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After Poppy Heron escaped from the hospital and disappeared, things have only gotten worse for the people she meant to help. The two people who care about her most are the two people that she meant to set free with her absence, but instead, she's imprisoned them with their desperate need to find her. As the duo gets closer, Poppy must make desperate decisions that endanger both her loved ones, herself, and the boy she swore to protect with her life. Because even though the initial threat of Andrea Frank is thought to be gone, Poppy must protect the people she loves most in the world from an even bigger, more dangerous force.

Herself. View table of contents...


Chapters:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Submitted:May 18, 2014    Reads: 31    Comments: 4    Likes: 1   


February 12th, 2015

Hanna could feel the cold trail that the sweat left as it trails down her neck. The room was uncomfortably hot, she could see in the mirror that her face was red and she felt herself fevering. But still, she wouldn't crack just so she could get out of here.

The officer, whose nametag read Husten, came back into the room, holding a class of ice water, condensation drips down the sides of it and onto the floor. He keeps eye contact with her as he takes a huge, greedy gulp of it. When he's done being an ass, he sets it on the table just out of Hanna's reach, and sits down across from her.

Hanna stares at the glass of water and jingles her handcuffs, which hold her to the table. She glares up at Husten.

"How long have I been in here?" She asks, her voice dry like her throat. She stares around the room. It was small and dim and bare. The walls were puke green and the carpets have vomit stains on them. The small metal chair that the police officers had roughly shoved her in was the only cold thing in the room, but it was very uncomfortable. The table in between her and Husten was small and rectangle, just wide enough so that she couldn't reach him in her handcuffs. She knew that the mirror that showed her awful reflection was a two-way window. They could see her, and she could herself.

"Are you ready to talk?" Husten asks her. Husten was attractive, if Hanna allowed herself to admit. He has long, yet stylish, brown hair that was perfectly combed away from his face. His nose is sharp but not long or hooked, and he has thin lips with a beauty mark just above them on the right side, making him look like he's permanently smirking. His eyes are small and dark. His skin is tanned and he is incredibly muscular, Hanna could see, even under his expensive looking suit.

Hanna mashes her lips together in a tight line and looks deep into his eyes, defiantly. Husten sighs.

"Obviously not long enough." He finally replies to her question.

"I don't have anything to say to you." Hanna shrugs, leaning back in her chair. It feels like she's been in here for at least a day, maybe more. That meant they had less than two days to crack her, and they would have no luck. Husten looks at her, really looks at her, from her scuffed navy Chuck Taylors to her dirty, light wash jean short shorts. Her yellow tank top is ripped and dirty, and her light wash, jean-looking pullover that she wore hung down at her elbows. Her blonde hair is pulled back into two French braids, and she has dirt and blood caking her face. Hanna knew she looked like crap, and she didn't care if Husten was looking at her, she just wanted out, she just wanted to see James.

"You must have a lot to say, you're Hanna Fare. From what I've heard, there's not much that you don't have say on. So, come on, Fare, talk."

"You think you can get me talk?" Hanna smirks, she was feeling ballsy, she was feeling like Poppy. "Try me." She smiles at him, flashing her chipped tooth. "Come one, Officer Husten, I've been through hell this past year, you think a little low-grade interrogation is going to crack me. Do your worst."

"I've dealt with much worse than you, Fare. I've dealt with murderers, with drug dealers, with rapists." He raises his dark eyebrows at her, challengingly. Hanna's smile only widens.

"Yeah, but you've never dealt with Poppy Heron."

***

Hanna Fare fell onto the couch next to James Preston, who she had become much too comfortable with over the past few months. He smiled at her as he took the coffee she was offering. James looked extremely rough. His curly black hair covered his ears and his stubble was turning into a full out beard. He wore loose black jeans and baggy, grey sweaters. Hanna knew she couldn't judge him on this, they'd both been through a lot. Like the murder of a friend and a suicide of another.

Hanna rubbed James' back as he sipped his coffee. Last year, they'd been strangers, he was her teacher, and she was the student that came in late and spent her time sipping her latte and texting her friends. They annoyed each other more than anything in the world, but now, they were more than unlikely allies, they were friends.

"We need to go back to the beginning." James said, his voice sounded dead and scratchy, like he was constantly fighting back tears. Hanna understood that, as well. She stayed up late into the night bawling her eyes out. James knew this, considering he slept in the next room.

