Reliving Fate, page 3
"No, it's Bella. You guessed that?"
What's going on?
"Nah, bitch looked like the chick from Beauty and the Beast when she was all tarted up."
I'm concerned with the fact that he's watched Beauty and the Beast. And I'm not sure how tarted up Belle gets, but Bella was wearing jeans, a Metallica T-shirt, and a leather jacket.
I shake my head. "Whatever, man. I'm sure I'll see her around again."
After all, she's not one to take on board anyone's warning.
I grab a Coors and pop the lid with my teeth. Bella's gotten to me, and I'm pissed about it.
Who the fuck does she think she is?
People don't just stroll up here, and if they do, they don't hang around and give one of us lip. A few lads who tried in the past got their arses handed to them. It might be a shithole around here, but it's ours, and no one's taking it.
Craig stops beside me and takes a swig of his beer. He clicks his tongue and angles his beer toward Dillon.
"He wants in?" I ask, guessing what he's talking about.
"Wants to prove the size of his cock. Not sure it'll be worth your time."
I shrug. "Got nothing else to do."
Craig drops his stubble-coated chin in a nod. "I'll set it up."
Then, he's gone.
Craig's not wrong; fighting Dillon isn't worth it. Hell, it's not even worth getting out of bed for, but it's been a slow month, and I'm getting restless. I have a build up of energy that needs releasing, and I don't think any of the girls around here will be able to help. I need some good old-fashioned violence.
Or I need to get under Bella's skin, the way she has mine. Bickering with her tonight provided more entertainment than Vanessa, Eve, and Hayley putting on one of their shows. Those girls are dirty and know how to work a crowd, but arguing with the entitled princess was more fun.
Shit, balls are about to shrivel up and die.
Maybe I need sex.
I drop my empty on the floor and make a play for Vanessa. Hayley has her tongue down Craig's throat, and Eve is nowhere around. I'm not letting some little rich girl fuck me up.
Vanessa's posture loosens as I approach, and she gives me her best sexy face.
"Hello, handsome," she husks.
I'm not in the mood for pleasantries. I lift my eyebrow and unzip my jeans. She's on her knees without another word, but all I can picture is Isabella's smart mouth.
* * *
I don't even know who he is, and I don't particularly want to, but he's royally pissed me off.
Actually, I lied. I do want to know him. He lives here, and he doesn't seem interested in killing me. Really, I need to befriend someone; it could only potentially help me find Celia's killer.
It's definitely not normal for young people to want to hang around old people. At least, it's not for me. Rocco makes me think there's more to it though; he wanted me out of there. And that kinda makes me want to go back. Often.
I walk back up to the road and along the path. From up here, I can still see the bonfire and Rocco's friends' silhouettes. Even though it's too dark to distinguish him from everyone else, I think I can see him.
He knew too much. People usually believe whatever crap excuse I give them but not him. And I don't like his questions.
I turn away from him and scour the other side of the road. There's a bar and a hell of a lot of boarded up buildings.
Come on, Hugo.
"You didn't get too far," Rocco says from the darkness.
My heart leaps into my mouth for, like, the millionth time tonight. I need to be here, but I sure as hell don't like it.
"What the fuck are you doing, lurking around like a psycho?" I hiss.
"I dunno. Same fucking thing you were doing while lurking behind the bushes."
"I very much doubt that." I walk past him and try to ignore his heavy footsteps on the concrete behind me.
Why is he following me? He has some serious problems. Or I'm about to be kidnapped.
The second the thought enters my head, my heart starts to race. I clench my fists.
Shit, I knew he was a bit strange, but I never thought he was kidnap strange.
I know absolutely no self-defence, and that's one of my biggest regrets right now. What I'm doing is dangerous; I know that.
So, why the hell did it never cross my tiny mind to learn how to protect myself?
I'm so bloody out of my depth here.
How the hell did my big sister do this? Ha, she had two friends with her. Safety in numbers and all that. Or it should have been anyway.
"Okay, why are you following me?" I snap, merging most of the words together. It'd be a miracle if he understood all that.
He stops dead, startled. His big caramel eyes widen. It's almost like he's never dealt with a woman before. It's...kinda cute.
"Jesus. What was that again?"
"Why. Are. You. Following. Me?"
I try to sound as pissed off as I feel and stand my ground. He can't know he's scared me. It's over if I show weakness. I have absolutely no time to be weak.
"I told you, you shouldn't be around here."
"So...what? You're escorting me home? No offence, but you don't strike me as a gentleman."
"Oh, I'm the furthest thing from a gentleman, sweetheart, but if anything happens to you here, we'll all get pulled in for questioning."
"I'm touched, Rocco, really, but something tells me the people who would do anything to me are drinking with you on your fake beach. I can take it from here, thanks." I start walking again.
"Hey, Bella," he says.
"Take care of yourself."
I'm momentarily stunned at the sincerity in his voice, especially since, five seconds ago, he was only worried that my brutal murder would bring questions to his doorstep.
"You, too, Rocco."
This time, when I walk away, he doesn't follow, but I feel him watching until I'm across the road and headed back to the good part of town. Besides, he's very good at popping up unannounced, so I don't know if I've seen the last of him.
