“How do I look?”
“Like you’re dead.”
“I am dead.”
“If you’re dying, are looks the last thing you care about?”
“It’s a play, Amery. Looks is everything.”
“Nobody can see you lying in a fake coffin.”
Jacob sat up, blinking around the empty stage and seats, realization dawning on him.
Amery sighed, checking her wristwatch. 11 o’clock.
They were paired to do a husband-and-wife play for their drama class, but they didn’t like it because Jacob annoyed Amery. Ms. Angela saw how they don’t get along, so she told them practice till night. They had spent hours, only to realize Jacob couldn’t fit in the fake coffin, so they had to send the security guy to get another one.
Closing her eyes, she groaned. “We had one whole night. One whole night. And what progress did we make? Only made your hair stand. And- and it’s wild; you look like you’ve been struck by lightning.”
Jacob blinked. He was about to speak, when the lights went out. For one second, he thought he died. Then he felt hands tapping his shoulder.
“Jacob?” Amery’s voice shook.
“Good. Again you’re -”
“You can insult me after we get out.”
“But we haven’t-!”
“Amery, we can’t even see each other here, it’s really dark. We’ll do the play in the street- there are streetlights at least. Now come!”
Amery gripped his shoulders as he switched on his phone light and walked towards the exit. He often tripped over the empty seats, before catching himself and paying attention where he was going.
Finally, they reached the exit. He opened the door to see the starry sky and an empty street. The guard was nowhere.
Amery took out her phone. “Wait, I’ll call for a taxi-”
“Run,” Jacob interrupted her.
“There’s someone watching us. Run.”
Jacob grabbed Amery’s wrist and bolted across the street with no sense of direction. All he knew was that they needed to be away from that man.
The man who was watching them.
“Why do you care?”
That was the first thing she had asked after they ran away and called Jacob’s brother, Logan, who, after a few minutes, picked them up in his car.
Amery tapped Jacob’s shoulder. “Why couldn’t you just leave me in the dark?”
Jacob raised an eyebrow. “That’s a stupid question.”
“You don’t like me.”
“Just answer the question.”
“Well, you’re, unfortunately, my partner for the play, and I need to get an A.”
“Oh.” Amery wasn’t sure why she felt disappointed; she knew he didn’t like her.
“Read the news,” Logan said.
The moment Jacob checked it; he went pale. “The Louise Auditorium, located at Caine, was exploded on 11: 08.”
Amery sighed of relief. “Thank goodness we ran.”
“Thank Jacob,” Logan muttered.
Indeed. Amery never guessed Jacob would save her…or anyone.
“I saw Mr. Benjamin,” Jacob mumbled.
Logan slammed the brakes hard; Amery crashed against the back of his seat. “WHAT?”
“Who?” Amery yelped.
“Jacob, why didn’t you tell me earlier?” He cursed as he checked his rear-windows. “Gah, we’re being followed.”
“Who?” Amery repeated.
“A businessman who hates my family,” Jacob told her. “No worries.”
BANG! Amery’s heart jerked; someone had a gun. “What-?”
Suddenly, the car jerked sideways, throwing them against the door. The car screeched to a halt. Logan, Jacob and Amery got out of the car. Amery glanced back to see a bunch of cars racing towards them and started to run behind the brothers. They tore through the trees, branches raking their faces and arms. Amery grew breathless when they stopped; they were on a cliff.
“You’re cornered,” someone growled.
Amery turned to face a gun pointed at her, held by a man with flaming red hair.
Jacob’s and Logan’s arms were soon tied. Logan struggled against the two strong henchmen holding him down. “Mr. Benjamin, let her go.”
Mr. Benjamin responded in a different language. Amery’s mind clicked the moment he turned to face Logan.
Without thinking, she banged her knee against his stomach, making him double over, dropping the gun. The other men turned their attention to her, but she had already snatched his gun and pointing at him.
“Drop your guns,” she ordered, “or else he gets it.”
“Untie the boys.”
“Jacob, call the police.”
Jacob and Amery were surprised when they received good marks for the play; they hadn’t even rehearsed for it. Nobody knew about last night, because the police kept their identities a secret.
“Only we know,” Jacob said, before going home. He hesitated. Then held out his hand. “Friends?”
Amery looked at him, holding eye contact. Sighing, she shook his hand, making him grin wider. “I guess I could tolerate you for a longer time.”