Ruin (Dirty Secrets #3)

Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Saturday, August 30

Sunday, August 31

Monday, September 1

Author's Note

Other Books by Mercy

Acknowledgments

Find Me Online

Mercy Amare

Ruin

Dirty Secrets, Episode 3

Copyright
© 2014 by Mercy Amare

Cover designed by P.S. Cover Design

Edited by Laura Heritage

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, distributed, store in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any forms or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, without express permission of the author, except by a review who may quote brief passages for review purposes.

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This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

This book is dedicated to
Devianna Smith
.

Thank you for being the most awesome person EVER.

Saturday, August 30

The cops know everything.

I wake up on an unfamiliar bed feeling dazed and confused.

What happened?
The last thing I remember is running into the woods with my friends. After that, everything gets blurry. Why can’t I remember? I didn’t have any alcohol, so I couldn’t have blacked out.

When I sit up, I realize that I’m in a hospital bed.

What the heck happened last night?

“You’re awake.” Trey is sitting in a chair by my bed. Jace is standing beside him.

“Why am I here?” I ask.

“You were drugged,” Jace answers.

“How? I didn’t drink any alcohol.” I look at Jace. “And I was with you the whole time. Nobody besides you—” my voice cuts off. “Oh my God. Carter got me a drink. But you don’t think he… I mean, he couldn’t have…”

Carter is a nice, shy kid. He’s smart and I don’t think he would ever do something stupid like drugging me.

“The police are questioning him now,” Jace answers.

“So the cops know
everything
?” I ask.

“And so do I,” Trey says. “Why didn’t you tell me about the texts? God, you’re so lucky that Jace was with you last night. You just ran into the woods after a psycho killer.”

“Killer?” I ask, feeling sick.

“Kidnapper,” he corrects. “But possible killer.”

“What happened in the woods?” I ask. “Did they find Daisy?”

Nobody answers me. They both just avoid looking me in the eye. I don’t like the silence.

“Seriously, guys. I need to know.”

“Daisy was nowhere to be found,” Jace finally answers. “Also, Emma was taken. I’m sorry, Mads.”

“No.” My chest hurts at his words.

“The cops want to talk to you and get a statement,” Trey tells me. “They’ve already gone through your phone and gotten everything they need, so you just need to be honest with them. Also, the doctor said you could leave when you woke up.”

Jace walks closer to the bed and wipes the tears away from under my eyes. “Hey, no crying. They are going to find Emma and Daisy.”

“After you’re done here, it’s time for our annual camping trip,” Trey says, trying to cheer me up.

“Are we seriously going camping after this?” I ask. “Where is Mom?”

“Yes, we are going camping,” Trey answers. “You need to get your mind off all this crap. And Mom went home last night. She just came to sign papers so you could be treated and left. Since it’s not
life threatening
, she didn’t want to stay. I guess she had to work early this morning.”

I roll my eyes. “How nice of her to come sign papers.”

“Don’t let our bitchy mom get you down,” Trey says, then pats me on the back. “It will be okay, you know?”

“It’s not just that. Two of my best friends are missing. It could have just as easily been
me
, and she can’t take time away from her stupid boyfriend to spend two seconds with me,” I says, frowning. “It’s just so ridiculous.”

“I agree,” Trey says. “But I’m here. And Hailee has been here too. She’s asleep in the waiting room. And Jace is here. It’s not like we can force her to be a real mom suddenly.”

“I know.”

“I still can’t believe Emma is missing. I should’ve known something was up last night. She was acting so weird.”

“Were you and Emma hooking up?” I ask Trey.

“Just a couple of times. We aren’t
dating
or anything like that, but she’s hot. I think she just wanted rebound sex and I just wanted sex, so it worked out perfectly,” he says. “Emma is a freak in bed.”

“I so don’t want to hear about you having sex with my best friend. It’s disgusting,” I say. “But seriously, do you think Emma and Daisy are okay?”

“I don’t know,” Trey answers. “But I do know that we are going to do everything we can to get them back.”

I know I should have gone to the police sooner. I should’ve called Detective Condie as soon as I left the library that night. But the damage is already done. All I can do now is talk to the police and hope that they can find Daisy and Emma before it’s too late.

Police Station.

Do you have any enemies?

I meet Detective Condie at the police station around nine o’clock. He said it won’t take long, and as soon as I get back home Trey, Jace, Thayer, Hailee, and I are leaving for our camping trip.

As I am led into Detective Condie’s office, I’m feeling anxious. I wipe my sweaty hands on my jeans — the same jeans that I was wearing last night. I wonder what’s going to happen. Will I get in trouble for withholding evidence? Isn’t that punishable by jail time?

“Madeline,” Detective Condie says when he sees me. “Sit down.”

I wordlessly take a seat and focus on taking deep, even breaths.

“I’m sorry for what you’ve been going through,” he says, leaning forward to talk to me. “I can’t imagine being a teenager and being threatened like that. I know you must have been scared.”

“Y—y—yeah.” My lips feel dry, so I lick them. “I don’t want anything to happen to Daisy or Emma.”

“I am going to do everything in my power to bring them back,” he says. “Now, I need to know… is there anybody who would want to target you and your friends? Maybe somebody at school who is jealous? Maybe even a parent or teacher?”

I shake my head. “No. I mean, a lot of people hated Daisy, but not Emma.”

“What about you?” he asks. “Do
you
have any enemies?”

