The Center: Best Served Cold Part-10

The Center: Best Served Cold -
Part Ten


Becca has been having nightmares, all of them involving a certain Mr. Green and how he ruined her life. Now Green's whereabouts might be known and Becca will do whatever it takes to make sure that he doesn't get away from her this time, no matter what the cost.


Author's Note: Here's Ten...finally. I think the weather affects how I write, the better the weather, the faster I write. It's been cold and miserable where I live. I just want to say that there's a awesome cliffhanger at the end of this one, things come to light slowly...I'd like to thank djkauf for the editing and my brainstorm friends for helping me work out the last few kinks in this tale, you know who you are.


Chapter Ten:

The two of them stared at each for a long time, neither saying a thing. I bit my lip, inwardly groaning. Why did I say that, why did Brad? I looked at him, trying to read the look on his face. It was blank but I could tell he knew he slipped up. Barry on the other hand looked like he wanted to punch his hand through a wall. His nostrils were flaring, his hands clenched at his sides. He was angry, it was the first time I’d ever seen him like this. As much as I’d like to take credit for all of this, it wasn’t just my fault. I admit that some of it was---the Brad side of things---but Barry hasn’t exactly been the best boyfriend, either. It’s hard to show interest in someone when they don’t show any in you.

Finally, Brad spoke up: “Look, Barry, nothing happened between us. It was just some innocent flirting, I swear.”

Barry didn’t say anything. He continued to stare; he stared for a long time. I think both Brad and I held our breaths. Ok, so it was a little more than innocent flirting, I think everyone knew that. But you can’t help who you’re attracted or not attracted to. Me, I’m unfortunately attracted to a lot of people, chief among them are Barry and Brad. Hey, I can’t help it, if it makes me some kind of tramp then so be it.

Finally spoke, his eyes glued on Brad. “How innocent can flirting be? I’ve seen you two together, there’s nothing innocent about it.”

Whoa, he actually sounded kinda angry. That pissed me off a bit. I didn’t realize I was being watched. And when, he spent all his time in either that stupid computer lab or the information room. It infuriated me. My anger rose. “Are you spying on me?”
He didn’t say anything.

Brad did though. He cleared his throat and looked like the odd man out. “Look, I’m going to find Emma.”

He didn’t wait for either of us to respond. He silently slipped between the two of us, brushing past Barry on the way. Barry glared at him, looking like he was about to pounce. I snapped my finger in front of his face, getting his attention. Barry was good, heck he taught me but Brad would have kicked his ass. Barry was all skin and bones; I’m not sure why that was, though. Most of the girls to guys that I’ve seen are all ripped. Maybe Barry was unlucky. Or maybe it was because he spent so much time in front of a computer screen and not enough time exercising. Whatever the reason, he’d gotten kind of soft in the last couple of months. Hell, I could probably kick his ass right now.

In fact, I felt like doing just that.

“What the hell was that all about?” I snapped, still infuriated with him.

“I don’t want you near that guy anymore.”

He can’t be serious. He’s going to play the jealous boyfriend now. Especially after being the non-existent boyfriend for weeks. I wanted to punch him in the face and I probably would have if not for all the people currently crushing around us. It’s kind of hard to reel your arm back when you barely have room to stand next to someone.

“So now you’re pretending to care about me?”

“I care about you,” he said angrily.

“Then where the hell have you been?”

I didn’t get an answer to that. Instead, he just looked angrier. Then he slammed his glass on the bar top. It shattered, sending his drink all over the place. It was shocking to say the least. I never saw him get this angry before even when we were escaping the Syndicate. I stared at this guy in front of me, trying to see the same guy with all that passion and fire from before. But he wasn’t there anymore. Instead there was nothing but this shell of his former self. He looked strained too, like he was under a lot of stress and there was something else too. Though he appeared to be really angry, I could something different in his eyes. I’m not sure what exactly but it almost looked like…

“I can’t do this anymore,” he said angrily, interrupting my thoughts.

I did a double take. “Do what, us?”

He sighed and nodded. No one around us could hear the conversation, not even the bartender. But what he was saying was pretty damn clear.

