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The Water Flow

Jesse was quite understanding. He listened to me, hugged me and told me how confusing this all was. I mean... that much was obvious.

Smothering me in his blankets, he defrosted me with a scorching mug of hot chocolate. The sweet tingling scent of marshmallows tickled my nostrils, finished with a drop of honey. He knew it was my go-to recipe.

I sipped it tentatively, annoyed that it hadn't put me at ease already.

"So... let me get this straight," Jesse leaned over the back of his chair, strands of golden sun lighting up his almond eyes. "You woke up in Salt Lake, with no one else around? I'm the first person you've seen. And you have no clue about what happened last night?"

I tapped my cup. Sounded about right, I nodded.

He ran his hand across his facial hair. Not stubbly, but not a fully-grown beard either, it heightened his every feature. He'd made a good choice in keeping it – even if it was scratchy.

"Do you at least remember that it was Founder's Day?"

"Yeah." The steam from my drink clung to my chin. "I mean... I don't have amnesia, that's clear by now. I just don't... remember anything past leaving for the parade at three."

His eyes narrowed.

"Not even the bonfire?"

I stayed alert. "Our annual bonfire?"

"Everybody was there, even Ambrose's sister."

I rubbed my lips together before taking a large gulp of cocoa. It was smooth, no different than it had been before.

Except now, all the flavors were intensified tenfold. The delicate cream of the chocolate evened out by the sickly sweetness of the fluffy marshmallows. They stuck to my teeth, demanding to be spared, but the syrupy honey quickly cascaded them down my parched throat.

Everything felt at stake here, even the ones I had missed.

Jesse and I usually rallied up all our friends, old and new, just for Founder's Day. Sometimes, not everyone could make it, but going by what he just said, they had this year.

And I think that's what frightened me the most.

If I spent all night with my friends, people I trusted with my entire life, laughing away without a single clue of what was heading my way...

Then, who knew I'd be waking up in the lake this morning?

Or worse – planned on me never waking up at all.

I hugged the comforter closer, covering up my shiver.

"I don't know where my phone is, do you know if anyone has tried to contact me?"

He shrugged. "No calls so far. Should I call your folks, then?"

Licking my lips, I tasted the grit. The death of sand on my flesh. Death that I now fully believe I was supposed to meet.

So, I just nodded again, and watched him as he stood up to dial my home number. Winking at me, he began speaking quickly, but I tuned it out. I couldn't bear to listen when all I should be doing is thinking.

I think Jesse said something about them automatically believing I'd stayed at Lu's, but I couldn't be sure. It wouldn't exactly bode well for me if I asked.

So, instead, I asked him to call all our friends and meet us at Bubba's Waffle House in an hour. It was an intimate yet lively spot, one which we usually opted to hang out in. Nothing about it was suspicious.

Swiftly changing into one of Jesse's button-ups, I ignored his lingering gaze, as I sprayed on some of his deodorant and claimed I was ready to go.

But his big hulking figure stopped me. Made me look into his eyes and melt right there on the spot. This man was a beautiful creature, inside and out, and nothing could stop me from feeling inferior and diminutive in comparison.

His touch was gentle, careful, as he traced my jawline and parted his lips. The folds of his creases, the soft red they displayed, the way they tremble... it was no wonder my legs were quaking.

"Are you sure about this?"

I'd been afraid to ask, but he did it for me. I've never questioned much about myself, but stepping into a room full of friends and leaving with the knowledge that one of them may have tried to kill me?

Well, it was enough to drive anyone mad.

And I took his hand, as I pulled him into the street, straight for the cafe of choice.