Page 12 of Don't Look Back

“I don’t think so.”

“You always liked to visit the old battlefield area,” he said after a few moments. “You used to go with that chick Julie, and you guys would spend all day there. I think you had a thing for history. Or maybe just the macabre.”

Wow. The only nonshallow thing I did was hang out in a giant graveyard with a girl who wasn’t even my friend anymore. I was really beginning to hate myself. Del talked about the upcoming baseball season for a little while, bitching about Carson’s throwing arm. He was the pitcher, and there was no love between them.

When my mom stopped in and asked if Del would be joining us for dinner, he politely refused. Family was in town. Before he left, I pulled out the picture in my pocket and showed it to him. “Do you know where this was taken?”

Del stared at the picture for several seconds, then turned away. A distant look crept into his eyes, hardening them. “It was actually a couple of months ago, on New Year’s Eve. You guys were freezing in those dresses. Hot, but freezing.” He gave a short laugh. “We were in Philly. You passed out before midnight.”

The more I heard about myself, the more I wanted to slam my head into the coffee table. “Who was with us?”

“Trey, but he passed out, too.”

“So that left just you and Cassie?”

His lips thinned. “Yeah, that night sucked.”

What was strange to me was that he sounded like he couldn’t stand Cassie, but the three or four of us obviously hung out a lot. Did he tolerate her because she was my friend? I sighed. “I wish I could remember something. She’s still out there, and I feel like I’m the only person who can find her.”

Del pulled his arm away and stood. “This is going to sound cruel, but she’s not your problem right now.”

Damn, that was cruel. “But—”

“But you need to focus on getting better and moving on with your life.” He ran a hand through his hair, frowning. “I think it’s best if you just let it go for right now. People are looking for her. You need to take care of yourself.”

My gaze fell to the picture of me and Cassie. I’d thought we looked so happy in this picture, like real best friends, but the more I studied it, the more I saw—the razor-sharp edge to our smiles, the coldness in our near-identical features.

Everyone wanted me to forget about her, to move on. As if this girl wasn’t missing. Like she never existed in the first place. And as I ran my thumb over her side of the picture, I realized I couldn’t do that. Just like I couldn’t be the person I was before. That Samantha was still missing, stuck wherever Cassie was, and maybe she would’ve been able to let Cassie drop, but I couldn’t.

Chapter five

Going back to school so soon had sounded like a bright idea a few days ago, but as I paced my bedroom Monday morning, I was terrified. The yearbooks remained unopened on my desk, and while I should’ve been reacquainting myself with the names and faces of my fellow students, I sucked up time by trying to access my e-mail and Facebook account. No such luck there. Each of the websites showed too many failed log-in attempts, and I couldn’t answer the personal questions to retrieve my information. Was it possible that someone else had been trying to access those accounts? Probably when I was missing. That made sense.

When Scott popped in my bedroom, he handed me a printout of my class schedule. Grateful, I thanked him.

“You gonna wear that?”

Confused, I glanced down. I had on jeans and a heather-gray cardigan over my shirt. “What’s wrong with it?”

“Nothing.” His brows were arched. “But you usually dress like you’re going to a fashion show instead of school. Well, not always. Like, before Cassie, you dressed like this, but after her, not so much.”

“Oh.” Uncomfortable, I glanced at my closet. According to Del, Cassie did everything I did, but it seemed like the other way around sometimes. “Should I change?”

“Nah, come on. We’re going to be late if we don’t hurry.”

I grabbed my messenger bag and followed him through the house and into the garage. The Bentley was gone, but there were a red Porsche and a newish white Audi.

“Mom wanted me to tell you that you’ll be meeting with the guidance counselor during homeroom,” Scott said, coming to a stop in front of the Audi. He opened the back door, throwing his bag in. “I think she said something about you meeting with her three times a week.”

“What?” I gaped at him.

He grimaced. “Yep. When you get there, you need to go to the front office.”

I slid into the passenger seat, clutching my bag to my chest. “Are you serious? Everyone is already going to stare at me like I’m a freak. And now I have to meet with a therapist?”

“I don’t think she’s a real therapist, Sam.” He pushed a button on the sun visor. A second later the garage door groaned and rattled, sliding open. Bright sunlight filtered through the windows. “And you always liked it when people stared at you before, good or bad.”

“Well, I’m not the same person,” I snapped.

He glanced at me. “Yeah, I’m beginning to see that.”

Sighing, I stared straight ahead as he backed out. “I don’t have a car?”

Scott laughed as he spun the car around. “You did. A really nice one, too, but you wrecked it.”

“I did?”

He nodded, easing the car down our long driveway. “You and Cassie got drunk one night. Drove it into a tree, and Dad had to pull all kinds of strings for the police to label it an accident due to road conditions. He was pretty pissed for a while.”

My mouth dropped open. Several seconds passed before I could even think of something to say. “I don’t think I want to know anymore about myself.”

Another strange look was shot in my direction, and then he shook his head. “So weird.”

I didn’t say anything until I realized he was slowing down near the main road and pulled off to the side. “Why are we stopping?”

“I always give Car a ride. He drives a motorcycle, and school admins don’t want him driving it there.”

Carson on a motorcycle? Seriously, what could be hotter than that? I craned my neck, spotting a two-story brick home three houses in. There was a covered bike sitting in the small driveway. “He lives on our property?”

“He and his dad live in our guesthouses,” Scott explained. “His father works for rent and what crap money Dad pays him. Something you loved reminding him of.”