Carnival Nights: Carnival #2 (8 page)

Our eyes meet in silent understanding. Neither of us needs to say another word to make a formal agreement. With our eyes, we’ve made a deal tighter than the shake of a hand.

“Now, have that door opened so I can carry my boyfriend out of here.”

He nods in compliance and I lower the gun to my side before sprinting to get Blue.

* * *

C
ookie and I fire-carry Blue out of the house and into the last remnants of daylight. Shane watches quietly as we pass him. He’s already coming down from his high and I can see the guilt sinking in. It’s all over his face—sunken eyes, sunken chin, sunken spirit. I give him a nod before we exit the rugged house. “Thank you,” I whisper silently, but I know that he hears me.

“You kicked his ass back there,” Blue says with a forced chuckle, but then grows serious within a beat. “I would have killed him.”

“I know,” I say deadpan. “You would have done it for us, but it would have eaten you alive.”

“I’m capable of living with my demons.”

“Are you sure about that?” 

Gina springs the passenger side door open as Cookie and I lower him gently into the seat. “I know why you did it,” he says. “Why you didn’t tell me about my father.”

“It weighed on me every day.”

“You’re stronger than you think.”

That brings a smile to my face. “I know, right?”

Quickly, I shut the door and run to the other side. I hop into the Jeep and turn the ignition all at once. I’m beyond ready to blow this town, and hopefully, leave everything behind.

Blue shifts in his seat. “Did you get the drugs?”

That would be a huge, resounding
no.
“We’ll talk about that later.”

Sirens that start as a whisper soon speed into fully realized cries of justice. Behind us, the street is darker, unaffected by the glimmering sun about to sink completely from the sky. Blue and red lights chase the sun into hiding.

Deja-fucking-vu.
We’ve been here before, back when we were forced to leave Lakeview. At that moment, I knew that was the right choice, but I never had a real hand in deciding our fate. My heart wouldn’t allow that. This time, I’m in the driver’s seat and from here on out, something’s gotta change.

EPILOGUE

CHARLIE

A
n hour past the insanity of Shane, panic has begun to settle in. We speed aimlessly down desolate back roads. There are four of us in this car and not one has any idea where we’re going. Blue needs medical attention, but we can’t take him to a hospital. Too many questions will be asked.

My eyes begin to water, a mixture between fear and nervousness. “What the hell are we going to do?” I ask Blue. When he doesn’t answer, I reiterate my question, this time much louder. “Where are we going to go?”

“I don’t know,” he groans loudly. “Just let me think.”

“I’m going to need you to think faster.”

We hit a bump and he grunts in pain. “It’s kind of hard to think when there’s a bullet in my leg!”

With one hand firm on the wheel, I wipe the wetness from my eyes. “Let’s just go back to Lakeview.”

Blue sighs deeply. “You know we can’t do that.”

Cookie leans forward. Even in the darkness, I can see his trembling lips in the rearview mirror. He’s terrified he’s going to lose his best friend. “Look, guys, let’s just go to a hospital.”

“We can’t do that,” Gina weighs in.

“I’d rather have to tell the police the truth than watch my best friend die.” His voice breaks. “What is wrong with you people?”

“We’re not going to the damn hospital,” Blue says, shutting down that idea in an instant.

Back to my idea... “I know what happens if we go back, but I’m tired of running, Blue.”

Blue pinches the bridge of his nose with his fingers, lets out a frustrated scream and punches the dashboard. It’s at this moment I decide to block everything out. I can hear the back and forth between Cookie, Gina, and Blue, but I can’t make sense of it. I stare ahead, taking notice of the way the lights light up the gravel beneath us.

I don’t know where we’re going or what we’re going to do, so I guess I’ll just drive until I can’t drive anymore.

But that’s a difficult chore when you’re unable to see the road ahead...

And I’m not talking about the rocks. I can see them just fine. It’s everything else...

THE END

# # #

AMUSEMENT

Charlie returns to Lakeview. As she tries to put the pieces of her life back together, Blue comes back for her.  When it’s two against the world, can there ever be a happy ending? Amusement is the final book in Blue and Charlie’s story.

COMING SOON

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