t e n | Long Walks
"...and so I said no fucking thanks, and then you know what he did? He fucking called Alpha Epsilon cowards. Can you fucking believe that? Us? Cowards? That's a goddamn joke if I've ever heard one," Mac snarled as he finished up the story of what happened at the party before biting into his cheeseburger.
He and Matt sat next to each other in the booth, opposite which sat me and the still mostly silent Noah. Ella had grabbed a chair from the bar and now sat at a larger height than the table itself as she stuffed a french fry into her mouth.
"Oh yeah, you're in Alpha Epsilon, right?" She tilted her head to the side. "I completely forgot."
To be honest, so had I. Alpha Epsilon was one of the more popular fraternities on campus, or at least it had been last year, when we were sophomores. This year, I hadn't heard of the house being busy in any activity and I doubted anyone else had either. It was like they'd just sunk to the bottom or something, almost as if they were laying low—which was nothing like how notoriously it was talked about last year and every year before in the small town of Redwood.
The house and brothers were still there, but it felt like the fraternity just vanished off the map.
Matt decided to ask what was in the back of our minds straight out. "So where's Alpha Epsilon disappeared to anyway?"
"We were legends," answered Mac with a dull expression. "And now we're just not and it sucks. But you know what?" The dull look slipped away from his face, giving way to the mysterious glint in his eyes I was getting used to and the curve of his mouth upwards. "I'm going to make it legendary again and you guys are going to help me."
I immediately felt wary at that. "What does that entail?"
"Nothing," the glint faded as he took another large bite of his burger. "That's for me to know and the rest of you to find out."
"I don't like the sound of that," Matt informed us cautiously and Mac simply shrugged cheerily in response. "Suck it up."
"Hey, did you guys know," Ella began suddenly, "that you guys are so alike? I mean, you're even named Matt and Mac. Jesus, you could be long lost brothers or something."
The guys in question both turned to look at each other for a few seconds before they turned to look back at Ella and asked together, "Really?"
I laughed at that before adding my opinion, "It's true. You don't look alike but it's like you have similar mannerisms or something."
Mac took it like it was nothing and just shrugged. "Who knows? He could be my brother from another mother." A pause. "Or it could be the same mother, really. I have no idea. Mom's on marriage number five and let me tell you, the woman has no plans to slow down."
Ella cackled loudly at that and the rest of us joined in. Except for Noah, of course.
Instead he stood up and strolled out of the diner without a word.
I whipped my head around to face Mac, wide-eyed.
He waved a careless hand. "Chill."
He said it like it was easy but the air around us was way too tense to be chill. This was proven when a few seconds later when Ella cleared her throat and pointedly bugged her eyes out at me.
That was enough for Mac to pipe up, "I know what you're all thinking. It wasn't what I said. It's been a month, and the guy isn't touchy like that. In fact, he honestly doesn't want me to walk on eggshells around him because of the accident. I mean, who would?"
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After the accident, Noah Archer built a wall around himself. But Riley Dawson is curious about him, and she's determined to meet the man behind his defenses. ***** Riley Dawson h...