Reliving fate, p.6

Reliving Fate, page 6

 

Reliving Fate
 



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  "Have fun with Harry today," I say as I make a quick exit to my room.

  I can't think about Livvy's worries at the minute. When this is all over and done with, I'll work on my relationship with my sister.

  Carefully taking the steps with my coffee, I'm relieved to be in my room. I close the door and put my iPod on. Livvy knows not to disturb me when music is blasting from my room. But I don't need time to sulk by myself. I need time to read Celia's diary.

  Yeah, I win the sister award.

  Me and Nancy spent the evening with Hugo and Jack tonight. Jack was all over Nancy like a rash, but Hugo barely touched me! What the fuck is wrong with me? UGH! Nancy says he's just being a gentleman, and it's clear he likes me because he spent the whole night flirting. I don't know. Sometimes, I feel like he wants more, and other times, I think I'm a delusional twat.

  I love Celia to bits, but she was definitely a delusional twat. The guy obviously didn't return her feelings, but she couldn't take the many, many hints. I fucking hate him. If she hadn't been so obsessed with him, maybe she'd still be here.

  Fighting with every urge to lob the diary at the bloody wall, I turn the page with shaking hands. The paper is dented where she angrily pressed the pen down too hard. Even if Hugo had nothing to do with Celia's death, I still want to strangle him. She was hurting, and none of us knew.

  Cass thinks I should just go for it and jump him. He doesn't seem shy, but that doesn't mean he's not. If he wants me to make the first move, I don't mind doing that, but after the way he threw that skank off him the first time I saw him, I'm scared to go for it in case he shoves me away too.

  I drop the diary. I don't remember this page.

  My heart is pounding.

  Some skank made a play for Hugo, and he threw her off him?

  Is that what happened to Celia?

  Did she go for it and make a fool of them both? Was Hugo tired of girls coming on to him?

  I slap my hand to my mouth as bile hits the back of my throat. My sister could have been murdered by someone she was infatuated with.

  Shit. Have I found Celia's killer after all?

  First, I have to actually find Hugo.

  I shove the diary back in its hiding spot under a floorboard in my walk-in wardrobe. Then, I get ready and leave the house before my absence is noticed. No Netflix for me now, I guess.

  Since Livvy has the car today, I head to the bus stop. Buses run regularly between my town and Nana and Grandad's, so I won't have a long wait.

  A few of Livvy's friends are at the park as I power walk past them. I really don't want anyone to stop me. I don't want small talk. I want to find Hugo. They're sitting on the back of the bench--because that's obviously cooler--and drinking Coke.

  Rock-'n'-fucking-roll.

  They're loud, obnoxious, and overdoing the play-fighting to the point of embarrassment.

  Livvy would say, We're just having a laugh, but here's a news flash: You're not fucking funny.

  It's not hard to see why I don't have friends.

  "Bella?"

  Damn it.

  I think that was Kayleigh. Her voice is soft and kind, but it's false. I don't have the energy to engage in any type of conversation or have a bitch-off with her, so I keep walking.

  Stupid tart.

  Seven minutes of power walking and some burning thighs later, I reach the bus stop. It's empty, apart from one old lady who's sitting on the bench, clutching her wicker handbag like she's waiting for me to try and wrestle it off her. I know I don't look my best today in old skinny jeans and a Muse T-shirt, but bloody hell.

  Keeping as much distance as I can in a tiny bus shelter, I check the timetable. There's a bus due in ten minutes.

  Score.

  Turning, I sit down on the metal bench at the opposite end to Purple Rinse and stare ahead with a small natural-resting smile, trying not to look like a teen mugger. It's exhausting.

  Livvy had better enjoy our bloody car today.

  "I feel like I'm always waiting for a bus," she says after a minute of glorious silence.

  Oh, she's decided I'm safe then.

  I force a laugh and turn my head away. We so don't need to engage.

  Out of the corner of my eye, I see her take a book out of her bag.

  Thank God. I suck at small talk.

  Although this woman isn't a twat, I'm relieved when we get on the bus and sit on different sides. She doesn't try to speak to me again, but as I get off two stops later, she does smile, which I return.

