Chapter 10: Betrayal

Nickolas Parkingsons

I wake up Jonathon by waving my phone light in his face. He blinks at the light, glaring at me as he sits up.
“What?” He says sharply.
“Look!” I whisper scream, showing him the picture. “They know about her!”
Jonathon snatches the phone from my grip and examines the picture, “We have to warn her.”
“My thoughts exactly,” I answer as I grab a sweater and throw it on. Jonathon follows my lead as we leave a note for Marco and Sheridan. I hurry out to the car, jumping into the driver’s seat and squeal out of the driveway as Jonathon barely closed the door behind him.
“Woah there, Jimmy Johnson,” Jonathon says, gripping the handle tightly. “She won’t be warned if you kill us first.”
I say silent, easing up on the gas, just slightly.
“I think you’re supposed to turn here,” Jonathon says after a while, and I question in my mind, but I follow his direction anyway. We pull into a neighborhood that is definitely not Kaitlyn’s when I hear a gun cocked. I glance toward Jonathon to see a handgun pointed at my temple and a serious look on his face. “Pull over, Nick.”
I follow what he asks, “Why are you doing this?”
“Shut up,” Jonathon says and makes me get from the car. “In the house.”
I look up at the house, surprised at its modesty, complete with a white picket fence.
“Please, now that you have me, you’ll leave Kaitlyn alone, right?” I ask as I walk up the path.
Laughter comes from the darkened porch, “Leave your love alone? I think not.” A man comes into view, burly and tough. “Come inside, Nickolas. We’ve been waiting.”

Kaitlyn Jarred

I’m awake, watching videos online, when a message comes through my phone.
You’re in danger. Meet me at the coffee shop near Whittaker Monday after school.
My heartbeat increases as I think about the danger Nickolas says I’m in. I quickly reply and receive another message straight away.
Please come alone.
I nod to myself, answering quickly.
I will. Please stay safe.
You too, Katie.
My eyebrow quirks at the new nickname, but I brush it off. I close my laptop and place on the nightstand beside me. I smile to myself as I think about the coming weekend, glad I don’t have to set an alarm.
I fall asleep quickly, dreaming of Nexis chasing Nick and I. I awake to my mother knocking lightly on my door, and opening it slightly.
“Hi Mom,” I say drearily, wiping my eyes.
“Hey, honey,” she sidles into the room, perching on my bed. It’s unusual to see her in sweatpants, but it does make me smile. “I heard that you and Chris broke up.”
“How’d you hear that?” I ask, sitting up in bed. “Wait, don’t tell me. Valerie.”
Mom nods, “She sent me a message. She seemed worried about you since yesterday you were acting strangely.”
I chuckle nervously, “Oh, yeah. I’m fine, just was worried about tonight.”
“Tonight? You’re never nervous about fundraising dinners,” Mom cocks her head, clearly not convinced.
“I just don’t want to make Dad look bad,” I turn my eyes downward and fiddle with my blanket, not exactly telling a lie.
“You never do, hun,” Dad says from the doorway and I look up to see him smiling. I smile sheepishly as he comes over to kiss my head. “Breakfast in five, if you want. I made pancakes!”
“Your pancakes?” I tease by scrunching up my nose. “How awful.” Mom giggles with me and Dad fake pouts.
“You know she’s just teasing, Michael,” Mom stands and pokes his sides to make him laugh.
“Come on then, Teresa,” he teases back, pulling her from the room. Once my door is closed, I take a quick shower and put baggy clothes on. I head down to the kitchen and eat breakfast with my parents—a very unusual occasion in my household.
“After this, I need to finish some paperwork before tonight,” Dad says and I nod in response.
“I have a meeting with Hadley about my photoshoot this coming week,” Mom says as well. “Will you be alright, Kaitlyn?”
I smile to reassure them, “Of course. I have some homework to work on and I’ll just relax afterward.”
We finish breakfast and head our separate ways. I finish my homework quickly, before heading into the den to watch television.
“Hey, Kat,” Lucas peeks his head into the room. “Your friends are here.”
I stand from my comfortable position, “I didn’t know they were coming.” I follow him to the front door where my friends are standing, waiting for me. “Hey guys, what’s up?”
“Do we have to have a reason to visit you?” Marissa asks, Melinda nodding vigorously. Valerie and Oscar smile at me, and I bring them to the den.
My friends take their positions on the extended couch and I sit where I was before, “What are you guys actually doing here?”
“You were acting so weird yesterday,” Valerie starts.
“We just wanting to make sure you were alright after the whole Chris fiasco,” Melinda asks, her eyebrows puckered in worry.
“Yeah,” Oscar agrees and they all stare at me.
“Guys, I’m fine,” I roll my eyes.
“You’ve already moved on, haven’t you?” Valerie quirks an eyebrow before a giant grin grows on her face. “It’s hot-stuff isn’t it?”
“It’s not Nickolas,” I quickly answer and they all snicker.
“Sher didn’t say Nickolas,” Marissa smirks.
“Where was he yesterday?” Oscar asks and I muster a smile.
“Nick told me he was sick.”
“Nick? Already on a nickname business?” Valerie smirks too. “And you have his phone number? Dang, you work fast girl.”
“Shouldn’t have gotten detention,” I fire back with a smile. “What was it even this time?”
Valerie rolls her eyes, “I may or may not have filled Amanda’s locker full of packing peanuts.”
I laugh until I nearly cry with my friends as I think about Amanda’s face when the peanuts rained down upon her.
“She-she even had them stuck in her hair for the rest of the day!” Oscar wheezes out between laughs and sets off another round of laughter.
My friends stay until the evening, when I have to get ready for the campaign dinner. A flared black cocktail dress, with a high neck and chunky silver necklace is what I choose. I’m the first one ready for the night and I wait for my parents by the door. My phone vibrates and I check it quickly.
Kat—don’t
I send a question mark back to Nick, not understanding.
Sorry, I just wanted to remind you about Monday. I really want to see you.
Warning bells again go off in my head, but once again I ignore them. I send a reassurance message back before my parents are ready to go.
“Let’s go!” My dad says and we once again get into the limousine and head towards the dinner, Nick’s messages ringing in the back of my head.

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