Needless to say, I was losing my mind as I waited for Eli to return. I could only hope Nico and Jessica were already headed our way.
Delia's black eyes wouldn't stop tormenting me. How could Delia Sanford be that thing?
Plus, I couldn't understand what caused that girl to attack the man in the parking lot, and how in the hell had a bite turned Delia into a screaming monster so quickly?
The warehouse door opened, I waited for Eli, Nico, and Jessica to walk out, but no such luck.
I bit my lip.
Come on, Eli. Hurry.
I called Jessica. I could only hope she was lucid enough to feel her phone vibrating. As I listened to her personalized ringtone, someone hit the window with their palm, scaring the living crap out of me.
"Eli, are you in there? It's me. I just want to talk." It was the little blond from earlier, and her two friends stood close by.
I let out a sigh. I didn't know what their history was, and honestly, I didn't want to know. There was no way I was talking to her.
Luckily, the dark-tinted windows made it nearly impossible for anyone to see inside. She would get the message and walk away.
She beat on the window again. Okay. Maybe not. "Nico, is that you in there? Do you know where Eli is?"
What was wrong with this girl?
Doing my best to ignore her, I redialed Jessica.
Blondie and her friends had some guts because they cupped their eyes and pressed their faces to the glass to peer inside the Charger.
What if someone was naked in here? I mean, no one was, but they would've been playing with fire if there had been.
When Blondie's gaze landed on me, her eyebrows crammed together. "You."
Uh... I had no idea how to respond to that. I wasn't a jealous person, and I never understood why girls got so jealous. If the guy didn't want me, then hey, I didn't waste my time, but Blondie was apparently a very jealous person.
"Open this door!" Blondie fought the door handle like it was going to magically open without a key.
When the Charger started to rock, I wanted to yell at her, but I knew I had to do something. I'd promised Eli I wouldn't get out of the Charger, but damn, I couldn't just hide.
When I opened the door, Blondie glared at me alongside her two friends. I couldn't understand why they disliked me so much.
Wrapping my hands around my waist, I leaned against the Charger's door. "Okay. I'm out. What do you want?"
"You think you can talk to me like that?" Blondie's face scrunched up, reminding me of Gollum from Lord of the Rings.
"Okay, I don't know what I did, but—"
"Don't play stupid. You know what you did." Blondie stepped right into my line of fire. She was so close I could smell the liquor on her breath.
I wanted to push her back, but she was pumped up, and petite girls like her could fight dirty. After what I'd just seen, I didn't want anyone biting me, so I did my best to stand my ground without showing anger or egging her on.
I shook my head, giving her puppy dog eyes. "I really don't. I only came tonight because Nico invited my friend."
"She's lying, Lizzy! I saw her hugging Eli earlier." Her tall brunette friend announced.
Are you kidding me? She wanted us to fight.
"We were just talking." I shrugged, keeping my innocent look.
A handful of overly happy people started to gather, forming a circle around us.
"I know you're lying. Eli broke up with me because of you!" Blondie, I mean, Lizzy yelled as a tear slid down her cheek.
I opened my mouth to speak, but nothing came out. I didn't know what to say. Why would Eli breakup with his girlfriend because of me? That couldn't be true, could it?
Eli had been so standoffish with her. It didn't make any sense.
"I don't know anything about that," I said. "I promise. I barely know, Eli. Tonight is the first night we've ever hung out."
"Not from what I heard." The brunette so nicely added. I would punch her first if she didn't shut up.
"Lizzy!" Eli yelled as he rounded the small crowd with Jessica and Nico in tow.
People gasped and laughed as they parted, making a pathway for Eli.
Jessica leaned on Nico as she rotated her arm in circles, creating tracers with the wide array of glowing bracelets decorating her arms. Jessica was still as high as a fricking kite.
Nico must've put them on for her because I couldn't see my blitzed out friend capable of doing anything at the moment.
