Chapter 30

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"Are you sure you don't want a ride home, dear?" Becca asked between the steady flow of condolences and thanks for her speech.

Evelyn smiled meekly, shaking her head no. "Thank you, but I think the fresh air will be good for me. Besides, I have Brandon to keep me company and get me home safe."

"I don't know if my company will help, but I promise to get her home safe at least," Brandon said beside her.

Lenny chuckled. "Alright, just promise me you won't be stopping off anywhere to practice anything... at all..." he looked at them warningly.

"Oh, I can promise that," Evelyn said with a sigh. "I really don't have the mental energy for any of that stuff right now."

"You better not! If I don't get a decent night's sleep soon I'm going to end up having a heart attack or something!" Becca scolded, pushing her way through the crowd.

"Don't worry, you'll be able to sleep tonight," Evelyn assured her. "Just walking home, that's all I plan on doing."

Becca hugged Evelyn tightly. "You did beautifully, Tina would have been proud."

"I hope so," Evelyn said.

"Well were heading home," Lenny interrupted, kissing the top of Evelyn's head. "You two take your time, just not too late, OK?"

"I promise," Brandon said.

"Just not straight home," Evelyn whispered to Brandon as Lenny and Becca headed off towards their car. "I'd like to clear my head a little, and being out in the woods helps with that." Even closed off, Brandon's intake of breath told Evelyn exactly what he thought of that idea. "Don't worry," she reassured him, slipping her arm into his, "none of that. At least none that will do any damage."

"Better not," Brandon mumbled. "I don't think my heart can take that again."

"It won't have to," Evelyn said, rubbing his arm as they walked. "So tell me what happened with Jessica and Derek?"

"We really don't need to talk about them, you have enough on your plate right now," Brandon said groaning.

"No, it'll help get my mind off things. You have me curious anyways, so spill." The tone of Evelyn's voice leaving little doubt as to whether or not she actually wanted to hear what Brandon had to tell.

"I don't know, they were acting... strange, that's all. You know how before they'd go out of their way to find us? Well, it's like they're taking even more effort to avoid me. I swear, every time I get anywhere close to either of them, they freak out. Especially that Derek guy. He bowled like, four or five guys over getting away from me in the hallways."

"Hmm, I really don't know," Evelyn said. "It worries me though. I don't know why, but I have a really bad feeling about that. Derek's never been afraid of anyone, at least not that I've ever heard about. If they're suddenly acting like this, the only thing I can think of is that it has something to do with whatever Puck did to them."

"Awesome," Brandon chuckled. "So now they're broken in the head. Oh well, keeps them out of our hair I guess. Nothing wrong with that."

"No, not awesome. That could be bad, Brandon. Really bad. Jessica I'm not worried about, she's actually pretty harmless. Derek's different. He's always had a reputation for being a bit off, even violent. If Puck did something bad to him, and it's us he associates it with, then there's no telling what he'll do."

"You afraid he's going to flip his lid for real or something?" Brandon asked.

"Not really sure to be honest. I'll have to get a good read on them both tomorrow, just in case." Evelyn pulled Brandon off the sidewalk and towards a small path leading into the forest. "Come on, I want to show you something."

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