Return to Neverland (3)

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I sat at a different table in the library the next day, the one in the very far back in the corner behind a bookshelf. I did not want Quinn to find me. I wanted to be left alone.

But I wouldn't have been surprised if I heard him bounding through the library, calling out my name, which usually would be against the rules since it was a library, but he could do whatever he wanted since he was a Lost Boy. He could be as loud, as rude, and as messy as he wanted to be. He ruled this place.

He was the leader of the Lost Boys, but he was so laid-back. The previous head Lost Boy was a hardass until his girlfriend came into the picture. Then after that, he still had his moments, from what I heard.

But I wasn't going to waste my library time thinking about Quinn or any of the Lost Boys, past or present. And that included Luke.

It was practically a ritual of mine to go to the school library after school ended, and people knew that that was where I would be if they wanted to find me. I'd stay there until it closed at five. It gave me a few hours of freedom at home.

Sometimes I wondered if my mother even cared that I tried my hardest to not be home, and then then I was, I was usually in my room. She must have thought that I was going through a phase. If only she realized this "phase" had began as soon as she married Leo.

He hadn't always been nasty to me. When they were dating, he just ignored me, but once they were married and moved in, then his cruel behavior began and it'd been that way ever since.

I always thought the story of Cinderella was stupid. I thought the wicked stepmother and stepsisters were over-exaggerated. I didn't understand why someone would stay with someone who abused them. Now I realized how hard it was to leave when you had nowhere else to go. And I realized how wicked people could truly be.

I heard footsteps coming in my direction, and I was almost afraid to look up. I hoped more than anything that it would not be Quinn that stared back at me.

But when I looked up, I saw that it was my best friend Jake, and I let out a sigh of relief. Then I couldn't help but get a little annoyed because library time was my alone time.

"Hey, Ebby," Jake greeted, using that horrid nickname Quinn had given me.

"Please don't bug me," I groaned, sinking down into my seat. I hadn't meant to sound rude, but I really wanted to be alone since I had been bothered the day before. "I couldn't even enjoy myself yesterday because Quinn was bugging me the entire time."

Jake rose an eyebrow at me. "You're telling me you enjoy studying?"

"Yes," I answered, but then immediately followed with, "No."

Sometimes I did. Alright, most of the time I did. But only because it took me away from all of my problems and somehow didn't stress me out. It made me feel like I was actually smart. I enjoyed studying even more than reading a fiction novel, and I knew that that was the weirdest thing of all.

I just liked knowing things. I like going into a class and already knowing nearly everything. I liked knowing for a fact that I aced a test. It was something for me to focus on that weren't my feelings for Luke or my crappy life at home. And it made me feel good enough.

But people around here didn't enjoy studying, and if you were any different from them, you were a target for ridicule. Especially when a popular girl like Lindsey despises you. I didn't think even the Lost Boys' friendships could save me from being teased and branded as a nerd.

Then again, it probably was, if they decided to help me if that ever did happen. But if they didn't stick up for me, merely being their friend was not enough to save me from ridicule.

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