Guilty of Innocence (Chapter -6)
Guilty of Innocence (Chapter -6)
“You sure your parents are alright with this, Nicole?” Brandon wondered as he stood in front of the linen closet and pulling out sheets and blankets. “You’re both kind of old for sleepovers.”
“Yeah, well, they know we’re not even thinking of each other like that,” Nicky lied through her teeth as Brandon handed her blankets and sheets she’d need. “Besides, even if Chad thinks of me that way, I certainly don’t find his scrawny ass interesting.”
Brandon chuckled as Chad strolled up behind Nicky and ran his hand up her back, making her squeak in surprise and straighten as her eyes widened and she almost dropped the sheets and blankets she was holding. The man turned to her with a frown as she looked back at him and Chad grinned at him as well, looking like the cat that ate the canary.
“What happened?” he wondered.
“Nothing!” she chirped with a smile. “Nothing at all! I just had a little hiccup, that’s all.”
Brandon gave a small frown, glancing between the two young people before going back to rummaging in the closet. Chad’s grin dropped to a smirk as he gave a sideways glance to Nicky and he slid his hand around her waist. She took a deep breath and stomped onto his foot, mercilessly hard. Chad growled in pain, bending down in impulse to sooth his foot and catching Brandon’s attention again. The man frowned as Chad stood tall and glared at Nicky who only grinned at Brandon as he placed a pillow on the pile in her hands.
“I hope the couch is ok,” Brandon said, shutting the closet door.
“The couch is—”
“She’ll sleep on my futon,” Chad cut in, gripping Nicky’s wrist and pulling her down the hall toward his room as Brandon frowned at them, but they paid no attention.
Chad shut the door behind Nicky as she headed toward the futon opposite his bed which sat to the left of the room from the door. She set the sheets, blankets and pillow down and turned just in time for Chad to pull her into his arms and plant his lips to hers. She squeaked in surprise and quickly shoved him away, making him frown in confusion at her.
“Chad, you promised,” she reminded him and he groaned.
“I know,” he groaned again. “But I can’t help it. I’ve never had a girlfriend before. It’s kinda nice.”
“Yeah, well, try to contain yourself,” Nicky smiled, leaving a tender kiss on his cheek. “I’m not letting you get any further than that.”
“Cruel woman,” he muttered as she turned back to the futon to spread out the blankets. He sighed as he sat on his bed and watched her with a smile.
“So what now?” she asked, not turning from the futon. “Are you really gonna go to Washington to find this guy?”
“You heard me say I was, didn’t you?” Chad retorted, flopping onto his side on his bed.
“Yeah, but if this guy is watching us, won’t he see you coming?” she wondered, turning and sitting on the futon and when she saw his frown of confusion, she explained, “If he’s in Washington, and he knows you’re coming, by the time you get there, he’ll be somewhere else, won’t he? And if you find out where he’s gone, and head after him, he’ll go somewhere else.”
“Maybe,” Chad shrugged. “But it doesn’t matter. I’ll follow this guy to the ends of the Earth if I have to, to get him off our backs.”
“Our backs?” Nicky echoed with a frown. “You mean your back?”
“Nicky, he’s watching you, too, or didn’t you get that?” he retorted, sitting up.
“All I got was that he knew what we talked about last night,” Nicky replied, leaning over to pull off her shoes. “From what you told me, that’s all you two talked about on your own, too.”
Chad frowned then felt his jaw slacken, his eyes widening in realization as he sat up and she frowned as his open mouth curved into an opened-mouthed smile. He stood up and leaned toward her, placing his hands on either side of her head as her frown turned to a wide-eyed stare of wonder and he placed a kiss to her lips before grinning at her again.
“I knew I liked you for a reason, you smart little skater fox,” he murmured.
He hurried toward the door as Nicky frowned at him then followed him. He hurried down the hall, into the living room and stopped next to the couch where Brandon sat, now frowning as the boy picked up the phone and pressed it to his ear, Nicky standing next to him with a frown.
“Chad?” Brandon frowned, sitting up a little from watching TV and turning toward the teen.
