sorry?” I studied the tall, dark-haired girl who looked around my age.
She flipped her well-glossed hair over her shoulder, rested her manicured hand on her hips, and asked, “So are you her?”
“I guess that depends on who ‘her’ is supposed to be.”
A sly smile spread across her lips as she continued to watch me. “I can see why he likes you so much. You’re just as warm as he is,” she sarcastically answered.
“Well, it was nice meeting you.” This girl reeked of trouble, and I had enough of it to last me ten lifetimes. Why was she so interested in who I was anyway? I’ve never even seen her before.
“Wait,” she called out.
Despite my better judgment, I did just as she asked. Her heels clicked against the tile floor as she closed the distance between us. Who wore heels to a grocery store anyway? I almost laughed when I remembered thinking a similar thought about Anya and her habit of wearing stilettos for any occasion.
“Could you at least tell me your name?”
“I’d rather not so—”
“I’m Diana,” she offered. “I’m a friend of Keiran.”
A friend of Keiran? How could this girl, whom I’ve never met or seen before, be a friend of Keiran? She smiled slyly at what I was sure to be an astonished look.
“So at least we’ve established that you do know Keiran.”
“How do you know Keiran?”
“He’s a friend of my father. Apparently, they have history. Anyway, I’m here visiting. Maybe we should get together and hang out sometime.”
I would rather chew my own arm off.
“Who is your father?” I found myself asking.