Chapter 20 iCan't Forgive and Forget

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As Keeley walked down the crowded halls to her locker, she wondered for the hundredth time when Talon was going to call her. For the past two days, her cell phone had been strangely silent. No phone calls or texts from him. It was like he disappeared into thin air- a complete ghost. Why had he gone through the trouble of making her promise to answer him, if he wasn't even going to call? It didn't make any sense.

She arrived at her locker and pulled open the door but it didn't budge. Keeley frowned. Why wasn't it opening? She placed both hands on the handle and pulled with all her strength. She stumbled back as a large blue duffle bag toppled out of her locker. Instantly, an overpowering odor of chemicals filled her nostrils. It was so strong her eyes started to tear up. What the hell? She fanned the air in front of her face, trying to dissipate some of the unpleasant smell.

Gavin must have stored it there. He had been leaving various books and notepads in her locker for the past week. She hadn't minded, as he had been fairly unobtrusive about it. He had kept everything in a tidy pile, not disturbing any of her belongings. This was the first time he had gotten in her way.

Warily, she eyed the offensive duffle lying at her feet. Something seemed oddly familiar about that bag. She pushed the bag with her foot till it was facing her. On the side, the initials ZAB were stitched into the fabric.

Zachary Andrew Brewer.

Keeley snorted. She should have known. She bit her lip apprehensively, wondering what could be in it. It didn't look like football gear or clothes. Curiosity got the best of her as she crouched over the duffle and unzipped. A small can of blue paint, a paintbrush and a roll of saran wrap lay inside. The paintbrush was wrapped in a plastic bag, still wet from being used.

A feeling of trepidation crept up her spine. Zach had been acting too happy lately. Almost like he was pleased with himself. Last night, she had even caught him whistling while washing the dishes. Keeley fingered the saran wrap, speculating what he could have done. It had obviously been some sort of prank. Could this be the reason why she hadn't heard from Talon?

Gavin skidded to a halt beside her, interrupting her thought. "I'm so sorry Keeley. I meant to get here before you, but my teacher let the class out late," he explained, his breathing labored.

"What is this?" she inquired, holding up the bag at arm's length.

"U-uh..." Gavin stammered, looking uneasy. "I-it's a bag?"

Keeley leveled him a knowing look. "Why do you have paint and saran wrap, Gavin?"

His adam's apple bobbed up and down as he gulped. "Uhh...."

"What did Zach do? And don't lie to me. I know this isn't for a science project."

Gavin wet his lips nervously. "I can't say."

"Did you guys do something to Crosswell?" she demanded to know.

"I can't say," he repeated desperately.

Frustration pulsed off of her. She needed to know if Zach had anything to do with Talon's silence. Maybe he warned Talon to stay away from her? But how had her brother known about her promise? She hadn't told anyone but Nicky.

Keeley glanced at Gavin and bit back the questions bursting inside of her. He looked absolutely miserable. A wave a pity came over her. Poor kid. He didn't deserve her ire. He was just a pawn in this game. If Keeley wanted answers, she had to go to the master pulling the strings-her brother. "It's okay, Gavin." She handed him the bag. "You may want to get rid of this before people start asking questions."

He sent her a look of pure relief. "Thanks Keeley."

She gave him a forced smile. He shouldn't be thanking her yet. She was going to confront Zach and who knew how he was going to respond once he knew Gavin had stored the evidence in her locker. Wasn't the kid's smartest move.

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