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BLOOD POURED FROM MY HAND, but I could hardly feel the pain; after years and years of constant torment, it was nothing but background thought, only present if you really thought about it. The cut was gushing, but it was not deep, and that was what mattered.

I had made the careless mistake of tripping over my own feet when chasing the Parker boy, and of course, my hand had landed in the midst of broken glass, immediately splitting open on a shard. He had raced off, unaware of the shadow lost from his back, and I was left to bleed in a small alleyway, clutching my hand and cursing myself and the world around me.

"дерьмо," I hissed, ripping off a strip off of my shirt and wrapping it tightly around my hand. The dark fabric quickly stained, but thankfully, held the wound together well enough. It wouldn't hold for long, but it would be good enough.

However, there was no point in going after the boy; he was long gone, and I was not nearly fast enough to keep up. His tracker still happily beeped away in his backpack, but there was no telling when he would be back. I wasn't eager to sit there for hours and wait, so I got up and, wiping off any dirt, turn to run back to the apartment.

That was not how I wanted to spend my morning.


"Holy sh-Emily, what happened to your hand?" 

My shoulders fell into an automatic shrug, holding the limb in question closer and further into my long hoodie sleeves, trying not to let them see too much of it. "I just cut it, it's not a big deal."

Gwen's dark eyes were filled with worry and pity as she scooted over and watched my hand closely. "That doesn't look like nothing, that looks like it hurts! Does it hurt?"

"What? No, it's fine, I-"

"-did you see a doctor? Did you do that yourself? Where did you cut it? How deep is it?"

Before I could snap from the multitude of questions, Mary Jane thankfully stepped in, rolling her eyes at her inquisitive friend. "Leave it, Gwennie, kay? It's just a cut, not a war wound."

The girl still seemed to be bursting with questions and annoying comments about everything, but she thankfully listened to her friend, planting her butt back on the steel bleachers again. "Well, sure. I guess so. Are you excited, Em? It's your first football game - well unless they play football in Canada?"

"No, it's my first," I admitted. "Football wasn't big where I come from. We had it, of course, but it was not so big as I understand it is like here, in New York."

Mary Jane raised an eyebrow, seemingly intrigued by my words. Her interest - what little of it - had been torn away from the preparing footballers below, and now her sharp gaze was on mine, decoding my words and actions with a sly smile. "You know, while we're here, I want to know; what was Canada like, exactly? I mean, we've heard so much but heard so damn little about it?! I've only been once, and that was for a class trip - we went to Toronto, and...doesn't matter, sorta unimportant. What was it like?"

Her friend perked up at her words, matching her grin to a 't' and leaning closer, "where did you live? What was your life like? What's the food like? What were the pickings there?"


"Pickings," she drawled out, "you know? Like, what did the guys look like there? Or, if you swing that way, girls, of course - I just figured, you know, Peter and y-"

"There's no 'Peter and me'," I snapped, drifting closer to the edge of the bleachers - an uncomfortable seat I couldn't understand. The cold metal bit into my barely covered legs, and there wasn't nearly enough space to place my legs; I was half tempted to send my leg into the back of the boy's neck in front of me just to make some more space. "And I do not know. I did not really notice how, um, attractive they were."

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