Several moments passed, and then Carson reached out, pulling my hand away from my mouth. “You should really stop doing it.”
My face flushed. “Yeah, I guess…it’s a nervous habit.”
“You used to do it as a kid.”
“So you’ve said.” His hand was still around mine, the warmth of his fingers pleasant in spite of the lie. “So I kissed you?”
I nodded slowly. “And you kissed me back?”
Sending him a sidelong look, I raised my brows. “Well, did you like it even though you weren’t proud of it?”
A smile pulled at his lips, and a wicked glint darkened his eyes to midnight blue. “Oh, yeah, I enjoyed it.”
I felt my lips responding to his smile. “Well, that helps me not to be too mad at you.” I pulled my hand free and reached for the door handle. “You ready now?”
Carson nodded, and we climbed out of the truck. He went to the chain, lifting the rusted metal high enough that I could easily dip under it. He moved in front of me, and I followed, mulling over what I’d discovered. Truth be told, I really didn’t know how I felt about his lying to me. And that wasn’t even the most important part of what he’d told me.
Why had I been crying after leaving Del’s?
Del had lied about our relationship—that much was certain. But about what, exactly? Had we broken up? Is that why I’d taken his necklace off? And most important, did our breakup have anything to do with Cassie?
Once again, the picture of Cassie and Del floated to the surface of my mind. But this time it was different. Feelings were tied to the image. Anger. Disappointment. I knew there was more, just out of reach, waiting for me to put two and two together.
I stopped beside a prickly bush as a wave of foreign emotions crashed over me. Cassie and Del…
Having realized I’d stopped, Carson backtracked. “Hey, you doing okay?”
“Yeah, I just…I don’t know.” How could I explain what I was feeling—thinking? I tipped my head back. Deep blue sky broke through the branches. “Do you think Cassie and Del had something going on?”
“I really don’t know,” he said, leaning against a tree. “I wouldn’t put it past either of them.”
“Why was I friends with someone like that? How could I date someone like Del?” Before he could answer, I’d figured it out. The revelation wasn’t new or anything, but it still stung like a wasp. “Because I was just like them.”
Carson pushed off the tree and took my hand, threading his fingers through mine. “You really weren’t. Not always, and you aren’t anymore. That’s got to mean something.”
I glanced at him. “Second chances, right?”
He nodded and then started walking again, keeping his hand secured around mine. I tried not to put much thought in it.
The path we walked wasn’t much of a path at all. It was an uneven stretch of land that continued uphill until the two of us were forced to break contact lest we lose our footing. Pieces of dirt and small rocks kicked up, rolling down the hill behind us. Finally we cleared the trees and crossed a grassy patch.
Breaking away from Carson, I slowly moved to the edge of the cliff. Wind, cold and wet, whipped my hair back. Tips of trees guarded the waterfall below, and like I’d suspected, the fall was rocky and sheer.
I waited for vertigo to slam into me, but as I stood at the edge, I realized the height didn’t bother me. In fact, there was something thrilling about being up so high. “I think I still have a bit of an adrenaline junkie in me,” I said.
Carson’s laugh was strained. “That’s kind of good to hear, but do you think you could move back from the edge a little?”
He’d stayed near the trees, and I wondered if he was afraid of heights. “Do you think if we fell from here, I could’ve survived it?”
“It’s possible. Crazier things have happened. Or she could’ve jumped.”
Turning around, I stared at him. That wasn’t something I’d considered.
Carson eyes flinted away from mine, narrowing on the empty space beyond the tips of trees. “It’s just a possibility,” he said quietly. “People do insane shit like that all the time.”
But everything I knew about Cassie told me she wouldn’t have done that. Not alone…I swallowed, unable to wrap my head around the budding idea forming there.
“Feeling…or remembering anything?” he asked.
I shook my head, disappointed. Nothing was coming to the surface besides more questions and confusion. Walking back toward the cluster of trees to the right, I started chewing on my nail. Large pines reached around the boulders jutting out of the ground, and beyond the rocks was nothing but the fall—the fall I had to have taken.
“Lucky to be alive” was an understatement.
Time passed in silence. Carson remained on the other side, letting me stay here as long as it took. I leaned against a tree, eyes narrowed on the edge of the cliff. I was ready to give up, tell him we should head back, but then a cold shiver danced down my spine. It was the only warning.
This wasn’t like the visions I’d been having. There was no gray film, and I didn’t see anything. I just felt it—heard my own thoughts as if the past had been layered under the present, but now was resurfacing.
In a blink of an eye, Carson was in front of me, his expression pinched with concern. “What is it?”
My mouth worked at a reply as my heart sped up. “I shouldn’t have been here.”
“That night?” he asked.
Nodding, I turned to the tree, running my hand along the rough bark. Touching the tree made me feel like one of those psychics on those TV shows Candy had been talking about, but I just knew I’d been here—right here. “I think…I was hiding behind these trees. It’s like I wasn’t supposed to be here, but I was. I know that doesn’t make sense.”
“It’s okay.” Carson followed me around the tree.
I closed my eyes, but I couldn’t see anything. “She wanted me here—Cassie. She wanted me to see them together.”
“See who, Sam?”
I shook my head in frustration as I opened my eyes. “I don’t know, but I think I knew she wanted me to see them—to know. And I know it was a guy—a guy she wanted me to see her with.”
Carson took a step back, inhaling sharply. Our eyes met, and the cold feeling was now working its way up my spine now.