Chapter Twenty-Seven

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Two days later the guillotine fell. 

The harsh sound of my phone ringing cut through the quiet kitchen, startling me out of the nervous trance I'd fallen into since spotting the figure lurking outside my window. With Noah watching me like a hawk, determined to make sure I wasn't sneaking off anywhere, I'd had to resort to speaking to Luke over the phone, whispering to him as I lay huddled beneath my duvet. Hearing his voice helped ease the knot of pain that built up in my chest when I couldn't see him, but it wasn't the same as having his arms around me, or feeling the warmth of his breath on my skin.  

But tonight I was going to see him. I didn't care how risky it was. We'd arranged to meet at Greylark and now all I had to do was wait for Ethan to disappear into his room so I could make my escape. 

Ethan glanced up from whatever it was he was attempting to cook. "You going to answer that?" 

I didn't want to in front of him in case it was Luke. I doubted Ethan would betray me to Noah but it was safer not to put temptation in his way. But on the other hand it would look suspicious if I ran out of the room before answering.  

My thumb hit answer. "Hello?" 

"Hey." Riley's usually cheery voice was tinged with concern. "I need to talk to you." 

It was so unlike her to sound like this that I stopped in my tracks, a little way before the kitchen door. "What's wrong?" 

"Are you still seeing Luke?" 

Guiltily I realised I'd barely seen Riley over the last few days. She should have been cross with me for virtually ignoring her but it wasn't anger I heard in her voice. 

I lowered my voice. Ethan still had his back to me but that didn't mean he wasn't listening. "Um...yes, why?" 

"There's some weird guy going round, showing Luke's picture to everyone and asking if anyone knows him." 

I gripped the phone tighter. "A weird guy?" 

"Yeah, some old guy with creepy eyes." 

Ice pooled in my stomach. Caleb.  

"What's going on?" Riley wanted to know. "Who is that guy?" 

What was I supposed to tell her? The truth? She'd think I was insane. But I couldn't think of a single story to feed her. My mind was still reeling that Caleb had managed to find out who Luke was. I'd thought we'd have more time before he latched onto Luke's trail but apparently I'd underestimated him. 

"Riley, you didn't tell him anything, did you?" 

There was a moment's silence on the other end of the phone. The air rushed out of my lungs in a silent gasp. 

"Riley?" 

"I'm sorry, it just slipped out." 

Frustration clenched my jaw. "Riley, what slipped out?" 

"I told him...you were Luke's girlfriend." 

I caught the corner of the kitchen table to steady myself.  

"But it's okay," Riley rushed on. "I mean, it's not like I told him where you live or anything." 

I closed my eyes. Caleb already knew where I lived and now he had proof of my connection to Luke. I could practically feel the guillotine blade dropping onto my skull.  

"Kiara," Riley all but shouted and I realised she'd been saying my name for a while. "What's going on?" 

"Nothing, nothing's going on, nothing's wrong," I babbled. 

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