Chad didn’t answer as he only held a hand up to his uncle to be silent. He didn’t dial in a number or pull the phone from his ear. He only listened to the dial tone for a moment before setting his jaw, his lips pursed, his eyes darkening as he slammed the receiver back onto the phone stand then march back to the hall and into his room.
“What the hell is wrong with that boy?” Brandon grumbled, moving to stand up but Nicky hurried toward him and placed her hands on his shoulders to sit him back down, meeting his eyes with hers.
“I think that nightmare last night’s gotten to his head,” she smiled, nervously. He frowned at her but still sat back down and she continued to smile as she patted his shoulder with a nod. “I think he just needs to vent a little more to somebody who won’t try to analyze it, ya know?”
“Alright,” he nodded and Nicky gave one last nod before heading down the hall, into Chad’s room and quietly shut the door behind her as she watched him pace between the bed and the futon.
“Chad, what was—?”
“Give me your phone,” he ordered, making her frown, but she did as she was told and he took it to shove the thing under his mattress.
He held a hand up to her to silence her, making her frown deepen before he sat right over the phone and she gave him a confused glare.
“Chad, seriously, what the hell are you doing?” she asked, flatly.
“He’s taping our phones, Nicky,” Chad explained in a hushed tone, lifting a hand to wave her closer and as she obeyed he continued, “You know those spy movies where they can listen to everything you and everyone around you says through the mic on your cell or your phone? That’s what he’s doing.”
“That’s a little extreme,” Nicky voiced, whispering as well. “Why would he go through all this trouble? What does he want?”
Chad sighed, placing the heels of his hands on his forehead as he muttered, “I have no idea. But I’m gonna find out if it kills me.”
“Don’t say that,” Nicky breathed, and Chad shot his gaze at her to see her eyes tearing up. “You promised you wouldn’t die.”
“No I didn’t,” he recalled and she sighed, rolling her eyes.
“You can’t take a hint, can you?!” she snapped, stomping her foot and marching toward him as he stood with a frown. “I finally get the courage to tell you everything on my mind and you wanna go kill yourself! You should promise not to get yourself killed!”
Chad smiled as she only glared at him, but her anger turned to surprise when he lifted a hand and stroked a loose strand of hair behind her ear as he murmured, “You area fox, ya know?”
“Don’t change the subject!” she snapped, but he only chuckled at seeing her blush. “I’m serious! You can’t die! Promise me you won’t let any of this kill you! Promise!”
“Alright! Alright!” he chuckled softly, lifting his hands in surrender, then placed his right hand over his heart, his left hand still raised. “I solemnly swear not get myself killed over this creep until you figure out my middle name.”
“Never!” Nicky corrected, gripping the edges of his jacket. “You’ll never let yourself get killed!”
“Alright, never,” Chad corrected himself. “I won’t let myself get killed ever.”
Nicky sighed in relief and slid her arms around his chest, smiling and snuggled her cheek against his chest. Chad stood, unmoving for a moment as his heart thumped in his ribcage so head he could hear it in his ears. Swallowing, he hesitantly slid his arms around her shoulders and set his chin on top of her head.
For a moment, he couldn’t understand why he was panicking, but it hit him as soon as she snuggled a little closer to him. Flirting and teasing each other in public or alone was one thing, but this was different. Being this close to each other and their feelings out in the open could bring them closer than they’d ever been.
“Now that we know he’s not even in California, can I still spend the night?” Nicky’s hushed request came out, muffled by his shirt and jacket. “I know I said I’d be fine, but…” She snuggled a little closer to him before breathing, “I’m really freaked out.”
“Well, it’s not like I was gonna kick you out,” Chad smirked reassuringly, patting her head then playfully flicking her ear.
She jumped and shut her head up…smacking right into his chin and making them both wince and back away from each other, Chad rubbing his chin and Nicky rubbing her head.
“What’d you do that for?!” Chad chuckled, still rubbing his chin.
“You flicked my ear!” she retorted. “At least mine was an accident!”
