Chapter Six

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I was sure my jaw might have hit the ground but before I could react; I turned to Ellie. She wore a blank expression, but it still slipped. She looked old, old and worn out. Perhaps now was the time to settle this unknown debate once and for all.

"Well alright then. Guess I might as well get going."

"Ellie..." I was sure disapproval showed in the way my shoulders set, but Ellie was facing a different direction. I turned my head just in time to see the other girl smile and giggle as she took a side step closer to Mason. Oh hell no! The very hair on my arms bristled; but my anger quickly dissipated when I remembered what I was setting out to do.

"Ellie hold up! You don't know the whole story!" 

Man, either that girl could move, or I was more out of shape than I thought. Maybe I was turning out to be a slow poke who happened to eat too much cheesecake. Or something.

Ellie was already more than halfway through the parking lot as I was just about to catch up with her.

"Just let her go."

Looking over, I noticed Nathaniel practically sitting in the dark on a small fence. Petr was nowhere to be seen, but Nathaniel looked pensive; sad even. Shrieks of other victims—I mean customers—were heard in the near distance. Chainsaw dude was at it again.

I was faced with two options -- continue after Ellie or ask Nathaniel why he looked so sad. The rocks spewing as Ellie's car went into reverse made the decision for me. Glancing at Ellie through her car window, she was not the same carefree girl I met a couple months ago. She reminded me of a girl with a troubled past. Her face appeared dry as she drove past me in her VW Beetle. I was sure the tears would come; just not in front of anyone. Sigh.

I turned my attention back to Nathaniel.

"Something wrong?" I asked him.

Nathaniel shrugged, but stepped more into the light. Well actually there wasn't a lot of light in the parking lot, but he made himself more visible.

"I just get where she is coming from." He said, appearing nonchalant but I was learning how to read between the lines.

"That's right, you once dated Derek." Then I realized, too late, how bad that sounded.

"Oh crap, I'm sorry! That came out all wrong! I've been told I have an unfiltered mouth. Please forgive me. Actually, let's just pretend I never said anything. Yeah, that sounds good."

Nathaniel gave me a momentary look of surprise, but it didn't last very long. His face soon fell back into the one I'd known well enough by now. The devious smirk, arms crossed across his massive chest. He was looking at me from under his eyelashes. It was the kind of look that could make any girl (or guy for that matter) swoon. There was a touch of bad boy about him, but that was only the surface.

"Nah, it's fine you put it that way, because, that's the way it is."

"Care to talk about it?"

"How about no." A statement, not a question; though it could have easily been phrased that way. Nathaniel's eyes never went hard at that statement, but they did seem to grow a shade darker.

"Well ok then, but you know it's all going to have to come to light someday." I tried to sound casual, maybe leaning towards the nonchalant side. This was a subject I knew not to push. I should not get involved and risk losing friends over this.

"Something like that." He was holding his ground but I wasn't having it, not tonight. To tell the truth, this whole thing was silently killing me.

"I am serious you know." I pressed, going against my very nature. "It's going to have to get talked about, if not with your friends, then with your significant other."

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