Beneath Your Beautiful

Page 20

She sighs. "Grayson, I have something I need to tell you honey and I'm not sure how to tell you."
I don't like where this is going. The first thing that enters my mind is that something has happened to my father or my brother Jeff.
"Is it Dad? Is he ok? Or did something happen to Jeff?"
"No honey, they're both fine. I just spoke to Jeff and he'll be home for your birthday and Thanksgiving."
I breathe a sigh of relief and a renewed sense of excitement washes over me with the news that my brother will be coming home. I haven't seen him in almost three months, since his last visit from Chicago. He works at some fancy digital advertising agency and only comes home for the important days like holidays and birthdays.
"So then what's wrong mom?"
"Haley called me."
The sound of my ex-girlfriends name makes my blood turn cold. Two years hasn't dispelled any of the anger and abhorrence I feel towards her or what she did to me. To us.
My jaw ticks. "What did she want?" I bite out through gritted teeth.
"She called to let me know that she'll be here for your birthday and the two year anniversary of Emilie's' death."
I suck in a strangled breath and lean back against the wall. My head is spinning and I feel like I'm going to be sick.
"Grayson honey, are you there?"
"Mom, I'll call you later ok?"
She sniffles and I realize my reaction has in all likelihood made her cry. Dammit. I don't need guilt or my mother's sorrow added to the clusterfuck of emotions I have running through my body. I end the call.
"Are you ok?"
I snap my head up and see Huntley standing in her doorway. She's watching me carefully, analyzing me, scrutinizing me.
"No," I snap back. She winces at the brevity of my voice. "I need to leave."
"Go right ahead," she retorts, "No one's stopping you."
She's mad? What a fucking joke. "What is your problem?"
She laughs. "Are you kidding me right now Grayson? I just asked you if you're ok and you bit my head off!"
Brody steps out the door behind Huntley. "Everything ok?" he looks from me to Huntley and then back again.
"No," I growl, my eyes never leaving Huntley's. "We need to leave. Now."
I turn and walk away, heading for the Brody's truck downstairs. I need to hit something. Hard.
Brody follows after me and doesn't ask questions until we're outside the university's private gym.
Then I tell him everything.
Chapter 12
~ Grayson ~
My phone vibrates next to my bed and I rub the sleep from my eyes. I check the clock and let out an audible groan when I see the time. Two am.
Who the hell would be calling me at this hour? Everybody's out at Nicky's so I'm alone in the house. After I beat the shit out of everything within reach at the gym earlier, I needed some time to clear my head. I check the caller ID almost expecting Rebecca to be calling for a quick roll in the sheets, even though I ended our little arrangement a while ago.
Demi's name pops up and I frown. "Hello?" My voice is thick with sleep. "Oh God, Grayson!" Demi sobs into the phone. I sit up straight at the sound of her teary voice. She's crying, panicked.
"Demi what's wrong?" My heart starts racing and my mind starts conjuring up every possible 'worst case scenario'.
"I need your help! Something's wrong with Huntley. We're in the girls bathrooms' at Nicky's and she's throwin' up real bad! She only had two drinks and they weren't strong enough to make her so sick! Brody and Tommy are here but they can't hear their phones . Please help!!" she cries.
I jump out of bed and throw on tracksuit pants and a long-sleeve shirt, grabbing my truck keys and wallet in the process. "Demi, I need you to stay calm and stay with her alright? Do NOT leave her alone, do you understand? I will be there in ten minutes, I'll get you in the girls bathroom."
"Grayson, please hurry! I'm scared!"
Fuck. I'm going to lose it before I can make it to the bar.
"I'll be there now," I reply and end the call. I fly out the front door and jump straight into my truck, not worrying to let it warm up before I turn the key in the ignition. It takes me six minutes and about four traffic violations to pull into the full parking lot of Nicky's bar. I stop in front of the door. Luckily the security team all know me and as soon as I explain what's going on, they let me in.
The bar is packed for a Saturday night, a combination of students and older patrons who aren't here during the week. It smells like smoke and stale peanuts and colorful lights flicker over an otherwise dark dance floor. I turn left and head straight for the bathrooms.
There's a line outside the girls bathroom a mile long but I push through. "Hey! You can't go in there," someone yells. Tough shit. I don't care right now. I push the door open, almost knocking another girl on her ass. She glares for a second but then takes a good look at me. Recognition flits across her face and suddenly her features turn into a pathetic attempt at being seductive. Not even if I was really drunk, I think to myself.
A door clicks open and Demi's small body appears. Her face is red from crying, she looks terrified. As soon as she sees me a fresh stream of tears roll down her cheeks and I hug her, trying to comfort her as best I can without knowing what the hell is going on.
"Where is she?" I ask softly. She just points to stall she came out of. I let go of Demi and walk into the undersized stall. Huntley is hunched over the toilet, resting her head against her arms. I pull her hair out of her face, noticing how pale she is. Her skin is clammy, her breathing shallow. "Huntley?"
No response.
I touch her sweaty cheek. "Huntley?"
Still nothing.
"Is she ok?" Demi asks from behind me.
"I don't know," I say, "Who were you guys with? Are you sure she only had two drinks?"
"I swear she only had the two drinks Luke bought her. I've been with her since her and Luke came here after their date."
"Luke Bailey?" My voice comes out starker than I mean it to and Demi flinches. She nods yes and I feel my anger raise a notch. Luke Bailey is bad news. He wants girls to think he's a nice guy but the rumors about him using date rape drugs are enough to prove otherwise. God help the fucker if he's given Huntley anything.
"Shit, I think I know what's wrong with her. We need to get her to the hospital. Now."
I scoop Huntley up into my arms and her head falls heavily onto my chest. Her arms and legs are completely limp. I walk out the bathroom with Demi hot on my heels and set out for the exit. The music is loud and there are just too many people here. I start pushing people out of my way, earning me a few cuss words. I ignore them. The only thing I give a fuck about right now is the girl in my arms.
I turn around at the sound of my name and find Brody and Tommy pushing their way through the throng of people to get to us. "What the hell happened?" he asks.

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