Chapter 5

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Jay met me at the end of the day, and I resisted showing just how relieved I was to not have to walk through the halls and find him on my own. He must have picked up on my very obvious anxiety earlier and was attempting to help reveal me of some stress. He could be a jerk sometimes, but when it came down to it, he was always there when it mattered.

I thanked him by not saying anything as we fell into step with each other, weaving our way casually through bodies to head outside. We were walking again, heading to Jay's to pick up his bike and take it over to his older brother to get the mirrors fixed.

I felt so safe with Jay most of the time, that it didn't even cross my mind that there was still the very likely chance that Nathan would retaliate. As we walked towards our usual exit, it ran my blood cold to see him standing at the end of the hall with a couple of his friends, waiting.

When I glanced at Jay, he had a glint in his eye. "Just keep walking, Sam."

Easier said than done. When he neared, Nathan cut our path off, and the two of us were discreetly shoved into a nearby wall, out of the wave of walking students. When I tried to move, I was pinned further into the wall by one of his lackie, so I admitted defeat and stayed put. At least I wasn't the one getting the attention this time.

Nathan was staring Jay down, and Jay returned the look with a smirk that made his eyes dark. "I know it was you," Nathan said, a warning on his voice.

"You caught me. I did leave that love note in your locker. You know me so well." Jay's lips curled at the corners when he made the angry line on Nathan's forehead deepen.

"You slashed my tires." He growled into Jay's face, an assertion of dominance that had me recoiling even though he hadn't so much as looked at me so far.

Jay stood with his back straight and his shoulders relaxed, unaffected by the larger boy's scare tactics. "What would make you think that?" Humor played across his expression, knowing that for Nathan to prove such a claim, he'd have to admit to a misdemeanor himself.

Nathan's jaw clenched, and his nose flared as he obviously held back a fit of rage. "You don't want to fuck with me, Reed." The tone of his voice locked my limbs up in terror. I was ready to grovel that we most certainly didn't want to mess with him.

Jay, on the other hand, loosen even more, and a smooth grin spread across his face like Nathan had just paid him a compliment. "That's where you're wrong. That's exactly what I want to do."

I watched Nathan's hands as they became fists, shutting my eyes and flinching because I was sure he was going to throw a punch, but the impact I expected never came. We were interrupted.

"Is there a problem here, boys?" April Lemmings had an uncanny ability of being exactly who I both wanted to see and didn't. Her appearance instantly sizzled out the approaching altercation, but after she gave Nathan a warning look, she caught my gaze and I could tell that her intentions for being there were with me.

Jay was the one to answer her rhetorical question, mischief playing at the corner of his mouth. "Just a lovers spat. Right, Nate?"

Nathan shook off his anger, his shoulders relaxing a little, but it stuck in his eyes. "Just asking for yesterday's notes, Ms. Lemmings." He looked at his friends, then gave both me and Jay a last look full of brutal intention before the three of them stepped away and left.

His obvious lie went uncommented on as April watched them go, a careful look in her eyes. There was no reason for April to keep them there any longer, since she wasn't there for them. Once the three jocks were out of earshot, she had turned to us. No, turning back to me.

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