Home > Stay With Me (She's With Me #2)

Stay With Me (She's With Me #2)
Author: Jessica Cunsolo

 

Prologue

 

 

Life laughs at you sometimes. Perhaps people like me are boring to watch, so every once in a while life goes, Hey, why don’t I mess around with Amelia a bit? Don’t you think that’ll be funny?

And then life’s friends, drama, pain, uncertainty, and unfortunate events, say, Hell, yeah, dude! We got your back. Watch the shit storm we can cause.

And they all get to work inserting themselves where they don’t belong, stirring up the pot. Then they sit around with cold beers clutched in their hands and some boxes of pizza shared between them and laugh uproariously. At least, that’s how I think it happens, because sometimes it seems like my time here on Earth is just one long episode of let’s see how we can screw with Amelia today.

There’s a man out there intent on murdering me: Tony. He has hurt and killed other people in the name of revenge. And I care very deeply about someone I’m destined to end up hurting—someone who discovered that he was being deceived from the start, and then was promptly arrested for murdering his stepfather, whom he’d been worried about harming his brothers ever since Greg was released from jail. Aiden is not a murderer; he’s not capable of doing something like that. Or is he? He’s a fierce protector of those he loves, and he would do anything to protect his brothers … but murder?

Aiden hates Greg with a burning passion—I’m pretty sure he abused Aiden as a child. But I can’t see Aiden taking his life then coming over to my house to watch movies like it’s any other day.

Why do the police think Aiden did it? He was at my house all night, and he was with Mason before that … right? When did Greg die, anyway? He’s been out of prison for a couple of weeks—wouldn’t he want to spend some time with his son, Ryan, and not bother with Aiden?

Ryan.

I wonder if Aiden’s stepbrother has heard about the death of his father. I wonder if he’s heard Aiden was arrested for Greg’s murder. Ryan hates Aiden for being Aiden; I don’t want to know what he’ll do if he thinks Aiden’s responsible for the death of his father. Before, this was just a petty rivalry, but now someone’s dead and Aiden’s in jail accused of murder.

I can’t lose Aiden. Not right now, not when he’s come to mean so much to me. Everyone here in King City has. All my friends are the people I never thought I’d ever have in my life; people who make me feel like I belong, like I have a family. I can’t let anyone, not Ryan, not Tony, and not even the police, take that away from me.

 

 

1

 

 

The police station hums with activity. Men and women in uniform are all over the place, either walking around like they’re in the middle of some important task or standing around talking like they have all the time in the world. An odd combination of disinfectant and dirt scents the air, and the constant ringing of a phone drills at my head. We’ve been sitting here for hours. No one has told us anything, as the only interaction between us and the officers has been them occasionally glaring at us for taking up practically the entire waiting area.

I hate police stations. I’ve been in plenty over the past year and it never gets better—the anxiety never goes away, and neither does the pit of dread that sits in the middle of my chest. Police stations remind me of Tony, and every person an officer leads past us in handcuffs makes me cringe. The only reason I’m sticking rooted to my seat instead of flying out of here as fast as my legs can take me is Aiden.

After the arrest, Julian, Mason, and Annalisa picked up the twins from their friend’s house like Aiden asked, and took them to Julian’s house for his mom to watch. Everyone else came to the police station, and Julian showed up a bit later with Annalisa and his father, Vince. Julian clearly got his height from his father, as well as his broad shoulders, but Vince has a stern face, and there’s a commanding presence about him that makes him feel trustworthy. Of course Julian would go to his dad for help, since we clearly need a responsible adult and it’s not like Aiden has another one to turn to. Plus, Aiden practically grew up with Julian.

A bit after Vince showed up, Mason arrived with his dad, Brian. The adults went to talk to the police about Aiden while the rest of us sat worriedly in the tiny reception area.

Mason gets his good looks from his dad, as their dark hair and tanned olive skin are almost identical, but Brian’s a bit shorter than his son. Brian’s dark eyes also lack that certain spark of mischief that Mason’s often hold—but then again, this isn’t a happy situation.

As the two dads talk to the officers, I sit straight up and study them intently, and it doesn’t look like it’s going well. Brian’s running his hand through his hair like Mason does when he’s frustrated, the gold wedding band sparkling brightly in comparison to his dark hair. My heartbeat hasn’t slowed down to normal since we sat down.

After a while, Vince is led by some officers to the back, and Brian comes to sit with us.

“What’s going on?” Mason asks his dad.

“They have Aiden in holding right now. He’s still a few weeks shy of eighteen, so they can’t question him without the presence of an appropriate adult and a social worker, and we’re trying to sort out who that is, exactly,” Brian explains, pulling out his phone and going through some contacts.

“But they can’t question him without a lawyer! Shouldn’t we be getting him a lawyer?” Annalisa exclaims.

“He doesn’t need a lawyer because he didn’t do anything!” Noah defends Aiden. “He has, like, seven alibis! Eight if you count the guy working the counter at the pizza place!”

Brian ignores Noah and stands up. “I’m calling a lawyer now. Hopefully, he’ll be here soon.”

And with that, Brian walks away to find a quiet place to make his phone call, leaving the rest of us to our unproductive worrying.

Half an hour later, a professional-looking man in a pressed suit enters the police station, and Brian gets up to shake his hand. They talk to some officers, who then hustle the man I’m assuming is Aiden’s lawyer into the back room.

Charlotte is sitting beside Chase, and they’re talking in hushed tones between themselves. Annalisa glares down everyone in the police station, and looks like she’s trying very hard to not punch anyone who looks at her the wrong way. Julian’s beside her, talking to Mason and Brian about what could possibly happen to Aiden and what’s going on in the back. Noah’s beside me, his foot rapidly and incessantly tapping the floor, the sound slowly driving me crazy.

Since moving to King City, I’ve been lucky enough to meet all these incredible people—friends who have become like a family to me. I’ve never had friends like this, who have your back no matter what, and who stick by you through hard times. We’re all in a police station on a Friday night instead of out enjoying ourselves, and it’s all because we care about each other, about Aiden.

While I’m grateful to have my friends, I hate that I’m stuck in an uncomfortable chair in a beige room with awful lighting, incapable of doing anything except try really hard to ignore the pit of anxiety and worry building in my stomach.

After a while, I can’t take it anymore and slap my hand on Noah’s thigh. “Stop!” I snap.

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