Chapter Seven

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"This is ridiculous," I shook my head in disbelief. Maybe his friend was just exaggerating. "Who's this friend of yours anyway? How would he know who these men are?"

Elliot clenched his jaw. "His name's Fallon. He has access to the Identity History database."

I scoffed. "The history of what? What does that even mean?" It sounded awfully sketchy.

"Never mind my sources, Nora. Just trust that they're accurate." He paced around the porch some more, hands fisted by his sides. "We need to leave, now."

"We can't just get up and leave! They'll obviously know something is wrong." I whispered as the back of my neck began heating up due to the uneasiness I felt.

"Well we can't stay either!" Elliot whisper-yelled. "Bella's already packing up in our room. We'll just say she has a family emergency and we need to cut our trip short."

My hand unconsciously raised to my hair, my fingers running through them as I tried to think of a better way to leave. We needed a stronger argument. If those men are who Elliot claims they are, then they're smart; they'll know something is wrong and we can't risk them knowing that.

"We need to think of something better." I bit the inside of my cheek.

"We don't have time!" Elliot yelled, now completely frustrated. "You need to go get Ariel and take her to your room. Tell her everything when you're positive they're as far away from hearing distance as possible. I'll take care of Noah and Seth."

I nodded my head, straightening my hair by brushing my fingers through them quickly and taking a deep breath.

"Act natural." Elliot mumbled.

My eyes shot up to his, "like the way you were back in there?"

He rolled his eyes. "I was freaking out, alright? It's not everyday we get ourselves involved with one of the biggest mobs in our country."

"We'll be okay." I reassured him. He stared at me for the longest five seconds, before hesitantly nodding his head, as if trying to convince the both of us that we will - somehow - be.

I turned on my heels and headed back to the kitchen, taking a deep breath. When I was close enough, Seth's deep laughs could be heard and my stomach dropped. I pushed past the doorway and made my way to my stool - that was now between Ariel and Xavier - and I tried my hardest to avoid eye contact, glaring holes into my plate.

"Are you alright?" Xavier leaned close to whisper his question to me. I nodded my head, giving him a quick glance and smiling for impact.

"Ariel?" I turned to my best friend, interrupting her conversation with Vincent. She looked at me with bright, gleaming eyes, and my heart tore a little imagining how hurt she
would be by leaving a guy she had finally started to genuinely like. "Can you give me a hand with something?"

"Sure thing," she smiled brightly.

I hopped off my stool and as I was about to leave Xavier gave me a weird look. "Everything okay?" He repeated, unconvinced by my earlier answer.

I tried to control the erratic beating of my heart and my shallow breaths. I was on the verge of a breakdown as I was engulfed by the fear of the unknown, and acting natural in such a case was a task much more challenging than I imagined.

"Everything is good." I forced a tight smile.

He was not convinced, but he decided to let it go. His suspicious gaze left me on edge and I was worried he'd find out what's really going on. I grabbed Ariel's hand and rushed past the kitchen doorway, dragging her towards the stairs.

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