Chapter 5: Almost Friends

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Lani

I wasn't sure what Xavier was up to. He said he wanted to be friends with me, but no guy just wanted to be friends with a girl. It just didn't work that way. Plus, Willow said that he liked me, and I tended to listen to her advice on all things boy as she was the resident expert. But then again, I knew I didn't want anything more to come of whatever this was. If he wanted to be my friend, then who was I to dissuade him otherwise? He'd eventually realize I was boring and a waste of his time and he'd leave. So, instead of trying to find a better argument, I followed after the most popular boy in school who'd decided he was going to be my friend. And carry my things. And try to hold my hand...

Did friends do that? Hold hands? If it was a guy and a girl? Or did that lead to being...more? I was too confused over the whole thing that I didn't try to fight him. So, for the whole day Xavier Hayes walked me to every single class. Taking my things from me as I got out of each class and walking with me to the next one holding my hand too. I tried not to pay attention to the people who stared or those who would purposefully ignore me when they saw Xavier. The worst were the girls though. They'd walk up to Xavier and practically salivate all over him. Gripping his other arm and try to talk to him. Most of them seemed to think that they were going to seduce him and they'd be off trying to find a room no one was using. Even I thought he'd leave, but he never did. In fact, whenever a girl came up to him and practically propositioned him, he held onto my hand even tighter. As if he was reassuring me that he wouldn't leave me behind.

He won't leave me behind? Is that really what he was trying to do, not leave me behind? Was he holding back from all these girls because of me? I mean, I'd heard a lot of the rumors about Xavier and the many women who'd caught his attention. But I didn't want to be the reason that he stopped doing whatever it was that he needed to...do. Ugh. Okay, so that came out totally wrong.

The worst, however, was Natalie Vaughn. She was considered to be the most popular girl on campus because of who her father was. Mr. Kazimir Vaughn owned a very lucrative fashion company that had gone international a few years back. The Vaughn & Co. line was well known, as was her father and Natalie herself as her father liked to use his 'perfect' daughter as one of his models. She had the stick thin body, the perfect face, bright blue eyes, and long wavy blonde hair. She also rarely wore anything besides her father's designs, especially if they were brand new and barely off the cat walk.

She also thought she had claim to Xavier.

"Xavier, baby!" Natalie cried latching onto the side Xavier's free arm and smiling widely at him until she noticed me. "What's she doing with you?"

"She has a name, Natalie. No need to be rude. This is Lani Ballan, my friend." Xavier told her, smiling at both of us. Was he actually friends with Natalie? Were we actually friends?

"I know who she is." Natalie said in a disgusted tone. "What I don't understand is why you're hanging out with her." That is when, of course, she noticed we were holding hands. "And holding her hand!" she practically whined as she said this.

"Natalie," Xavier started, holding onto my hand a little tighter when I tried to pull free. I avoided Natalie Vaughn like the plague. While I'd done the same with Xavier, I had to admit to myself that I hadn't really known him; I'd never talked with him. But Natalie liked to torture the 'underlings', which meant me. I'd spent my first year learning how to steer clear of her, and the previous two finding ways to pull pranks on her. Like sending her flowers from a 'secret admirer' that made her sneeze for an entire week and gave her a rash. Once I'd even replaced her hand lotion with glue. It had been hilarious. I, of course, never told anyone but Willow so I wasn't sure whether or not she knew it was me. Regardless, we still hated each other.

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