Chapter 22

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I shut the car door and walk down the driveway to my house

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I shut the car door and walk down the driveway to my house.

As I'm fumbling for my keys I turn to wave goodbye to Cal. He has already driven off.

I roll my eyes.

Typical Cal.

Opening the door I step into the house. It's quiet inside, I hear only the ticking of the antique clock hanging from the wall, and gentle snores coming from the living room.

Gently I close the door behind me.

There's a flickering light coming from the living room and I peer in to see my dad asleep on the sofa. A muted wildlife documentary plays on the screen and there is half a glass of whisky on the coffee table beside him.

I cover him up with a patchwork blanket hung over the side of mom's favourite armchair and switch off the TV. Then I creep upstairs, climb into my flannel pyjamas and slip into bed.

I replay today's events in my mind - and what the matchmaking agent told me just before I got out of the car.

He said that if Jack was stalking Laura prior to the Ardor, then he has probably been hit by an arrow before.

I try to process what this could mean.

I sigh and turn off my bedside lamp, snuggling down into the covers. I'm just dropping off to sleep when my phone buzzes on the bedside table.

It's Cal.

I've been thinking. If Cupid has been dosing the same person with the Ardor, then he's got something planned. Something bad.

You should NOT attend the party tomorrow. I'd imagine this will all come to a head there.

Need I remind you that you are his match, and as such, should take caution appropriately.

Cal.

I sigh and put the phone back on my bedside table.

If anything I'm even more keen to go to the party.

I want to know what Cupid is up to.

***

In the school cafeteria the next day Charlie picks at the crusts of her sandwich.

"Cupid wasn't in class this morning," she says. "I heard that he always skips school the day of his parties. To set up."

I shrug in as nonchalant a manner as I can - but his absence had not gone unnoticed by me. I had hoped to see him today - to confront him about what I'd seen in the Love Shack

Now it seems, against Cal's wishes, that my only option to speak to him is to go to his party after all.

I gaze across the food hall as Charlie reels off a list of people who are meant to show tonight, and spot the matchmaking agent sat in his usual rigid manner by himself in the corner.

I catch his eye and gesture him over. He merely shakes his head in response and I roll my eyes.

Charlie is just listing the items of her wardrobe when a sudden screech sounds from the courtyard.

Cal jerks up, his expression alert, as one of the younger students bursts through double doors.

"He's.....he's going to jump!"

Cal and I lock gazes, before the matchmaking agent races out of the room.

I jump up alongside Charlie, and we get swept outdoors among the mass of other students hurrying out to see what is going on.

Packed together on the dry grass among the picnic tables, Kelly points up towards the school roof and screams.

It's Jack.

He's wavering on the edge.

"Laura," he shouts down. "Laura I love you."

I try to scan the crowd, searching for Cal.

I don't know what to do.

Laura, a demure, brown haired girl gets pushed forward through the group.

Her eyes shine with tears.

"Jack," she pleads, her voice shaking, "get down. You're going to hurt yourself."

He spots her and grins manically.

"Laura!" he shouts again "I love you Laura!"

He takes a step closer to the edge of the roof, and spreads out his arms.

Charlie moves closer to me, her hand gripping my arm tightly. My heart is racing.

"I LOVE YOU LAURA!"

He takes another step.

Then closing his eyes he leans forwards off the side of the roof.

Silence resounds about the courtyard as everyone holds their breath.

It seems to happen in slow motion; Jack falling through the sky.

Then there is a sickening thud.

And the screaming starts.

And the screaming starts

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