Chapter no 47

The Inheritance Games (The Inheritance Games, 1)

didn’t play Jameson’s game. I didn’t guess which of the things he’d just said was true, but there was no mistaking the way his throat had tightened when he’d said those last words.

I watched Emily Laughlin die.

That didn’t tell me what had happened to her. It didn’t explain why he’d told me that Grayson had happened to her.

“Shall we turn our attention to the bridge, Heiress?” Jameson didn’t make me guess. I wasn’t sure he really wanted me to.

I forced my focus to the scene in front of us. It was picturesque. There were fewer trees here to block the moonlight. I could make out the way the bridge arched the creek, but not the water below. The bridge was wooden, with railings and balusters that looked like they’d been painstakingly handmade. “Did your grandfather build this himself?”

I’d never met Tobias Hawthorne, but I was starting to feel like I knew him. He was everywhere—in this puzzle, in the House, in the boys.

“I don’t know if he built it.” Jameson flashed a Cheshire Cat grin, his teeth glinting in the moonlight. “But if we’re right about this, he almost certainly built something into it.”

Jameson excelled at pretense—pretending that I’d never asked him about Emily, pretending he hadn’t just told me that he’d watched her die.

Pretending that what happened after midnight stayed in the dark.

He walked the length of the bridge. Behind him, I did the same. It was old and a little creaky but solid as a rock. When Jameson reached the end, he backtracked, his hands stretched out to the sides, fingertips lightly trailing the railings.

“Any idea what we’re looking for?” I asked him.

“I’ll know it when I see it.” He might as well have said when I see it, I’ll let you know. He’d said that he and Emily were alike, and I couldn’t shake

the feeling that he wouldn’t have expected her to be a passive participant. He wouldn’t have treated her as just another part of the game, laid out in the beginning to be useful by the end.

I’m a person. I’m capable. I’m here. I’m playing. I took my phone from the pocket of my coat and turned on its flashlight. I made my way back over the bridge, shining the beam on the railing, looking for indentations or a carving—something. My eyes tracked the nails in the wood, counting them out, mentally measuring the distance between every one.

When I finished with the railing, I squatted, inspecting each baluster. Opposite me, Jameson did the same. It felt almost like we were dancing—a strange midnight dance for two.

I’m here.

“I’ll know it when I see it,” Jameson said again, somewhere between a mantra and a promise.

“Or maybe I will.” I straightened.

Jameson looked up at me. “Sometimes, Heiress,” he said, “you just need a different point of view.”

He jumped, and the next thing I knew, he was standing on the railing. I couldn’t make out the water down below, but I could hear it. The night air was otherwise silent, until Jameson started walking.

It was like watching him teeter on the balcony, all over again.

The bridge isn’t that high. The water probably isn’t that deep. I turned my flashlight toward him, rising from my crouched position. The bridge creaked beneath me.

“We need to look below,” Jameson said. He climbed to the far side of the railing, balancing on the bridge’s edge. “Grab my legs,” he told me, but before I could figure out where to grab them or what he was planning to do, he changed his mind. “No. I’m too big. You’ll drop me.” He was back over the railing in a flash. “I’ll have to hold you.”



There were a lot of firsts I’d never gotten around to after my mother’s death. First dates. First kisses. First times. But this particular first—being dangled off a bridge by a boy who’d just confessed to watching his last girlfriend die—wasn’t exactly on the to-do list.

If she was with you, why did you say that Grayson happened to her?

“Don’t drop your phone,” Jameson told me. “And I won’t drop you.”

His hands were braced against my hips. I was facedown, my legs between the balusters, my torso hanging off the bridge’s edge. If he let go, I was in trouble.

The Dangling Game, I could almost hear my mom declaring.

Jameson adjusted his weight, serving as an anchor for mine. His knee is touching mine. His hands are on me. I felt more aware of my own body, my own skin, than I could ever remember feeling.

Don’t feel. Just look. I flashed my light at the underside of the bridge.

Jameson didn’t let go.

“Do you see anything?”

“Shadows,” I replied. “Some algae.” I twisted, arching my back slightly. The blood was rushing to my head. “The boards on the bottom aren’t the same boards we can see up top,” I noted. “There’s at least two layers of wood.” I counted the boards. Twenty-one. I took another few seconds to examine the way the boards met up with the shore, and then I called back, “There’s nothing here, Jameson. Pull me up.”



There were twenty-one boards beneath the bridge and, based on the count I’d just completed, twenty-one on the surface. Everything added up. Nothing was amiss. Jameson paced, but I thought better standing still.

Or I would have thought better standing still if I hadn’t been watching him pace. He had a way of moving—unspeakable energy, uncanny grace. “It’s getting late,” I said, averting my gaze.

“It was always late,” Jameson told me. “If you were going to turn into a pumpkin, it would have happened by now, Cinderella.”

Another day, another nickname. I didn’t want to read into that—I wasn’t even sure what to read into that. “We have school tomorrow,” I reminded him.

“Maybe we do.” Jameson hit the end of the bridge, turned, and walked back. “Maybe we don’t. You can play by the rules—or you can make them. I know which I prefer, Heiress.”

Which Emily preferred. I couldn’t keep myself from going there. I tried

to focus on the moment, the puzzle at hand. The bridge creaked. Jameson kept pacing. I cleared my mind. And the bridge creaked again.

“Wait.” I cocked my head to the side. “Stop.” Shockingly, Jameson did as I’d commanded. “Back up. Slowly.” I waited, and I listened—and then I heard the creak again.

“It’s the same board.” Jameson arrived at that conclusion at the same time I did. “Every time.” He squatted down to get a better look at it. I knelt, too. The board didn’t look different from any of the others. I ran my fingers over it, feeling for something—I wasn’t sure what.

Beside me, Jameson was doing the same. He brushed against me. I tried not to feel anything and expected him to pull back, but instead, his fingers slid between mine, weaving our hands together, flat on the board.

He pressed down. I did the same.

The board creaked. I leaned into it, and Jameson began rotating our hands, slowly, from one side of the board to the other.

“It moves.” My eyes darted up toward him. “Just a little.”

“A little isn’t enough.” He pulled his fingers slowly back from mine, feather-light and warm. “We’re looking for a latch—something keeping the board from rotating all the way around.”

Eventually, we found it, small knots in the wood where the board met up with the balusters. Jameson took the one on the left. I took the one on the right. Moving in synchrony, we pressed. There was a popping sound. When we met back in the middle and tested the board once more, it moved more freely. Together, we rotated it until the bottom of the board faced upward.

I shined my flashlight on the wood. Jameson did the same with his.

Carved into the surface of the wood was a symbol.

“Infinity,” Jameson said, tracing his thumb over the carving.

I tilted my head to the side and took a more pragmatic view. “Or eight.

You'll Also Like