  Nana and Grandad's house is a two-minute walk from here, so I'm at theirs shortly after getting off the bus. I let myself in and head to the kitchen.

  They're both sitting at the table, and they do the same double take as they see me.

  "Bella, we weren't expecting you, love," Nana says.

  "Yeah, it was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing. Are you busy?"

  "We're never too busy for you."

  I feel like I'm home.

  * * *

  It's such a relief to be back with my grandparents. They fall asleep at nine p.m. like good little old people, and I leave very shortly after.

  I take the same route to the river as before. Only, this time, I have a small hammer in my bag. Small but not a kid's hammer. The area is dodgy, and a weapon makes me feel safer. I'd probably be shot or stabbed before I could get it out of my bag, but whatever makes you feel better, right?

  Soon, I'll be back with Rocco--not that he knows--and I know he wouldn't let anything happen to me. Well, I hope he wouldn't.

  I turn the corner, and there he is, leaning against a broken bus shelter. Momentarily stunned, I freeze on the spot, as it feels like the hammer has been used on my heart.

  The attraction I feel toward him is bloody insane and hits me like a goddamn train every time I see him. No one should look that good. His torn denim jeans hang low, and a black T-shirt hints at the hard muscles underneath. Short black hair is styled to perfection, and his dark caramel eyes scan the area.

  There's no getting away with it; I'm going to have to speak to him. Hugo is out there somewhere, and I need to find him. I march over to Rocco and halfway realise I don't really know what I'm doing or what I'll say. My stride wavers, and I consider turning and running in the opposite direction, but I'm committed now.

  He looks over, and his face hardens. A face that's sporting a nasty black eye.

  "What happened?" I ask.

  "Got hit."

  Well, duh.

  "What are you doing here?"

  "I..." Totally can't stop thinking about you, as irrational as that is at this stage. And, you know, I'm looking for a killer.

  His eyebrow kicks up, and I can see the sarcasm on his face.

  "Checking out the area?"

  "Very funny. I'm going for a walk...if that's okay with you."

  "I'm not your dad, Isabella."

  Thank God.

  "Does Daddy even know where you are?"

  I narrow my eyes, my patience with him starting to run thin. What's his problem?

  "He does not."

  "I wonder how he'd react."

  "He'd be fucking livid. But he's not going to find out."

  He laughs. I really like the sound of his laugh.

  "You do know you're legally an adult, so you can go wherever you like, don't you?"

  "Yes."

  But, if I do, my parents will worry themselves sick, thinking something will happen to me, too. I owe them more than that. Plus, they pay for everything and don't expect me to get a job while I'm in full-time education.

  Damn, that'll be changing soon.

  "But you're a good girl. Of course."

  "Tell that to my parents," I mutter. In my family, I am definitely not the good one. "Show me around. The places I haven't seen."

  "Why?"

  "You live here, so you know where everything is. I kind of don't, so if you wouldn't mind..."

  "If I do mind?"

  I shrug. "Then, be pissed off while
you're showing me around."

  That gets a proper laugh out of him, and the sound makes my heart leap. Not good.

  "Please, Rocco," I add.

  "Okay, fine. But you should know, the guys are pretty...full-on with fresh meat. You're still fresh to them."

  And to you?

  "I'm literally two seconds from kicking your shin." Fresh fucking meat. "Show me around, and tell your lechy friends, if they come within five metres of me, I will rip their balls off."

  Rocco smirks and starts walking. I follow.

  "You should probably see someone about your anger."

  I should see someone about a lot of things.

  He leads me down the road that I avoided last time. I want to pull him right and go toward the river, but I asked for this.

  "Where're we going?"

  "I'm showing you around, like you asked."

  "Sure, but where are we going specifically?"

  "To meet up with Ellis."

  "Where is he?"

  "At his house."

  I sigh and clench my fists. "Where is his house?"

  "Not far."

  Helpful...

