Home > Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy #1)(13)

Very Bad Things (Briarcrest Academy #1)(13)
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills

I read through it, having a what-the-fuck moment at the things she’d written down. According to the school brochure, she’d been the perfect poster girl for BA. But the girl who made this list was not. This girl was set on destroying herself.

By the time the shower turned off, I’d been staring at her handwriting for several minutes, trying to understand her, knowing she was only hurting herself if she carried through with what she apparently intended to do a few moments ago in the bathroom. I shoved it all back into her backpack and walked to the bathroom door.

“Nora, Portia isn’t answering.”

Her voice was muffled from the other side. “Okay, let me get dressed, and I’ll be gone. My car’s across the street.”

“You’re not going anywhere. You’re drunk,” I said at bit louder. Maybe I’d been rough on her in the bathroom, but truthfully, I’d been a mixed bag of emotions, pissed off at what she’d done to my car, horny as hell at watching her strip, and then furious with myself for wanting to take her up on what she’d been offering.

She opened the door a crack. “Why do you care? I messed up your car.”

“Trust me, I haven’t forgotten what you did and you’re going to pay me back, starting tomorrow morning. Right now, just sleep it off. We have an extra bedroom down the hall,” I said, staring at the towel she had wrapped around her, a part of me wishing she’d drop it again. Fuck. I looked away and stared at the family photos I’d hung last month. Photos of my parents and me at my high school graduation, photos of them with Sebastian on his first day of kindergarten. Staring at them made me sad, knowing I’d never see them again. Never experience that kind of family again.

“I promise I’ll come back tomorrow, and we can talk about how you want me to pay for the damage,” she said, pulling me back from my thoughts.

“Yeah, right,” I said with sarcasm. “If you leave, I’ll call the cops, and a BA girl like you getting arrested? The newspapers would love it.”

She chewed on her lip, and I saw the uncertainty on her face, like she didn’t know where to turn. Whatever. Deciding this conversation was finished, I turned around to leave, needing to put some space between us.

“Why did you call me Buttercup?” I heard her ask in a small voice.

I couldn’t answer that so I kept walking.

AN EAR-PIERCING SCREAM jerked me awake, or at least, I thought it was a scream. There was nothing but silence in the loft now. I looked at the digital clock and realized I’d only been asleep for a few minutes. After I’d made sure Nora was settled, I’d tried to sleep, only I couldn’t. I’d lain in bed for an hour, staring at my ceiling, running our conversation and her insane list through my mind.

I heard another muffled yell. Fumbling around the floor, I found my shorts and pulled them back on wondering if this was round two with Nora. I walked out into the hall as Sebastian stumbled out of his room, squinting.

“Did you hear something?”

I nodded. “I think I heard Nora yell out.”

“Yeah, it sounded freaky whatever it . . .” A long wail interrupted him. “What the hell?” he said, looking at me with wide eyes.

“Must be a bad dream,” I said. “I had them after mom and dad died.”


I shrugged. “It passed after a few months.” It took two years.

Sebastian listened outside her door for a minute with a concerned look. He might act cocky sometimes, but he was a softie. “Hey, I think she might be crying. Should I go talk to her?” He shot me a quick look. “Unless you want to?”

I opened my mouth to tell him he could, but stopped. I wanted to check on her myself. “No, you get some rest. I’ll handle it.”

When Nora didn’t answer my knock, I entered the dark room and walked over to the bed where she was lying on her side facing me, her legs drawn up into a ball. Her hands covered her face, and she muttered incoherently.

I sat down on the bed and shook her shoulder.

She flinched away from me. “Stop! Get away from me! I hate you!” she cried out.

I reared back, surprised by the vehemence in her tone, wondering who she was dreaming about. “Nora, it’s time to wake-up,” I said using a quiet tone.

I kept saying her name until she stirred on the bed and blinked her eyes open. When she saw me, she scrambled away to huddle on the other side.

“I’m not going to hurt you.”

She wrapped her arms around herself and rubbed hard, shivering in spite of the warm room. “I woke you up.”

“Not a big deal. Just wanted to make sure you were okay.”

She looked away, letting her tangled hair cover her face.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Her head jerked up. “No.”

“Do you want me to leave and let you get some sleep?”

She shook her head and asked nervously, “Did I say anything?”

“Nothing I could really understand.”

“Did I hit you?” she asked in a rush.

“No, but you were mad as hell at someone.”

She nodded. “My dreams . . . sometimes I hit. It’s a bitch at a sleepover,” she said, laughing a little. It sounded forced.

“Yeah? Guess it could be worse. When Sebastian was around ten, he would sleepwalk and do the funniest things. Well, I thought they were, but he’d be embarrassed,” I said with a little smile.

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