The next day I was up bright and early with Annabelle so even though we hadn’t gotten back til late, I’d still been up for hours by the time Tristan made a groggy entrance at midday.
‘Morning,’ Annabelle said brightly, her previous jealousy forgotten now that she had me all to herself again.
Tristan grunted in response, eyeing me up and down for a moment before shuffling through to the kitchen.
‘Uh,’ I said to Annabelle, ‘I’ll be back in one minute,’ and darted away before she could protest.
‘Hey,’ I said tentatively, once I caught up with Tristan. He was staring into the fridge with his back to me, his hair a mess on top of his perfect head. ‘How are you feeling?’
‘Quit the condescension, America,’ he muttered, grabbing a pitcher of refrigerated water and chugging some. ‘I’m fine.’
‘I didn’t mean to...’ I started, but trailed off at the sight of his smirk. He’d been joking. I’ll never understand British humour. ‘Do you... Remember, last night?’ I asked carefully.
‘I remember you telling some poor girl that you were in Twilight.’
I smiled despite myself; that had been pretty funny. ‘Do you remember anything else?’
‘Relax, Cody,’ he said, rolling his eyes. ‘I remember everything. Who do you think I am, a fourteen year old vodka slut? I can handle my alcohol.’
I help up my hands in retreat. ‘Okay, okay. Just making sure.’
‘How do you feel about everything you found out?’
I shrugged uncomfortably; I hadn’t expected the spotlight to be shined on me this morning. ‘I dunno. Angry, mostly.’
‘You’ll find out the rest eventually,’ Tristan said, misinterpreting my answer. ‘At least, you will if Gregory and Edwin have anything to say about it. Not to mention Belle.’
‘No, I mean, I’m angry about... Kaley. About what happened.’ I shrugged again; I’m not particularly eloquent at the best of times and it was worse when I felt under pressure, like I did now. ‘Whether I find out everything or not isn’t really important, I don’t think. I’m more concerned about what’s happening, about getting her back and helping, cos you did say I could help...’ I trailed off, sternly trying to tell myself to stop waffling.
Tristan regarded me impassively. ‘And here I thought nosiness was your main personality trait,’ he commented dryly, and I blushed. Before I could say anything in response he’d taken the pitcher of water and left the room, trailing back upstairs to nurse his hangover in private. Slowly, I traipsed back to the sitting room, where Annabelle was waiting patiently for me.
‘So how much did he tell you last night anyway?’
I paused for a moment, wondering if there was a possibility that I now knew more than her – she was only six after all – but then realised I was being an idiot. Annabelle probably knew more about what went on in this house than anybody else in it. She was extraordinarily clued in.
‘Just about how Kaley disappeared. And how whoever took her sent you another letter.’
‘Nothing you hadn’t already tried to tell me,’ I said, smiling. ‘Like how you’re all so special.’
Annabelle nodded gravely. ‘I’m surprised he told you that much,’ she conceded, returning her attention to the book she’d been reading. ‘He really doesn’t like you being here.’
‘Yes, he makes his opinion of me very clear,’ I sighed.
‘No he doesn’t,’ Annabelle contradicted me. ‘Actually, you have no idea what he thinks about you. You only know what he thinks about you being here,’ she said, stressing the last two words this time.
I paused to consider this, and found myself smiling.
Later that night, after I’d put Annabelle to bed and run out of things to distract myself with in my room, I found myself tiptoeing down the stairs and pausing outside the slightly-ajar door to Tristan’s room. I stood there for a few moments, trying to gather up the courage to knock, when a voice caused me jump.
|Brenton Thwaites||as Cody James|
|Chace Crawford||as Tristan Darlington|
|Chloe Grace Moretz||as Anabelle Darlington|