"You've been saying that for months, James." Hanna whispered. She couldn't help but be impatient. They'd been searching for Poppy Heron since she escaped from the hospital room in January after her third near-death experience, it was now October, and they were empty-handed except for a few flimsy 'Poppy Spottings', as people were calling them.

January had been excruciating, and so had the past months. In January, four people died in one night, one had been their friend and ally, Sean Wilson. He'd died quickly, said the doctors, only felt the pain for a matter of seconds before he blacked out. Another girl that had died, Tessa McVoy, she'd been innocent, just a girl grieving for her lost friends, although, according to Poppy who had underwent the same torture as another girl who was murdered that night, Tessa had played a part in both her kidnapping and the murder of her friend.

But they were dead. And there was no changing that.

"Let me see the note." James ordered, looking up at Hanna, who stared back at him with sad, blue eyes.

"James, you don't need to see the note. You've been staring at it for ten months." Hanna said, feeling the note in her back pocket with her fingers. She always kept it with her, the last piece of her best friend that she had left. The only thing Poppy Heron had given her before she unhooked herself from all the needles and disappeared in broad daylight. A trick only she could pull off.

Hanna knew what it said, she could recite it in her sleep and then repeat it backwards. She's been trying to figure out what Poppy had been trying to say.

I'm going back to the beginning.

The beginning of what?

The beginning was when Madison Scotts pushed her lesbian best friend Jessica Winters off a cliff and then ran away and the crazy stalker, Andrea, decided to hunt Madison to the end of the earth, which she'd succeeded in doing.

But how could Poppy go back to that? Both Madison and Jessica were dead. And their best friend Tessa was gone as well. Andrea was dead as well, so Poppy wasn't running from anyone. Hanna stopped, thinking hard. They'd never actually seen Andrea's body.

She shook the idea from her head, it was impossible, Andrea Frank was dead.

So the beginning of what?

I'll meet you there.

"Hanna, please." James whispered, breaking Hanna out of her trance. "Please, I need to see it." Hanna knew that he just wanted to hold the last piece of Poppy Heron, the seventeen year old girl he'd been in love with the whole time she'd been shipped off to a mental institution and then kidnapped and nearly killed. He still loved her. He always would.

"James, we need to start looking at the facts, looking for Poppy. Not just going over some note that she wrote in a moment of delirium." Hanna reminded him as she had last night when he's asked again to see the note.

Hanna and James lived together now in Newport, Alberta. They rented an apartment downtown, and the entire thing was filled with pictures and news stories, anything that connected to Poppy, Madison, and Andrea Frank, the crazy woman that killed three teenagers before dying herself by the hand of Sean. Hanna's parents thought she was going to UBC, like she'd told them. They thought she was doing great in her classes and studying psychology and aspiring to be a therapist. Everyone thought James had gone crazy and disappeared of the grid.

Which, of course, he kind of had.

Mona Castor, a girl that had briefly been their ally, was now in California with her boyfriend, Jason. Neither Hanna nor Mona had bothered to stay in contact with each other, they just 'lost track of each other'. Neither James nor Hanna had spoken to Mona for months now.

"You're right, you're right. I'm sorry." James set his mug down on their cluttered coffee table and rubbed his tired eyes. Hanna put one hand on his shoulder and with the other she turned his face towards her.

"We'll get this, James. I promise." She whispered. "We are the people who know Poppy best, I know we can find her. I know it." She reassured him. Back in January, it had been him taking care of her. He'd reassured her all night, and he'd held her in the hospital while Poppy was in a coma. It had been him to catch her when she'd fainted after reading the note Poppy had left. And he was the one who had answered her calls and texts and opened his door at one o clock in the morning when she was too distraught to think straight. He'd comforted her and she'd fallen asleep in his arms.

But now, it was Hanna who had to routinely help him stumble into bed after he'd had one too many beers. It was Hanna who comforted him at all hours of the night. James was becoming weak, and that meant that they had to find Poppy fast so that she could laugh at him and make him better by being ruthlessly, tough-love about the whole situation.

"It's been ten months, Han. And we have nothing." James shook his head, gazing into her eyes. "Maybe we should just-"

"Don't say it." Hanna snapped. "I know we have nothing to go on. I know that Poppy has gone crazy in thinking that Andrea Frank is still after her or whatever made her run, but we can't give up. She's depending on us. Somewhere out there, the real Poppy is waiting for us to come and save her." Hanna hugged James tightly. "We have to trust that she's out there somewhere. Just like she'd trusting us to find her."

