[7] Stranded

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I need to do something. Not murder, but something.

The same thoughts keep swirling in my head, a mantra forged from desperation and sheer stupidity. Rationally, I can't take Will on. I have no cards, no chips. What is there that I can do?

As it stands, I'm essentially in a still alien environment with rather unfamiliar people, and I'm going about my life as if it's completely normal. Just today I woke to find Atty had ditched me halfway into the night to work (he's still holed in there even now) and Collette and Jay insisted I spend the morning gardening with them.

The morning went fine, no problems. But the minute I'm left alone, stupid Will's smug face starts creeping into the peripheral of my mind. It's Sunday now, I need to be back by Thursday as per his majesty's command.

He thinks he can threaten me and I'll buckle? Sure, I don't have anything to work with, but that doesn't mean I won't try. It may have been pretend, but the time we spent 'dating' was not a complete waste. I learnt things, such as the fact that he takes the entire team to his forest cabin place during the weekend before the first game of the season.

That means I know exactly where he is right now. I don't have a plan but I have instinct, which will have to be enough.

My mind made, I slink down the stairs to find Collette. She's seated at the dining table, surrounded by spreadsheets and her laptop. Rectangular glasses rest on her nose as she sifts through a binder, jotting down notes.

A little further down the table is Atty, hair pulled back with a neon pink headband and a cup of coffee clutched tightly in his hands. He's staring off into space, taking a drawn out sip every now and then.

I clear my throat, putting on my most wholesome smile. "Collette, I'll just be heading out for a bit."

She responds before I've even pivoted. "Where to?"

Uhm, to battle. But I can't tell her that.

I'm not sure how she interprets my lack of response, but she puts the binder down and removes her glasses. "Honey, I don't ask to be nosy. It's just my responsibility."

Right, of course I know that. I nod, tucking my hands into the pockets of my hoodie, I rock on the heels of my feet. "I just need to pick up a few essentials from Arcadias."

Crap, shouldn't have said Arcadias. Its far, which is what I was going for, but it's super shady as well. Dammit, I'm really my own snitch.

Sure enough, Colette frowns. "In that case, take Atty or Jay with you."

I open my mouth but there's no room for protest, apparently. "No arguments sweetie. I promised your mom I would look after you when you're here. You're my responsibility. I don't feel comfortable letting you go somewhere far and risky on your own."

Yeah, I really create my own hurdles. Pull my own rug from underneath, so to speak.

I need to do damage control. I have to make sure Atty doesn't come with because he's more suspicious than Jay, he'll pick up on my intentions right away.

"Okay, I'll go get Jay then," I say. Instantly, Atty's head swivels towards me.

"I'll come."

"C'mon man. Don't you have something due tomorrow? I'll just go with Jay."

"I finished it, Jay has a test. And also, you're up to something so I'll spare my baby brother the headache."

See, he bleeds suspicion.

I glare at him for a bit, and he glares right back. I sigh, shaking my head. "Fine. I'll wait for you in the car. Don't take too long."

This is not a problem, I'll just have to step up my trickery game. I fasten my black hiking boots and slip into my car. The familiar grinding and creaking untie a knot in my shoulders. This will be fine. I'll find a way to ditch Atty, sneak into Will's cabin, delete the pictures, sneak back out, unditch Atty, and return.

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