Home > Here Loves a Sociopath (Here Lies #3)

Here Loves a Sociopath (Here Lies #3)
Author: C.L. Matthews


Prologue

   The trouble with gambling, an outcome isn’t promised. It’s not here nor there, it only ends the way it’s meant to on fate.

   So, when life hands you bad cards, you count them, gamble, and become the winner. You force the narrative to have the best possible outcome you can.

   You can work so hard, be given nothing, yet it’s all down to chance, and none of us actually know what the outcome will be. Proving yourself, fighting for the results you want, it can lead to making those bad cards feel nonexistent.

   If you’re smart, you don’t settle for less. If you do, you’re not achieving more than trying. Be the catalyst to your own ambitions.

   I’ve been staring at the sky for far too long. It’s gloomy, the hope of rain keeps me frozen in the moment.

   A loud shutting of a door forces my attention away from my anticipation for dreariness. She stands there, twenty or so feet away from me. It’s been a year since anyone has seen her. It felt long, days alone without her small smile, the rosiness that lit her cheeks, or even the way she hid her face while laughing.

   She’s my catalyst.

   The light in my starless sky.

   Does she even know it?

   Will she remember me this time? My memories prickle of the last time we spent together. We were staring at the sky, the stars weren’t there, but a moon bright as can be shone down on us. She told me about Noah, how she and her were best friends.

   I miss Noah.

   I missed Colt.

   Life hasn’t been the same since Colt was taken back to the Estate.

   Is Colt’s memory once again gone, will she remember me or Noah? She kissed my cheek last summer, she said it was because she likes me. But what if she’s kissed them too and somehow forgotten it?

   Maybe that will give me the opportunity to kiss her back if she wants that… maybe forgetting is a good thing and not a bad one.

   Mom says it’s not an illness. She’s not sick; she just forgets. But how does one forget if they’re not sick? It’s not like magic, no one can just erase her memory, right?

   I’ve watched movies like Men in Black. Is she having some alien fighters erasing her mind? My adolescent mind can’t comprehend the concept of how she’s somehow a fresh person every summer.

   “Hey,” she meekly calls out to me. It’s small, not like the Colt I got to know. Walking toward her, the thought of the impending rain is all but forgotten.

   “Colt,” I respond, wanting to hug her for some reason. Human touch isn’t and hasn’t been something I’m fond of, but somehow, she makes the creepy and crawling feelings erase. It feels natural.

   “H-how do you know my name?” she whispers, her eyes widening. My stomach sinks and I wonder what her moms would think if they knew I was out here talking to her and not staying away like they told me to.

   We’re not allowed to hang out with her.

   Since her first summer with us, she isn’t allowed to be our friends. We can hang out with Cassidy all we want, but she’s off-limits.

   “Cassidy,” I quickly lie. “He’s my friend.”

   Realization hitting her, she shrugs off her nervousness. “Oh, okay. What’s your name?” She offers me her hand, but it unsettles me so much I ignore it.

   “Bridger,” I offer. She stares at me, and a glimpse of something sparks in her eyes and she narrows them for a single moment before nodding.

   “Colt!” Cass comes outside, yelling, his face full of concern. He comes to me, his worry clear. Leaning into me, he harshly whispers, “Stay away from her, Ridge.”

   A derisive chuckle leaves me and before I know it, I’m turning away and shaking my head as I wonder how this is normal and how Cass is making it seem like I’m the bad guy.

 

 

Chapter One

   Bridger

   Life is such an odd thing.

   Your heart beats, which keeps you breathing, but without lungs, you, too, die.

   There are vital pieces of yourself that can ache, die in a sense, yet you survive.

   Humans are fickle and I’ve always found that emotions can hinder your goals. For me, Colt is what causes all my turmoil. There’s something about her constantly driving me to protect her. To do things I shouldn’t. To feel, even if I don’t understand the emotions whatsoever.

   Walking toward Colt’s door, I ruminate on the facts in front of me.

   They want her dead.

   Maybe not now.

   Maybe not today.

   Maybe not tomorrow.

   But eventually, they’ll come for her and I simply can’t have that.

   The halls are barren, not something I’m unused to while at the Edgington Estate. They all make excuses as to why it’s empty, but the ones without a heart understand.

   Death lines the walls, it’s decorated with paintings, the stale perfume to disguise the bigger stench. But deep down, if you stay a tad longer, inhaling the scant smell of blood and foreboding, you’d realize that underneath the grandeur lives secrets of murder, thievery, and treachery.

   I don’t knock at Colt’s door. She’ll either be in the shower or getting dressed, knocking will give her an excuse to not answer and think about where we’re at.

   I’m sure tomorrow when it’s all said and done, everyone will wonder where Colt is. They’ll probably freak out and think the worst, and that’s what I need.

   Their fear will create the course for what I’ve been hiding all along.

   Twisting the unlocked knob, I make sure to close it silently behind me. Instead of keeping it unlocked, I make sure no one will get in.

   For one, Lux and Colt are technically married. Fraternizing with me would make her look bad. In this society, it could be considered treasonous and we’d both be killed.

   Two, she could be naked and the thought of other people seeing her has an untapped rage settling inside me. I’ve never understood the emotion, only that I get it whenever the guys look at her, touch her, kiss her like she’s theirs, and especially whenever they fuck her and I have to bear witness. It doesn’t make sense, but I’ve learned not to question the insanity that’s my mind.

   Tiptoeing to her closet, I check for her. After she and Lux got married, they moved in together in the tower at the Estate. Kind of. She slept in his room but her stuff stayed here. Between his sleeping in and her need to show up for the classes I’m sure she hates, she comes here to prepare.

   Parris has been assigned back to Noah since Colt’s marriage as well. Midas thinks being bound by law saves Colt from those who want her dead.

   He’s obviously stupid and naïve.

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