"I just want her to come home." James whispered into Hanna's chest. "I just want to wake up one day, come into the kitchen and have her standing there in her underwear and a baggy wife beater drinking her black coffee." He sniffled as tears began to pool in his blue eyes. "I just want her back, Han."

Hanna could feel his tears soaking into the blue-button up that she'd stolen from him, but she didn't care. She just gripped him tightly. She'd put her entire life on hold for Poppy, she'd lied to her parents, and moved to Newport with her English teacher. But she wouldn't change anything if it meant she could be happy again.

"I want her too, James. I want her back too." She whispered into his curly hair, she patted it down and rubbed his back. "We'll find her, James. We'll find her and we'll kill all of her demons. Even if they kill us first."

***

"Annah, Annah, you're here!" Annah Preston looked up and smiled as she saw her best friend, Genevieve Restice, barrelling towards her over the grassy hill. Vieve deposited herself into her friend's arms and squealed happily.

"Why wouldn't I be here?" Annah asked, laughing as Vieve pulled back. "It's school." Vieve shrugged.

"Yeah, but you haven't been in class for so long!" Vieve pouted, pushing her perfect, soft pink bottom lip out and smiling with her eyes. Vieve was beautiful, there was really no denying that. She had long, dark, chestnut hair, and dancing, pale green eyes. Her skin was ivory with little freckles in a delicate bridge over her cheeks and her little nose. Her lips were soft pink and bow-shaped. Her cheekbones could cut glass and her teeth were almost perfect, her front teeth had a bit of a gap in them, but oddly, that only made her more irresistible. Vieve also had an amazing body. She wasn't stick thin like Annah she had some shape to her, like extremely sexy curves. And she was beautifully tall, towering over Annah's sparrow-boned, five one frame.

"I know, I'm sorry, Alec got sick, and I had to stay home with him." Annah hated lying to her best friend. Actually Annah's six year old brother had been perfectly fine and should've been attending his elementary school back in Olds, where they lived, but Annah had forced him to stay in the house for almost a week, staying away from doors and windows, crouching when he moved.

"Why doesn't your mom take care of him?" Vieve asked as they began to walk up the hill towards their beautiful college campus. "I mean, she knows you have class, right?"

"She's gone again, you know." Annah shrugged, tucking a loose strand of her pale blonde hair behind her ear, the rest of it was tied in a thick braid sticking out below her right ear. "And besides," she continued, linking their arms, "my mom has barely spent any time with Alec since he was one, and his dad is doesn't even know he's alive, so that leaves me. I honestly don't mind. I love Alec, I'd give my life for him."

"Ugh, you're always so morbidly dramatic, as if one day, you'll actually have to give your life for him." Vieve rolled her beautiful eyes and smiled at her friend, who could barely return it.

"Trust me, V, one day, I just might have too." Annah sighed as they entered the large school.

"Hey, beautiful." Harrison Donnely, Vieve's high school sweetheart greeted her enthusiastically with a quick peck on the cheek. He slipped her books out of her arms and throws an arm over her shoulder. Harrison didn't really attend class here, he pretended too. He took all his courses online and then joined the soccer team so he had an excuse to come see his girlfriend in school every day.

Harrison was hot in the way that he had an irresistible baby face that made girls pay attention to him. He had dark eyebrows, dark hair, dark eyes and pale skin. His eyelashes were long and his lips were perfectly kissable. He wasn't very tall, only an inch taller than Vieve, who stood at five ten. His body was nice though, once you get passed his hairy chest, which Annah had never been able to do. But Vieve loved him, so Annah put up with his neediness and inability to tolerate lies, which were all Annah ever told.

"Hi, baby." Vieve cooed back, kissing his jaw. Harrison nodded at Annah, which she didn't bother returning. They weren't the best of friends, and neither of them cared if the other one knew that or not. "Did you have soccer practice?" Vieve asked, which was dumb, because soccer practice was at lunch or after school, and it was nine o clock in the morning. Vieve was really smart, she was studying to be a lawyer, but when it came to Harrison, she was just plain ditzy.

"Uh, no, I had some papers to hand in." He explained. Harrison is studying, like Annah, English Lit and all the classes you need to be either an English teacher or an author. Harrison was aiming for both, Annah was trying to fill her time and act like a normal college student, and on the side, trying to get on the personal side of one of her instructors. Also, studying English made her feel close to an old teacher that she'd once known very well back in one of her old schools.

