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If You Dare: Chapter 32

Before

Violet

Trey is at this party. But so is Wes, so I’m not going anywhere.

In the living room, Chloe hands me a red plastic cup full of dark liquid. Her parents are out of town for the weekend, and Chloe and Wes are taking full advantage of their empty house to throw the first summer break party.

Wes is in the kitchen with the other Devils, challenging each other to drinking contests. I don’t know when or how, but I’m planning on getting him alone tonight.

“Are my ears bleeding?” I shout to Chloe over the music.

“I’ll go tell Luke to turn it down!”

“Are you two official yet?”

They’ve been practically glued at the hip since the carnival. She chugs from her cup. “I’m waiting until I bang him. Gotta try before I buy.”

I laugh and lift my cup to my lips. “Pretty sure trying him would be dating, and buying would be marriage.”

She shrugs. “What about you and Wes?”

Before I can swallow a drop, I sputter on my drink. “What do you mean?”

Neither of us has told Chloe about the kiss at the carnival yet. We’ve been waiting for the right time to break the news to her.

“Oh my god.” She rolls her eyes. “How much longer do I have to keep pushing you two together before you finally come to your senses?”

“Wait. What?”

“Violet. I wasn’t exactly being subtle. I’ve spent months trying to get you and Wes together. Leaving you alone together, ambushing you with a double date, dragging you to my parents’ house for the weekend. I literally abandoned you with him at the carnival.”

My mouth hangs open. “So . . . wait. This whole time, you’ve wanted me to date your brother?”

I can’t believe it. For months, Wes and I have been worrying about upsetting Chloe by giving in to the attraction between us, and that’s exactly what she wanted.

She shoves my shoulder. “Obviously! How awesome would that be? You could marry him, and we’d be real sisters! Plus, I wouldn’t have to deal with Wes’s mopey ass anymore.”

“He’s never seemed mopey to me.” Wes has only ever been charming, smart, funny, dangerous, sexy—

“Because you were lucky enough not to grow up with him. He puts on this act like he’s some tough guy who just wants to play hockey and hoe around, but getting cheated on really broke him. He’s been so scared of getting hurt like that again, he hasn’t let anyone else in. But I could tell the day he met you that you were the only girl who stood a chance at changing that.”

My heart aches and warms at the same time. Aching for the pain and hurt Wes has gone through. Warming with hope that Chloe’s right—that Wes is letting me in. Breaking down those walls he built to keep his heart safe so he can finally trust someone with it. Trust me with it.

“What if we break up?” I ask. “You said you didn’t want to be caught in the middle.”

She scoffs. “Like I give a shit about that. I’ll still be your best friend, and he’ll still be my brother. Your relationship doesn’t have anything to do with me.”

I laugh, even as I give her arm a playful smack. “Then why did you tell Wes you didn’t want us dating?”

“Because it’d make you forbidden fruit.” She takes a long gulp from her drink. “If he knew he couldn’t have you, he’d want you that much more. If he sensed I was conspiring to get you two together, he’d run for the hills. He needed to realize he was ready for a relationship again on his own, not because I pressured him into it.”

“I knew you were up to something.” I shake my head. Looking back, Chloe’s scheming was obvious, but at the time, I let myself ignore all the signs, not wanting to get my hopes up that Wes could ever be interested in me if it meant I’d get my heart broken.

Though her lying and scheming might be questionable, her motives were pure. Chloe just wanted the best for Wes. And for me.

She finishes her cup before grabbing my arm. “Let’s go s-swimming.”

I laugh. “Are you already slurring? You’re such a lightweight.”

You’re such a lightweight.” She elbows me before hiccuping.

“Did you pregame without me?” I gasp in mock horror as Chloe leads the way out to the patio.

“I would never.” She trips on her way out the sliding glass door, but I manage to catch her before she goes down.

“Are you sure you want to go swimming?” I giggle. “Maybe you need to sit down for a minute. I’m pretty sure you’re a danger to yourself right now. Possibly others.”

“Swimming will help me sober up.”

I’m pretty sure I’ve heard a shower helps sober someone up, so maybe she’s right.

She leads me across the grass like she’s ice-skating, sending me into another fit of giggles until we reach the pool’s edge. Mr. Novak only opened the pool last week, and it’s probably still cold this early in the season, especially now that night has fallen. But if Chloe’s in, I’m in.

“We have to jump,” she declares.

“With our clothes on?”

“No way, these are my best clothes.”

I laugh. She’s in denim shorts and a pink T-shirt with a hole in the hem.

We strip, giggling the entire time. “Are you sure you want to do this? The water’s probably freezing still.”

“Don’t be a b-baby,” she slurs.

But she continues hovering at the pool’s edge, not jumping into the water or grabbing my hand to pull me with her.

I lean over and tell her, “I dare you.”

For the first time, she hesitates, her face almost blank as she stares into the inky depths.

But we never back down from a dare.

I take a step away from the edge before shoving her with both hands into the pool.

I jump in right after her, the water colliding with my skin like ice. But I don’t care, laughing when I come up for air.

For a few seconds, I can’t see her as chlorinated water, wet hair, and darkness obstruct my vision. I fling water her way, waiting for a few good splashes in return.

Until I finally notice the silence.

Chloe isn’t splashing me back. She’s not laughing.

The night air around us is so quiet, so still, a chill rakes down my spine.

“Chloe?”

Nothing. Nothing but more silence. No movement.

I call out her name again, heart hammering now as I move in the direction of where she fell in. My hands find her hair first, floating on the water’s surface. She’s facedown.

My heart drops to the bottom of the pool.

Chloe!” The scream rips from my throat. I try pushing her toward the edge, back to safety. Try to flip her so she can breathe again, but she’s so heavy and the panic is making my head spin. “Chloe!”

Beneath the single light illuminating the patio, a figure emerges, rushing toward us. He’s at the pool’s edge in seconds, tall and looming over where I’m struggling to get Chloe out of the water.

Wes pulls her out in a second, water rushing as it flows off her.

I climb up the ladder and watch helplessly as Wes presses two fingers to Chloe’s neck. Then flattens a hand against her chest. “Fuck!” he shouts. “Call 911!”

I scramble for our clothes, finally managing to dig out my phone with shaking hands and dial 911. But once Wes starts performing chest compressions, I lose it. Screaming and screaming, even as the operator answers.

Shut the fuck up!” Wes’s scream is like nothing I’ve ever heard. Every part of me freezes, including my lungs. Silencing me.

He rips the phone out of my hand, putting it on speaker so the operator can instruct him on how to give Chloe CPR. Even as the sirens approach and the first responders swarm, Wes continues diligently giving her chest compressions, showing no signs of slowing even as he breaks out in a sweat, even as his hands shake.

I keep waiting for her to move. For her to gasp in a breath. To turn and heave up the water flooding her lungs.

But she doesn’t.

She doesn’t.

She doesn’t move. Doesn’t breathe.

She’s not Chloe anymore.


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