HUNTED: Chapter Thirteen

Thirteen.

Lennox Rose:  

“Lenny Bee!” Cory shouts as I enter the coffee shop.  

“Hey.” I say simply, walking up to the counter. “I wasn’t sure you would be working today.” 

Cory nods his head, as if to say, well here I am.

He walks up to the register and begins wiping down the counter with sanitizer and a towel. “Where did you take off to this morning?” 

“You saw me?” I say shifting my body so that I am leaning against the counter. 

“Yeah, my shift started at five. You were taking off just as I was starting my car. I shouted for you but you must’ve not heard me?” Cory asks. 

“Yeah, I stole Jax’s EarPods.” I say with a shrug. 

“What’s going on with you two anyways?” 

Choosing to blatantly ignore his question, I instead ask “Hey listen, can you take a break? I want to ask you something.” 

Cory looks down at the clock on the resister, “I’m actually off in twenty, can you wait?” 

“You’re off already?” 

“Abby gave me this whole week off actually, told me to take my time coming back.” Cory avoided my eyes, I knew losing Juliet was just as hard on him as the rest of us but he was master of staying above water with a smile on his face. 

“So, why are you working then?” By no means did Cory have to work, he choose to for the sake of something to do. Plus he was in the senior class work study program which meant he only had to be at school in the afternoon. I haven’t decided if I wanted to go back to school yet or keep doing my assignments from home. 

Coach wanted me back, track season was about to start and I was supposed to be captain this year. It was Waylon who was now assigned to the co-captain spot, taking Juliet’s place. I wasn’t sure I could do it without Juliet or go to school without her. Not to mention the attention that would surely be on me. It was a hard choice, one I never thought I would have to make my senior year. 

Cory grips the counter and rocks back and forth. “I owed Abby one.” He says, bringing back to the present.

I arched my brows and Cory blushed, which was weird because he wasn’t normally the blushing type. “Care to explain.” 

“Promise you wont judge me?” 

I raise my eyebrows again and form a hard line with my lips. 

He takes that as a yes I guess because he continues, “Abby was a mess at the funeral — you know, her and Jules were close too. We all worked here together. She was being all boss-like and trying to help me out by giving me time off. It didn’t make sense to me because Abby is emotional on a good day, she lost an employee, was thinking she had to give another one time off — I don’t know, she was just a mess.” Cory put his elbows on the counter between us and leaned in so our faces were only a couples inches apart before continuing in a whisper, “So I tried to hug her, you know? But she thought I was going in for a kiss and then…” 

“Seriously!” I said loudly which got as a couple glares from the morning coffee-goers. 

“You said you wouldn’t judge!.” Cory whispered back sharply. 

“I said nothing of the sort.” I said smirking. 

“Well you’re one to talk.” Cory reprimanded. He had me there. The weight of his words flooded me with guilt. Whatever it was the Jax and I were doing barely a month after the attack, was repulsive.  

“I still can’t believe you hooked up with your boss!” I tease and Cory rolls his eyes at me with a small smile on his lips. “How does this tie into you working today?” I continue. 

“Afterwards, Abby’s dad calls and says that Simon quit and that she has to pull a triple today. Well, in true Abby-like fashion she starts freaking out all over again, until I tell her that I can open for her. no sweat.” He stands back now and brings his hands to the back of his neck. “It’s no big deal.” 

“No big deal?” I repeat in a mocking tone, “You slept with, Abby, of all people.” With that, the bell chimes and Abby herself walks in. 

Abby graduated last year and was taking business classes online. Her dad owned Big Bear Java but she has been managing the place since she was sixteen. Her mom passed away from leukemia and it has been Abby and her dad ever since. The two of them were a dynamic duo but where life could have made her tough as nails, it made her a bit of a loose cannon instead. 

OH. MY. GAWD! Have you seen the snow outside? I mean seriously couldn’t my dad have set up shop in California. I’m so effing over this cold weather! Oh— LENNY BEE — my girl!!! I didn’t even see you there!” Abby rushes over and crushes me in a hug. 

I hug her back lightly, “Hey Abby.” I manage to choke out. 

“I’ll meet you in a bit LB, want your usual?” Cory asks somehow knowing he needs to stop this hug-fest. 

“Laters!” Abby says with a two fingered-wave, walking towards the back. I shoot Cory a look that says, Abby really? His only response is a big full toothed grin. 

———

A little while later Abby comes to the register and rests her hand on Cory’s shoulder. I am watching from the far corner of the coffee shop, in a booth where I can be seen and not heard. 

Abby has the biggest lips I have ever seen and when she smiles it takes over her whole face, lights up the room, and has the ability too warm even the coldest heart. She is smiling at Cory now and he is looking down, blushing. Cory isn’t a blusher, so this was particularly interesting to watch. Abby had her normally rebellious curls in two tight knots on top of her head. I noticed too, that she was wearing more makeup than usual. The burgundy blush she wore looked stunning against her dark skin and it matched the dramatic flair of her winged eyeliner. 

I stopped watching them and moved my eyes to the window. The snow was really coming down again, how had I not noticed this before?

