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The door opened, letting in a gust of cold air, but that wasn't why I was chilled to the bone. That fact could be blamed on Dylan Parker coming through my door with a smile on his face. And it was safe to say that I'd already fallen for him, the easy part was over. Now I was just stuck, my heart going nowhere but in circles around him. Call it the Dylan effect, call it whatever you liked, but it was a proven fact that he had the ability to touch hearts, even at his worst. I was proof of that.

"Hey, V," he called, clearly excited to see me, "how are you doing on this fine evening?"

It technically wasn't the evening yet, the time barely scratching the surface of two o'clock, but I didn't correct him. There was a pain involved when doing that, the guilt you feel at the doubt you inadvertently created in someone else. I didn't want to be that person who caused people pain. Which was ironic because I had agreed to Dylan and his friends' heinous plan to make me popular at the expense of Issa McKenzie.

But then again, she became popular at the expense of our friendship. While I didn't believe in getting back at those who wronged you, I was offered a solution to eradicate all of my insecurities and I felt inclined to take them up on it.

"You know what time it is," he said, sitting down at one of the tables, his hands clasped together on the table expectantly. "Time for you to tell me about your ex-friend."

This whole situation reeked of treachery, but so did she when she left Veronica, Becca, and I without even a warning. If anything, I was helping heal my heart by helping her new friends out with this senseless plan of theirs.

So I let it happen, let Dylan's arm snake over my shoulder as he led me to a far table and pulled out a chair for me when we got there. I sat down, folding my hands under the table, unsure of how to start.

"So, V," he said, endearment transparent in his voice. He seemed quite excited that I was the key to everything, the one who had all of the answers about the enigmatic and problematic Issa McKenzie, and apparently the one with the potential to replace her. "What do you know about our dear friend that we can use to build a case against her. Anything. One thing."

There were a lot of things about Issa that she showed you when you're friends. So if she didn't show them enough for them to feel like they knew her, then maybe she didn't trust them at all.

Or it was the inverse.

It was a notion I didn't want to entertain, instead, adjusting how my fingers were laced together to be more comfortable. "She secretly loves to play the violin," I said awkwardly. I didn't even have to look at Dylan Parker to know that he felt the same.

But he didn't pressure me like I was expecting, instead, he stretched his hand out to me over the table posied for a business handshake. "Well, it wasn't much, but I guess it'll do for now. Be sure to wrack your brain, try to go as deep into your friendship as you feel comfortable."

We shook for a second, his hand letting mine go first as he turned away. But before he left, my hand instinctively shot out to grab his, more quickly than I ever moved before. When my fingers enclosed around his wrist, he turned back to face me, almost surprised, his lips curled up in a smile at the gesture.

"How are you going to go about this," I asked, "will I remain an anonymous party in all of this?"

While he was seeming quite impenetrable, his good mood unending, but my words made his smile drop as he looked at me in confusion. "What? Why?"

"Because I'm sure she knows things about me as well," I said. "You need to be careful about how you go about using this information because if she catches us and takes me down, I'll -"

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