Into the Deep Page 46

I grunted. “Alex’s mom is going to freak if she comes home to find out about this party.”

We stood chatting for a while, me with my back against Jake’s chest, his chin in my hair as we drank and relaxed with Deke and Lois. Deke was quiet but he was also smart and quick-witted and really fun to hang out with.

It was only about an hour later when Lois’s phone rang. After watching Lois groan and whine for about five minutes in the corner, she finally got off the phone and grumbled that her mom had been called into work at the hospital and she needed Lois to return home to watch her younger brother. Deke was Lois’s ride, so to our disappointment, the two of them left.

“They’re cool.” I turned around to face Jake once they were gone. “We should hang out with them more.”

“Then we will.” He gave my waist a squeeze. “Want another beer?”


Jake kissed my nose before taking my empty and disappearing back into the house. He wasn’t gone but a few minutes when a drunk Lacey wandered out onto the porch, clearly looking for me. I braced myself.

“Charley,” she weaved a little as she approached. “I’ve been looking for you.”


“I’m so, so sorry, Charley.” She tripped a little and I had to steady her. “I’ve been such a bitch.”

I didn’t disagree.

“I want to make it up to you. Will you let me?” She leaned in too close and I could smell the apple sours on her breath.

“Lacey, how much have you had to drink?”

She put her finger and thumb together and scrunched up her face. “Just a little.”

“I’m thinking you’ve had more than just a little. Come on, let’s get you water.”

Her tight grip on my wrist stunned me. “No,” she said vehemently, her smile wobbly. “Just stay and chat.”

I narrowed my eyes on her as I peeled her fingers off me. “I think water would be better.”

“No!” she cried, trying to pull on me again. “Stay.”

Suddenly, the blood was rushing in my ears as my heart started to race. “What … are you stalling me?”

At her wide, blinking eyes and guilty expression, a sense of disquiet drifted over me.


“Fuck,” I breathed and pushed past her, shoving my way through bodies as I hurried toward the kitchen. The pounding in my chest only grew harder and faster when I saw a commotion around the French doors at the back of the kitchen. People were gawking outside, questioning what the hell was going on.

I bulldozed them, ignoring the yelps and complaints as I forced my way through and outside. The porch wrapped around the entire house and I had to push past the people standing on it, drinking and staring excitedly down on the backyard. As soon as I got past them, I could see why. The Rosters’ backyard was split into three parts. At the bottom was a fountain and pond, reached by a pebbled pathway in the middle of landscaping. At the top, the porch steps led onto a wooden patio with a large family patio dining set on the right and a monster grill on the left. Standing near the grill, Jake had his back to me and swaying in front of him was Brett. Damien, Jackson, and a couple of their teammates stood behind Brett, and Alex was nowhere to be found. I could feel the hostility building between Brett and Jake from up on the steps.

My gut churned with unease as I hurried down toward Jake. Brett’s eyes flicked to me, his lip curled in a sneer, and Jake looked over his shoulder, his eyes narrowing. “Charley, stay back,” he warned, holding a hand up to me.

Something in his voice caught me and I stopped. Returning my gaze to Brett, I saw the light from the house glint off the object in his hand. “Brett, what are you doing?” I whispered, horrified.

He had a large kitchen knife.

“He’s not going to do anything, Charley, he’s just talking with your boy,” Damien assured me with an arrogant smirk.

Brett laughed and stumbled with the movement.

I edged a little closer to Jake whose whole body was tense, ready to move if Brett got it into his dumb head to actually use his weapon. “I think he’s a little too drunk to be handling a blade,” I snapped at Damien. “Take it off him.”

“Don’t,” Brett waved the knife in my direction and Jake moved, blocking me from his view. “Don’t talk like I’m not f**kin’ here. Shurrup. This is between me and your boy.”

“What the hell is going on?” Alex pounded down the porch steps behind me, two of the seniors at his back. He stopped abruptly at my side when he saw Brett was waving a knife, his cheeks paling. “Brett, what are you doing? You’re shitfaced. Give me the knife and stop being an idiot.”

Brett’s already rosy cheeks darkened. “I’m the idjit?” He took a step toward Jake, concentrating so that he didn’t sway this time. “I’m not the one who let thish f**ker take my girl. He … he and his family’sh not welcome. Need to know it.” He swung his arm at Jake and I lunged forward only to be hauled back by Alex.

My heart was in my throat as Jake jerked to the left, narrowly missing the knife edge. He backed up a few paces, his hands help up in placation. “Come on, Brett, you’re wasted, man. You don’t want to do this. Put the knife down.” His words were calm, coaxing, but I could see the anger burning in his gaze.

“Pfft.” Brett faltered again, his left arm spreading out for balance as his right one still pointed the kitchen knife at Jake. “You dessherve a cuttin’. Fucked nearly all the girlsh at thish party. Now you’re f**kin’ a prime piece like Charley. Not right. She ain’t yoursh. This town ain’t yoursh. Don’t want f**kin’ Caplinshes in our town. We’ll get you out.” He grinned, an uncontrolled leer. “Then I’ll get your girl on her back and show her how real men f**k.”

Alex’s fingers bit into my arms at Brett’s crude taunt. The anger I felt brewing from him was unfortunately already at the boiling point for Jake. I shook my head, not wanting to distract him by speaking, but willing him to remain calm, to not let Brett rile him.

Even in his drunken stupor, Brett caught the rage in Jake’s face. He laughed. “Yeah, that cut deep, knowing ash shoon ash you’re gone, I’m puttin’ my dick in that—”

“Brett, shut the f**k up!” Alex shouted, pushing me behind him as he took a furious step toward his friend.

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