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Chapter 2

I thought I'd been lucky enough not to bump into Cedric or Hail for the rest of the day, but the moment I walked into my AP History class, I knew my luck had run out.

Cedric, who was seated on the seat I would have usually claimed mine—on the third row right by the window—looked up and caught me looking. I held his gaze for a moment, feeling my anger rising at the nothing but the sight of him and the unreadable expression on his face, before pointedly looking away and taking a seat at the back of the classroom.

He was a year ahead of me, but I'd always shared at least one of my advanced classes with him, and this was the first time I found myself wishing I didn't have to.

Our teacher Mr. Callahan was this balding old teacher who insisted on wearing tweed jackets (that were probably as old as he was) everyday no matter what the season was. While he was a good teacher—he didn't even carry around books for he knew his lessons by heart—it was pretty hard to take him seriously.

I got him for History last year, so I knew what to expect of him.

I didn't, however, expect him to say, "For this class, all given activities will be done by pairs for the whole school year, unless stated otherwise." He lifted his clipboard and put on his reading glasses, clearing his throat to announce the pairings.

To  be honest, I knew I should have known that fate would pair me up with Cedric, but when Mr. Callahan read our names out, confirming that life indeed had an immense hatred for me, I still found myself wishing I heard him wrong.

Mr. Callahan told us to switch seats so we could sit next to our "buddies." Half the class stood up, filling the room with the sound of chairs grinding irritably against the floor, as everyone shuffled to their new seats.

From his seat, Cedric turned to look at me, but I didn't make any motion to leave my seat. The girl seated next to me stood up to sit elsewhere and Cedric must have taken this as his cue to stand up, grab his bag, and walk over to me.

I deliberately did my best not to look at him and neither did he acknowledge me. The air between us felt heavy, tense, and the silence only seemed to magnify the anger I felt. I could smell his cologne, the one I helped him buy four months ago, and something in my stomach clenched at the familiarity of the scent, bringing back memories of me burying my face on his chest as he engulfed me into a hug; of me leaning on his shoulder as we watched another How I Met Your Mother rerun; of him forcing me to wear his sweater even though he, too, was shivering.

As we sat there, together but not together, I found myself cursing him, not just for leaving me, but also for leaving these memories behind, stuck on repeat in my mind, reminding me that the only thing left of us were these fading images of what used to be and this unbridgeable distance between us.


The first thing I saw the moment I walked out of the classroom was Cedric, leaning against the wall by the door. For a moment, we held each other's gaze, making me stop dead on my tracks. I couldn't make my legs move even if I wanted to.

"Hey," he said.

Quickly, I looked away. I couldn't let him see me waver. "What do you want?"

He didn't reply right away.

My head was spinning with all the things I wanted to tell him, right there, right then, that could have made it better, but I clamped my mouth shut and stayed silent.

When the pause was long enough to make me feel like I could no longer take another breath without breaking apart, I shifted.

"If you have nothing to say," I said, "then I'm going."

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