Escape in You(10)

By: Rachel Schurig

“Mmm, pancakes,” Hunter says, as he walks up behind her. “I’m in.”

Ellie holds up her phone. “I was just texting you.”

He taps his forehead. “I could sense that my presence was desired.”

I look over at Taylor. “I guess we’re leaving.” Somehow I’m both disappointed and relieved.

“I guess so.”

I know it’s better to leave before I start getting any weird ideas about seeing him again, but I still feel a sense of letdown. I’ll never get to find out what it’s like to kiss that gorgeous mouth. To trail my tongue across that jaw…

As I start to stand, Taylor grabs my hand. “I’ll be seeing you, Zoe. That’s a promise.”

I look down at him, not knowing what to say. I should discourage him, tell him I’m not interested. But I just can't do it. “We’ll see,” I murmur, then turn to help hoist Ellie into a standing position.

“Let’s find Everett,” Hunter says. “He’s the DD tonight. Why’s it so dark down here?” He looks around the room. “Hey, Everett!” he shouts. “I want pancakes!”

Everett’s laugh sounds from across the room, and we head off in that direction. I refuse to turn around to take a last look at Taylor. Even though we aren’t heading home yet, leaving the party takes me one step closer to my real life.

And there is no place for anything as beautiful as Jet Taylor in my real life.

Chapter Three


I wake up the next morning with a raging headache. As is often the case, Hunter and Ellie had found a second wind after their midnight pancake snack. Along with Everett, we ended up in the park with another fifth of vodka. I can't remember actually getting into the house, and I say a silent prayer that I was quiet.

There’s far too much light in my bedroom, and I pull my raggedy quilt up over my face. No sooner am I ensconced in my cocoon than my phone starts vibrating on the nightstand. The sound of the phone clattering across the cheap particle board of the nightstand might as well be a jackhammer in my already pounding head. Groaning, I stick an arm out from under the covers to grab it.

“Hello.” My voice is raspy, and I rub my eyes.

“You sound lovely this morning,” Ellie says, sounding amused.

“How are you not hungover?” I moan. “You drank more than I did.”

“You were downing vodka all night,” she says. “I didn’t start on the hard stuff until we got to the park.”

“Right. What’s up? Or are you calling me at this God-forsaken hour just to be a bitch?”

“It’s noon, Princess. I thought you might want to get your lazy ass out of bed and go get burritos.”

I moan a little. Burritos are our sure-fire hangover cure. “When can you get here?”

She laughs. “Give me twenty.”

It’s a struggle, but I manage to roll out of bed. Once I’m on my feet, I slowly make my way to the bathroom down the hall. So far I haven’t heard anyone else stirring, and I’m relieved. Some things I just can't handle when this hungover.

Once I finish brushing my teeth and rinsing out my mouth, I peer into the mirror, debating whether or not to jump in the shower. Ellie said twenty, which usually means more like a half hour. My hair looks like shit, greasy and lank, and my blonde roots are starting to show through the bottled red. I’ll have to get Ellie to dye it for me soon. My face is pale, with huge dark circles under my eyes. I sigh. A shower would be great, but I need to check on my mom first before I leave, and that could take a while. I settle for washing my face and pulling my hair up into a messy bun. I take my makeup bag from under the sink and smear some foundation over my face, but it doesn’t do much to hide those dark circles.

Not in the mood to devote any more effort to a lost cause, I sneak back down the hallway to my room and change out of the boxers and t-shirt I’d slept in. I can't face the thought of anything but yoga pants, so I pull on my softest pair and find a clean blue tank top. I know I still look like ten kinds of shit, but I figure it’s more than sufficient for the Burrito Barn.

I look at my watch. I have about fifteen minutes, and I’m out of ways to stall. I need to check on my mom. I pad down the worn carpet to her room and take a deep breath before pushing open the door. It’s dark inside, all the blinds closed tightly against the early summer sunlight. I stand stock still until her form moves under the covers and I can be sure she’s breathing.