Home > When the Night is Over (Blackbird #1)

When the Night is Over (Blackbird #1)
Author: Lily Foster

Prologue

 

 

You Don’t Know Me Anymore

 

 

The scenery whips by in a blur of brown branches and gray asphalt. I’m numb, so I can still think about today from the vantage point of a nameless spectator, as if it wasn’t me watching you. The feelings, they’ll come I guess, but for now it’s better like this. I can dissect every moment, view each and every one of them in still frame.

A chance encounter? No, I can’t call it that. A sighting, that’s all it was. You had no idea I was there—that we were there. I’ve imagined the reunion, conjured up countless fairytale versions of how it would go down. But not one of my daydreams played out like today’s reality: a nonevent.

What was that when you turned her way and smiled? And when she gave you a playful swat on the shoulder, you shook your head and laughed. Were you just giving her something in return, being easygoing and friendly, or is it her? That girl with the golden hair, is she someone to you?

I willed you to look my way. Every muscle in my body coiled tight, teeth clenched and brows narrowed in concentration. I thought my telepathic energy would zip through the air and land on you, that I still had the power to reel you in. When it didn’t work, I was tempted to scream your name, drop the bombshell. But the moment passed and you just kept on walking.

And what if you had turned your head? What would you see? What would you have done once you recognized me, a ghost from your past?

I caught my reflection in the lobby window after you passed by without a backward glance. Couldn’t help but compare myself to the shiny penny walking beside you. That girl, she is California. She’s tangerine flavored optimism, animated and bubbling over. And me, the one you left behind? I’m western Pennsylvania in the dead of winter: barren, disillusioned and weary. Not even twenty years old, but I’ve witnessed and experienced more than most do over the course of a lifetime.

“We should get going, Charlotte. Long drive ahead of us.”

I follow, push my precious cargo while weaving around the young, carefree people crowding the narrow sidewalk as they chat and catch up with one another. Suddenly the noisy banter and the crowd feel oppressive, suffocating. I want out but I’m moving in slow motion. There’s a weight pushing down on my shoulders, and my steps are sluggish in boots that feel as if they’ve been filled with sopping wet earth.

I knew seeing you again would be painful, but I truly believed I was stronger than this. No, just one look and I’m sixteen again.

I remind myself there are good memories from that time: dizzying laughter, soft touches, words spoken in hushed tones and breaths that were hard to catch. But those are all buried deep in the muck of that riverbed now, and I can’t drag them to the surface for the life of me. When someone you love turns their back on you, it does that. It eclipses everything that was good.

You turned your back on me.

I should be used to it by now.

 

 

Part One : Romeo, Meet Juliet

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Charlotte


“Why him? I don’t get it.”

“Hmm, what?”

“That boy you’re always staring at has a giant stick up his ass. Meanwhile Adam over there, one of the few boys in this school who isn’t a total Neanderthal destined to work in a steel factory, follows you around like a puppy and you ignore him.” Daisy turns my chin, giving me no choice but to abandon the object of my fascination. “Earth to Charlotte Mason.”

“I like to look, that’s all.” Flicking the strap of her backpack off her shoulder, I add, “And for the record, that Neanderthal is in the honors program…No different from you or me or Adam.”

Daisy huffs out a breath, grabbing her bag up off the floor. “Is not.”

“Yes, he is. You’re judging him because of his…I don’t know, his clothes, his attitude—”

“The fact that he never seems to be carrying a book, that he doesn’t appear to own a comb, that he’s twenty-four-seven surrounded by girls who I know for a fact can barely read.”

“He doesn’t need a comb.”

We both turn to check him out. No different from any other day, he’s the center of attention without even trying. Leaning back against the lockers, he offers a lazy smile to some girl. She’s resting her hand on his shoulder, leaning in close to tell him something private.

Daisy’s right, his hair just might be in need of a comb, but the way the longish strands shade his face, leaving just one steel blue eye visible to his adoring fans—it works.

With satisfaction, I note that this girl is vying for his attention but not holding it. Two guys in football jackets cackle while one shows him his phone screen, and he bursts out laughing along with them. The football players seem beefy, like stuffed sausages standing next to him. He matches them in height, but his muscular build is leaner.

And though I’ve never seen him barreling over an opponent wearing school colors, I know he’s powerful and strong. I’ve seen the boy unload truckloads of merchandise at the hardware store—enormous bags of feed or fertilizer or whatever—tossing them as if they weigh no more than a feather. I’ve open-mouth stared from across the street, eyes glued to the muscles that strain and flex beneath his snug thermal shirts. Most people would be bundled up in a parka, but it has to drop below twenty degrees or so for him to wear even a fleece-lined flannel. He’s tough, impervious to the elements.

He’s smiling now, which makes me smile. Seeing him happy is rare from what I’ve observed, and it’s infectious. So when his eyes lock on mine in a way that punches the air from my lungs, I know I should turn away but I can’t. In that split second his smile drops and his laughing eyes turn stone cold. He makes me feel stripped down and ashamed.

“Let’s go,” Daisy whispers, tugging on my wrist with urgency when the bell rings. “What the hell was that?” she says on an exhale as we rush into our last period class.

I shrug, pretending I have no clue what’s up, when in truth I have a fairly good idea as to why Simon looked at me the way he just did. The name Wade was never spoken in my home without a curse word preceding it. Makes sense to assume he’s grown up on a steady diet of hatred for my family in return.

I was just a kid, so this Hatfield and McCoy idiocy is ancient history as far as I’m concerned. Whatever it is that happened, I wasn’t there, I had nothing to do with it. He has no right to hold some stupid grudge against me, or to look at me the way he does. He’s wrong.

He’s wrong about me.

 

 

Simon


I watch her every damn day, and I hate myself for it.

What is she doing here? She lives one town over, the decidedly better of the two that feed into our school district. On top of that, her father owns the only car dealership in Fayette County. She has no business working the ass crack of dawn shift every weekend at the diner.

Probably my imagination, or just my frustration and anger run wild, but it seems like every time I go to unload a delivery, to shovel the sidewalk, or to arrange whatever seasonal goods my boss wants displayed—rock salt at the moment—she picks that exact same time to take a break. She doesn’t smoke, doesn’t check her phone. No, she just steps outside like she’s doing right now, hugging herself and shifting on her feet to keep warm, watching her breath float up as she exhales out into the cold. Not two minutes later, she fixes her gaze back to the ground, smoothes her apron and skirt down over her hips, and heads back inside.

Hot Books
» Buy Me Sir
» Daddy's Pretty Baby
» Ruckus (Sinners of Saint #2)
» The Greek's Forgotten Wife (The Boarding Sc
» Mastered (The Enforcers #1)
» Kept (The Enforcers #3)
» The Dom's Virgin: A Dark Billionaire Romanc
» Filthy Marcellos: The Complete
» The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood #15)
» Wet
» White Hot (Hidden Legacy #2)
» Wake A Sleeping Tiger (Breeds #31)
» The Hot Shot (Game On #4)
» If You Were Mine
» Fallen Crest Home (Fallen Crest High #6)
» Latest books
» Hot Author