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Helena | Adam

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Helena | Adam


        THE SKY WAS SO DARK that I could hardly see the rain, but I could feel it, soaking through my blue overcoat and permeating my skin. Thunderclouds rolled in low, their bellies carrying even more rain, promising the kind of downpour that was to be expected when you lived so close to the coastline.

        I stood at the edge of the platform, staring out at the tracks and at the nightscape before me. Most people would've hated having to catch the night train home, but my favorite shifts at Marty's Pub & Grill were the ones where I finished late.

        Midnight was peaceful in a way that my life was not. Midnight was the time warp where I could let my thoughts drift without interruption. And it was so quiet here, nothing but the salt marsh breeze rustling in and the occasional screech from an overhead gull.

        The station was always shadowed by the high moon, and I tucked myself away safely in the corner, out of the line of sight. Stuffing my hands back inside my pockets, I continued to wait for the last train to arrive on the lonely platform.

        On schedule, the little announcement chime played five minutes later, easing into the heavy silence. I readjusted the strap of my messenger-style bag and watched as the incoming train slowed down, approaching the platform.

        When it shuddered to a halt and the doors unsealed, I stepped inside. The carriage was empty, and I allowed myself a small sigh of relief.

        As I walked down the aisle, I headed for my usual seat, but then my eyes caught on the cell phone that had been left behind on one of the worn, threadbare benches. It must have slipped out of someone's pocket, I decided, although it was an easy guess.

        My first reaction was to pat my jeans, wanting to double check that I still had my own phone. And then, with a cautious glance over my shoulder, I reached down to pick the iPhone up. The leather case was cold in my palm as I turned it over. Clutching the forgotten phone to my chest, I proceeded to move further down the aisle, sitting at the back of the carriage.

        No one else boarded the train, and when it finally started to depart the platform, I returned my gaze to the lost phone in my hand, held tight. 

        Don't snoop, Helena. 

        My fingers twitched in quiet protest. It wouldn't take long for whoever dropped it to realize their phone was missing. They'd probably be waiting at one of the upcoming stops.

        Turning my head, I glimpsed my reflection in one of the large windows. My black hair was unkempt and wind-tossed, and the face I saw before I closed my eyes was pale and makeup free. Between studying, taking care of my little sister, and working three shifts a week at the bar, I hardly had time to sleep, let alone primp.

        It wasn't until there was only a few minutes before my stop—and still no passengers—that my ability to resist sneaking a look through the phone started to wane. I couldn't control the scowl that twisted up my face when I discovered the iPhone wasn't passcode protected.

        Whoever you are, you're an idiot. 

        I opened the Facebook app first, figuring this person must have been an active member of the twenty-first century. Sure enough, they were logged into their account, and a new wave of guilt churned my stomach. 

        You're just trying to find out who it belongs to, I continued my inner monologue. Don't feel bad.

        Satisfied with my reasoning, I tapped on the tiny, square picture at the top of the feed, taking me to their profile.

        Finn Bauer.

        That was their name. His name. 

        My brows pulled together, a chord of curiosity ringing deep inside me. I enlarged the profile picture—a selfie of an attractive guy I didn't recognize, who had to be a year or two younger than me—and then I swiped to the next profile picture, hoping I'd still be able to collect some kind of clue about who Finn Bauer was. In a close-knit town like mine, it required no leap of my imagination to think that we might have had some mutual friends.

        The next photo was of Finn with another guy, and they were standing in front of the Statue of Liberty, giving each other one of those one-armed man hugs.

        Unthinkingly, I zoomed in on the nameless, dark-haired guy, studying his chiseled features. With his model good looks and killer smile, I felt my heart do some kind of damn flutter, and then I was quickly exiting out of Facebook, cursing myself for getting sidetracked.

        Running out of ideas, I clicked into the contacts on the phone, deciding to text the very first name on the alphabetical list: Adam. A surefire sign that I was seriously sleep-deprived.

        Tamping down my nerves, I started a conversation with him and thumbed off a quick message.

Hey, is this Adam?

        I was prepared to have to wait a while before he replied, but within minutes, the phone buzzed. I sucked in a shaky breath, reading the text that had popped up on the screen. 

Last time I checked. Why? Did you get high enough to forget your own brother this time?

        Oops. I hesitated, unsure what I was supposed to say to that. If I even wanted to say anything, considering we were complete strangers and all.

        Adam made the decision for me when I got another message from him, catching me off guard.

Typical. The first time I've heard from you all year and you're wasted again.

        Telling myself that, given the choices I had already made so far, smart had well and truly abandoned me, I typed up a response, just to be sure that he was the right guy.

Actually, no. I'm Helena. So you're Finn Bauer's brother?

I thought we already established that. And it's nice to meet you, Helena.

Wait, why is my brother's girlfriend texting me off his phone? Is Finn okay?

Oh shit, sorry. I can understand why you'd think that, but no. I'm not your brother's girlfriend.

As for his current status, I have no idea. I don't even know him.

But you have his phone?

I found it on the train. I was actually hoping you could tell me how I could get it back to him.

You found a phone on the train and you didn't just pocket it? Damn, you really are a good Samaritan.

As for my younger brother, I can't help you out. He bounces around a lot and never tells us where he winds up.

What the hell am I supposed to do with his phone, then? 

Keep it.

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