Authors: K.A. Harrington
G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
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Copyright Â© 2014 by Kim Harrington.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Harrington, Kim, 1974â
Forget me / K.M. Harrington. pages cm
Summary: In a town suffering after the major employer closed under a cloud of scandal, Morgan and her friends uncover a mystery as they try to learn if her supposedly dead boyfriend is living nearby under a different name.
[1. Mystery and detective stories. 2. SecretsâFiction. 3. MurderâFiction. 4. FriendshipâFiction. 5. Dating (Social customs)âFiction. 6. Family lifeâMassachusettsâFiction. 7. MassachusettsâFiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.H23817For 2014 [Fic]âdc23 2013026298
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for third-party websites or their content.
To Susan, who would punch me if I wrote anything sappy here.
e lied to me.
That was my first thought when I saw him.
I was alone in my car, on the way to the party where Toni and my other friends were waiting. As I drove down Lincoln Road, my eyes went to the tall chain-link fence that bordered the old amusement park. In the distance, I could almost make out the highest hill of the kiddie coaster and the happy dragon that towered over the bumper cars. But it was dark, so I might have just been seeing what I knew was there.
expecting to see was my boyfriend, Flynn. The car's headlights reflected off his pale face, which seemed to almost float in the darkness. Flynn had told me he couldn't come because he had plans with his parents.
I slammed on my brakes, shifted into reverse, and pulled over. Squinting into the darkness, I hoped the light had played a trick on me. But there he was, leaning against the fence.
Caught, he walked swiftly toward the car, head down. His ratty black trench coat fluttered open in the wind, revealing dark jeans and the vintage U2 T-shirt I'd bought him. He rapped his knuckles on the passenger-side window, and I lowered it.
He rested his arms on the roof of the car and hung his head low to look in the window. “Hey, Morgan.”
“What are you doing out here?” I asked, trying to keep my voice cool and level.
“Just hanging out, thinking.”
Brooding was Flynn's natural state, but he seemed even more depressed than usual. Maybe he hadn't lied after all. Maybe he really did have plans with his family but they'd had a fight or something. And he came out here to get away.
“Did something happen?” I asked. “You could've called me. I would've picked you up.”
“I knowÂ .Â .Â .” His voice was strained, different. He had a complicated relationship with his parents and hated to talk about them at all. I never forced him to let me in. I figured he would when he was ready. He'd moved to town two months ago, and I was the only one he ever voluntarily talked to. I told myself he just needed more time than most people, that was all.
He straightened to his full height, and I couldn't see his face through the window anymore. I wanted to look him in the eye. I needed to quiet the uncertainty whispering from the back of my mind. I killed the engine and got out of the car.
“What are you doing?” he said.
“Coming to talk to you.” I walked through the headlights, rested a hand on the warm hood, and stared at him.
But he wouldn't look at me. His eyes were jittery, nervous. They kept roaming over my shoulder to watch the road, like he was expecting another car.
This end of Lincoln Road was never busy after the amusement park shut down years ago. The only people who used it were those who knew it connected to the back of Meadow Placeâthe half-empty development of McMansionsâwhere I'd been heading before I saw him. But I was hours late to the party. Everyone was already there. So who was he expecting to come down this deserted road? Was heÂ .Â .Â . meeting someone else?
“FlynnÂ .Â .Â .” I pushed his name out of my tightened throat. “What are you really doing out here?”
He looked down the street once more, and his expression changed. He seemed to come to some decision. “Get in the car.”
I blinked, confused. “What?”
He opened the passenger door quickly, and motioned for me to get in on the other side. I dashed around and slid into the driver's seat. He leaned across the space between us and gave me a quick kiss. Like I'd just picked him up for a date, not found him acting shady by the side of the road.
He reached over and started the engine. “Let's go.”
His sudden change had my head spinning. “What's the rush?”
“Let's just get out of here. I want to be with you.” He pointed at the road. “Let's go somewhere.”
“Anywhere you want.”
I pulled onto the road and drove slowly. This behavior wasn't entirely surprising. Flynn was normally secretive and moody, regarding most people and things with a quiet disdain. But that's why he made me feel special. I was the thing he
hate. I was the person who could make him crack a smile by calling him “Mr. Serious.” Just two weeks ago, pressing against a bare-limbed tree on a frosty night, our lips inches apart, he told me I was the only good thing in his life.