Up until Annah was seventeen, she'd lived in the same odd town in British Columbia her whole life, fighting with her father and her spiteful sister. But then Annah had enough, she ran away, and since then, her and her little brother had been dropping in whatever town they felt fit them best. Annah's mom didn't work some stressful job that kept her away from home. Her mom hadn't spoken to Annah since before Annah's accident, which she didn't remember much of.

"So, Annah, we're all going for lunch at the Hub, you want to meet us there after your lecture?" Vieve asked, from under her boyfriend's arm. Annah knew that she should, Vieve was one of her best friends since she'd started school in the fall, but at the moment U of C was looking dreary, and so were all the people in it.

"Uh, no, I'm going to head into town and check on my brother." Annah shrugged. At least when she played the Alec card, no one questioned her to her face. They all knew how strangely protective Annah was over her little brother. They just didn't know why.

Annah pretended to check the time on her phone, she wanted to get away from Harrison and Vieve as quickly as possible. Those two were a ticking time bomb, and the explosion took form of PDA. "I better get to my lecture."

"You have like ten minutes." Vieve countered. Annah shrugged.

"I have to talk to Mr. Garret before class." She said quickly, ducking beneath some guy's outstretched arm to get away. The walk to English Lit lecture was short and hurried and once Annah shut herself away in the large, dim auditorium, she immediately knew she wasn't alone. She walked around quietly, Annah never wore heels for times like these. She stood up on the little platform where the blackboard and her professor's desk was. A light shone on the platform, but from here, she could see in every direction.

She swallowed hard.

"Hello?" Annah called out, immediately closing her beautiful hazel blue eyes and shaking her head. "Yeah, sure, Annah, like the crazy woman who wants to rip you to pieces hiding in the shadows is really going to answer."

"What crazy woman?" A familiar voice chuckled from her left. She yelped and spun to face her professor.

Chiles Garret was young and incredibly handsome. He had light brown hair and dark brown eyes. His lips were perfect and kissable, he wasn't pale, nor tan, he was in the middle, a perfect shade. He had the body that made Annah want to climb all over him, which, sometimes, she did. Today he wore a black and grey plaid shirt and darkwash jeans. He smiled and took Annah's breath away.

"I was wondering when I would see you again." He said quietly putting his hand on her hip and pulling her a little closer.

"I was taking a few precautions." Annah told him, he was the only person in the world that knew what she was running from, he had a personal connection to her issues, and having him around was useful. Although, he didn't know her real name or why she was really in Calgary. "A vehicle was parked outside my house for three days, so we had to lay low, turns out, Mrs. Danby from down the street is having an affair. Her husband is away on business, and there couldn't be a car parked outside of her house or someone would raise an eyebrow." He gently nudged her against his desk, she bit her lip, suggestively, keeping eye contact as she scooted onto it, opening her legs and allowing him to stand between them. He took the open invitation immediately, his smile only broadening.

"But no one would think twice of a beautiful college student shacking up." Chiles replied, smirking, kissing her passionately. For a moment, all Annah wanted to do was kissed back, and that's exactly what she did, grabbing the back of his shirt and pulling him closer, wrapping her legs around him to secure him in place.

"Unless it was with one of her professors." Annah whispered against his lips, edging away slightly, "Especially," she put a hand on his chest, lightly pushing him away, unwinding her legs as she did this. "A married one." She reminded him of his oh-so-beautiful wife. Her name was Senia, she was a tall, exotic-looking woman with dark skin, long, dark hair, piercing dark green eyes, and wine coloured lips. She looked like she was from the Amazon, wild, free, exotic, mysterious, and beautiful.

Chiles looked highly disappointed but allowed Annah to slip off the desk and spin around him as she smiled.

"And besides, Professor Garrett, you wouldn't want to be caught fraternizing with a young student, would you?" She asked, raising her eyebrows and smiling at him teasingly. "I mean, make your decision fast, because class starts in," She glanced behind her at the large clock. "Five minutes." When she looked back down at him he wrapped her up tightly in his arms, holding her against his beautiful body, her face tipped towards him.

"I don't care who catches us, I want the world to know about the devastatingly beautiful young woman and her handsome young professor." He kissed her with more passion then she guessed he bothered to show his hot wife. He pulled back a few moments later. "I love you," He whispered, gently moving a delicate blonde curl out of her face.

"Say it again." She replied, equally as quiet and ten times as passionate.

"I love you," He repeated. "I love you, I love you, I love you." He kissed her again. "I will always love you, my sweet, sweet Annah Preston." Annah smiled at the sound of her last name, it made her heart speed up.

"I love you, too. I will always love you," She replied, and then added, almost silently, "James Preston."





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