Chapter Twenty-Two

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Hide and Seek

'Okay, so the rules are simple.'

Eden smiles like a child on Christmas morning, meeting each pair of eyes with precision as she paces back and forth, showing us her fisted hand filled with paper straws.

'Whoever draws the short straw is the seeker. Everyone else who draws the long ones have to hide. To make it fair, nobody is allowed past Maple. The people who are caught first have to help the seeker find the rest.' She pauses for breath. 'Oh, and you can't hide in the same spot as anyone else. That's cheating. I think we should –'

'Okay, hang on a second.' Riley steps forward from our formulated line, leaving a gap next to me with Wesley on the other. 'Who said you get to make all the rules?'

'I did.' Eden tilts her head, smiling sarcastically. 'I thought of the game, I get to make the rules. Ever heard of finders keepers?'

Riley rolls her dark eyes. 'Ever heard of democracy? We aren't children.' A pause. 'Besides, there are limited hiding spots out there. It's not like we won't bump into each other – sight won't be an advantage for any of us.'

'That's the point,' Eden says, rocking her hip to one side. 'You won't exactly be hiding, will you? The fog will do that job for you.'

'What if we go in pairs?' Parker asks, sliding his gaze to me and then quickly looking away.

From the corner of my eye, I see Eden holding back a grin, but Parker doesn't notice. I try to ignore the burning in my cheeks as Wesley tenses next to me.

'If we go in pairs,' says Riley, 'then I dibs Haley.'

Eden looks at her, eyes narrowed and arms folded. 'You can't dibs people.'

Riley shrugs, nonchalant. 'Just did.'

'I think Haley's already taken,' Dan says with a smirk. Parker grits his teeth and I feel Wesley's muscles tense next to me. 'It's just the question of who that's interesting.'

As the words leave Dan's lips, the blood freezes in my veins. Is that supposed to mean what I think it does? And if so, where the hell did he get that idea?

I haven't even spoken more than ten words to Parker, and Wesley – well, he's Wesley. What else can I say? He's a whole other – and much more annoying – issue all together.

I bite my lip, staring at the floor as I ignore the stray eyes flickering back and forth from me, Wesley and Parker. Outside, the fog continues to press against the window. It clouds against the glass, its fingertips reaching into each and every crevice.

Any second, I'm sure that it will break, sending hundreds of crystal shards shattering to my feet.

A small part of me hopes it would hurt.

'If she were to go with anyone, it would be me.' Eden shakes her head and I release a breath, the weight on my chest lifting ever so slightly. 'But that's not going to happen because we aren't going in pairs.' She slides Parker and Riley a look. 'Got it?'

I don't hear what Riley replies, whether the two are on route to another argument, because I'm too busy gritting my teeth over what was just said.

With everything going on, it feels stupid to start thinking about boys. Especially since the last boy in my life was no more special than a piece of gum on the bottom of my shoe.

True, a very tasty piece of gum – but a piece of gum nonetheless. But, no. That was another Haley living in another time.

Sure, we look the same – we have the same dark hair, slender hips and brown eyes – but everything is so different now. I'm so different now.

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