"It's probably not a good idea."

"But I have to know!" I cried, exasperated with this conversation. "I don't understand how you can't see that--"

"Sam, listen to me." Jess grabbed my hand, forcing me to stop pacing around her room. Farah and another girl from our grade, Rachel Opar, were sitting on her bed, watching us worriedly.

I looked at Jess, trying to calm myself down.

"Sam, I love you. I know I joke around, and I know that we both try to get under each other's skin. But you are my best friend in the entire world. I would do anything for you. I'm not telling you this because I don't want you to be happy. I'm telling you this because I don't want you to get hurt."

I was silent. Jess let go of my hand and I backed up a bit, sliding onto one of her beanbag chairs.

"I just want to know why he did it." I whispered. "We went from saying "I love you" to him trying to rob my family...within a couple of hours. I don't understand."

Jess exchanged a glance with Farah and Rachel before turning back to me.

"Then we should all go."

"What?"

"He's home, right? He got off on bail and we're waiting for the trial. The three of us can go with you to his house. That way you have some moral support, and you're not trudging over there with just your vulnerable self to be seduced by him again."

"Seduced?" I repeated, grinning.

"Fine, think of a better word. You know what I mean." Jess laughed, "Would you be alright with that plan?"

I thought for a moment. I wanted answers. I wanted to know what was going on and why he had decided to betray me like that. But I didn't want to risk falling for any lies that he might be able to think up.

"I think I'd be alright with that."

<><><>

"Did you tell him we were coming?"

"Why would I do that? I don't have his number."

"Well I don't either. I just assumed you did."

"That wasn't a very smart assumption."

I could hear Farah and Rachel bickering in the backseat as Jess drove to Jason's house, with me sitting rigidly in the passenger seat. I couldn't speak for fear of nothing coming out, my throat closing up, and my body breaking into sobs. Jess seemed to understand my need for silence and drove without saying a word, the only noise between us coming from her GPS.

We walked up the front steps to the Watt home, and I knew the girls were slowly understanding how Jason was able to get out on bail so quickly: his house was almost the size of mine, with a spacious green lawn and a black gate that surrounded the property.

I rang the doorbell and heard some scuffling from behind the door and fidgeting with the lock. It took a few seconds for the door to swing open, revealing a large and angry-looking man.

"Yes?"

He appeared to be the butler, although I had never met him before.

"Hi, I'm looking for Jason Watt?"

"Senior?"

I hadn't realized Jason was his father's name as well.

"No, Junior."

"Ah." The man nodded, stepping aside for us to come in. "And may I ask who is visiting?"

"Just say Sam."

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