But now, he rubbed both hands on his thighs as his left leg bounced up and down. He reminded me of a caged animal, yearning to break out and run free. But no one was making him sit here. I hadn't forced him to get in the car.
I gave him a playful poke in the side. “Look who it is! It's Mr. Serious.”
But he didn't smile this time. Instead, he cast a quick glance over his shoulder at the dark road behind us. I didn't speak, hoping the silence would encourage him to tell me what he was thinking. But the more time went on, the more I worried. Images flashed in my mind, of another girl driving this road, looking for Flynn at their predetermined meeting spot. She was prettier than me, maybe older, cooler, edgier. She knew bands I'd never heard of. Liked art and philosophical discussions. She had a dark side to her, one that Flynn found very attractive.
I forced the thought out of my head. I was driving myself crazy.
Maybe I was being paranoid. Maybe he wasn't expecting someone else. He was just standing out there at night in the dark because that's a weird, loner,
thing to do.
He looked in the side-view mirror.
“What's going on, Flynn?” I asked.
A lock of black hair fell across his eyes. “What do you mean?”
“Something's up with you. Why were you standing out there? Why are you acting nervous? Tell me what's going on,” I demanded. I never had attitude with him. I always went with the flow, did what he wanted, never questioned his idiosyncrasies. I never wanted to be
girlfriend. Nagging. Annoying. But tonight was different. I felt different.
He stared at me. I tried to keep my eyes on the road, but I could still feel him looking at me. What was he thinking? I'd have given anything to know.
“You can pull over and let me out here,” he said quietly.
“What?” There was nothing but woods surrounding us. He'd have to walk a mile to get to the nearest house. He'd rather do that than
“I'm not in the mood to go to one of your friend's lame parties.”
Holy mood swing. I raised my eyebrows. “Nice, Flynn. Real nice. My friends have been nothing but good to you even though you seem to feel that you're above them for some reason.”
“I'm not above them. I just have no interest in them. I only want to be with you.”
“Then be with me,” I pleaded. “We can go somewhere and talk.”
But he was already shaking his head. “I don't want to talk.”
“You have to let me in, Flynn. I can't keep going on like this.”
“Then pull over,” he snapped.
I turned to look at him. His eyes were apprehensive, but his voice was so sure, so filled with venom. He reached for the door handle like he was willing to jump out at thirty miles per hour. The tires squealed as I slammed on the brakes and the car jumped up onto the curb.
“Why are you doing this?” I yelled. “Why are you acting like this?”
His mouth opened and his eyes flicked around, like they were searching for the answer in the air. “Because I don't want this,” he said finally. “You, driving around town, checking up on me, making sure I'm where I told you I was.”
“I wasn't doing that,” I said indignantly. “I was on my way to the party. It's not my fault you happened to be on the side of the road I was driving on. Excuse me for pulling over to say hi to my boyfriend who was standing alone in the dark like a creep.”
“I have the right to stand wherever and however I want.”
“I never said you didn't!”
He shook his head. “It's justÂ .Â .Â . I thinkÂ .Â .Â . it's time for us to be over.”
His words took a moment to sink in. I'd thought we were having our first fight. Apparently it was also our last. “You'reÂ .Â .Â . breaking up with me?”
I saw him swallow. Then he nodded, once.
I squared my shoulders. I would not cry. I would not give him one ounce of emotion. “Why?”
He opened his mouth to answer, but then closed it again.
“I have to go,” he said softly. He pushed open the door and shoved it closed behind him. His coat flapped in the breeze as he walked down the road, into the dark night.
My hands tightened on the steering wheel and tears spilled from my eyes, clouding my vision as I watched him walk away, until he was just a wavy, indistinct form far down the dark road.
I didn't hear the car, but I saw the headlights come around the bend. Too fast.
My back bolted straight, and my lungs froze. For one long moment, I couldn't breathe in or release what was held in my chest. I could only watch as Flynn flew through the air, flipping like a tossed doll. Then he crashed back down, his body rolling and scraping across the asphalt.
The SUV kept going.
It barreled past me, a black bullet with tinted windows, too fast for me to catch a look at the plate.
I have no memory of getting out of the car or running to Flynn with the cold air lashing my tearstained cheeks. I only remember holding his head in my lap. Seeing his blood on the ground. Listening to the 911 operator on my cell telling me to stay calm.
When the ambulance came, my hand was on Flynn's chest.
His heart was still beating.