Fall from India Place Page 20

“No,” I lied convincingly. “He just rejected me, that’s all. I’m not in the mood to be reminded of that tonight.”

“Do you want to leave now?”

I drew in a deep breath, knowing I couldn’t sit in that reception hall with Marco. “Yeah.”

Cole got me out of there, reluctantly dropping me off at my flat. I could tell he sensed there was more to my story and didn’t want to leave me alone, but I needed to be alone.

I kicked off the heels that were pinching my toes and sat down in my sitting room in the dark.

I couldn’t believe Marco had been living in Edinburgh all this time. All this time…

The pain I’d shoved deep down inside me all those years ago came back with a vengeance. Tears burned in my eyes and in my throat as I remembered that night.

The night it all changed…

Walking into the flat I knew I shouldn’t be here. It was cloudy with smoke and the thick scent of marijuana. There wasn’t much furniture, and what was there was dingy and old. Not that I could see much of any of it, since the flat was packed wall to wall with people.

It was the start of our final year at school and Sadie wanted this year to be the best. How that translated into crashing some loser’s party on India Place, I didn’t know. As I followed her through the crowds, I slapped at hands that touched my hips and patted my arse. Great.

“I see Dave!” Sadie shouted over her shoulder to me. Dave was the reason she’d dragged me to the party with her. He was a few years older and she had a crush on him. “I’ll be right back.”

Before I could say anything she’d disappeared and I was left standing in the doorway of the living room. I felt the vibrations from the music speaker thrum unpleasantly in my chest. Where were the neighbor complaints? The police?

I was shoved somewhat forcefully into the room as more people streamed in, and while I tried to squeeze back into the crowds on the outskirts, my eyes caught sight of three lines of white powder on the glass coffee table.

I stared wide-eyed as a girl I didn’t know snorted a line.

Fuck, I needed to get out of there.

I turned to flee, only to slam up against someone’s chest.

My eyes rose to meet unfamiliar dark ones. The guy’s eyes swept over me, glittering with sexual intent, and just like that I found myself pinned between the wall and him.

“I’ve never seen you before,” he said loudly into my ear, his mouth touching it.

I ducked my head, shivering in revulsion at the feel of his lips on my skin. “I’m just leaving,” I yelled, attempting to duck under his arm.

He stopped me and I closed my eyes, trying not to panic. We were in a room filled with people. It wasn’t like he could do anything. Still, I cursed myself for borrowing Sadie’s figure-hugging blue dress – this was not the kind of attention I’d wanted when I’d chosen to wear it.

“Aw, stay a bit.” He grinned, pressing in closer. “Get tae know me.”

“I don’t want to know you. I want to leave. Move.”

“That’s no very nice.” He bit his lip in a way I assumed he thought women found sexy. He assumed wrong. “You look nice. Play nice.”

I glared at him. “Get. Off. Me.”

Before he could reply, a large fist gripped his shirt and he was suddenly pushed away. He tripped over a girl’s foot and crashed to the floor. My eyes went from him to the large guy beside me and a wave of relief and giddiness moved through me.

Marco scowled down at the stranger. The stranger got up without a word, his expression fearful, and disappeared into the room beyond.

Marco quickly turned on me, and my thanks and “hello” caught in my throat as he wrapped his hand around my arm and none too gently shoved me in front of him out the doorway and down the hall.

I could feel the anger emanating from him.

Confused, I stayed silent, watching him take a key out of his jeans and unlock the door at the end of the hall. He shoved me inside and followed me. He closed the door behind us and I heard the lock turn. The music was a muffled throbbing pulse beyond it.

My eyes wandered over the small space. There was a bed, a worn-out desk with an old laptop on it, and a chest of drawers.

“What are you doing here?” Marco asked gruffly, his eyebrows drawn together in annoyance as his gaze roamed over me.

Equally annoyed by his attitude, I crossed my arms over my chest. “Hello to you, too.”

I hadn’t seen Marco in weeks. After the whole Scott date fiasco, with the help of Jo and Liv I managed to ambush Marco in D’Alessandro’s again and got him to agree to hang out with me. We did, but the tension between us had intensified somehow, and he began to make excuses not to see me.

I missed him all the time.

Hiding my hurt, I looked around the room. “Do you live here?”

“Like you didn’t know that.”

Stung, I gave a bitter snort of laughter. “Contrary to what you might think, I know when I’m not wanted. I didn’t know you lived here. How could I? I haven’t heard from you in ages.”

I watched his eyes soften. “Sorry. That was a shit thing to say.”

“Why do you live here?” I couldn’t keep the distaste out of my expression.

Marco grimaced and sank down onto the edge of his bed. “I had to get my own place, but I don’t exactly have a lot of money. My friend knows the guy who owns this place. The rent is cheap. My roommate, however, isn’t worth it.” He gestured to the door and everything that was going on beyond it. “I’ll be moving out as soon as possible.” His eyes narrowed on me. “Doesn’t answer the question of why the hell you of all people are at a place like this?”

“Me of all people? I’m at a party, Marco. I’ve been known to do that sometimes.”

“No.” He shook his head. “Not this kind of party. Hannah, you need to go. You can’t be here.”

“I came with Sadie.”

“Of course you did.” Marco wasn’t a big fan of Sadie. “We’ll find her and go.”

“Or…” I took a step toward him and noted his eyes lowered, moving over my legs before he could stop them. “We could stay. Hang out. We haven’t done that in a while.”

His jaw clenched. “Hannah, just leave.”

I had weeks of being pissed off to fuel my anger. “Fine! You stay here and I’ll go back to the party.”

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