“You want to break up with me? Here and now?”

“Look I’m sorry but it’s not working. I can’t keep doing this with you.”

I was stunned. I knew the two of us had hit sort of a rough patch before and even now but I thought we were going pretty good. Ok so the last few days I’ve been kind of a bitch and I did slap him but he wasn’t much better. What kind of girl wants to date a guy who hides in a computer lab all day? But I still loved him or rather whatever the facsimile of love is at my age. Hey, I’m only sixteen, I don’t think I’m ready for grown up love yet. But the two of us were going strong, at least as far as I knew. I sighed and closed my eyes, trying to force back the tears that were starting to well. How could he do this now? We were on a mission, I needed to concentrate and keep my A game up. But he had to go and throw a wrench into it.

I took a deep breath; refusing to open my eyes for fear that he’d see me bawling.”Can we not do this now?”

I heard him sigh. “I’m sorry Becca, I can’t keep lying.”

I opened my eyes finally, the tears rolling down my cheeks. “Lying about what?”

He looked a little pale then shook his head. He opened his mouth to say something then closed it quickly. Instead of speaking, he turned and pushed his way into the crowd. Oh no he doesn’t. He’s not going to drop something like that on me and just disappear. I grumbled and pushed my way into the crowd too. There were so many people; they were so close together that it was like trying to hack your way through a dense jungle. I caught sight of him for a second but then he disappeared again. But I think he was making his way for the door. I groaned and put on the speed, pushing and shoving to get through. There was no way I was going to let him get away that fast.

I got sight of him again; he was almost at the door.

I gritted my teeth and pushed on. I got to the spot where the tables were, barely registering Stella and Karen waving to me. I brushed past. I got about ten more feet when a hand gently grabbed my arm. I spun around, ready to pulverize whoever it was. But all the anger seeped out of me because it was Brad and he looked a bit frantic.

“Have you seen Emma?”

His question didn’t register at first. I looked over my shoulder and saw Barry slip out of the club. Damn it. Then I snapped back to Brad. “She was with some tall blonde guy,” I said, pulling my arm away.

He nodded. “You ok?”

Tears were still rolling down my cheeks. “I’m fine” I lied “I just need some air.”

“You want me to come…”

I didn’t let him finish. I turned away quickly and pushed my way back into the crowd. I heard Brad calling me over all the noise but I ignored him. I didn’t have time to deal with any more boys at the moment. I needed to deal with the one I had, Brad would just complicate that. Besides, if I showed up with him then Barry would be really pissed. What the hell was with that anyway? First, he tells me to stay away from Brad then he tells me he doesn’t want to lie anymore. First, he’s jealous then guilty. The boy needs to make up his mind. He needs to be one and not the other. When I was a guy I was never that way with girls, not that I ever had one. But I never would have sent them mixed signals like Barry.

I finally managed to push my way through the crowd.

I got the front entrance and had to dodge a couple of bimbos who practically bulldozered me to get inside. I shot them dirty looks, pushed past them and ended up back in the streets. The bouncer gave me a look and said something about me, “if I wanted to get back in it would have to be at the end of the line.” I ignored him and ran out onto the sidewalk. But Barry was nowhere in sight. I cursed. If Brad hadn’t stopped me, I probably could have caught up with him. I bit my lip and reached into the little purse I was carrying. I pulled out the scrambled phone and dialed Barry. Emma and Stella were the only ones who didn’t have phones. Mrs. Fine felt that I was capable of contacting them with whatever information I could send them. Besides, it was easier to get one phone into the school instead of three.

I let the phone ring a few times then it went to voice mail. After the beep, I left my message. “Barry, you’re being ridiculous. You can’t just say something like that and walk off. You and I need to talk about this like adults. You better know damn well this isn’t done and as soon as I get my hands on you I’m going to kick your ass.”

