CHAPTER SEVEN: HIS FILE

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"We have to turn in some history assignments for next week," Jared explained, elbows centered on Stephanie's desk counter

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"We have to turn in some history assignments for next week," Jared explained, elbows centered on Stephanie's desk counter. She wasn't a sweetheart, but she sure liked Jared. For a twenty-five year old, she carried a lot of hate toward the world. "And we need a couple of books to do so."

Stephanie adjusted the squared frame of her glasses, and a frizzy, red curl that had been packed tightly into a bun fell over her forehead. She inched forward slightly, her freckled cheeks rising when her blue eyes narrowed. "I'm sure your teacher will understand that it was impossible for you two to get the textbooks due to what happened. He will appreciate the effort."

"Come on, Steph," said Jared, flashing a grin at her. "Please. You know how Mr. Brown gets when we don't hand in projects on their specific due date."

"Can't you ask Mr. Raegan?" I tried. He liked me better than Stephanie. If I asked him, we would have a better chance of getting into that library. "I'm sure he'll understand."

"He's currently busy." She pointed at his office, where I could hear a muffled conversation happening. "This whole Sally Mason thing has got him busy enough, so why don't you two get out of here? You know, since you're not even supposed to be at school today?"

The plan fell apart in front of my eyes when Stephanie turned her eyes back to the computer screen. I started to make my way back through the glass doors, my brain doing double the effort to come up with another way to get to that file. Jared said something under his breath that I didn't quite catch before joining me out in the hall, and whatever it was made Stephanie let out an indignant gasp.

I was about to ask him what he had said, but he went ahead of me as we walked down the hallway. "You know, we can still try on Monday..."

We could. But I didn't want to wait. There had to be another way. Maybe if we—

Looking over my shoulder twice to make sure she wasn't following our steps—she wasn't—I grasped Jared's arm and yanked him closer to me, shifting his back so that it was pressed against the lockers from around the corner. The exit doors were to our right, diagonally, and I took a final peek over his shoulder to make sure Stephanie hadn't noticed anything strange.

Everything looked clear.

"Um, Liv?" he asked quietly.

I looked back at him, only to notice my grip remained tight on his sides. "Yeah?"

"What are you doing?" His eyes travelled down, all the way to his arm and then back at me. They vacillated somewhere near my chin, but he adjusted them quickly.

"What do you think?" I stepped back and broke the closeness between us, pointing toward the end of the hallway. "Library's that way."

"You're crazy," Jared whispered with a smile, and we made our way through the halls.

The clock that hung on the back wall read a little past three, and the quietness was unusual. Some sunrays crept into the library through the old windows, shining over the tops of every shelf and uncovering the million clouds of dust particles floating around.

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