Deeper We Fall by Chelsea M. Cameron


  Title page

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-one

  Chapter Twenty-two

  Chapter Twenty-three

  Chapter Twenty-three

  Chapter Twenty-four

  Chapter Twenty-five

  Chapter Twenty-six

  Chapter Twenty-seven

  Chapter Twenty-eight

  Chapter Twenty-nine

  Chapter Thirty

  Chapter Thirty-one

  Chapter Thirty-two

  Chapter Thirty-three

  Chapter Thirty-four

  Chapter Thirty-five

  Chapter Thirty-six

  Chapter Thirty-seven

  Chapter Thirty-eight

  Chapter Thirty-nine

  Chapter Forty

  Chapter Forty-one

  About the Author


  By Chelsea Cameron

  Deeper We Fall is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, business establishments or locales is entirely coincidental.

  No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. All rights reserved.

  Copyright © 2012 Chelsea M. Cameron

  Chapter One


  “How can you not see how delicious he is? I just want to put him on a stick and lick him on a hot summer day,” said Lexie as she watched Zack Parker chucking cans of beer out of a cooler at people, regardless of whether they were ready to catch them or not.

  Not only was Zack Parker the only sophomore on the Varsity Baseball team at Seaport High, he had the hair, the bod and the attitude that made girls like my best friend turn into puddles of helpless goo in his presence.

  Oh, and did he know it.

  “Just look at his arms. Are you looking at his arms? Do you see them?” Yes, I saw his damn arms. I’d seen his damn arms since grade school. They were arms. Granted, they’d gotten thicker and more muscled in the years since we’d met, but still. They were just arms.

  The way Lexie talked, you’d think they were the Greatest Arms Ever.

  “Are you almost ready to go?” The party was just getting started, but I’d already had enough. Between the clouds of pot smoke that choked me and made my clothes reek of skunk and the alcohol being carelessly thrown around, to the various couples who had paired up and went off to find an exclusive truck bed or spot of woods, I felt like I’d had the high school party experience all in one night.

  There were about thirty kids all hanging out in the gravel pit behind Matt Spencer’s parents’ house. They were out, but from what I gathered, they didn’t seem to mind hoards of teenagers doing whatever they wanted on their property. My parents weren’t nearly so liberal, which was why I’d lied and told them I was having a sleepover with Lexie. If they knew I was here, I would get a tongue-lashing from my mother that would definitely leave scars.

  “I have to talk to him.” Lexie had been trying to talk to Zack for about two months, but hadn’t yet. “Oh my God, here he comes.” She adjusted her jacket and swiped her gorgeous chestnut hair out of her sea foam green eyes. Lexie was a total babe, as I’d told her millions of times. If Zack didn’t see that, then he was a moron. Too bad Lexie didn’t see it that way.

  “Hey, Sexy Lexie. Hottie Lottie.” The origin of the nicknames was a mystery. Granted, Lexie was more than sexy. I was only tagged with an equally appealing nickname by default of being her best friend.

  “Hey, Zack,” Lexie said, turning her head to the side so her hair fell just right. I wrapped my arms around myself and tried not to feel like a third wheel.

  “Are you having a good time?” He took several slow steps toward Lexie, and all I could think of was a leopard stalking a zebra. It was safe to say that I was the only girl Zack didn’t turn into goo. He turned me into ice. Cold, hard and sharp.

  “I am now,” Lexie said with a breathless giggle. I saw Zack’s eyes brush across the freckles on her nose and then down to settle onto her chest.

  “Well that’s good. You want a drink?” Lexie nodded and bit her lip. I stared at the fire which was getting higher as the night wore on. I knew Lexie hated beer, and would only sip it for Zack’s behalf, so I wasn’t worried about her driving us back to her house. Besides, it was only a few miles.

  “Thanks.” As soon as Zack sauntered to the cooler, Lexie grabbed my hand, her eyes bright with excitement.

  “Holy crap. I think I’m going to die. What do I do?” Her fingers dug into mine.

  “First of all, you’re going to let go of my hand before it falls off.” I tugged her hand from mine. “Second, you’re going to talk to him. With words and everything.”

  “What do I say?”

  “I don’t know,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Tell him how much you love his arms.”

  “I can’t talk about his arms,” she hissed as Zack made his way back over.

  “Here you go.” He handed her a can of cheap beer and cracked open another for himself. “You want one, Hottie?” His face formed what he probably thought was a seductive smile. It just made my skin crawl.

  “No, thank you.” With that, he turned his attention back to Lexie, making her turn so her back was to me. He spoke low, and she giggled, sipping her drink. Or at least pretending to. I glanced at my phone, realizing that she only had about a half hour to seal the deal with Zack.

  A roar went up as one of the guys threw a huge branch on top of the fire, making it spark and flame. It was a wonder they didn’t set the town on fire.

  Zack touched Lexie’s face and I could tell she was blushing, even though it was too dark to see. I couldn’t watch it anymore, so I walked away, pretending I was getting a drink. There had to be some soda or something in there.

