All The Lies (Lies & Truths Duet #1) - Rina Kent
I thread my fingers through her identical ones and smile.
It’s the first time I’ve let go of my shackles and every weight that used to hold me down.
She’s my family.
We’re the same.
Same strawberry blonde hair, although hers is shorter. Same skin that appears tanned but isn’t. Same huge blue eyes that mirror the deep ocean and the vast sky.
We might have lived apart, but we’re still the same.
We still look at each other like we’re mirrors, like we’re halves split into two different bodies.
From today onward, my life will be different. I’ve finally found this peace, and I’ll do whatever it takes to protect it.
We sit on an old bench in a cottage. It’s humid with the scent of pine and grass drifting through the half-broken window. The forest surrounding us feels like a protection against the outside world.
This is our haven.
Our sanctuary where no one can find us.
It brings back memories from the times when Reina and I used to hold each other and hide.
Back then, we made no sound. We barely breathed.
We have a lot of catching up to do. I can’t wait to hear all about how she’s been all these years.
A crunching sound of boots on the ground filters in from outside the cottage.
We jerk upright at the same time. Our hands become sweaty, and the peace from earlier evaporates into thin air.
“Are you expecting someone?” I sound as spooked as I feel.
She nibbles on her bottom lip, her body shaking. “You know, I told you…”
“I run with a bad crowd, Rai.”
I grab her shoulders and bore my eyes into hers. It’s strange to stare at myself. “We’ll go to the authorities. No one will hurt you anymore, Reina. We’ll be together like we promised.”
She holds out her pinkie, eyes shining with unshed tears. “Pinkie swear.”
I laugh at the childish gesture and grab her pinkie with mine. “You’re supposed to be twenty-one, but whatever. Pinkie swear, you little girl.”
“Hey! I’m five minutes older than you.”
A bang sounds on the door. Both of us flinch.
My heart pounds against my ribcage so hard, it’s the only sound I’m able to hear.
Thump, thump, thump.
Reina pulls me by the sleeve of my jacket, a slight tremor in her hand. “You need to run.”
“No. I’m not going without you. Not again.”
She shakes her head. “Now that Grandpa is gone, if they find out about you, it’s game over. You have to go, Rai.”
I shake my head frantically, holding on to her with all my might. “I won’t lose you after finally finding you.”
“You won’t. We’ll always find our way back to each other. After all, we’re…”
We say the last word together.
She nods, eyes hardening again. “Remember when we used to play hide and seek with Mom?”
“I do. We’d go in different directions to distract them.”
She grins. “Diversion.”
“Okay, okay,” I mutter with resignation I don’t feel.
The last thing I want to do after reuniting with Reina is to part from her again, but I have to believe we’ll find each other like we always do.
“I’ll take the window, you take the door.”
I pull her in for a quick hug, my chest constricting and full of all types of chaotic paranoias. “I’ll meet you outside.”
“I love you, Rai.” She ruffles my hair.
“I love you, too, Reina.”
The moment I let her go, my heart squeezes so tight it nearly bursts.
I watch my sister hop up and climb out the window. She’s so agile, which is no surprise considering where she lived all this time.
We’ll change that. She’ll get her fresh start.
With one last look, I sprint out the back door.
When we were with Mom, Reina and I learned something important.
Never look back.
If you don’t look back, you run faster.
If you don’t look back, no one will catch you.
I sprint through the woods, the smell of earth and the forest filling my nostrils.
Dirt smudges my white shoes and my breathing deepens as I cut across the distance. I search sideways for a place to hide then notice my bracelet is gone.
I come to a halt and break my own rule.
I look back.
Flames devour the old wood of the cottage we escaped minutes ago. Smoke and fire erupt in the middle of the forest.
Someone dressed in black trousers and a hoodie drags Reina back into the cottage as she fights and claws at his hand. Masculine hand. Tattooed hand.
My heart stammers and my legs weaken. I take a step forward then stop when she meets my gaze and shakes her head.
She’s pleading with me to