Dangerously Damaged (Addicted To You, Book One)
Author:Covington, Lucy

Okay meant something else entirely. I wasn’t sure what. “Tell me what’s up.”

 

He seemed like he was about to say something, but then there was the sound of a gunshot in the distance—or maybe just a car backfiring. Whatever it was, Gilbert grew distracted. “I’m fine, man. I’m good. I just missed you while I was away.”

 

“I missed you too.” I glanced at him. He was skinnier than before. And he looked twice my age.

 

“They sent me to max security, dude. That shit was not fun at all.” Gilbert flicked the cigarette ashes to the cement. “Not fun at all. Fucking nutcases up there.”

 

“Yeah, they’re nutcases,” I agreed. “That’s why you’re not supposed to be there, Gil. You got to stay out of jail, man. Stay clean.”

 

He glared at me for a moment, and in his eyes there was somebody different, someone I’d never seen before. That kid from high school was long gone, I realized. “If it was that easy, don’t you think I’d have done it by now?”

 

“Yeah, I know. I know.”

 

His body relaxed. “I’m just stressed. I been out for a month and I’m sick of being fucking homeless.”

 

“Tell me what you need.”

 

He looked at me again, and his eyes didn’t waver. “I need money.”

 

I reached in my pocket, not surprised. I wondered if he knew somehow that I’d just gotten paid recently. Junkies were notoriously smart like that. But then I put the thought out of my head. Whatever Gilbert needed, I would give it to him—always.

 

I handed him a wad of cash. “That’s every cent I’ve got right now,” I told him.

 

“Everything.”

 

“I can’t take this much.”

 

“Just don’t do anything stupid,” I said.

 

We hugged again and then I left him there, smoking another cigarette and looking happy. I knew that money wasn’t going to make everything okay, any more than it had the last time I’d given him a bunch of cash.

 

But seeing him happy again, even for a second, was worth it.

 

***

 

I wasn’t sure how I ended up at Cambridge University.

 

Well, that wasn’t entirely true. I’d walked the entire way, which had taken me almost two hours. It had felt good to just walk and clear my head.

 

There were too many thoughts that I didn’t want to think, too many memories of the past that were crowding in.

 

Walking helped.

 

And then, before I knew it, I’d come to the pristine campus, and I realized that I’d been heading there all along.

 

You don’t even know what building she’s in.

 

I looked around. Cambridge University owned the entire town. She could be anywhere. But then I saw all of the moving trucks and parents with their spoiled rich offspring, walking back and forth all over the place, and it hit me.

 

It’s move-in day.

 

I started walking with a purpose. “Excuse me, where do I go to get my registration…ah…materials?” I asked some kid with big ears and spiky hair who was walking his bike through the quad.

 

He looked at me, a little perplexed, but then pointed to the large building almost directly in front of us. “Registration ended hours ago,” he said, shaking his head at my ignorance. “They moved everything into the library, but I’m not sure if there’s anyone there anymore.”

 

“Thanks,” I said, running past him and into the library. It was enormous, intimidating even. There were a couple of students – a girl and a boy -- at a big round table with pamphlets and binders on it. They appeared to be packing up.

 

“Excuse me!” I yelled, running towards them. “Excuse me.”

 

They looked up at me, surprised. After all, I’d just committed the cardinal sin of yelling in a library.

 

“Can I help you?” the girl asked, her eyes narrowing.

 

“Yeah, sorry. I just—I got lost. I’m looking for a student, her name is Lindsay Cramer. I’m her brother and I was supposed to help her move in today.”

 

The girl frowned. “I’m sorry, we’re closing for the day and we can’t give out any student room numbers.”

 

“Please. She’s not answering her phone and I know she needs my help. Or you can call her room for me and check my story out? Please.”

 

The students exchanged glances. The guy quickly opened a binder. “Lindsay Cramer?” he asked.

 

“Yes.”

 

“She’s in Lanard Hall, straight across the common, next to the Faculty Club.

 

Room 232.”

 

“I so appreciate it,” I told them. “Thank you so much.”

 

Then I ran out of there, my heart pumping. I wasn’t thinking about anything but finding her again, and I wasn’t sure what I would say when I saw her or why I was even doing this.

 

I ran into Lanard Hall, and it was easy to get past security because there were so many people still moving in. I ran up the first flight of stairs, and then, still out of breath, made my way to Room 232.

 

I hesitated for less than a second before knocking rapidly, three times.

 

“Hello?” she called.