40 // We're Doing This

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It all seemed to happen in an instant. First there was Warren, who had gone down in all the bigger they are the harder they fall fashion, stumbling backward and slamming like a ton of bricks against the concrete. Bewilderment was scrawled all over his face, eyes wide and blinking dumbly as he cupped his nose in his hands. I probably would have laughed if I hadn't been wearing the exact same dumb look, blindly trying to piece together the situation of what the hell just happened.

"You just punched him in the face," I said, mouth gaping.

Reese was staring at his hands, his eyes the size of saucers and looking just about as shocked as everyone else did, as if his body had moved on its own accord. "I just punched him in the face."

Unconsciously, a grin broke out across my face. "That was awesome."

Reese's gaze borrowed mine, and the edge of his mouth quirked upward as he slowly nodded his head, lips pressed together in thought. "Yeah... that was kind of awesome," he admitted, chuckling as he flexed his hand.

Warren was cradling his nose, which had met Reese's fist with a sickening crack, and the shock on the large boy's face was quickly melding into an intensifying rage. The eyes that were once wide with confusion were now narrowed and shooting daggers, but just as Warren was clambering to his feet, Mr. Patel, one of the gym teachers, came hurling through the crowd of over-excited students with cries of immediate dispersion.

And then Reese was getting hauled away, threats of suspension hot on Mr. Patel's tongue, and the crowd dissolved in an uproar of excited murmurs. Britta, who shot me a frost-bitten look, was helping Warren to his feet, and Wyatt was tugging on my wrist to get out of there. It felt as if the world was moving too quickly for me to keep up, and then suddenly I was being pushed into the backseat of Savannah's car with Eva, who was recounting everything that had just happened with stars in her eyes.

But I couldn't stop thinking about one thing.

"He smiled at me," I said, chewing on my bottom lip. "Does that mean, it worked?"

Savannah met my eyes in the rear-view mirror, a smile touching her face. "What do you mean? Of course it worked, did you think after everything it wouldn't?"

Eva snorted next to me, dropping her arm around my shoulders and giving them a tight squeeze. "You're so cute when you're dumb."

I shot her a look, but couldn't keep the heat from rising to my cheeks. "I didn't- I don't know, I just wasn't expecting it, the smile, was all," I murmured, fidgeting with my sleeves, averting my gaze. "I'm just happy."

"We get it, we get it, go kiss him blah blah whatever, moving on to what's important: Eva needs to get some lovin', and quick. I have been having way too many dreams about cake icing lately and mama needs some sugar, okay?" Eva grinned over at me, cherry lips devilish and a glint in her eye.

I chuckled and rolled my eyes, but it was true, I was happy. There was a blossom of warmth that radiated from the pit of my stomach through all of my veins, a heat that dissipated into my muscles and caused a smile to touch my lips. Meeting Savannah's crystalline eyes in the mirror, I sunk into Eva's embrace and grinned.

And then I was absently picking away at the wood of Reese's porch, as I had been for the past fifteen minutes, waiting for Reese to finally come home. I'd rehearsed the words over and over in my head, but they never seemed just right, and my stomach was performing the most exhausting of acrobatics as I waited. Just as I was about to send a strongly-worded text to Wyatt about what exactly five minutes meant, I heard my name being called.

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