  We pass a row of houses, and I swear, every second one has boarded up windows and graffiti. It's not a good look, especially the giant yellow knob on number 101's door. Being here is worse in the dark, too. Everything looks ten times bleaker. I wonder where Rocco lives. He's not mentioned any family--not that I'm surprised. He barely barks a one-worded response and never starts a conversation unless it's to piss me off.

  "Would you rather have legs the size of carrots or arms the length of lampposts?"

  He stops dead in his tracks and turns to me, staring dumbly.

  "Ah, at least I know you're human. Honestly, can you please give proper replies to the questions I ask? It's called respect."

  "Jesus, girl, you need to be tested."

  Not the first time that's been mentioned.

  "You won't talk about where we're going."

  "I told you!" he seethes. He looks completely lost, like someone just handed him a newborn he has no idea how to look after. "Ellis lives at 53-A Rose Court. There! Now, why don't you lead the fucking way?"

  I fold my arms over my chest. "I don't know where that is, do I?"

  "And that's my point. What the fuck difference does it make if you know where we're going if you don't know where we are?" He throws his hands up in the air and breathes hard through his nose.

  Neither of us is going to win here, so I concede. I don't have a lot of time, and I refuse to waste it arguing with him on the side of the road. "All right, fine. Can we just keep going, please? I'd like to get there today."

  "Has anyone ever told you that you're impossible?"

  "Oh, yeah," I reply. "No one seems to tell me anything else."

  "Maybe you should try harder to, you know, stop."

  "No. I might be impossible, unpredictable, immature, and a complete mess, but I refuse to change for anyone."

  His lip quirks. "Good girl. You might be borderline crazy, but at least you're true to it."

  Cheeky sod.

  "Take me to Ellis's house!"

  I just asked a practical stranger to take me to meet another practical stranger. Perhaps he is right, and I am crazy. Still, I need to do it. Oh God, what if Hugo and Rocco are related? His mum might like the ending-in-the-same-letter thing that my parents seem to be huge fans of.

  Okay, you're getting way ahead of yourself.

  "Do you have any siblings?" I ask as we walk toward his friend's.

  "None that I know of."

  What?

  "That you know of?"

  "My dad got about, but he took off before my first birthday and never really spoke to me again, so I guess I'll never know."

  Nice.

  "Oh-kay. Hey, are you ever worried that you'll marry a girl, and she'll turn out to be your half-sister? Shit like that happens all the time, you know."

  He glances at me out of the corner of his eye, and it's that what-do-I-do-with-a-newborn look again.

  I shrug. "Sorry. It's just...it happens."

  "You should stop watching daytime TV."

  "I probably should."

  Rocco stops and nods at a house in the middle of a long terrace.

  "This is it then?" I ask.

  "Yeah," he replies as he walks up the short path.

  No knocking; he walks through the door, so I follow. The house is small and dated with old paint decorating the walls and threadbare carpet, but it's kept clean. I've only met Ellis once, so I don't really know him, but I did expect his place to be more modern.

  "Ellis," Rocco hollers through the house.

  There can only be, like, two rooms in here, so there's really no need for so much noise.

  "Outside!" a rough voice shouts back.

  We walk down the hall, past a closed door, and through a small kitchen. Ellis is outside, sucking on a cigarette like it's a lolly. His eyes dart to me, and he nods.

  "Hey, Ellis," I say.

  "Bella wants a tour guide," Rocco says.

  What the fuck? Is he about to palm me off on his mate?

  I'm about to explode when he adds, "Want to come, too?"

  Ellis looks at me again and then shrugs. "Sure. You fucked her yet?"

  "No, he has not," I snap. I grit my teeth. "I'm not looking for a lay. I just want someone to show me around before it gets even darker."

  There is definitely something wrong with the people around here. Maybe they're here because they're all insane and lacking manners rather than lacking money.

  Rocco laughs and tilts his head in my direction. "She's far too high-maintenance. Wouldn't be worth it."

  I have never been more insulted in my life, and because of the nature of the insult, I'm also annoyed at myself. "You utter bastard!"

  He smirks, his eyes catching mine and preventing me from looking away. "Hey, if you want to prove me wrong..."

