Twist Me(3)

By: Anna Zaires

He nods, like I confirmed his suspicions. And then he raises his hand and touches my face. Lightly, gently. His thumb rubs against my lower lip, as though he’s curious about its texture.

I’m so shocked that I just stand there. Nobody has ever done that before, touched me so casually, so possessively. I feel hot and cold at the same time, and a tendril of fear snakes down my spine. There is no hesitation in his actions. No asking for permission, no pausing to see if I would let him touch me.

He just touches me. Like he has the right to do so. Like I belong to him.

I draw in a shaky breath and back away. “I have to go,” I whisper, and he nods again, watching me with an inscrutable expression on his beautiful face.

I know he’s letting me go, and I feel pathetically grateful—because something deep inside me senses that he could’ve easily gone further, that he doesn’t play by the normal rules.

That he’s probably the most dangerous creature I’ve ever met.

I turn and make my way through the crowd. My hands are trembling, and my heart is pounding in my throat.

I need to leave, so I grab Leah and make her drive me home.

As we’re walking out of the club, I look back and I see him again. He’s still staring at me.

There is a dark promise in his gaze—something that makes me shiver.

Chapter 2

The next three weeks pass by in a blur. I celebrate my eighteenth birthday, study for finals, hang out with Leah and my other friend Jennie, go to football games to watch Jake play, and get ready for graduation.

I try not to think about the club incident again. Because when I do, I feel like a coward. Why did I run? Julian had barely touched me.

I can’t fathom my strange reaction. I had been turned on, but ridiculously frightened at the same time.

And now my nights are restless. Instead of dreaming of Jake, I often wake up feeling hot and uncomfortable, throbbing between my legs. Dark sexual images invade my dreams, stuff I’ve never thought about before. A lot of it involves Julian doing something to me, usually while I’m helplessly frozen in place.

Sometimes I think I’m going crazy.

Pushing that disturbing thought out of my mind, I focus on getting dressed.

My high school graduation is today, and I’m excited. Leah, Jennie, and I have big plans for after the ceremony. Jake is throwing a post-graduation party at his house. It will be the perfect opportunity to finally talk to him.

I’m wearing a black dress under my blue graduation gown. It’s simple, but it fits me well, showing off my small curves. I’m also wearing my four-inch heels. A little much for the graduation ceremony, but I need the added height.

My parents drive me to the school. This summer I’m hoping to save enough money to buy my own car for college. I’m going to a local community college because it’s cheaper that way, so I’ll still be living at home.

I don’t mind. My parents are nice, and we get along well. They give me a lot of freedom—probably because they think I’m a good kid, never getting in trouble. They’re mostly right. Other than the fake IDs and the occasional clubbing excursions, I lead a pretty sedate life. No heavy drinking, no smoking, no drugs of any kind—although I did try pot once at a party.

We arrive and I find Leah. Lining up for the ceremony, we wait patiently for our names to be called. It’s a perfect day in early June—not too hot, not too cold.

Leah’s name is called first. Luckily for her, her last name starts with ‘A.’ My last name is Leston, so I have to stand for another thirty minutes. Fortunately, our graduating class is only a hundred people. One of the perks of living in a small town.

My name is called and I go to receive my diploma. Looking out onto the crowd, I smile and wave to my parents. I’m pleased that they look so proud.

I shake the principal’s hand and turn to go back to my seat.

And in that moment, I see him again.

My blood freezes in my veins.

He’s sitting in the back, watching me. I can feel his eyes on me, even from a distance.

Somehow I make my way down from the stage without falling. My legs are trembling, and my breathing is much faster than normal. I take a seat next to my parents and pray that they don’t notice my state.

Why is Julian here? What does he want from me? Taking a deep breath, I tell myself to calm down. Surely he’s here because of someone else. Maybe he has a brother or a sister in my graduating class. Or some other relative.

But I know I’m lying to myself.

I remember that possessive touch, and I know he’s not done with me.

He wants me.

A shudder runs down my spine at the thought.

* * *

I don’t see him again after the ceremony, and I’m relieved. Leah drives us to Jake’s house. She and Jennie are chattering the entire way, excited to be done with high school, to start the next phase of our lives.

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