Chapter 19

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Cal abruptly stands and gathers the three arrows, slipping them elegantly back into the case over his shoulder

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Cal abruptly stands and gathers the three arrows, slipping them elegantly back into the case over his shoulder.

He turns and heads towards the door of the gym.

I get up and follow. There is an odd shift in the mood; as though the matchmaking agent feels he has shared too much.

"Everything ok?" I ask as we walk down the dimly lit school corridor towards the exit.

Cal looks only straight ahead.

"Yes," he replies statically.

He doesn't speak for a moment and I find myself staring at the bow and arrows slung across his shoulder. I shake my head.

It's been a weird couple of days I think to myself for the second time today.

"You need to be more careful," says Cal suddenly.

We walk out of the door into the setting sun and he makes his way around the angular building towards the car park.

I frown, falling into step beside him. The evening light washes over his pale features and turns his silvery eyes into a deep ember orange.

"What do you mean?" I retort.

He glares at me, exasperated.

"With Cupid," he replies. "Day one of meeting him and you have already got yourself into the position of being his mentor."

He shakes his head.

"As I said," he continues. "The path of your match has already been put into motion. Cupid will go along with it because he is reckless, curious. But you must fight it. There will be a number of times when you are pushed into situations together; he getting assigned to this school was the first. You mustn't create more opportunities."

He pulls out a key from his jeans pocket and points it straight ahead.

I stop still in my tracks. I'd been so preoccupied with what Cal was saying that I hadn't realised there was only one car left in the parking lot.

A double beep sounds and the two side doors of a bright red Lamborghini slide upwards.

I raise my eyebrows.

"That is your car?" I say "Way to fit in with the students Cal.... I take it being a cupid pays well then...?"

Cal looks at me and the corner of his lip quirks up into a fleeting ghost of a smile.

"It has its perks," he replies.

He steps into the driver's seat.

"Want a ride anywhere?" he asks; his expression serious once more.

I look at him hesitantly and then shrug.

I was planning on walking across town to one of Forever Falls' only places to hang out.  I said I'd meet James and Charlie, and there's usually a good crowd out on the first day back at school.

"Sure," I say, making my way to the passenger seat.

Cal closes the door and reverses smoothly out of the parking lot.

"You know the Love Shack?" I ask.

Cal nods - his eyes on the road - and drives on in silence.

I stare out of the window, suddenly feeling awkward, as we pass houses dotted along the quiet roads.

Soon we approach the town square where there is a small convenience store, a run-down looking Diner, a florist, a second hand store, and a bus stop that leads into Los Angeles. They all surround a tired looking water fountain that stands on the cobbled stones.

The Love Shack is down an alley between the florist and the Diner, and Cal pulls up beside it.

He presses a button that opens my car door. I pause – looking at him tentatively.

"Do you..." I begin "Do you want to come along?"

He doesn't say anything.

"You can get to know some new people..." I continue "James, Charlie...it could be fun."

A dark look passes over his face at the mention of my best friend, and I recall her chattering to him in class earlier before showing him around.

I can't help but laugh – I can hardly think of a more unlikely pair; him strong and silent, and her dizzy and loud.

"She's not so bad if you give her a chance," I say.

He frowns.

"Will a lot of people from school be there?" he asks.

I nod.

"Yeah, a whole crowd of us," I reply. "There's nowhere else to go..."

Cal abruptly pulls his keys out of the ignition and unfastens his seatbelt.

"Then Cupid will be there," he says seriously. "So I had better come along..."

He gives me a pointed look.

"...and make sure you don't get into any trouble."


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