Chapter 14

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F O U R T E E N

      SCHOOL WAS FINALLY out and I was dreading detention. Maybe if I was lucky, there would be no one else there, and I could sneak out and head to the hospital to see Tyler. Ryder didn't have to know—I had the feeling after that video, Tyler would keep me visiting a secret if need be.

     I came to an abrupt halt when I reached the doorway of the detention room. "Damn it," I mumbled.

      Ryder—better known as the devil—glanced up at me from across the room. He was leaning up against the back wall behind a desk, his arms and ankles crossed as he stared. His expression was unreadable as he looked me over from head to toe, and it took all of my self control not to shiver from uncomfortable nerves.

      Finally, after what seemed like forever but was no doubt only seconds, Ryder raised an eyebrow mockingly. "Hair up, glasses on, and baggy clothes that hide your figure." He snorted and pushed off the wall, taking slow steps towards me. I stayed where I stood. "That's a big change from the tight jeans, crazy hair, and leather jackets."

      My hair isn't crazy. I glared. "What do you want, Ryder? I thought you told me to stay away. That typically goes both ways."

      He grinned, but it was guarded—almost cold. "What? Don't think a nice guy like me can get myself a day of detention?"

      "Not when you haven't been at school to get one in the first place."

      "Touché." He shrugged.

      "So," I prompted, giving him a look that demanded further explanation. "What exactly are you doing here?"

      After a moment, he sighed, sitting on top of a front-row desk and running a hand through his tousled hair. Reluctantly, he admitted, "I came to talk to you."

      Although I should have expected his answer, I still found myself surprised. "Why?" I asked, stepping fully into the room and shutting the door behind me, just in case a teacher or janitor decided to eavesdrop. I didn't need anyone else hearing about my after school activities. A moments hesitation later and I found myself standing in front of Ryder's desk-sitting form, my brown eyes locked onto his gray ones.

      Ryder furrowed his eyebrows in confusion. "Jay didn't show you the video?"

      I shook my head. "He did. That still doesn't explain why you're here."

      He shot me a look that gave me the impression there was something I was missing. "What happened in the video, Skye?" he asked slowly, as if talking to a child.

      I grinned, ignoring the shiver that shot ip my spine as his knee brushed against my thigh. I took a subtle step back an inch or two. "You got your ass handed to you by your best friends."

      Now, it was Ryder's turn to glare. He leaned forward slightly, eyes level with mine. Ignoring my comment and answering his own, he said, "My best friends showed just how much they . . . how much they care for you." He shook his head in disbelief, leaning back to his previous position. "Not that I understand why. Although, I did make an unfortunate promise to Tyler."

      I raised my eyebrows, curious as to where this was going. My hand reached up to fiddle with my necklace, but then I remembered Ryder knew it was a nervous habit. I crossed arms, instead. "And what might that promise be?"

      He clenched and unclenched his jaw a few times, then grumbled, "To give you a chance to prove how much you actually care for them, and that you won't hurt them." His eyes locked intently on mine. "You slip up, you're out."

      I thought over his words, and what all had happened in the last few months, before saying, "No."

      "No?"

      "No," I repeated, breaking eye contact in favor of investigating the floor tiles. I shook my head as I spoke, but I think it was more to convince myself I was making the right decision than him. "You were right before. I do cause them too many problems, and I don't want them to get hurt just like—"

      I abruptly cut myself off as I realized what I was saying. Just like I was. Ryder furrowed his eyebrows, but I ignored his curiosity. He opened his mouth, most likely wanting to question me, but I cleared my throat.

      "I don't want them hurt, Ryder. Their safety is more important than my happiness.

      "Well," Ryder started, slapping his hands on his thighs and standing up. I stumbled back from the close proximity. "When you put it like that, you almost make me feel bad." He locked eyes with me again. "Almost."

      I nodded, ready to leave since the teacher wasn't here anyways. Confusion hit me as I watched Ryder walk to the door way. "Ryder, wait."

      He paused, turning slightly to look at me. "Yes?"

      "Where's the teacher for my detention?"

      Ryder shrugged. "You don't have it any more."

      That was all he said before turning on his heal and leaving the room, switching off the lights as he passed.

      Prick.

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