The lights are still out in the bungalow when I get back to my grandparents'. Both are early risers but heavy sleepers, so I know I have a good few hours before they wake yet. My bedroom window is pushed shut--how I left it--so I pull it open and climb through.
My grandparents' house is the most homely place on earth, all soft colours and warm smells. I much prefer it here, but it would break my mum's heart if I moved. She's already stressing over Livvy moving to university in September.
I've applied, but I'm not going. It just seems pointless when the only thing I want to do is find the man who killed my big sister. I promised myself and my parents that I'd deflect only until next year. Guess I'll have to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life.
No pressure or anything.
Grandad's soft snore fills the back end of the house where the bedrooms are. I change my clothes and get into bed. Tonight is as close to something as I've gotten so far. Celia was sneaking off from Nana and Grandad's to go somewhere, and what I found tonight is all about after-dark activities.
Hugo has to be there.
Dread washes over me like an ice-cold shower.
What if Hugo wasn't just a friend of hers? What if he's the killer?
If her diary entries are to be believed, Celia wasn't scared of him, but perhaps she didn't write in there if he'd changed. Flicking on the bedside lamp, I shove my cover off and reach into my overnight bag.
I couldn't have thought of this during the day?
Stifling a yawn, I pore through the pages after she met Hugo. All they say is sad, soppy stuff that infatuated teenagers write. Celia was one of those girls who makes me gag, writing things like, I already know I love him, and, We're going to be together soon. She even has her name and his encased in a huge heart on the back page of one of the
So far, it's all been pretty one-sided. Everything she wrote is about how much she likes him, how amazing he is, and what she wants their future to be like. No mention about his feelings or any attraction toward her.
The way she wrote about him and how enthusiastic she was, there's no way she would have skipped over them kissing or him telling her he liked her. There could have been an argument between them. Maybe he felt like she was stalking him or something like that. But that doesn't really add up. What she wrote in here doesn't suggest that he was ever violent or that she was scared.
I flick back through the last entries, trying to pick up on anything I could've missed, but the more I read, the less convinced I am that Hugo hurt her. But I obviously don't know.
Whatever happened between them--or didn't happen--I have to find him.
It's slowly creeping up to two in the morning, so I put the diary away and slip into bed. I'll need all the strength I can get for going home later.
* * *
Nan wakes me up in the morning, and her eyes are glossy.
Happy birthday, Celia.
"Morning," I mutter, feeling my heart deflate. There's nothing I want to do less than go home and deal with today.
"Good morning. How are you?"
"I'm...okay. I miss her."
"We all do. We stick together, remember?" she says.
I nod once and sit up. "Right. Is Grandad up yet?"
"He's getting dressed. We need to leave soon."
"Okay, I'll quickly throw on some clothes. I'm starving."
"That's exactly what your grandad said." She smiles and gives me a hug that's full of pain and protectiveness.
When Celia died, my whole family pulled together, and we've been that way ever since. Kind of. My relationship with my parents is strained most of the time.
"Have you spoken to Mum?"
"Yes, a minute ago."
My throat is dry. "And?"
"They're all doing okay. Livvy was upset first thing, but she's looking through old pictures now."
A part of me wants to go home right now, and another part wants to run away. I feel like a fraud. "Okay."
"Hey," Nana says, patting my hand. "Bella, no guilt now. We understand why you need some time on days like these."
I found her. I saw my big sister like that, and there isn't a day that goes by when I don't think about what happened, but on anniversaries and birthdays, her death is all that goes through my mind.
"Thanks," I say, giving her the only reply that'll end the conversation. "I'll get dressed then."
Nana stands up to let me out of bed, and I don't look back as I grab my bag and escape to the bathroom.
I close and lock the door behind me, and then I take a deep breath.
I can do this.
My hair is a mess, and I look like I've not slept in weeks. Livvy will be polished and looking like she's ready for the catwalk. I look ready to be shipped off to a psychiatric unit.
Dragging a brush through my hair, I attempt to salvage something about my appearance. My dark hair is far too long, almost down to my hips, but it's about the only girlie thing about me, so I absolutely refuse to cut it short.
I pull on my shorts and a Fall Out Boy T-shirt, tie my hair in a messy ponytail, and go back out. Nana is sitting in the living room, but Grandad is still getting ready, probably trying to choose the most appropriate shirt for the day. He does like his shirts on special and difficult occasions. Not sure what difference it makes.
"Who is...Fall Out Boy?" Nana asks, reading the name off my top.
"My future husband's band."
Nana's lip quirks in a smile. "I remember those days. I was going to marry Elvis Presley."
"Had to settle for Grandad, did ya?"
He chooses that moment to walk into the living room and scoffs. "Settle? She landed herself the catch of the day."
"Just the day?" I tease.
God, I wish I could live here until I moved out on my own.
"Watch it, you." Grandad laughs. "Are we all ready, or do you two need a little more time to antagonise me?"
"What do you think, Bella?" Nana says.
Before I can reply, Grandad holds up his hand. "All right, whoever's not in the car in the next thirty seconds pays for their own breakfast."
