SEVEN

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"Where's your shadow?" Maria asked, breathless from attempting to get to school on time.

She matched her strides with mine as we moved through the crowd of sleepy teenagers, dragging their feet towards the entrance of the school.

I frowned, glancing over at her while I adjusted the strap of the backpack slung across my shoulder. "My shadow?"

"Yeah," Maria said simply, her tone telling me that I should know exactly what she was referring to.

I sighed, brushing the windblown hair out of my face. "I don't know what you're talking about, Ria."

"Come on," she groaned, lightly bumping into my side as we tried to get through the entrance at the same time as two other students.

The sound level significantly increased as we entered the busy corridors of Roswell High and I rolled the backpack off my back as I came to a stop in front of my locker.

Maria filed in next to me, rolling the combination of her padlock between her long slender fingers, while she leaned in and hissed, "Max Evans."

I chilled - a natural response to the mentioning of that mysterious boy - and straightened to glance around us, prepared to see Max standing behind me or something. My body sighed in relief when there was no sight of the dark-haired guy with the intense eyes.

I could feel Maria follow my movements with annoyance. "He was basically stepping on your heels last week."

I laughed. How did Maria come up with all of this? "No, he wasn't."

"Don't act stupid," Maria bit out, getting annoyed, "We even talked about it."

I searched my memory, the smile on my face faltering. This wasn't funny anymore. I could read the seriousness on Maria's face and I got the strong feeling that she wasn't joking around.

"No, we didn't," I protested weakly and scanned my surroundings as I was hit with the sensation of being watched.

And my sixth sense was correct.

Max Evans.

My eyes collided with his dark gaze as he breezed into the corridor, flanked by Isabel and Michael. Their strides were synchronized and their pace confident. They oozed dominance and beauty, making the sea of students part in front of them as their mere presence demanded respect.

I swallowed as his eyes traced down my shape, before he broke eye contact and the triad passed.

"That," Maria harshly pointed out with her voice close to my ear.

I allowed myself to follow the silhouette of the back of his body until he turned the corner and disappeared from my vision, before I refocused on Maria. "'That' what?"

"That's what Max was doing every day for the past week. Staring at you."

I laughed, but I could tell that I was not the only one that heard the fear in my laughter. "No." I straightened. "No, I think I would remember that."

Maria looked at me as if I was sprouting a second head. "You're kidding, right? You're just pulling my leg or something. You're not being serious... Liz. We talked about this. About Max following you around. About how he had been doing it since the Halloween party. I asked if anything had happened between you at the party and you told me that you had heard a conversation between your wanna-be-vampires and that they were keeping an eye on you so you wouldn't rattle them out."

Blank. My mind was blank of any kind of memory like that. But Maria seemed so certain, almost desperately so as a sheen of frustration shone in her eyes.

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