“Here you are.” Cory says sitting down in the chair beside me. I begin to unwrap the foil on my double meat breakfast burrito, then take a sip of my americano, two sugars. 

Cory takes a big bite off of his burrito and drapes an arm around my chair, “So what did you want to talk about?” He says with a mouth full egg and sausage. 

“Gah, you are so gross Cory.” I joke before taking a small nibble of my burrito. 

“It’s all part of my charm.” He says with a wink. 

I let out a small semi-fake laugh and punch his shoulder. Abby is watching us and it makes me fell uncomfortable, exposed. I give her a weak smile before turning towards Cory, he is so big that it’s impossible to not touch him when he sits beside me. I love the guy but he is too close for comfort, “Could you back up a little?” 

He rolls his eyes but removes his arm from the back of my chair and shuffles back a little, “What’s this about Len?”  

Abby is still watching us, “Can we go somewhere more private?” 

He follows my gaze and sees her staring, “Umm, yeah, lets.” 

I follow Cory out of the shop burrito in one hand, coffee in the other. Cory has already finished his food in a truly disgusting act of teenage boy. 

“My trucks right over there.” He says with a nod. 

We hustle over to his truck, once there he holds the passenger side door open for me before climbing in on his side. Cory starts the truck but it takes awhile for the heater to get going. I quickly finish up my burrito and crumble the foil wrapper in a ball. Cory grabs my trash from my palm and puts it in his coat pocket. If there was one thing I knew for certain about Cory Watson, was that he was a clean freak. Especially when it came to his truck.   

I took a sip of my coffee before placing it on the dash, gently, the last thing I needed was to spill my drink all over his immaculate truck. Finally I ask, “Does your dad have an older brother?” 

Cory moves so his back is against the window, “Not that I know of.” 

“What about Gramps? Does he have a much younger brother?” 

“No,” His dark brows knit together, “What’s going on Len?” 

I sigh before reaching in my hoodie pocket for the photo I swiped off of Finn’s desk. He was so concerned with Mac that I seriously doubted he even noticed that I took it. I’m not sure that I have ever seen Cory’s dad look so mad before, he looked liked he wanted to castrate Finn. 

“Do you know who this is?” I ask Cory before handing him the photograph. 

He stares at it for a long moment saying nothing. 

Well…” I prompt. 

“What the fuck is this, Len?” He finally snaps. 

My face scrunched up, confused. Why did he get so upset?

“Seriously LB, what are you trying to pull off here? You think it’s funny to show me a photo of…” He stops suddenly and peers closer at the photo. “Wait, who the fuck is this?”

“That’s what I want to know,” I say somewhat befuddled by his reaction. 

“He looks just like — but that would be impossible.” 

“Cory!” I say in a low snarl. “What are you going on about? Who is that man?” 

He is silent for the longest time. I take my hat off and run my hands through my disheveled hair. 

“This is my uncle.” He finally whispers. 

“But you just said…” 

“I know what I said!” He barks before covering his face in his hands. I have never seen Cory act like this before. 

I climb across the truck a sit on my knees in the middle console. I put my hands on either side of his face lifting his head up. Forcing him to look at me. “I’m not allowed to talk about it.” He says so quietly that I almost miss it. 

“Cory, you have to tell me.” I reply as gently as possible. 

“Why?”

“Because this is the man who killed Juliet.” 

Now it is Cory’s turn to look confused, “That’s impossible Lenny Bee.” He says in that same quiet voice. 

“How can it be impossible?”

“Because he died eight years ago.” 

“That can’t be right.” It seems that every word we speak gets quieter and quieter. 

“It is right, LB.” 

Cory is still holding the photo so I point to the time stamp on the bottom, “It can’t be Cory, this screen grab was from last summer.” 

He shakes his head before grabbing my shoulders, I wince, Cory either doesn’t notice or chooses to ignore it. “He is dead Lennox. Dead.” His voice is shockingly firm. There is a darkness shining through his eyes that cracks me wide open, quickening my pulse. 

“Then how do you explain this?” I say grabbing the photo, getting annoyed. 

“I don’t know Len but I do know that he is dead.” Cory says with a stone cold look.

“How do you know that for certain? First you tell me that this is your uncle but then you say that it can’t be your uncle because he is dead? How can he be both dead and in a screen grab from last summer Cory? Was a twin or something?” I say frustrated. 

“He wasn’t a twin.” Our eyes have been locked and voices have been hushed but full of edge. 

“Maybe he isn’t dead then, Cory.” 

“He is dead.” 

“Why are you so certain of this?” I ask searching his eyes. 

“Because I am the one who killed him.” Cory says in a voice I don’t recognize and with a look of complete sincerity. 

 

*Thank you so much for reading along – The story will continue on 08/24*

 

 

Start reading my book Discovering Wonderland today!

 

2 thoughts on “HUNTED: Chapter Thirteen

  1. Pingback: HUNTED: Chapter 14 | Barebone Revival

  2. Pingback: HUNTED: Chapter 15 | Barebone Revival

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