  I felt his eyes on me as if he’d said my name out loud.

  Zan Parker. Zack’s younger brother. He was only a year younger than Zack, but he dwarfed nearly every other guy by several inches. He shared his brother’s dark almond skin coloring and dark hair, except his was longer and more chaotic. Where Zack’s dark eyes were predatory and sinister, Zan’s were deep and bottomless like the ocean. I couldn’t put my finger on why their eyes were so different.

  Maybe it was what was behind the eyes.

  He stood by himself near the fire, sipping on one of the cans of cheap beer. He pulled his gaze from me and stared at the fire as if it was a puzzle he was trying to solve. He lifted his head to the sky and closed his eyes as the smoke blew in his direction.

  I fished in the cooler, finding nothing but beer and hard lemonade. I tried the second cooler with the same results.

  “Here.” A hand holding a bottle of water appeared in my line of vision. I didn’t need to see the body attached to the hand to know who it belonged to.

  I rose slowly and realized he was standing so close to me that I nearly bumped into him. He stepped back as if I’d hit him. Or maybe he just didn’t like people invading his personal space.

  “Thanks,” I sai
d, taking the water. It was still sealed, otherwise I never would have touched it. I waited for Zan to say something else, but he just walked away.


  I unscrewed the water and took a sip, glancing over to where Lexie and Zack had been.

  They were gone.

  I didn’t panic right away, and did another visual sweep of the area. Drunk guy, drunk guy, really drunk girl…

  No Lexie. No Zack. I figured maybe they’d gone for a walk or something, so I did a wider sweep of the area. I really hoped they hadn’t gone into the woods to hook up. Maybe they went to get something out of her car.

  I walked up the road that led to the pit, which was studded with trucks and crappy cars and hunks of metal that barely qualified as vehicles. I went for Lexie’s car first. Nothing.

  Then I heard her laugh. I weaved through the other cars and trucks and found her and Zack kissing and leaning against a semi-POS truck I knew had been his sixteenth birthday present. He had her back pressed to the passenger door, his hands and mouth devouring her.

  What was the protocol in this situation? I didn’t want to make an ass out of myself, but I didn’t want my best friend having sex for the first time pressed up against a rusted-out truck, either.

  And I’d never been one for tact.

  “Lex!” I called sharply. She pulled away from Zack and I was surprised I didn’t hear a sucking sound, like pulling one of those little suction cup things from a window.

  “Oh, hey Lottie,” She tried to hide the embarrassment in her voice, and did a good job. Zack ignored me and just kept trying to kiss her neck. Lexie’s eyes rolled back in her head and she bit her lip. It was almost pornographic to watch.

  “I’m supposed to be home soon.”

  “Zack volunteered to take us. Right?”

  “Sure, babe.” He spared a quick glare at me before going back to feeling up my best friend.

  “Can’t we just take your car? You probably shouldn’t leave it here. Remember what happened to Joel Ostrander’s truck?” A bunch of seriously drunk hooligans hopped up on who knew what had decided to turn his truck bed into a trampoline. It hadn’t ended well for the truck bed.

  Lexie rolled her eyes as Zack skimmed his hands all over her ass.

  “He’s been driving for years. Come on, Lottie, it’s only a few miles.”

  “I don’t think it’s a good idea. He’s been drinking.” I didn’t address Zack directly. There was something about him that left a bad taste in my mouth, and it wasn’t just because he was treating my best friend like a petting zoo. I didn’t trust him. Not one tiny bit.

  “Oh come on, I’ve driven much more drunk than this. Get in,” he said, moving Lexie so he could open the passenger side door for her. She hopped up on the passenger seat with a smile.

  “Lex, come on. I can drive your car.”

  “Lottie,” she whined, “just get in the truck. We’ll be at my house in a sec. Besides, you couldn’t drive a stick if your life depended on it.” That stung. Will and I had gone out several times with Dad’s car, but I still hadn’t gotten the hang of driving a standard.

  “Just get in the truck, babe,” Zack said, coming up behind me as if he was going to lift me in. No. This was the first time Lexie wasn’t going to get her way.

  “No, I’m not riding with you. Lex, come on. Please?” I tried to use her trick, but she only had eyes for Zack. “What about your car?”

  “Zack can drive me back later to get it. We won’t be gone that long.”

  “I’ll drive,” a deep voice said behind us. I turned to find Zan. I had no idea how long he’d been standing there.

  “You’re not old enough,” I said, stepping away from Zack’s grabby hands. “And you’ve been drinking just as much as he has. I saw you.”

  Zan didn’t respond.

  “I’ve taught him everything he knows, right?” Zack slung his arm around his brother’s shoulder and handed him the keys.

  I tried one more time.

  “Please, Lex. I just don’t think this is a good idea. Please.” I looked in her eyes and begged with everything I had.

  She cracked for a moment, her face folding into a frown, but then Zack hopped up beside her and pulled her into his lap. She squealed with delight as Zan got behind the wheel. He didn’t look at me as he put the key in the ignition and drove away.

