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The Ones Who Got Away (The Ones Who Got Away #1)(2)
Author: Roni Loren

   “Meaning?”

   There was no way Daniel didn’t know what that meant. The media had latched on to the killers’ manifesto like ants on honey. Joseph and Trevor had chosen prom night for a very particular reason. Not to take out the popular people or people who’d wronged them. They wanted to take out the happy ones. If you can be happy in a fucked-up world like this, then you’re blind and too stupid to live. That’d been the motto of their mission.

   Liv hadn’t been deemed a happy one and had been spared. But she wasn’t going to say it and open herself up to the question of why she hadn’t been happy. There’d been enough speculation in the press back when it’d happened. What was broken with all those lucky survivors? Were they the mean kids? The depressed kids? The damaged kids? Friends of the killers? “Joseph and I had worked together on a project in chemistry. We weren’t friends, but I’d been nice to him.”

   And he’d been nice to her. But she’d also seen part of him that would haunt her later. When she’d worried that their project wouldn’t be up to par, he’d assured her that the rest of the class was filled with idiots, jocks, and assholes, so they’d look like geniuses in comparison. He’d smirked at her and said, I mean, seriously, someone should just put them out of their misery. Save us the trouble of having to deal with them.

   Back then, she’d already been a subscriber to the church of sarcasm and had no love lost for many of her classmates, so she’d taken his comment as such and agreed with him. Now the memory of that conversation made her sick. She’d reassured a killer that he was right. Given him more fuel for his bonfire.

   “He cursed at me, told me to stay put, and wedged a chair against the outside of the door.” She rubbed her lips together. “After that, I heard more shots.”

   “Presumably when he and Trevor shot at”—Daniel checked his notes—“Finn Dorsey and Rebecca Lindt.”

   Liv reached for her water and took a slow sip, trying not to hear the sounds of that night in her head. The gun going off in that steady, unrelenting way. The cries for help. A Mariah Carey song still playing in the gym. Her own rapid breath as she huddled in that closet and did—nothing. Frozen. For five hours. Only the chair against the door had alerted the SWAT team someone was in there after everything was over. “Yes. I didn’t see any of it, but I know Finn was shot protecting Rebecca. You’d have to ask Rebecca about that part.”

   “I did ask her. I plan to ask Finn, too.”

   Liv’s head snapped upward at that, the words yanking her out of the memories like a stage hook. “What?”

   “Mr. Dorsey is my next interview.”

   She stared at Daniel, not sure if she’d heard the words right. “Finn’s here?”

   She barely resisted saying, He exists? The guy had become a ghost after the awful months following the shooting. He’d gotten a ton of press for being a hero, and the media had played up the story to the nth degree. The star athlete and son of a local business owner taking a bullet for his date. But within a year, his family had rented out their house and moved out of town, running from the spotlight like everyone else. No one wanted to be that brand of famous.

   Liv hadn’t heard anything about him since, and he never gave interviews. She’d decided that he had probably moved to some remote tropical island and changed his name. She would’ve skipped town back then, too—if she’d had the funds to do it.

   “Yes,” Daniel said, tipping his head toward the spot over her left shoulder. “He got here a few minutes ago. He’s declined to be on camera, but he’s agreed to an interview.”

   With that, she couldn’t help but turn and follow the interviewer’s gaze. Leaning against the wall in the shadows of the darkened gym was a man with dark hair, a black T-shirt, and jeans. He looked up from the phone in his hand, as if hearing his name, and peered in their direction. He was too far away for her to read his expression or see the details of his face, but a jolt of bone-deep recognition went through her. “Oh.”

   “Hey, we should invite him to join you for this part since you were both close to the same place at the same time. We’ll get a more accurate timeline that way.”

   “What? I mean, no, that’s not—”

   “Jim, can you turn off the camera? I think this will be important. Mr. Dorsey,” Daniel called out, “would you mind if I asked you a few questions now? The camera’s off.”

   The cameraman went about shutting things down, and Finn pushed away from the wall.

   Liv’s heart leapt into her throat and tried to escape. She’d avoided Finn after everything had happened, not just from hurt, but because seeing his face, even on television, would trigger the flashbacks. But she wasn’t that girl anymore. Seeing Finn after all these years shouldn’t concern her. Still, she had the distinct urge to make tracks to the back door. She slid out of the director’s chair she’d been sitting in. “I think I’ve probably given you everything I have to add. I wasn’t in the gym, and my story is really just me cowering in the closet. Not that interesting—”

   Her words cut off, her voice dying a quick death, as Finn got closer and some of the studio lights caught him in their glare. The man approaching was nothing like the boy she’d known. The bulky football muscles had streamlined into a harder, leaner package. The smooth face was now dusted with scruff, and the look in his deep-green eyes held no trace of boyish innocence. A thousand things were in those eyes. A thousand things welled up in Liv.

   Finn Dorsey had become a man. And a stranger. The only familiar thing was the sharp, undeniable kick of awareness she’d always gotten anytime the guy was around. Time had only made the effect more potent. Without thinking, her gaze drifted to his hands. Big, capable hands that had once held her. When she’d known him, he’d always worn his football championship ring from junior year. The cool metal used to press against the back of her neck when he kissed her. Now he wore no rings at all. She took a breath, trying to reel in that old, automatic response to him, and smoothed her hands down the sides of her now-wrinkled pencil skirt.

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