Chapter Fifteen

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Here you are, my patient lovelies. Hopefully some of you are still actually reading. Enjoy. <3

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"I'm really, really not sure about this, Cass," Cole told me with uncertainty clouding his brown eyes.

"You're the one that found it, you know. You can't bring something like this up and then expect me to drop it and move on to the next useless lead." I argued back, my eyes lifting to absorb the entirety of the dark building looming just ahead of us in the twilight.

Markus and Jenny had barely left when a new text message from my friendly neighborhood stalker came in. Cole had the bright idea of taking my phone to the tech department and having a member of the GEEK Squad track the number since he had forgotten to send from a blocked one. All it took was a small fee of one hundred dollars, some "hush money," we'd been told. Cole didn't think we should go, but I wasn't keen on giving up yet.

"This has 'Bad Idea' written all over it," He groaned.

"This was your bad idea. Suck it up, Buttercup. We have a house to break into." I didn't bother checking to see if he would follow as I walked up the cracking driveway, I already knew he would. The reluctant shuffle of his shoes behind me confirmed that.

He wasn't wrong, it was a bad idea. However, this needed to end, and it needed to end before anyone else got hurt. I just hoped I could keep Cole safe, since he was my voluntary partner in crime.

"That's weird," I mumbled to myself, "The door isn't even locked."

I felt Cole's hand on the small of my back as I pushed the old wooden door forward, revealing pure darkness. "I have a really bad feeling about this," he sighed before stepping in front of me and clicking the flashlight on. "I was hoping we could just send the police here and see what they could find."

"You already know we can't involve them, Cole. It's too risky." I shut the door of the decrepit home and found myself encased in black, the only light coming from the boy in front of me.

"I don't know what you're even expecting to find here," he grumbled. I rolled my eyes and gave him a gentle shove forward.

The furniture had all been covered with dusty white sheets, and the air reeked of mold and mildew. It was the most typical Hollywood haunted house anyone could imagine, right down to the mysterious creaks coming from every which direction, and the carpeted grand staircase. However, it was what had been so romantically spread upon those stairs that stopped my blonde headed best friend and I in our tracks.

Blood red rose pedals were sprinkled to the very top, and I could see the flicker of candlelight coming from the second floor. My heartbeat faltered as I felt Cole's arm wrap around my waist and pull me protectively into his side.

"Cass, we need to leave. Now," he urged in a low voice. Unable to find my voice, I could only shake my head in response. He turned to look at me. "This is dangerous. We were set up, we have to leave while we still can."

"No," I shook my head, and caught his gaze with a fierce one of my own. "I'm not running away like a scared little girl. That's what he wants, don't you get that? I'm not feeding into his sadistic egotism and giving him the satisfaction of my cowardice."

"Cassandra..."

"No. You can leave, I'm not going to ask you to stay and find out what's up there with me. In fact, you should go. I don't want you to get hurt."

He closed his eyes for a second in frustration before answering. "You are the most stubborn human being I've ever met..." He trailed, "But I would never be able to forgive myself if I left and something happened to you. I'm staying."

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