“At least mine didn’t hurt so much, did it?!” Chad retorted, then sighed and stepped toward her to pull her close and moved her hand from her head. “Come here. Lemme see if my chin left a nice little bump on your pretty little noggin.”
“You talk too much,” Nicky muttered, but froze when he pressed a kiss to the spot she’d hit his chin with.
“There,” he smiled, smoothing a hand over her cheek. “Feel better?”
Nicky opened her mouth to reply, but was interrupted by the sound of the doorbell. The teens frowned at each other then turned to the door, Chad taking her hand and leading her to it. He silently opened the door and saw Brandon get up from the couch and head to the front door. Chad led Nicky from the room but stopped at the edge of the hall when he head pounding on the door.
“Alright! I’m coming! Hold your horses!” Brandon called to the door and Chad kept Nicky from walking past him.
“What’s wrong?” she whispered.
“Just wait,” he replied, hearing Brandon open the door.
“Mr. Jeffery?” a deep, serious voice questioned.
“Yes,” Brandon replied as Chad peeked around the corner just enough to see two men in uniform standing at the door. “Can I help you, officers?”
“Damn it,” Chad ground out softly, then turned back down the hall, dragging Nicky back into his room and quietly shutting the door behind them.
“Put your shoes back on and get your board and helmet,” he cut in, shoving his hand under the mattress to grab her phone and he tossed it to her before grabbing his shoes to do what he’d told her to do as well.
“Chad, what are you panicking for?” she asked, shoving her phone into her pocket.
“Why do you think, Nicky?!” he shot back, tying his shoes. “The cops are gonna ruin everything! They’re probably here to arrest me. Get your shoes on!”
“I’m not the one in trouble!” Nicky growled, grabbing her shoes and finally pulling them on. “Why do I have to follow you?!”
“Don’t gimme that,” Chad muttered, leaning under his bed to pull out his board. “Even if I told you not to come with me you would have anyway.”
“Where’s my board?” she asked, finishing with her shoes.
“Closet,” Chad replied, strapping on his helmet. “We’ll go out the back door. Brandon should stall nicely with his yapping.”
“You’re one to talk,” Nicky retorted, leaning into the closet to grab her board, seeing it leaning against the inside wall.
“I have this bag of stuff here,” he explained, grabbing a backpack from beside his bed. “Just in case I needed to make a break for it. You might wanna get your bag and take it with you.”
He froze and frowned in confused wonder at her raw and breathless tone. He turned to her only to see her staring at something in the closet. His frown deepening, he approached her, slowly. She didn’t move as he came up next to her and gazed down at what she was staring at.
“Chad,” she breathed again, neither one looking from the thing on the floor of his closet. “What the hell is a bloody knife in a plastic bag doing in your closet?”
“Chad!” Brandon’s call came from the living room, making the two jump in surprise and look at the door.
“Damn it!” Chad growled before leaning over to grab the bag with the knife in it, stuff it in his backpack, pick up Nicky’s helmet to place it on her head and grabbed her overnight bag to shove it into her hands. “Out the window, now!”
“There’s no time, Liza! Out!”
Without another word, Nicky rushed toward the window above the nightstand and opened t as Chad went to the door and locked it just as he heard Brandon and the police coming down the hall. He backed away just as the door knob moved to open the door and he stood on his nightstand as Nicky climbed out herself.
“Chad?” Brandon called as he knocked. “You in there?”
Chad didn’t reply as he climbed after Nicky and shut the window behind him before ducking low in the bushes beside his friend. The teens glanced around and noticed only one squad car parked in the street before they heard a crash of the door being kicked in.
“Go!” Chad urged, shoving Nicky from the bushes as he followed close behind.
He repeated his command rapidly when he heard the police and his uncle call for him through the glass. Once they were running on sidewalk, they let their boards hit the ground and had a running start onto them and down the street.
“Keep going!” Chad urged. “Just go straight! Don’t look back!”
“But, Chad! The cops!”
“I know! Just keep going!”
“Where the hell are we going?!”