3: Across Campus

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...and let the drama begin ;-)

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I woke to a heavy arm draped around my waist. Now you see, if I wasn’t getting used to this, I probably would have awoke screaming. But Chase’s arm has become so familiar wrapped around me (my waist to be specific) that it just feels normal now – it’s become almost a routine.

Anyways, just to be sure that it really is my amazing dark-haired boyfriend, I mumble, “Chase?” and roll over so I can see him.

“That’s my name,” he mutters, “What’s up?”

I yawn, and kiss his jaw. “What time did you get in? Where were you last night? Don’t you have class this morning?”

Chase laughs lightly, “Jesus, woman, slow down. I got in a little after midnight, and I got caught up…in traffic. And no, I don’t.”

Suddenly, he grins. Rolling over so he’s on top of me, Chase pushes my knotted hair out of my face. “I took the day out of classes to spend time with my amazing girlfriend.”

“Oh?” I challenge. “And what if I have plans?”

“Cancel them.” He whispers leaning down to kiss me.

I grin and kiss him back.

*

I only just sit the pancakes down on the table when there’s rapid knocking on the door. “Hold on!” I shout, and place the orange juice on the table. I hoped that with my very loud ‘hold on’ the knocking would have stopped, but it hasn’t.

“Impatient fool,” I murmur, walking over to the door. “Chase!” I shout. “Breakfast is done!”

“Okay!” he shouts back.

I smile, and open the door. Asher and Nate are on the other side. “Good…” I stop what I’m about to say when I see the lock on my brother’s face. His forehead is creased, his lips turned downwards, and his fists are clenched. Behind him, Nate looks the same.

“No, it’s not a good morning, Harley. Where’s Chase?” Asher snaps, pushing past me and into dorm.

“He’s just getting out of the shower,” I tell him, jabbing my thumb towards the bathroom. I bite my lip, asking myself did I really want to know what Asher was so worried/upset about? Yes, I did. Sure, curiosity killed the cat…but luckily the cat had nine lives. “Why? What’s wrong?”

“You haven’t seen the news, have you?” Nate asks eyes wide. “I forgot, you never watch the news.”

“Guys…what’s going on?”

Asher walks over to the TV, switches it on, and puts it to the news channel. Nate walks closer to me, and wraps me in a tight hug. Over his shoulder, I watch the TV.

“Jenna Marks, a college student, was found dead in her dorm room earlier this morning. Her friend, Casey, was bringing her friend her early-morning coffee. What she walked into was much worse than a night out partying, and a solid hangover. The cops are looking for their main suspect, Chase Flynn, who was last seen with the victim.”

“Holy shit,” I mutter, letting go of Nate. “Tell me I did not just hear that.” I demand, pointing at the TV. Asher looks at me, and shakes his head.

“He didn’t do it, Harley.”

Before I can even say anything, or have time to process what is going on, Chase walks into the room. He’s sporting a loose shirt, and some jeans. He looks casual, normal, not like someone who was wanted for murder.

“What’s going on?” he asks.

“You know,” Nate begins his voice light. I can see in his eyes that he’s trying to lighten the conversation, trying to make it easier on me. “You’re just the number one suspect in a murder case.”

“What?” Chase questions, his eyebrows come together in confusion.

“They were just talking about you on TV,” I whisper. “They’re trying to find you, Chase. They want you for murdering Jenna Marks. Apparently you were the last one to be seen with her.”

An emotion flashes through Chase’s eyes – recognition? He knows what I’m on about. “You were with her last night, weren’t you?”

“It’s not like that,” Chase says slowly, looking at me dead in the eyes.

Not like what? I want to shout at him. It doesn’t look like you’re cheating on me? But I don’t, I keep quiet and lean into Nate, who wraps his arms around my waist in support.

“Well, I have to hand myself in,” he says, looking past me and directly at my brother. “I didn’t do it, and by not going in, I’m making myself look guilty.”

“Chase…” Asher starts, unsure. “Don’t go yet, mate. Let’s get your story straight – and call you a lawyer. This isn’t like the time we got busted for peeing in an ally, dude, this is serious stuff. You can’t expect to waltz in there and say, ‘I’m not guilty’ and walk out.”

“I know,” he nods. “Right now though, I see no other choice. They will find me, and drag my ass in. It will look better for me if I go in there off of my own accord.”

Asher sighs, and walks over to Chase. Pulling him into a hug, I hear him say, “I’ll drive you. Go get a jacket and whatever.”

Chase nods, and walks back into my – well ours, I guess – bedroom. Asher turns around, a determined expression on his face. Looking at Nate over the top of my head, he tells him sternly, “Call Chase’s parents. They’ll call the lawyer and she’ll meet us down at the station. I’m going to stay there with Chase so…,” his eyes flicker over to me, “You might have to be Harley’s slave today instead of Chase.”

“Got it.” Nate says.

When Chase walks out next, he looks freshly presented. Again, he looks so normal and casual; I can’t believe the police want him for murder. It seems crazy, impossible.

“Let’s go then,” Chase says, sighing. His eyes meet mine, but I refuse to show any expression – I can’t. Seeing this, and knowing that he’s probably in for it later, he sighs and begins to walk behind Asher who is already leaving.

“Chase!” I call. Nate unwinds his arms from around my waist, and releases me to Chase. “Be careful,” I tell him. “Don’t say anything stupid, okay? I love you.”

He nods and smiles. It’s like he’s already forgotten that he’s the main suspect in a murder case, and all he’s focused on is me. I want to slap him for that, to tell him that he needs to make himself not number one suspect, but at the same time…it makes me feel special.

“I love you, too,” Chase says, still smiling. “And I promise when I get back I’ll explain…”

I nod. “Go,” I tell him, pushing him towards the door, “And get back here because I need you, okay?”

He nods, turns around and leaves. The minute the door shuts; I turn around, my eyes filling with tears. No more than a few seconds later, I’m in Nate’s arms.

“It’s okay,” Nate says, rubbing his hands up and down my back in effort to soothe me. “He’ll explain, Harley. He wasn’t doing anything bad with Jenna, and he didn’t kill her.”

I don’t say anything, I just grip onto Nate’s shirt tighter, wishing and hoping for the best.

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