  Chapter Two

  Two years later…


  “Has anyone ever told you that you talk too much?” my younger twin brother Will (I was older by 47 seconds and I never let him forget it) said. “I mean, you really have a problem. You know there’s probably like, Talkers Anonymous or something.”

  “Hi, my name is Lottie, and I’m a Talker,” I said.

  “Hi, Lottie,” Will said, playing along.

  “It’s been, um, well it hasn’t been any time since I last talked, because I’m doing it right now,” I said as I shouldered another box out of the back of Will’s truck. My own vehicle had met its untimely demise two days before we were set to move into our dorm rooms, so I was vehicle-less; at least for now.

  “Well, you do have a problem,” he said, hopping into the bed to pull a box forward. “Did you bring enough stuff? Seriously, where are you going to put all these books?”

  “It’s not my fault that my car decided to shit the bed. Stupid transmission.”

  “I told you to take it in when you started hearing those noises,” he said in an I-told-you-so voice.

  I rolled my eyes at him and stumbled into the dorm, nearly bowling several other students over. Will thought I was insane for taking so many books, but I just couldn’t leave them behind.

  “Dude, elevator’s this way,” Will called behind me.

  “Don’t call me dude,” I threw over my shoulder as I squished myself against the wall so a few people could pass. I’d been in this building one other time during orientation, but that had been months ago . Logically, the elevator should have been right in the front of the building, but it wasn’t.

  I managed to rotate myself around and follow Will’s mop of blonde hair to the elevator where we were crammed in with three other students and all their crap. My books were important. A framed poster of some moronic boy band wasn’t. Will was busy trying to catch the eye of the girl carrying said poster, and he succeeded, giving her what he thought was a roguish wink that made her face go red. Honestly.

  I glared at him and he gave me an innocent look as if to say, “I can’t help it.” He was hopeless.

  Will just had a mutual break-up with his girlfriend, Kandy, and he was a free man for the first time in a year and a half. Looked like he was going to make the most of it.

  Will and I stumbled out of the elevator on the fourth floor and down the hall to my room. We were early, so my roommate wasn’t there yet.

  The room was just as I remembered, square, white, sterile, boring. Bleach and fresh paint fumes seeped into my nose, giving a new meaning to my fresh start. It was time to make this place mine now. New place, new life, new me.


  I stared up at the dorm building and it reminded me of The William H. Carter Center, the Maine state juvenile facility. I’d only been sentenced to one year there, but one year was more than enough. The day I’d gone in, it had been raining. At least the sun was out today. At least that was different.

  This building was also made of brick, but there were no bars on the windows. No metal detectors. No threatening guards. People passed by me, and I shifted away from them by instinct. I made sure to keep my eyes down, my shoulders hunched. I’d learned that much at Carter. Lay low, stay safe.

  Hard to do when you’re 6’4.

  “Dude, are you going to fucking stand there all day?” Zack said, shoving me from behind. My anger flashed, and my fist dived out toward him before I could even think. Zack ducked; he was used to it by now.

  “Calm down. You can’t afford to lose it here.” He touched my shoulder, grounding me back in my new reality. The new cl
othes my mother had bought me were stiff, and I couldn’t wait to ditch them and go back to my regular t-shirts and jeans with holes in them.

  The new outfit was supposed to be part of my new image. Clean cut, normal. Safe.

  The sleeves covered the scars that roped their way around my left arm, and the other scars on my wrists. But there was something else they couldn’t cover. I could cut my hair and change my clothes, but nothing could change the thing that hovered over me. The thing that people saw when they looked at me, the thing that made them look away and cross to the other side of the street.

  “Bro?” Zack said, taking me out of my reverie. “You just going to stare at it or help me get my junk in? I have to get to the gym.”

  Zack was on the first floor, so we got his stuff out first, since it was on top of mine. He also had more stuff than I did. Another thing I learned at Carter. Don’t care about things, because you’ll probably lose them. Mom had wanted us to room together, but Zack and I had agreed that we didn’t want to. He didn’t want his black sheep brother dragging down his love life and I didn’t want his love life shoved in my face. I’d had enough of that last summer.

  Zack took off to say hello to one of his baseball buddies as I hauled his free weights from the truck to the room. Of course I dropped one on my foot and cursed in the lobby full of families moving their students in. There was a pause in the action as everyone stared at me and then went back to their own lives.

  “You need a hand?” A guy passing buy bent down to pick up the weight and hand it to me. When he stood, I saw he was almost as tall as I was. The other thing I noticed about him was the effortless smile that spread across his face. I’d never been very good at smiling. People like him made it look easy.

  “Nah, I’m good,” I said. “Thanks, though. You, um, moving in too?” I wasn’t much for conversation, but conversation with strangers is often easier than conversation with someone you’ve known for years.

  “Yeah. Just going to find my room.” He moved to the side so a girl with a giant stuffed bear could pass. “I guess I’ll see you around?”

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