Switched / Page 18

Page 18


“I thought I saw you,” I admitted quietly, and his face went dark.

“I should’ve been here,” he said, almost under his breath, and then he got to his feet. He held out his hand and pulled me to my feet. I grimaced a little but tried not to show it. “Are you all right?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.” I forced a smile. “A little sore, but fine.”

He touched my cheek again, just with his fingertips, sending flutters through me. He studied my injury intently, and then his eyes met mine, dark and wonderful. It was at that moment that I knew I had officially fallen for him.

“You’re going to have a bruise,” Finn murmured, dropping his hand. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault,” I insisted. “It’s mine. I was being an idiot. I should’ve known . . .” I trailed off. I had been about to say that I should’ve known it was dangerous, but how could I have possibly known that? I had no idea who those people were. “Who were they? What did they want?”

“Vittra,” Finn growled, glaring down the road as if they would appear at the sound of their name. He tensed up as he scanned the horizon, then put his hand on the small of my back to usher me away. “Come on. I’ll explain more in the car.”

“The car?” I stopped where I was, making him press his palm harder on my back until he realized I wasn’t going anywhere. His hand stayed there, and I had to ignore the small pleasure of it so I could argue with him. “I’m not going in the car. I have to go home before Matt realizes I’m gone.”

“You can’t go back there,” Finn said, apologetic but firm. “I’m sorry. I know this is directly against your wishes, but it’s not safe for you there anymore. The Vittra have found you. I will not leave you here.”

“I don’t even understand what this Vittra is, and Matt is . . .” I shifted uncomfortably and looked backed toward my house.

Matt was tough, as far as people went, but I wasn’t sure what kind of match he would be for the guy who attacked me. And even if he could take him, I didn’t want to bring that element into the house. If something happened to Matt or Maggie because of me, I could never forgive myself.

Red and blue lights lit up the neighborhood as a police car drew near. The neighbors must’ve called the cops when they heard me fighting with the trackers. It apparently hadn’t sounded dangerous enough to warrant sirens, but the lights were flashing a block away.

“Wendy, we must hurry,” Finn insisted. The police expedited his urgency, so I nodded and let him take me away.

Apparently he’d run to my rescue this morning, because his car was still parked at his house two blocks away. We jogged toward it, but when the cop car got closer, we ducked behind a shed to hide.

“This is going to break Matt’s heart,” I whispered as we waited for the police to pass us.

“He’d want you to be safe,” Finn assured me, and he was right. But Matt wouldn’t know I was safe. He wouldn’t know anything about me.

Once Finn was certain we were in the clear, we stepped out from behind the shed and hurried on to his car.

“Do you have a cell phone?” I asked.

“Why?” Finn kept glancing around as we approached his car. He pulled his keys from his pocket and used the remote to unlock it.

“I need to call Matt and let him know that I’m okay,” I said. Finn held the passenger door open while I got inside. As soon as he got in the driver’s seat, I turned to him. “Well? Can I call him?”

“You really want to?” Finn asked as he started the car.

“Yes, of course I do! Why is that so surprising?”

Finn threw the car in gear and sped off down the road. The whole town was still asleep, except for us and the neighbors we’d awoken. He glanced over at me, debating. Finally, he dug in his pocket and pulled out his cell phone.

“Thank you.” I smiled gratefully at him.

When I started dialing the phone, my hands shook, and I felt sick. This was going to be the hardest conversation of my life. I held the phone to my ear, listening to it ring, and I tried to slow my breathing.

“Hello?” Matt answered the phone groggily. He clearly hadn’t woken up yet, so he must not know I was gone. I wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not. “Hello? Who’s there?”

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. “Matt?”

“Wendy?” Matt instantly sounded alert, panic in his voice. “Where are you? What’s going on? Are you all right?”

“Yeah, I’m fine.” My cheek still hurt, but I was fine. Even if I wasn’t, I couldn’t tell him that. “Um, I’m calling because . . . I’m leaving, and I wanted you to know that I’m safe.”

“What do you mean, you’re leaving?” Matt asked. I could hear him open his door, and then the bang of my bedroom door being thrown open. “Where are you, Wendy? You need to come home right now!”

“I can’t, Matt.” I rubbed my forehead and let out a shaky breath.

“Why? Does somebody have you? Did Finn take you?” Matt demanded. In the background, I could hear Maggie asking questions. He must have woken her up with all the commotion. “I’ll kill that little bastard if he lays one hand on you.”

“Yeah, I’m with Finn, but it’s not like you think,” I said thickly. “I wish I could explain everything to you, but I can’t. He’s taking care of me, though. He’s making sure I’m safe.”

“Safe from what?” Matt snapped. “I take care of you! Why are you doing this?” He took a deep breath and tried to calm down. “If we’re doing something wrong, we can change it, Wendy. You just need to come home, right now.” His voice was cracking, and it broke my heart. “Please, Wendy.”

“You’re not doing anything wrong.” Silent tears slid down my face, and I tried to swallow the lump in my throat. “You didn’t do anything. This isn’t about you or Maggie, honest. I love you guys, and I would take you with me if I could. But I can’t.”

“Why do you keep saying ‘can’t’? Is he forcing you? Tell me where you are so I can call the police.”

“He’s not forcing me, Matt.” I sighed and wondered if this phone call had been a bad idea. Maybe I just made it worse for him. “Please don’t try and find me. You won’t be able to, and I don’t want you to. I just wanted you to know that I’m safe and that I love you and you never did anything wrong. Okay? I just want you to be happy.”


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