I snapped the phone shut and fought the urge to toss it into the road and underneath a passing car. Instead, I stuffed it back into my little bag. How is it that he was able to get a car so fast? I looked up and down the street but the only people around were ones trying desperately to get into the place I just ran from. I sighed. I fought back the urge to whip out my phone again and give him another call. Then I cursed myself. When I started this relationship with him a long time ago, I promised myself I wasn’t going to turn into a typical girl. Yeah I know what you’re thinking and you’re right, I’m as girly as a girl can be now. But there was a time when I swore to myself that I wouldn’t let this thing change my life. So besides fighting back tears and the urge to give my boyfriend another call, I wanted to scream and tear what was left of my hair out.

“Becca” shouted a voice, shattering my thoughts.

I snapped around, ready to chew someone out. I wasn’t really in the mood to deal with one of my friends. But what I saw was a strange Emo girl with bright blue hair and a lot of facial piercings. She was standing in line wearing a neon green skirt, fishnet stockings and boots I would have died for---they looked so much like mine, they even had the buckles. I racked my brain trying to put a name to the face and also trying to figure out if I had given this girl my name.

She pushed out of the crowd and came walking over. “Hey, it’s Jasmine. We met around the corner last night.”

I nodded. That was her name but I still didn’t remember giving her mine. “How did you know my name?”

She smirked. “I overheard your gorgeous friend say it.”

“No offense” I said “I’m not really in the mood for company. I’m having a really bad day.”

“You and Adonis boy get into a fight?”

“You’re half right. Brad is just a friend…it’s my boyfriend…”

“Say no more. With a friend like that guy I can see why your boyfriend was jealous.”

I smiled, I’m not sure why. “I didn’t say he was jealous.”

Her smile was wicked. “How can he not be?”

I couldn’t help but laugh. I shouldn’t have but there was something about Jasmine. I’d only met her that once and only briefly. But out of all the people here---save Karen---she was kindred somehow. I’m not really sure how to describe it. Well there was the obvious outward appearance of course. She wasn’t exactly Goth but she was Emo enough to be close. She also had my boots and in my book that was enough to consider her not to be one of the lemmings.

“So your boyfriend…your real one, did he run off or something?”

“We had a fight and he took off before I could discuss things with him.”

She nodded. “Well then girlfriend” she said, taking my arm. “I know just the thing to cheer you up.”

Before I could protest, she dragged me down the road toward destination unknown.

I was half expecting her to drag into a seedy bar or another nightclub but when she pulled me into a little coffee shop, I sighed. I don’t think I was ready for a bar yet. Besides, in the US I’d have been way too young to even get through the front door. But this place was nice. It was a small little hole-in-the-wall, off the beaten path and everything. It had a rustic feel too, complete with roaring fire and moose head over the mantle. There were even giant comfy looking chairs in front of it too. I so wanted to sit there but instead Jasmine dragged me over to the counter.

“Hey, can we get two Irish coffees?”

The man behind the counter frowned at us. “Are you girls old enough for those?”

Jasmine gave him a “duh” look. The guy shrugged and walked off. Me I bit my lip. Irish coffees had alcohol in them, didn’t they? I’m not sure if I was ready for that. I dabbled here and there but only a few sips and it never really agreed with me. I’m kind of a lightweight, well Rick was anyway. I debated internally with myself over whether or not I should drink one when the guy put two beer mugs in front of us. Jasmine scooped her’s up quickly and took a sip, some of the foamy froth stayed on her lip. I took a deep breath, snatched it up and took a small sip. It had a strong taste; there was coffee but something else, too.

“How is this supposed to make me feel any better?”

She shrugged. “It always helps me mum.”

I couldn’t argue with that. Besides, I needed this right now. I couldn’t think about Barry, Brad, Britney, or any of it. I was tired of it at the moment. Right now, all I wanted to do was drown my sorrows, at least for a bit. I took another sip of the coffee and then another. After the first few sips, I forgot all about the strong taste and actually started to enjoy it. Jasmine seemed to be enjoying hers too. She sipped and talked, telling me all about her life. I’m not really sure if I comprehended much of it though. Because unfortunately for me, I was a lightweight in both genders. After only a few more sips, I felt a little tipsy. I swayed a bit on the stool and started giggling at everything that was coming out of Jasmine’s mouth.

“I don’t usually drink,” I said, laughing. “I tried once. I was with some friends and Frankie said that a man wasn’t a man until he had his first beer. So I only took a few sips and nearly puked all over the place.”

