Chapter Three: Textual Assault

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Dedicated to XDreamWithMeX, for making the new cover for ITTKHATFM!

                     I spent the rest of my Saturday lounging around with Carly, watching My Little Pony and more of iCarly. When I got bored, I made myself some popcorn and holed up in my room, dragging my laptop over to my bed to start a much-needed search on Chase Walters. After a quick IM conversation with Naomi, I pulled up Google and typed in his name.

            The first result was of some local chiropractor that looked to be a forty year-old man. No, that definitely wasn’t him. The next was just multiple Facebook results. I didn’t have a Facebook myself, so this was of no use to me. I went through page after page looking for my rescuer, but he never showed. I shut my laptop in frustration, rolling to the other side of my bed to pout.

            “This is so stupid,” I muttered to myself.

            I needed a reality check. First off, what had Chase meant about “next time”? Was he going to find me himself? Or was I going to have to do it? I was dying to ask him all my questions: Who were those four guys? Why did they go after me? How were you able to find me? Why did you save me? How old are you? Are you in a gang? Call me, maybe?

            I kept replaying the earsplitting noise of the gunshot. I kept seeing Earl collapse to the ground only inches away from me. I kept seeing Chase’s glinting eyes watching as his victim died in front of him.

            What had the talk been about before I was held up by Johnny? What “territory” was he talking about? I’m pretty sure my suffocating, small town was not divided into territories for creeps like them. Although, I’d give Chase any territory he wanted.

            “Stop this!” I shouted at myself. “You have a boyfriend!”

            I shouldn’t let myself get carried away with this guy. He could be completely lying to me. I had no idea who he was! Google was telling me he was a forty year-old geezer! And besides, I was with Anthony. I felt guilty having these feelings towards Chase. It wasn’t…love. More like, a strange attraction towards him. It would be good if I didn’t go searching after him. It wasn’t like I was going to see him again, anyway.

            A harsh knock came from my door and I yelped in fear, for a quick second, my mind thinking it was Johnny coming back for me. But then Mom let herself in, a worried expression on her face.

            “A bit jumpy?” she asked, walking over to my bed, and taking a seat.

            “Yeah,” I mumbled, sitting upright. “What’s up?”

            My mom always seemed to wear a very worn, very hopeless expression on her face. Worry lines creased her tan skin, her coffee eyes dull. Her dirty blonde hair was always up, no matter the occasion. Freckles dotted her skin, and her thin lips never seemed to turn up in a smile. At least, not anymore.

            The death of my dad years back, before Carly was born, had absolutely crushed Mom. It had hurt me, too, but not as much as Mom. It was like he’d taken some part of her with him to the grave. Sometimes I looked at her and couldn’t even recognize my mom.

            “I’m going to have to start taking more shifts at work. It’s just not cutting it anymore, Steph. The bills are coming in faster than I can mail them out. We barely made it this month,” she sighed, and I could tell she was ashamed. “I don’t think I’ll be home a lot these next few months. I’m sorry to do this to you.”