When Nico noticed Lizzy his eyes narrowed. Nico was trying not to say anything, but I knew he wanted to.
Lizzy wiped under her eyes and smiled when she faced Eli. "I was looking for you."
"Why?" Eli's hat faced forward again, and his strong shoulders were tense under his black tee.
"Because I want to give you another chance." Lizzy smoothed down her skimpy outfit and stepped closer to Eli.
Eli backed away from her.
"I'm sorry, Lizzy, but we're on our way out," Nico said the words nicely, surprising me.
Eli turned to Nico. "Get Jessica in the car while I handle this."
Nico nodded and pulled Jessica to the car.
"Please, Eli," Blondie sounded like she might cry again. "I know she can't make you happy like I can. Look at her. She's just a freshman. You need a real woman."
My hands clenched. I never did anything to this girl, and she was verbally attacking me. I had several excellent comebacks in mind, but I chose not to speak. We really didn't have time for this.
Eli glanced at me with his jaw clenched. He was pissed when his gaze found at Lizzy. "I'm sick of your shit, Lizzy!"
Lizzy flinched as her bottom lip puckered, but she didn't speak.
"I don't know what you think we had, but it meant nothing. I told you that from day one. You have to stop this. I'm sure there's a great guy out there for you somewhere, but just know I'll report you again if you don't stop following me." Eli's hateful glare toward her was offputting.
If Eli reported her to the authorities once already, Lizzy was a bigger problem than I thought.
Lizzy's friends refused to look at Eli, and the loud brunette was avoiding all eye contact with me now.
"But I'm so much better than her. She's just a bony girl with freckles." Lizzy's nose wrinkled, turning her into Gollum again.
Bony? I swallowed back my anger. Yeah, I wasn't curvy, but damn, I wasn't dealt that card in my gene pool.
I had to back-burner this. There was way too much going on to care about my insecurities, and I didn't want to hear any more of this insanity.
"Lilly?" Jessica called.
Eli said something to Lizzy, but I tuned him out.
I spun to see Nico in the driver's seat, which threw me off. Who in the hell owned the Charger, anyway?
Climbing in the back next to Jessica, I slammed the door as Eli continued to argue with Lizzy.
"Lilly?" Jessica watched her glowing arms as she swayed to the music. "You know I love you, right?"
"Yeah, I know." I couldn't look at her.
Jessica laughed. "I'm so glad we did this."
Nico glanced at me, but instead of laughing at Jessica, Nico's eyes were full of worry. He'd seen the video.
Eli finally got into the Charger.
I gave Lizzy and her friends one final glance.
"You better watch your back, bitch!" Lizzy yelled at me as we drove away.
Eli readjusted his hat and turned down the music. "I've had it with her shit, Bro. When this all cools down, I think I need to get a restraining order."
"You're funny, Eli. You need a restraining order from the whole campus, well, except my Lilly. She hates you." Jessica laughed to herself.
I'm glad Eli and I had talked it out, otherwise Jessica would've been in deep shit.
Nico ignored Jessica, glancing at Eli. "Are we going to help Rick?"
I had a major problem with that. If they were going to Rick and Delia, they would have to drop my happy ass off. There was no way I was going up north with them.
"I have to call him." Eli dialed and held the phone to his ear.
"I'm hungry. Does it smell like cookies in here?" Jessica jumped out of her seat, wrapping her arms around Nico's shoulders and pressing her face into his neck. "You smell good. Just like cookies."
Nico swerved as he struggled to get Jessica off him.
"What the fuck?" Eli threw a glare at Jessica when he grabbed the steering wheel to help Nico stay on the road.
"Jess, Nico's trying to drive. Sit down." Grabbing Jessica's shoulder, I instantly released her. Jessica was burning up.
Jessica released Nico and let out a sad whine. She sat back, pouting. "I just want some cookies."
"We'll get you some cookies soon, okay?" I patted her leg.
