Page 36 of Don't Look Back

Veronica’s skin flushed an unpleasant shade of red under the tan. “Okay. You’re being a bitch, Sammy.”

“I am?” I put the fork down, dumbfounded. All the irritation bubbled up and spilled over. A rolling anger took hold. “I’m not making fun of someone because their parents aren’t rich or because they don’t wear size Gap Kids. That’s what you are doing.”

“Okay. I’m just going to have to be up-front with you.” She twisted toward me, clasping her hands in her lap. With her collared blouse over her gray sweater, she looked like she was ready to give a sermon. “I understand that you’ve had some problems—”

“You mean not having any memories?” I shot back.

“Whatever. But that’s no excuse for how you’ve been behaving. If you keep dressing like you’re a homeless chick and—”

“What’s wrong with how I’m dressed?” I was wearing jeans and a shirt, for crying out loud. Most of my clothes at home were way too nice to wear to school, and seriously? Why would I want to wear a damn dress or skirt every day?

She gave me a duh look. “And if you keep talking to people like them”—them had to be anyone with a median household income under six figures, I assumed—“you’re going to turn into a bottom-feeder. And we’re going to have serious problems.”

Our little spat was drawing the attention of the kids closest to us, and I could’ve just shut up then or got up and walked away, but I couldn’t. I was so tired of…of everything—the looks, the snide comments, and how Veronica and Candy acted as if my memory wasn’t the only thing I was lacking. And maybe it was more than that—the frustration of not knowing anything, of being confused all the time.

Either way, I was so done with these bitches.

“You know what? We already have problems,” I said.

Veronica’s eyes narrowed. “Is that so?”

“If getting my memories back means becoming a huge bitch like you? Yeah, I think I’ll pass on that.”

Some of the kids around us stopped eating. Others choked on whatever was in their mouths. My entire body burned with anger, and I wanted to say more than that, but I grabbed my tray and stood.

“Don’t ever think about sitting here again,” Veronica said, her chest rising rapidly.

“Fine with me,” I tossed back.

Drawing in a deep breath, she swirled in her seat. “You’re going to regret this.”

“Already do, honey.” I didn’t wait for her response. Edging around the table, I made my way to the front of the cafeteria. Eyes were on me, and I didn’t care. A weight lifted off my chest. I felt free—free of having to fit in with people I couldn’t relate to anymore. Adrenaline put an extra kick in my step as I dumped my tray. Part of me wanted to run back there and kidnap Lauren. She was the only decent one among them.

On the way out, I glanced over to my brother’s table. They were too far away to have heard us, but the whispers flying around the cafeteria had already reached them. Julie caught my eye and grinned before she rested her chin on my brother’s shoulder.

With some time to spare before lunch ended, I headed for my locker. Rounding the corner, I came to a complete standstill.

Carson was leaning against a locker across from the library, his back to me. A pretty brunette smiled up at him as he handed her a backpack that must’ve belonged to her. All I could hear beyond the irrational buzzing in my ears was the deep, husky laugh that curled my toes in the right way as he slipped the bag over her shoulder.

A pang hit me right in the chest, splintering my heart. I had no right to that pain—no right to the fire building inside me, but I wanted to bum-rush the two and force them to have at least five feet between them.

And there was no way in holy hell I would do such a thing. Maybe the old Sammy would’ve, but then again, the old Sammy didn’t like Carson on most days.

I took a step back, and it was suddenly like watching two actors on a black-and-white television, except the girl in front of him…it was me. I was on the tip of my toes, in his face. At first I thought I was kissing him because I was that close, but then I heard myself speak—this lifeless gray version of me.

“I saw you,” I sneered. “I saw you with Dianna. I know what you did.”

Carson threw up his hands, laughing grimly. “As always, you’re sticking your stuck-up nose where it doesn’t belong. You have no clue what you saw, Sam.”

Laughing, I tossed my hair over the shoulder. “Oh, we’ll end you, Carson. You just—”

Whatever else I’d said was lost to me. I’d stumbled into a locker, and the rattling sound sucked me out of the vision. All I knew was that the girl who was really in front of him was Dianna, but the reason behind the confrontation with Carson was unknown. Who was the “we”? And what had I seen him do with Dianna that could’ve been used as a threat?

Carson looked over his shoulder, brows knitting when he saw me. “Sam?”

Backing up, I shook my head in confusion. Switching from a memory—or possibly a hallucination—to what was really happening had my mind spinning to catch up. That, and my reaction to seeing him with a girl. “I’m sorry. I…I didn’t mean to interrupt.”

“Wait,” Carson said, stopping me. “Is everything okay?”

I nodded. “Yeah—sure, I’m okay.”

His eyes narrowed, and then he turned to Dianna. “Can you hold on a sec?”

“Sure,” she said, pulling out her cell and suddenly becoming very interested in it.

He crossed the distance between us, reaching out as if he would touch me but stopping before he made contact. “Sam, what happened?” he asked in a low voice. “You’re bleeding.”

“What?” I looked down. The sleeve of my sweater was pushed up to my elbow, revealing two jagged scratches that beaded tiny drops of blood. A dull ache radiated from my arm. “I must’ve…scratched myself.”

He took my hand, swallowing. “How could you not know if you did that, Sam? That’s…”

Messed up? I pulled my hand free. “I have to go.”


“She’s waiting for you,” I whispered, backing off. “I’ll talk to you later.”

His jaw clenched as he gave me a sidelong glance. “Okay. There will be a later.”

I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I nodded. Forcing a smile that felt wobbly, I turned around and headed to the nearest bathroom. Heaviness pressed down on my chest, spreading to my shoulders. The back of my throat burned as I dropped my bag near the sink and turned on the water.