We don't need to be told twice. Nana and I make the quickest dash for the car.
"Can I drive?" I ask, leaning against the driver's door as Grandad locks the house.
He turns and laughs. "Not a chance. In the back, Bella," he replies as he presses the unlock button.
I passed my test four months after my seventeenth birthday, so I've been driving a while now. My parents thought Livvy would pass first because she's focused and driven, and she pretty much excels at everything, but I bossed it for once.
It takes only a few minutes to get to the cafe, and as soon as I walk into the door, I see Rocco straightaway. He looks even better in daylight, and my heart goes crazy.
* * *
Ellis shovels half of a sausage into his mouth in one go and chews. We're in the local cafe for breakfast because neither of us can be fucked to cook.
"You always feel like you're being watched in here, man?" he asks.
I can see chewed sausage and beans churning away in there.
"Yeah, because we're always being watched in here. They're probably waiting for us to skip out on the bill or swipe something on the way past."
The cafe is wedged between the good part of town and where we live, so it gets the people with money and the people waiting to steal the money. The owners are decent and come from a working-class background, and by all accounts, the money the place makes doesn't allow for a flashy lifestyle. But what they have, they want to keep. I don't believe in shitting where you eat, so they'll never have any hassle from my end. We don't come here very often though. I prefer to eat without an audience.
"Wankers," Ellis mutters, forking the other half of the sausage into his mouth.
I push my food around the plate. After three coffees and a bacon sandwich, I'm not feeling the omelet.
"Craig asked me to sort the bets," he says. "I thought you weren't interested in fighting Dillon?"
"I'm not really, but I've not been offered anything in a while."
"You could just use a punching bag if you needed to get off. Or a woman."
It sounds an awful lot like he is telling me to raise my hand to a woman, but I know what he means. To Ellis, sex is no different than fighting. You release all of that pent-up tension and frustration, so why not do it the way that gets you an orgasm? His long-term fuck buddy would agree. Though, deep down, I think Izzy is more to him than just a shag.
It's not like that for me. I need both. Ever since I walked in on some guy beating my mum, I've been up for a fight. As soon as I was old enough, the first one I picked was with him.
"Thanks. I'll think about it," I murmur.
There's only so much a fight or a woman can do anyway. The feeling of my skin burning and screaming can only be smothered for so long, no matter what I do.
"No, you won't."
"Then, why did I say it?" I snap.
Ellis flashes me a shit-eating grin. "You're such a fucking pussy, man."
He's the only guy I can stand, and right now, he's really ruining it.
"You heading to the gym more this week?" he asks.
The gym is a gym in the sense that you pay to use the fitness equipment, but it looks more like a dirty old shed.
"Maybe. Dillon isn't a threat though."
"Mate, The Hulk isn't a threat when you get going."
Thinking of every man who abused my mum, I'm untouchable, thanks to my ability to paste their faces on my opponents. It probably isn't healthy or whatever, but it means I can handle myself while bringing in a
"You about to help me train?"
He nods and stuffs another heaping spoonful into his mouth. I knew he would because there's fuck all else for him to do until next week when debts need paying.
I drain a strong mug of coffee and flick my finger up for a refill when Bella and what looks like her parents or grandparents walk in.
Jesus, she's even more beautiful in the light.
I know I should look away, but my eyes are drawn to her like a magnet.
Her long, dark hair is tied up, and she's wearing black jean shorts and a grey top. Her legs are begging to be wrapped around my shoulders. Written across her boobs is Fall Out Boy. I have no idea what the fuck that means.
She's animated and smiling, which is new to me. Last night, she was full of attitude, and it was a lot of fun. Probably the most fun I've had, and that says a lot about how dull and empty my life is.
"Who's the chick?" His green eyes narrow as he recognises her. "Wait, she's the one from last night, isn't she?" Ellis asks, checking out what's caught my attention.
"Yeah, that's her. I'm not sure exactly who she is yet."
Every time I think I've got her all worked out, she surprises me. Like, right now, there's none of the gobby bullshit. She's a normal girl, out to breakfast with her family.
"She's smokin', man. You really should fuck her," he says.
"Probably will eventually," I reply halfheartedly, still watching Bella.
She turns, and I see her freeze as she spots me. Her eyes widen, and she stumbles a step.
Her mum or maybe her nan points to the table next to ours, but she shakes her head. It makes me smile. She tries to suggest another table, but there's some sort of disagreement. The one next to me is the only window table left, so I guess that's the preferred seat--though not for Bella.
Her expression is priceless as she trails behind her family to the table.
"This table's rubbish, Nana," she whispers.
Her grandparents then.
"There's nothing wrong with it. Sit down, and act eighteen."
Fucking hell, eighteen?
She acts about twelve. Unless that is just an act. It's hard to tell with her.
"Good morning, Bella." I smile.
She jabs her tongue into the side of her mouth and scowls. "Hello, Rocco."
Bella's nan looks between us and then picks up her menu. She's not looking at it; rather, she's using it to pretend like she's not listening in.
Other author's books:
- Broken SilenceSilenceThe CellarPlayers, Bumps and Cocktail SausagesLie to MeSilent NightReliving Fate
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