Jessica giggled and spun in her seat to look out the rear window. She was a fricking handful tonight.
"You want us to come up there?" Eli asked Rick over the phone.
There was no way I was going to see Delia. I had to get the hell off this crazy train. Being forced to be Jessica's babysitter was enough for one night.
I tapped Nico's shoulder. "Can you drop us off my dorm?"
"Yeah," Nico glanced at me with understanding.
"No," Eli twisted and shook his head at me.
I sat back and stared out my window. Once Eli got off the phone, I'd tell him exactly what I was doing.
Eli hunched forward rubbing the back of his head. "Why not? We can—"
Eli yanked the phone away from his ear. A muffled screech came from his phone.
Oh my God. Delia was screaming. She'd been tied up in the motel, and she was probably still there, doing exactly the same thing.
When Delia stopped, Eli put the phone back to his ear. "Is she okay?"
Nico turned toward my dorm.
I let out a relieved sigh.
"Did you call the police?" Eli sounded worried. "No, Dude. That's not smart. If she still looks the same, you can't untie her. Just wait for the ambulance."
I still couldn't believe this was happening.
I sat up. "Does anyone know what's going on?"
Nico grimaced. "All we know is what Rick told us."
"Which is?" I raised my eyebrows.
"People in New York City are attacking each other for no reason and when they get bitten, they change into the same thing as Delia. I think the biters are just like Delia. That girl running through the parking lot in the recording was wearing pajamas. I mean, who does that? Who gets out of bed to run someone down to take a chunk out of them? That guy was like three times her size, and he was fucking terrified." Nico pulled to a stop in front of my dorm. "Front door service."
Damn. Nico had a point. That guy running to his car had been huge compared to the girl.
When Eli realized we were at my dorm, he slapped the dashboard. "What the hell? I said no!"
Before Nico could process why Eli was so mad, I jumped out of the car. I guess their wires had gotten crossed since Eli was on the phone, but I was getting out of here. I had no intention of helping Rick or Delia. That was too scary of a situation.
"Jess," I glanced back, but she was already out of the car.
"Cookies?" Jessica ran to my side. She was full of energy.
I laughed. "Sure."
"Life is beautiful, isn't Lil? I'm so happy to be alive!" Jessica threw her arms around me, encompassing me in a hug. When Jessica pulled back, I gasped. Her hazel irises were completely black.
Eli climbed out of the car, turning his hat backward. "Whatever's going on is bad, Lil. You need to stay with us."
I shook my head. "No. Jess is high as a kite, and your temper is too much for me right now. I'll see you later."
"You've got to be kidding me." Eli studied my face. "You're acting like you didn't just see what I did."
"I did, but it's going on in New York City, Eli. That's a long way away." I glanced around to find Jessica, but she was gone. "Damn it. Jessica!"
My feet pounded down the hallway of my dorm. I whipped my door open and let out a heavy breath when I saw her digging through my snack drawer.
"Cookies!" She pulled out a small pack of Oreos and ripped them open.
"Come on, Lil." Eli was right behind me. "Just grab some stuff and stay with us for the night. I'm worried. Please?"
The way he said please made my heart melt. How could I say no? "I don't mind going to your place, but I won't go see Delia."
"Deal." Eli gave me a tight grin. "Rick said his dad is on his way up there, anyway."
"Yuck," Jessica said.
I spun to see her spitting Oreos all over the floor. "Jess, no. Use the trash can."
Grabbing the trash can, I rushed toward her.
"It's not funny!" I bent to clean up Jessica's mess.
I glanced back. He was staring straight at my butt. A rush of heat swept over me.
Damn. I'd totally forgotten about my outfit. I stood, pulling my skirt down. Half of my butt was hanging out. Stupid miniskirt.
After Jessica took a long drink of my flat Mountain Dew, she spit it out in the trash can. I couldn't scold her since it was actually a big improvement.
Eli laughed again. "I'll give you a few minutes. We'll be waiting out front."