One of Us Is Next

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

Book: One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus Read Free Book Online
Authors: Karen M. McManus
think he is.
    I open another browser tab and type AnarchiSK—Simon’s old user name—into the search bar. I used to Google that name all the time, back when I was trying to figure out who might have it in for Simon. There are thousands of results, mostly from old news articles, so I narrow the search to the past twenty-four hours. One link remains, to a Reddit subforum with the words Vengeance Is Mine in the URL.
    The skin on the back of my neck starts to prickle. Simon used to post his revenge rants on a forum called Vengeance Is Mine, but that was on 4chan. I should know; I spent hours reading through them before I sent a link to the Mikhail Powers Investigates show. Mikhail ran a spotlight series on Simon’s death, and as soon as he covered the revenge forum it got overrun with fake posts and rubberneckers. Eventually, the whole thing shut down.
    At least, that’s what I thought. In the half second before I click the link, the words He’s not dead, he just wanted us to think he is don’t seem as far-fetched as they should.
    But the page is nearly blank except for a handful of posts:
My teacher needs to btfo or I will kill him for real.—Jellyfish
    I almost pounded his face in today lol. —J ellyfish
    Well now you can’t kill him. What did AnarchiSK always tell us? “Don’t be so obvious.”—Darkestmind
    Fuck that guy. He got caught.—Jellyfish
    The café door opens and Luis steps inside, wearing a faded San Diego City College T-shirt and a backward baseball cap over his dark hair. He spots me and does one of those chin-jut things he and Cooper are always doing—jock-speak for Yeah, I see you, but I’m too cool to actually wave. Then, to my surprise, he shifts course and heads my way, dropping into Bronwyn’s recently vacated seat. “What’s up, Maeve?”
    My white blood cell count, probably. God, I’m fun.
    “Not much,” I say, pushing my laptop to one side. “You coming from class?”
    “Yup. Accounting.” Luis makes a wry face. “Not my favorite. But we can’t spend every day in the kitchen. Unfortunately.” Luis is getting a hospitality degree so he can run his own restaurant one day, which is the kind of thing I never would have guessed when he was a big man on campus at Bayview.
    “You just missed Bronwyn,” I say, because I assume that’s why he stopped at my table. The two of them aren’t close, exactly, but they hang out occasionally because of Cooper. “She’s at Yumiko’s if you…” And then I trail off, because the Venn diagram of Luis’s and Bronwyn’s social overlap starts and ends with Cooper. I’m pretty sure Luis isn’t planning to attend the Bayview Mathlete movie night.
    “Cool.” Luis flashes a smile and stretches his legs out under the table. I’m so used to Knox sitting with me that Luis’s presence is a little disconcerting. He takes up more space, both physically and…confidence-wise, I guess. Knox always looks as though he’s not sure he’s supposed to be wherever he is. Luis sprawls out like he owns the place. Well, in this particular case his parents do, so maybe that’s part of it. But still. There’s an ease to him that, I think, comes from being athletic and popular his entire life. Luis has spent years at the center of one team or another. He’s always belonged. “I had a question for you, actually.”
    I can feel my face getting red, and cup my chin in both hands to hide it. I wish I weren’t constantly attracted to the kind of guys who either ignore me or treat me like their little sister, but here we are. I have no defense against the cute jock demographic. “Oh?”
    “Do you live here now?” he asks.
    I blink, not sure if I’m disappointed or caught off guard. Probably both. “What?”
    “You’re in this restaurant more than I am, and I get paid for it.”
    His dark eyes twinkle, and my stomach drops. Oh God. Does he think I’m here for him ? I mean, yes, catching sight of Luis in one of those well-fitting T-shirts he always

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