Jasmine laughed. “I know.”

I laughed along with her. “Frankie said that after a few more sips I dropped right to the ground, out like a light.”

Jasmine didn’t laugh. “I know.”

I continued to laugh, sipping as I did. I’m not sure when I felt something was wrong. I think was when my arms and legs started to feel a bit sluggish. I set the mug down, it was half full now. Jasmine’s was almost all the way full and was sitting untouched on the counter. How did that happen? She smiled at me but it wasn’t a goofy one like I was giving her. The room started to spin and everything started to blur in and out of focus. I stumbled and see caught me.

“Easy there Becca” she said but there was something different about her voice.

“Heyyyyy” I slurred, my lips felt numb and heavy. “Whatttt happeennned to youuur acccentttt?”

She smiled as she lifted me from the stool, putting her hands under my arms, trying to get me to stand. I tried to push her away, realizing something was really, really wrong. I couldn’t feel my arms and legs now. I looked at the mug on the counter. There was something different about it, different from hers. I looked at the bottom and saw something just finishing dissolving. You gotta be kidding me. I tried to focus but everything was blurry and the world seemed to be swirling around me. I heard a voice ask if I was all right and then Jasmine said that I was just a little tipsy.
She half carried, half dragged me out the door.

Outside I heard a screech of tires. I looked to the road, seeing a gray van parked there. The side door opened up and someone got out. I couldn’t see his face because everything was so blurry. But he helped Jasmine carry me into the van. It didn’t take them long before they got me inside and laid me on the floor.
Someone shut the door and the van started moving.

“It’s about time,” said Jasmine with a snarl, her voice sounded a million miles away. “What took so long?”

“He couldn’t find a place to park.”

I looked over but could only see blurry images. One was a blonde guy behind the wheel, the other was a blonde girl slumped in the passenger seat. I turned to Jasmine and the other guy but they were way too blurry for me to see. I tried to say something but nothing came out. Instead, I groaned, lurched forward and passed out.


I opened my eyes and first thing I noticed was that I was floating. I suppose you could say that when you’re drunk and drugged you kind of feel that way but this was completely different. For one I was floating in a black void and for another I was pretty certain I was still unconscious. Great I’m either dreaming, hallucinating or I’m dead. I think I’m going to go with the former. But I’m not sure if I liked that any better than the other two. It wasn’t everyday that someone knew they were dreaming. But I guess it’s better than not knowing. I’m not sure if I could handle another one of those sugar coated happy land ones only to have it shattered before it was over.

At least with this one I knew what to expect.

I looked about, trying to see if there was anything new. I’d been in this void before, a couple of times I think. But in the last few weeks, I’d only been here once or twice. You would think that I’d get sick of it but lately I’d actually been kinda missing it. It was like a second home for me for a while, a place to go to unwind and think about my day. Ok so I’m full of it but what else do I got to think about. I’m floating in fricking void here.

I looked down at myself, thanking myself tht I was dressed normally. That was a good reason to prove that I was dreaming and not dead. If I was dead I was pretty certain I’d still be in that crazy outfit Britney forced me to wear. At least that’s how it usually is in movies; you wear what you die in. Like that one with Bruce Willis---yep, I saw that one. But then again that was the movies. If I ever woke up and get myself out of whatever it is I’m in now, I’ll make sure to ask some of the Ghost Seer people back at the Center. They seem to know a lot about those kinds of things.

“You’re not dead,” said a voice, it bounced and echoed around me.

I groaned. I knew the voice, I knew it really well because it was mine.

“You mind telling me what I am then?”

A mirror appeared in front of me, floating in the void just like me. My reflection was there again but she had my signature streak and purple eyes. She was smirking at me. It wasn’t fair, she looked normal and I felt like an idiot. “You haven’t figured it out, then?”

I sighed. I had a pretty good idea. “Jasmine fucked me over.”

My reflection nodded. “She got you good. You should have seen that one coming.”

“We should have seen that one coming,” I corrected and my reflection nodded. “So what happens now?”

Mirror Me shrugged. “I don’t know; I’m just a manifestation of your subconscious. I’m just here to keep you from going nuts.”

