twenty-seven

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Mr. Reid hid behind a cement post. I dove behind a trash can, careful to stay out of everyone's view.

And then I saw the shiny peaks of hair. Justin, at his locker, spinning the combination lock. Mr. Reid pulled the walkie-talkie free, his forehead lined in concentration.

When Justin opened the locker, the letter I'd inserted through the vents fluttered to the ground. He pulled a tube of hair gel from the upper shelf, then peered into a small mirror he'd taped to the inside door. The envelope was anchored under his left heel. He didn't even glance at it. Had he missed it? No, this was Justin Bieber. He saw everything.

Within seconds, another spike was born. At last, he bent down to pick up the envelope. The word URGENT shouted across the hall at me, but Justin ignored it, pocketing the letter.

It never occurred to me that he might not read the letter right away. If the ring didn't drop down in front of Mr. Reid, the entire plan would fail.

Justin's head swung around, scanning the crowd. I had the sinking feeling that he was looking for me. I pulled back, dizzy with fear. I could only see Mr. Reid's profile. I watched him, the walkie-talkie poised by his mouth, the veins on his hand protruding from his grip. I peered around in time to see Justin unfold my letter. I pressed a hand to my mouth, tense with expectation.

The ring on the chain dropped down, drawing circles in the air. Before I could take another breath, Mr. Reid sped across the hallway and snatched the note out of Justin's hand. He pretended to read it, jaw slack with surprise as he held up the ring. Our principal was a decent actor. Almost as good as Justin.

"That's my mother's. Give it back!" Justin demanded. Every head within thirty feet turned in his direction.

Mr. Reid lifted the ring to the light to read the inscription, then said something inaudible into his walkie-talkie. Justin raked his fingers through his hair, making an uncharacteristic mess. He took off, long steps carrying him down the hallway.

"Stop right there!" Reid called out.

Justin picked up speed, shoving a boy into the trophy case. Mr. Reid stood there, watching calmly. I didn't get it: Was he going to let Justin get away? I hugged my arms around my waist, a reminder to stay where I was. But if Justin escaped, the police would never catch him. He'd steal his uncle's BMW and be out of the state in a couple of hours, I was sure of it.

But then Mr. Jansen, the baseball coach, stepped out from behind the vending machine. The two police officers, Price and Henderson, materialized from the opposite direction. Caught between the bases, Justin had nowhere to go.

"I didn't do anything!" he shouted, shaking off Price's attempt to handcuff him. His eyes darted wildly about, searching for an exit like a squirrel caught in a trap. He spotted the nearest classroom and took off, shouldering his way toward it. If he made it inside, I knew what he'd do. He'd send a foot through the glass and tumble out the window onto the gravel sidewalk. Then he'd scramble to his feet and take off. Gone.

In a blur of motion, Officer Price sprinted across the room and whipped Justin's arm behind his back. Justin doubled over from the pressure Price applied to his elbow, his struggles ending in grunts of pain.

Officer Henderson snapped the cuffs onto Justin's wrists. Whispers from the crowd broke the silence, drowning out what Officer Henderson was saying to Justin. I knew the words, anyway, from watching one too many cop shows with my dad.

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be held against you in a court of law ...

I caught one last glimpse of Justin's face before he was dragged from the building. Sharp features. Angular chin. Black eyebrows knit together. Chin jutting forward in defiance. He looked like a criminal. Justin Bieber was being removed from Kennedy High for the last time.

I allowed myself one small smile before turning to go to class. I nearly bumped into Nora, who stood beside me, so close that our shoulders practically touched. Her eyes were on the closed door as if she expected Justin to shake off the police and stroll back inside the building.

"It's over," I said, bracing myself.

Nora shifted her gaze to me, blinked the tears from her eyes, and gave a single nod. "I know."

A/N:

ah one more chapter!!

say bye to bieby lol

okayyyy so I posted a new book! it's called ''Phone Calls'' and I think you'll really like it :) go check it out and leave a vote! <3

love y'all

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