Chapter Sixteen: New Perspective

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Content Warning:  mentions of child abuse, mild/short panic attack

The remaining few minutes of our lunch hour were spent chatting about the best ingredients in various types of food, a debate of which Gabriel was very passionate about. Silas didn't really have much to add, so it was mostly between me and Gabriel.

When the bell rang, the seven of us stood and said quick goodbyes before each heading onto our separate classes. Luckily, Silas shared the next class with me, so he accompanied me the whole way.

People parted for him. Whether that was because of his size or because he was popular and part of the football team, there was no way for me to know. I assumed it was a combination of both.

The rest of the day passed slowly. Silas and I didn't have much contact in class, since the two of us were too busy working to really pay attention to each other. He left me with a big grin and words of promise that he would make my choice of coming to his game tonight worth it. That, coupled with the squeeze he gave my hand, had me practically floating to my Japanese class.

Mrs. Okamoto announced that today would indeed be her last day due to her pregnancy, and told us that there was a substitute already lined up to take her place. She went off on a tangent about Dr. Green and how he was so sweet and smart, and she knew that he would treat us well and she hoped that we learned a lot from him.

Gym with Gabriel and Nathan was like any other day, except I felt their eyes on me constantly. Karen barely talked to me and I wondered if what had happened yesterday had severed our friendship before it'd even had the chance to flourish. I didn't get to think too hard on that since Mrs. French had us playing basketball. Every time I would do something, I heard cheers and whistles from Gabriel and Nathan and I wanted to shrivel up into a little ball, but I knew they meant well.

That was how I ended up sandwiched between them as they escorted me out of the gymnasium and to the parking lot. It felt weird not rushing toward the bus, and also weird not seeing Derrick like I usually did.

I would never ride the bus again.

"I heard you're going to North and Silas's football game?" Nathan asked, looking down at me and sliding his arm around my shoulder slowly, like he was giving me a chance to deny him or move away.

I nodded, pulling my eyebrows together. Who had told him that?

As if to answer my thoughts, Gabriel scoffed. "It's not just her. I already told you, dude. I'm going, too. So's Luke."

"Damn, you guys are having a party and I wasn't invited?"

Frowning, I pushed in closer to him so that I could look at him straight on. "You're invited, Nathan! Well, if you want to come, I mean." I paused. "Uh, actually, it's not really my place to say that you're invited, now that I think about it—but I'm sure Silas wouldn't mind! He agreed to let Luke come easily!"

Nathan grinned and tugged me closer until I was pressed into his side. "I wasn't being serious, so don't worry too much about it, okay? Silas and North won't mind me coming along as well."

"I might," Gabriel muttered under his breath. "Stealing my alone time with her, as per usual."

Nathan rolled his eyes. "It wouldn't be alone time, anyway, since Luke's gonna be there."

Gabriel shut his eyes and pushed out his chin, looking away from Nathan. He raised his palm. "Talk to the hand."

I giggled, pressing a hand to my mouth. "Don't be so mean."

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