I smiled. “This brings a whole new meaning to the phrase talking to yourself.”

She laughed. “You’re the boss.”

“In the real world maybe but you seem to know what’s going on here. Do you have any idea how we wake up?”

“Not sure” she said “but I think I can get you out of this void.”

I nodded. “Anything’s better than here.”

The mirror disappeared. I frowned. I may have been talking to myself but it was the only company I had. Now I was completely alone. Luckily, I wasn’t in the black for very long. The void started to waver, shimmering like a bad flashback scene. One minute I was floating and then the next I was slowly drifting downwards. At first, I thought I was going to fall into nothingness. Then I felt ground underneath my feet. Looking down I still saw only blackness but it was like there was an invisible floor under my feet. But slowly the floor started taking shape, forming tile after tile. The walls started taking shape around me too and the void disappeared altogether. In its place was a prison like hallway, with its tiled floor and dull colored walls.
You’ve got to be kidding me.

The hallway looked very familiar because I’d been here several times before. Well actually they were all pretty much the same but there was no denying that I was back at the Syndicate, Section Four to be exact, my prison. If this was my idea of a sense of humor, it wasn’t funny in the least. This was the last place in the world I wanted to be. I closed my eyes, hoping that when I opened them I’d be back in the Void or maybe someplace nice. I tried picturing a tropical island getaway in my head. But I couldn’t concentrate. Frustrated I opened my eyes and groaned.

I was still in a Syndicate hallway. But this time I wasn’t alone.

There was someone standing at the end of it. It was a man I think, shrouded in shadow. There was something about him that seemed so familiar. I took a few steps down the hall but he didn’t make any attempt to move, either backwards or forwards. I quickened my pace but he still just stood there. As I got closer and closer, I started to notice things. For one he was wearing a black suit and for two, he was holding a black cane. It dawned on me then who this guy had to be. A fury boiled inside of me and I ran full speed at the son of a bitch. Dream or not, I was going to rip the bastard’s throat out.
I ran as hard and as fast as I could. As I ran, Reta appeared in my hand. It felt good to grip her handle. I raised her, leveling her barrel at the bastard’s chest and fired off two shots. There was no way I was going to miss him this time. I hit him, both found their intended targets. Dekker wavered, dipping into the light so I could see his smug face. He looked shocked for a moment. Then recognition appeared on his face as he dropped his cane and slumped to the floor. I fired another shot, snapping the cane in two. He dropped the useless tool.

I advanced on him quickly, keeping my gun trained on his head. “Don’t move motherfucker.”

He smirked, his teeth smeared with blood. “Clearly you don’t realize the situation I’m in. You put two in my chest; I’m not going to be moving much ever again.”

I smiled, looking at the two holes seeping blood, ruining his nice white shirt. It was less than he deserved but it was better than nothing. A small part of me knew that this wasn’t real, that it was my subconscious finally allowing me to play out my revenge fantasy but frankly, I didn’t care. It was the closest I was going to get to the bastard at the moment.

“Not so high and mighty now are we? This may be a dream and you may not be real but I’ve got you. I’ve got you in the real world too; Britney is going to lead me right to you”

He laughed, coughing up blood. “You are ever observant but not very bright.”

“What are you talking about?”

He smirked. “Britney of course.”

“What about her?”

“It’s too convenient,” he said, laughing. “I might not be real but even I know that Dekker doesn’t have a daughter.”

I lowered Reta, stumbling a bit. “What are you saying?”

“Think about it for a second” he said, slowly pulling himself to a seated position. “You’ve been stressing about killing me for weeks now and suddenly the opportunity just pops up, out of the blue. You probably would have thought that odd if you’d been thinking straight. But all you’ve been thinking about it popping me.” He waved a hand over his chest. “Congratulations on that by the way, you’ve surely killed me.”

My hand started to shake. My fingers got numb and I dropped Reta to the ground. Holy shit it was too convenient. I’d been so blinded by hate I didn’t even put two and two together. I stumbled backwards, falling against the wall and sliding to the floor. I’m a fucking idiot. We were all fucking idiots. It was so obvious and so stupid. I groaned. “Britney isn’t Dekker’s daughter,” I said aloud, groaning.

