I was dumbfounded. “We’re not getting back together.”
“You should try telling him that.” Veronica threw up her hands. Nails painted to match her bloodred dress. Dizziness crept up on me. “Not that it matters. He told me that your mothers are planning a trip for you to the Poconos to patch things up.”
My mouth dropped. Oh my god, I was going to strangle that woman. And here I thought she’d been making progress tonight. Ugh. “Del and I aren’t going on any trip.”
Veronica started to laugh, but then it choked off. She sniffed. “You’re not.”
“He’s all yours if you want him, but seriously, do you want him?”
She stared at me as if I’d suggested we go kick some puppies in the street. “Everyone wants him.”
“No, not everyone does.” Again, I started to turn but stopped. “You deserve better than some guy who spends his time talking about someone else.”
Snatching another paper towel, she blotted her face. “Why are you being nice to me?”
Good question. “Why not?”
She sniffed again, turning back to the mirror. “Whatever.”
I left the bathroom then and nearly plowed into Candy and a gaggle of girls. Oh, for the love of God…
Candy popped her hand on her hip. “How far have you fallen? Dating the help?”
“How desperate are you?” I shot back. “Dating your dead friend’s ex-boyfriend?”
Her eyes shot wide and then narrowed, but I pushed past the girls. They followed me back into the ballroom, talking crap the entire way. I deserved a medal for not turning around and hitting one of them.
“Are you going to cry?” Candy crooned.
“What?” I frowned but kept going. Almost to the ballroom…almost.
“Or are you going to freak out and need to see your therapist?”
I spun around. “Why don’t you try acting like a real friend and go check the bathroom instead of following me around like a pathetic puppy?”
Candy cocked her head to the side. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Your friend—Veronica? She could use you right now. She’s in the bathroom. Not having a very good time.”
Her nose scrunched up as if I’d just asked her to figure out the square root of three. “You’re probably seeing things again, huh? Veronica is having a great time. She’s going to be voted prom queen.”
I gave up at that point. “Whatever.”
“Insanity Sam!” Candy trilled, earning a few chuckles.
I rolled my eyes. “Clever, real clever.”
She bobbed her head at me like an ostrich and then turned on her heel, teetering away. A few girls were left, and I met their stares. Something in my eyes must’ve reminded them of the old Sammy because they scattered like cockroaches.
Refusing to let any of them ruin my one night of normalcy, I entered the ballroom and searched for Carson. Spotting him with my brother and a few other baseball players, I headed in his direction.
A tall, slender body suddenly appeared in front of me, dressed in red. In an instant, the dancing bodies, the music, and the dazzling lights all disappeared. The world turned gray.
Cassie was in front of me.
Her pretty dress was ragged and hung limply from her ghastly pale arms. A dark oily substance seeped down her face. I took a step forward. The side of her head…it was shaped wrong, sunken in.
Bile rose in my throat. “Cassie,” I whispered.
And I realized then she wasn’t really standing. Her arms and legs sort of waved in a lazy rhythm, as if something carried her body. Part of me recognized what I was seeing—Cassie floating in the lake, which explained the doll-like vacancy in her eyes.
Another form appeared between us, scrambling through the air…or over the boulders. Moonlight reflected off the slender body. Wind blew back long strands as she screamed out, “Cassie!”
My heart stuttered. It was me—me staring down at Cassie’s body.
From the darkness, someone appeared, reaching out to the gray version of me. I turned, horror and disbelief etched into my face. My face contorted as I stood, taking a step back.
The other person was taller, broader. Frustration boiled in me. I couldn’t see his face!
He reached for me, and I could taste the panic pulsating off both of us. My foot slipped on the rock; my arms flailed as I tried to keep my balance, to grab for something—for him. A silent scream parted my lips as my body bent in half.
And then I tumbled over backward—gone, falling as the dark void reached up and pulled me down. Gone.
I jerked out of the vision when a body bumped into mine. Dazed, I twisted around.
A face leered into mine. “What are you doing? Move out of the way, freak.”
Barely hearing the words, I stumbled toward the doors. Horrible as it sounded, excitement pulsed through me. It hadn’t been just Cassie and me. Someone else had been there with us.
And then a different scenario crept into my thoughts. The other person might not have pushed Cassie. I’d been the one on the edge of the cliff, screaming her name. He could’ve been there, witnessed it all. But that didn’t make sense. If there had been a third person and he had seen me, why hadn’t he gone to the police?
He would’ve, unless he had something to hide.
I had to talk to Carson.
Pulling my cell out of the clutch, I sent Carson a quick text, telling him I was going outside for some air just in case he started looking for me. Leaving the ballroom behind, I stepped into the dimly lit hallway that led to the back parking lot. My heels clicked on the floor, a steady echo that kept me company. I placed my hand on the cooled glass of the door, stopping when goose bumps spread across my flesh. The tiny hairs on the back of my neck rose.
I looked over my shoulder, scanning the empty hall. No one was there, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched. It swirled inside me, like dark ink spilled into water. Pushing open the door, I stepped out into the night air and refused to look behind me.
Ignore the feelings—they aren’t real. The memories were, but everything else was just me freaking myself out…or trying to communicate with myself, which was odd and downright insane-sounding.
I clicked across the parking lot while every nerve seemed to be firing at once. Look back. You’ll see him. He’s there. Waiting and watching. My heart started racing as fast as it had when Carson had come so very close to kissing me while we danced. Only not as pleasant.