“No. I’m friends with almost everybody at my school. I’ve never gotten into a fight or anything.”

“Do you think people are jealous of you?” he asks. “The other girls were saying that you are the most popular girl at school.”

“I’m not,” I tell him. “Daisy was the leader.”

“What about your friends? Would any of your friends want to hurt Daisy and Emma?” he asks.

“No,” I say immediately, because I couldn’t see Frannie, Cassidy or Hayden doing this to Daisy and Emma. “We didn’t always get along with Daisy, but nobody would’ve done this to her. And definitely not to Emma. We all loved Emma.”

As the words leave my mouth, I realize they’re not true. Frannie and Cassidy often got into fights with Emma. They really couldn’t stand each other, but tolerated each other because they didn’t want to break up the group.

“Which of the girls do you consider your
best friend
?” he asks.

“Probably Frannie and Cassidy,” I answer. “Frannie has just
always
been there for me, no matter what. If I have a problem, she’s the one I call. And Cassidy, she just cares deeply for everybody. Even when Daisy was being a bitch to us, she always saw the good in her.”

Am I allowed to say the word
bitch
when I refer to a missing person?

“What about Hayden? What is she like?”

“Sarcastic,” I answer. “She deflects everything with humor. And she acts brave, but she’s really not. She’s self-conscious, which I think is why Daisy didn’t torture her as much as the rest of us. Daisy wasn’t worried about Hayden stealing her thunder because Hayden didn’t
want
the thunder.”

“And you did?” he asks.

“Not really. But Daisy couldn’t see that. She was always the hardest on me.”

“Interesting,” he says. “And what about Emma?”

“Emma is that girl who has always been in a relationship. She’s been dating the guy since freshman year, but he recently broke up with her for another girl. I guess right now she’s trying to discover who she is without him.”

“What about this Carter kid that was at the party last night. How well do you know him?”

“I thought I knew him well. He’s in the drama club with me. He’s a really smart kid, but he’s also shy,” I answer. “He was acting weird last night. He usually doesn’t talk to me much, but he was. I didn’t think anything about it when he brought me a drink… I thought he was just being nice. Carter is
always
nice. I never thought he would drug me.”

“Somebody threatened Carter. He got a message from the same person who has been messaging you girls. They told him if he didn’t drug you, they would kill his two year old sister,” the detective tells me. “He is in trouble for putting a ruffie in your drink, but he will most likely get off with probation because of the nature surrounding it.”

I cover my mouth with my hand. “Oh my God. Poor Carter.”

If I was in Carter’s shoes, I would have done the exact same thing. I would do anything to protect my family.

“That will be all for today,” Detective Condie tells me. “Just… keep an eye out for suspicious people. If you suspect somebody is following you, don’t stop your car, and call 9-1-1. We don’t know what this person is capable of, but we don’t want to find out. I fear that you and your friends won’t be safe until this person is caught.”

Camping.

An unplanned accident.

Every year, we go on this camping trip together. All of us leave our cell phones behind and we set up a couple tents by the lake. We’re only about half a mile away from our house. It’s great, because
none
of us are texting, or checking social media. It’s bonding time… I’m also glad to leave my cell phone behind, because I’m scared I’ll get more texts. As much as I don’t want this person to have power over me, they do. I have zero control over this situation and I
hate
it.

While Trey, Jace, and Thayer set up the tent, Hailee and I sit out in lawn chairs.

“Being a girl is awesome,” Hailee says.

I laugh. “Amen, sister.”

“You’re really lucky, you know. You have two guys who adore you.”

“What do you mean?”

“Jace and Trey. Well, three if you include Thayer, because he adores you too,” she says. “Jace is crazy in love with you. Trey is your twin
and
your brother, so he’s like super-protective of you. And Thayer, well he loves you in the way that nine year old boys love their brother’s girlfriend.”

“Trey adores you too,” I tell her. “He’s your big brother. And I’m your big sister. So you have two of us to look out for you.”

“Yeah, but next year I’ll be a freshman. Finally, as I’m going into high school, you two are graduating. Nobody will be there to look out for me,” she says. “Besides, it’s different. You and Trey are so close. I’m just the annoying little sister. I was an accident.”

“You were
not
an accident.”

“Yeah, I was. Mom told me,” she says. “She said that Dad only wanted one girl and one boy. They got it on the first try. I was just an unplanned accident.”

“It doesn’t matter, Hailee. You’re my little sister. And I’m glad that they had an
accident
. You’re the best kind of mistake,” I tell her. “I love you and wouldn’t trade you for the whole world. I know Mom feels the same.”

I start to say so would Dad, but I can’t. It’s not true. Her existence is why my dad isn’t here. I mean, I know it’s
not
her fault. It’s my mom’s fault. Hailee didn’t ask to be born, and I would
never
want her to feel like she was to blame. It was all my mom. And my dad. He should have just divorced my mom. Instead, he took the coward’s way out and killed himself.

Which reminds me — I have to talk to Trey this weekend. I can’t let him hear about this from anybody else. I just wish it wasn’t going to break his heart.

My mind goes back to fifteen year old me — when I first learned that my dad committed suicide. I didn’t want to believe it.

“It’s not true!” I yell at Daisy. People in the store turn to stare at me, but I don’t care. I can’t let Daisy get away with this kind of shit anymore. She always lies to me. I usually just let her, but this is different. I won’t let her lie to me about my dad.

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