  So, I might have walked into that one.

  "Shall we go?" I say tightly.

  Rocco is all smiles.

  I walk between them along the cracked path toward somewhere. Apparently, we're going to the local pub, which I am not at all happy about.

  "Are we going in?" I ask as a decrepit building comes into view.

  The White Rabbit looks like a dive. The window near the door is boarded up with some sort of metal-looking contraption. Nothing about it makes me want to go inside. It's opposite the river.

  "No, we're showing you around," Rocco replies.

  Ellis is frowning, and I have a feeling he assumed we'd be getting a drink. For whatever reason, Rocco doesn't want me to go in, and I'm so grateful for whatever that reason is.

  "What? So, we're just going to walk around?" Ellis asks, sounding really put out.

  "If you don't want to come..." Rocco responds.

  Ellis grumbles out an, "It's fine," and we walk straight past.

  Did Celia go in there?

  She mentioned a pub in one of her diary entries but not which one.

  "Are there any other pubs around?" I ask.

  "Not for miles. The rest of 'em were trashed before I was born. This is the only one I've ever known," Ellis replies.

  So, Celia did go in there.

  Fucking idiot.

  And, suddenly, I want to go in, too.

  "Sounds like you go in there a lot," I say.

  Ellis snorts. "Both me and Rocco were brought up in that pub. When alcohol is about all you got to brighten the shit pit that is your life, you take it. My parents and his mum spent most days there, and so do we. And so do most other kids as it goes."

  Yeah, wow. My mum went mental on my dad when he took me and Livvy to a pub when we were nine. It was one of those family-friendly ones with the outdoor play area, too. Rocco's life really isn't anything like mine.

  I want to shove them both down and quiz them on Celia. If they hung out at the pub all the time, they must have seen her on occasion. Sure, they were probably only a
bout ten, but they might remember. I'm blatantly different to everyone else here, so Celia would've been, too.

  They also must know Hugo. Or at least know of him. I feel like I'm finally getting closer to finding the man who might have killed Celia, and it gives me an incredible high. I owe her this, and after it's done, I owe it to us both to do something with my life.

  Although that something might well be the World Record for Watching Netflix.

  NINE

  * * *

  ROCCO

  Ellis left us after ten minutes for some woman who'd texted him--probably Izzy--and he'll be shagging her right now.

  I've shown a couple of places to Bella, but thankfully, she hasn't push for more. She seems more interested in bickering and flirting with me. I'm not complaining.

  As we walk back toward my car, Bella chews on her lip, which I find sexier than I probably should.

  Don't get hard. It'll be embarrassing.

  "What?" I grunt.

  "I don't know. It feels like the end of the night, but I don't want it to be yet."

  Shrugging, I pull her to a stop. "So, don't go yet."

  What the fuck are you saying? Get rid of her.

  She blinks up at me, and I know that look. As tough as she is, she wants someone. I can't be that someone. I don't know how to do more than sex. I wouldn't know where to start with a relationship, and I categorically know I would fuck it up on day one.

  "Where do you want to go? No offence, but I don't much feel like walking the streets anymore tonight," she says.

  I wonder if she means just tonight or if she doesn't want to walk the streets ever again.

  Has she found whatever she was looking for?

  "Er, my place?"

  Tilting her head, she pouts. "And what are you expecting?"

  "Blow job." I keep a straight face for added effect.

  Her eyebrows shoot up. "Excuse me?"

  Nope, can't hold it in.

  Laughing, I nudge her shoulder, and she bats me away. The physical contact is electric, and that's completely unexpected.

  "You're the biggest dick I know!"

  "Thanks. Wanna see how much you can get in your mouth?"

  She whacks my arm.

  Fuck, I'll keep this up if she keeps touching me.

  "You know what? I'm going home, and you go take a cold shower!"

  "Wait, wait," I say, gripping her wrist as she starts to leave.

  I don't want you to leave. I should want you to leave.

  "Are you done being a pervert?"

  I pretend to think, but then she tries to leave again.

  "Okay, I'm done."

  "Good. Take me back to yours then," she says.

 

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