Nevermore (Nevermore #1)(9)


by Kelly Creagh

“How did you get my number?”

“Relax.” His tone went from cold to glacial. “My folks have caller ID. You called me.”

“Oh,” she said, cringing. Oh? She glanced quickly at her brother, then slipped out of the room and out of earshot. “Well, listen,” she said, groping for what she’d originally planned to say. “I just wanted you to know that I didn’t tell Brad about the number thing.”

“I wasn’t hitting on you,” he said, as if he was the one setting her straight. “If nothing else, you’re not my type.”

Her mouth fell open.

“Uh, yeah,” she said, trying to ignore the heat that crawled its way up her neck. She felt like throwing the phone against the wall and curling up to die all at the same time. Who did this guy think he was? “I never said I thought you were—”

“Well, someone felt threatened.”

“Look, I talked to him about it,” she said, the words coming out quick and jerky. She hated sounding so spastic, especially when he seemed so unconcerned. “He just gets like that.”

“Well, I guess it doesn’t matter as long as he has you to make excuses for him.”

Now he was making her mad. “You know what—” But he didn’t let her finish.

“If you’re not bailing on the project, I’ll be at the main library tomorrow,” he said, his voice hushed. She could hear a crackle on the other end, like he was moving around. “After one.”

“But it’s Saturday.”

“Christ,” he hissed, “you’ve got to be kidding me.”

Isobel started to say fine, whatever, she’d meet him. She paused, though, at the sound of someone calling for him in the background—a man. “Never mind,” he snapped, “I’ll do it myself.” The line went dead.

Isobel bit down on the insides of her mouth hard. She drew the phone away from her ear and squeezed it. She wanted to scream. She wanted to smash the phone to pieces or cram it into the disposal.

“Turn it down,” she yelled to Danny as she stormed through the living room. “I’m going to bed!”

“I can’t hear you,” he shot over one shoulder.

She mounted the stairs, her steps pounding hard enough to skew the picture frames.

What exactly was his type, anyway? Bride of freaking Frankenstein?

4

Entitled

Isobel checked her cell for missed calls first thing the next morning.

None.

Texts? None.

Apparently, the usual crew antics had all transpired without her and, perhaps worse, they had all gone on without a single “Hey, where are you?” or “How come you didn’t show?”

Nope. No Brad, no Mark. Not a single call from her squad—no Nikki, Alyssa, or even Stevie, who was usually the peacekeeper in their group.

Haters. All of them.

She set her phone aside, deciding to forget about the diss, but after taking a shower and a downing a granola bar, she gave in to the itch to call someone. Still not ready to talk to Brad, she dialed Nikki instead.

Nikki’s familiar ringer buzzed in Isobel’s right ear, a bad pop song about some player sweating some chick. Isobel sat back against her headboard, listening as she stretched out. The song went on, and she rolled onto her stomach, facing her pillow. She grabbed the Magic 8 Ball off the bottom cubby-hole. Shaking it, she peered into the black circular window.

Will Nikki answer her phone?

The little triangle bobbed to the surface through the murk, bearing one of its cryptic one-size-fits-all messages. “Ask again later,” it read. Isobel snorted. She was just about to hang up when the song stopped mid-chorus and Nikki’s voice broke through, chipper and bright.

“Izzy!”

Isobel sat up, letting the Magic 8 Ball roll aside. “You’re such a snitch. Did you know that?”

“Hey, where were you last night?” Nikki asked, her voice staying breezy. “Stevie finally beat Mark’s score on Fighter Borg X.”

“Nikki, I told you not to say anything about yesterday. Brad totally freaked out, and we had a fight.”

Quiet fizz filtered through from the other side and Isobel waited, picturing Nikki in deep thought mode. No doubt she was using the dead air time to Photoshop, airbrush, and gloss-coat a good response.

“No,” she said at last, “you told me not to tell Brad. And I didn’t.”

“So you did the next best thing and told Mark. Why?”

“Why not? What is with you, anyway? Brad said that all he did was talk to the guy and that you were the one who freaked out.”

Law Order True Crime | Keean Johnson | One Piece 318