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"Congrats. I knew you would make it." Chase smiles brightly at me and I mimic his gesture and smile back.
"Thanks. I hope it wasn't a mistake, though." I made it into the basketball team but now I'm starting to have second thoughts. I mean, what if I don't have enough time to keep up with my courses while playing at the same time? A very prominent voice in my head is telling me I'm just being silly and hopefully, and most likely, it's right.
"I haven't seen you play but I bet you're great."
My cheeks heat up by his compliment and I flicker my eyes from him to the scenario behind his broad shoulders.
"It's really beautiful here, you know", I say as I take in the marvelous view of the ocean. The waves are pretty high due to the harsh wind and if I stood by the shore, I'd surely get hit by some of the salty water which hits the big rocks and sends it flying in all different directions. It's not calm in any way, yet it's really beautiful.
"I told ya you would like it", he says in a cocky voice and I playfully nudge his side, purposely putting some extra force behind it, which cause him to almost fall off the stone wall we're sitting on.
He quickly grabs onto me by instinct, his hand taking a hold onto my wrist while he tries to regain his balance.
"I've seen better though", I tease him and he chuckles.
"Just wait. I'll take you to an even better place next time."
I can't deny the skip my heart takes as he names the next time because truth to be told; hanging out with Chase is a blast.
"You better stick to your words then, cocky boy."
He grins at me. "Trust me, Viking, I will."
I'm quick to question his new nickname for me, which cause me to heave out a heavy sigh as well. His explanation isn't much better than the name either.
"You were from Sweden, right? And Sweden had Vikings, didn't they?" His face is so innocent you might actually believe he is genuinely believing the nickname is suitable for me, and that it's not only for his own entertainment and my misery.
I cross my arms in front of my chest. "Keep calling me that and you will be sorry."
"Oh? Are you... threatening me?" Chase raise an eyebrow at me. "What are you going to do? Hunt me down with your ax?"
I clench my jaw and eye him closely before I give him a hard shove by the shoulder. Hard enough for him to fall off the wall and landing on the grass beneath with a loud thud.
* * *
I leave Chase an hour later to go find Tamara and Lily. We're going to a restaurant to have dinner, deciding to have a night out just for the sake of it, and for some stupid reason I don't know, I decided on meeting them there.
It feels like I've been stalking around the same streets for an eternity, but I guess it's been about fifteen minutes. I'm honestly more lost than when you lose your mom in the supermarket and that means I've literally no freaking idea of where I am.
I'm trying to follow the bigger sidewalks where it's not quite as dark as in the alleys but I've just put up a map on my phone, which is showing me that the fastest way towards my destination goes through an area consisting of alleys and alleys only.
"C'mon, Linnea", I whisper to myself, "stop being so silly. Nothing is going to happen."
I repeat the words over and over again, trying to convince myself that they are true. It's nearly eight, which means it's not even that late.
Repeating the words one last time, I glance at my phone screen and start following the path the map has pointed out for me.
I'm halfway through the scary area when my phone buzz in my hand, I still have the map up, and I immediately read the new message.
You shouldn't be alone at such a place. You want me to come and keep you company?
The blood in my veins instantly freezes as I read the words on my screen and I quickly turn around and scan the area for any signs of another human being.
I clutch my bag tighter against my chest, ready to grab the bottle of pepper spray I carry with me at all times, but I can't see anyone. It seems like I am the only one here.
Forcing myself to calm down, I send a message and ask how the person knows where I am. The instant reply I get doesn't help calm my nerves in any way.
Don't worry. I'm just keeping an eye on you to make sure you're safe.
I press my lips into a thin line and fight down the urge to scream and panic. I'm almost there.
A couple of hundred meters more and then I should be at the restaurant.
With shaky fingers, I call Tamara.
I talk with her for the rest of the walk and even though I know she'll freak out, I tell her about the messages as soon as she picks up. There's no way in hell I'm going to keep it a secret. I mean, what if he or she shows up? Then someone will at least know where to look.
Maybe I'm over exaggerating but I'll rather be cautious than the opposite.
I'm almost by the restaurant when I get another message from the same person.
So you want me to come or not? I can be there in five minutes.