Chapter 12

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Chapter 12

It's about two weeks later when it happens. It's a typical November morning at school and I'm walking down the main staircase to the school cafeteria. After standing in line and getting my lunch, I head out the back door where my friends are sitting outside, just like every other day. Today, the sun is behind the clouds and it looks like it is about to storm, but that doesn't stop us from sitting at our usual spot. Lizzie, Julia, Jake, Andrew, and Asher are all already there at the table.

"Hey guys," I say brightly.

For a few seconds nobody seems to hear me. Then Lizzie looks up at me and says, "Hi, Nora. Sit down."

I look around for a moment, confused at why my friends are acting so strange. I then decide to sit down next to Lizzie. Asher is sitting across from me but does not look me in the eyes. Jake, who is sitting in between Asher and Andrew, clears his throat loudly.

"Oh, um, right. Nora we need to talk to you about something," Lizzie begins, sounding nervous.

"Uh, ok," I say, my heart starting to beat faster. What could they possibly be so concerned about?

"Well, lately you've been acting kind of...secretive? No, that's not the right word, um... you just haven't been acting like your normal self I guess," Lizzie says.

I crinkle my eyebrows and bite my lip. What is she talking about?

"What do you mean I'm not my normal self? What the hell are you talking about?" I say sharply.

"Exactly! You've been acting like that! All defensive like you're hiding something," Julia says icily.

I can't help but glare at her.

"How do you want me to act then? What do you consider to be the normal me, huh?" I snap.

Julia looks over at Asher and he looks back at her with an exhausted expression on his face.

"First of all, maybe you should stop ignoring Asher all the time and actually be a good girlfriend to him," Julia says accusingly.

I let out a bitter laugh. "Why should I do that when he's been deliberately ignoring me ever since homecoming?"

Julia narrows her eyes and looks back at Asher who's still staring at his phone.

"If you have something to say to me Asher, then say it," I challenge.

Asher finally raises his head and opens his mouth like he's going to say something. He doesn't though, and instead gets up, hoists his backpack over his shoulders and walks away. I stare at his retreating back in disbelief.

I turn back to Julia and say, "How can you expect me to understand what's going on or what I'm doing wrong, if you don't even care to explain."

Julia sighs indignantly and gives Lizzie a look. I try to pretend like I'm not offended that my friends have established a secret code involving talking about my "strange" behavior.

"Nora, Asher told us something about you that we're really concerned about that's all. We just want to help you with whatever you're dealing with," Lizzie says sympathetically.

Shit. Asher must have told them about the scar on my arm. I now had two but I had made sure to cover them up by wearing long sweaters. It looked like I had no choice but to confess. But if I did tell them the truth I'd probably lose my cool and start crying. And there was no way that I could break down in public. Not at school. Besides, what if they didn't even understand?

"I still don't know what you guys are talking about," I lie.

Lizzie doesn't reply and neither does Andrew or Jake.

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