“Because he doesn’t have one.”

“It took you long enough”

I groaned some more, running my fingers through my hair. “But if Dekker doesn’t have a daughter than what the hell am I doing here?”

He smirked and shrugged. “You’re the big bad girl with the gun, you tell me.”

The world swirled around me and light flooded my eyes.


My eyes snapped open and I screamed. The light burned. It burned my eyes and it burned my face. I snapped my eyes shut, revolting from the pain. Someone must have removed my contacts. I rolled about in agony, thrashing and thumping. Son of a bitch. No matter how much pain I could endure, there was no way I could endure the light. The last time someone used it to torture me like this it was at the Syndicate. There were several someones in fact. I think they got a thrill out of watching me wiggling about like a worm on a hook. Some of them might have even got off on it. Me, it was the most excruciating thing in my entire life.

There was a laugh off to my left. “Damn, it’s true. He said it fucked you up but I had no idea.”

I recognized the voice. It was Jasmine, a much crueler and nastier one than before.

“You going to shut off the lights?”

“Yeah, yeah.”

I heard the switch flick and sighed. I opened my eyes. At first, I saw only spots but slowly they faded away and then the whole room came to me in the darkness. It wasn’t very large, like a small storage room or something. I was sitting on a dingy cot, stripped to my underwear. I touched the pale skin on my arm and groaned. Someone knew about the Second Skin because it was gone. I bit my lip that was definitely going to complicate things. I looked over at Jasmine; she was sitting on a stack of wooden crates, holding a maglite in her hand. There was a smirk on her face, sadistic and twisted. I couldn’t believe this was the same girl I’d been laughing with before.

“So what’s the deal?” I asked, pulling my knees up to my chest and wrapping my arms around my legs.

She ignored the question. “So you can see in the dark, right?” I rolled my eyes and nodded. “That is so freaking cool. He said it was cool but hearing it and seeing it are two different things. It’s kind of freaky though, your eyes shining like that. Like in Pitch Black but only way cooler.”

I nodded. I had no idea what she was talking about. “Who’s this he you keep referring too?”

She laughed. “He said you’d ask that. He also said you were really smart. I figured you’d have figured it out by now.”

So it was someone who knew all about me. There were only so many people who knew that were still alive, Dekker being one of them. But there was no way he’d work with teenagers; he hated our guys.

Besides, I had every reason to believe that Jasmine was one of us. It was the only way to explain why she wasn’t shocked or even afraid of me. So ruling out Dekker---at least for the moment---it had to be someone connected to the Syndicate and Carson. He had a lot of stuff on us probably, more than I knew I’m sure. Unless….

“You work for the traitor?”

She smiled and shook her head. “He works with us actually. He did a good job of it too, making your people think that Dekker had a little girl, knowing that you’d race off to find her because you were hell bent to find the son of a bitch. Who’d a thought you’d be that stupid though.”

My anger started to build. So I was right, Dekker didn’t have a daughter. But the other stuff didn’t make any sense. Who would want to drag me all the way out here? I mean it was crazy. Someone actually did all this and for what. It didn’t make any sense.

A phone rang, shattering my thoughts. Jasmine reached into her pocket and clicked it on. “Hey, yep she’s up now, about time if you ask me. Yeah she’s asking for you already. You want me to put the light back on so you can talk” She sighed. “You’re no fun. Ok see you in a few, Dee.”

She clicked off the phone and set it aside.

Dee, who the hell was Dee?

The door to the storage room unlocked and opened, a stream of light spilled into the room. I snapped my head away, pulling my body as close as I could get into the shadow. A figure slipped into the room, shutting the door quickly behind him. I groaned when I saw him, the Dee she was referring too. He was different now. His hair was a bit longer and he looked thinner, especially around the face. But he was bundled up in a thick gray sweater and his pants looked a little loose.

He looked right at me and smiled. “Heya Becca, been a while huh?”

His voice sounded off, too but I couldn’t quite place it.

“What the hell is going on, Declan?”

Photo Credit: Model AJ Stewart

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