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Chapter Seven

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It's been a few days since we had our trip to the beach, and I've been trying to avoid the boys at all costs. Which has proven to be really difficult to do. They're everywhere! But ever since I found out they think I'm attractive, things have just been...well...awkward. To me, at least.

I mean, I'm probably being way too dramatic about this, but can you blame me? The two hottest guys I have ever seen think that I, Annabel Cassidy, am hot.  Nobody has ever thought I was attractive.

At least I don't think. I've never had a boyfriend, but I think part of that was due to Austin being an over-protective brother. Even though I'm five minutes older than him. But I've just never thought of myself as pretty. I'm just kind of...plain. My blonde hair, blue eyes, and pale skin are nothing special.

My eyes snap open. I can feel the sweat all over me, and my rapid heartbeat. Why do I keep having these stupid nightmares? I've had them at least five times since I moved here. And they're always the same. It's about my family and the accident.

The door to my room swings open, hitting the wall behind it. My head snaps towards the door and I see Ryder standing there, a baseball bat in his hand. His eyes search all over the room, then they land on me.

I look at him, my eyes wide. "What the hell, Ryder?"

"I heard you screaming, and I thought someone broke in or something," he says, setting the baseball bat against the wall by my door. I just noticed he's shirtless and only wearing a pair of Calvin Klein boxers.

I quickly look away and play with the hem of my shirt. "I'm so sorry for waking you. Just a nightmare."

"That was not just a nightmare." He gives me a pointed look and takes a seat next to me on my bed. "What was it about?"

There's no point in lying about it. He still won't know that my family actually died that way. "Me and my family getting in a car accident and...me and Austin were the only ones that um... survived."

"It was just a nightmare, Annie. That won't really happen," he says, trying to sooth me. I hold back the tears that threaten to pour down my face. Suddenly, he hugs me and coos soothing words in my ear. "That must have been one vivid dream," he murmurs.

I let out a humorless laugh. "Yeah, like I was really there."

"Do you want me to stay with you until you fall back to sleep?" he asks, looking at me. Those big brown eyes of his trying to read my emotions.

I shake my head and look away from him. "No, I don't think I'll be able to go back to sleep. But you should."

"Are you sure?" he asks, looking hesitant. I smile and nod. "Alright, see you in a few hours, Annie."

He grabs the baseball bat and walks out of my room, shutting the door behind him. I glance at my alarm clock and see it's only three in the morning. No wonder he said he'd see me in a few hours. With a sigh, I swing my legs over the edge of the bed and stand up.

I'm obviously not going to get any sleep. I grab my phone, and turn on the flashlight, and make my way out of my room. Tyler told me on the first day I was here that the balcony dividing the boy's room had a stairway that led up to the roof.

I walk as silently as I can down the long hallway, until I reach the balcony that wraps around the foyer. I just need to get past Tyler and Ryder's room, and I'll be safe. Silently, I walk past their rooms, and unlock the balcony doors. I push one open and step out into the cool California air.

"And, where do you think you're going?" a voice says behind me.

I spin around on my heel and place a hand to my heart. "Carter! You scared me."

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