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| dedication: republicans - for that sweet cover xx |

Life had taken a sudden u-turn and no one could have prepared me for it.

I must have heard it somewhere along the line of growing up, that once you forge a friendship with someone with an invalid base, it would come biting back your ass. Or I probably made it up in response to my current life situation. These past few days, I could assure you I've had my hand placed on my backside as a makeshift shield as I awaited the inevitable bite.

Link and I were not friends.

I had to throw that very idea out the window as it started to become very confusing. We talked but we didn't either. We knew of each other's presence but we seemingly ignored one another.

It was working for Link. He didn't have to bother me and he could spend time with his aunt. For me, I was constantly pushed into an awkward situation where I didn't know whether to leave them alone or to just stand there and pretend I knew every person they were talking about. It took me a while to fully realise that Link was actually not doing it on purpose.

He stuck to his words and became as civilised as I thought he'd never be. When my friends came over, he managed to always have a perfect excuse to get out the house and sometimes he strategically left before they came, to avoid sitting with a bunch of people that were still wary of him.

And that's what he had done just over two hours ago, disappearing through the back as my friends sauntered in from the front door.

Thomas was sitting besides me, with Nolan seated on the floor and leaning against the sofa. Versa and Ryan, who had officially declared their relationship status to be together, were sitting on the loveseat, snuggled in together.

Palmer had left to the toilet, leaving us all together in the living room.

Thomas had his eyes fixated on Versa who was murmuring words into Ryan's ear. A small secretive smile appeared on his face and I watched, partly in disgust and admiration, as my best friend whispered sweet nothings in her boyfriend's ear.

"You'd never think this girl was pinning over me a few months ago." Thomas commented, a rude undertone playing behind his voice. My gaze snapped to his face, my mouth already hanging down. I saw the regret appear on his face almost instantly, as he knew that the words he just said were not okay to say at all.

Nolan raised his eyebrow at Versa. "Really?"

Versa's faced heated up, a furious red blush crossing over her cheeks. She was flushed of course, the embarrassment settling in quicker than she anticipated. Ryan, on the other hand, had his massive hands clenched in a tight fist and fixed a hard glare on Thomas' face.

"I'd suggest you shut the fuck up now." He said slowly, the warning clear in his voice. Although he had regretted his words, Thomas sat up straight making it clear that he wasn't taking the small threat lightly and cowering back into his seat.

"Get over it big guy," Thomas scoffed. "It's the truth but also the past."

Thomas was voluntarily throwing fuel into the fire, wanting it to burst, explode, get out of control even. I knew what would come next and I wasn't going to sit by silently and allow for it to happen in a place where I started to feel safe.

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