Chapter 11

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"Sidney, please get down here before I'm taken away from murder." As I descended the stairs Hayley was swatting at Theo, who in turn kept moving just out of reach each time. I bit my lower lip hard, trying to stop the laughter that wanted to escape at the scene. It wasn't a good enough attempt because Hayley was glaring in a way that made me feel like a traitor.

"Leave her alone, Theo." Even as Sam tried to be helpful, you heard his laughter being withheld.

Theo did stop, but Hayley just glared at all of us and stormed out of the house. We glanced at one another and broke into obnoxious laughter. Following her out we tried to rein it in, but we all were failing miserably. Hayley was just beyond adorable when she was murderous.

Jessica sat in the car already, rolling her eyes at us. We slid into the car, where I was forced to sit next to Hayley. Theo had taken the front seat and Sam sat beside me, a smug look on his face. It was like they hoped that if she decided to attack, I would be her victim. Though I pouted and scooted closer to him I was happy to see him happy, it was the first time he'd smile since his return the other night. Before I had been able to get a greeting out, he'd given me a look that could kill and disappeared into his room for the evening.

Feeling the anger radiate from Hayley I reached over and poked her side, but my hand was slapped away. When she remained silent and seething I kept poking, aiming for her sides and watching her squirm away from me. She continued her silence, and I continued my attack, earning another swat and finally a laugh escaped her. Feeling content I smiled and turned my attention to the dark street in front of me. It made me a tad uncomfortable being out at night, but I reined it in, telling myself that I was in safe hands.

The others talked among themselves, whatever the subject was unbeknownst to me. I leaned back in my seat and let my mind drift, but I tried to keep it on the non-depressing subjects. My English Composition class had a paper coming up, and I was both excited and terrified to write those ten pages. Not being forced to reference things would be my saving grace, I worked best when I could speak about things known or experienced by me; my own thoughts.

A jab to the side brought my attention back to the car, turning the glare at Sam as I rubbed my side. "Yes?"

"You okay?" His tone betrayed his underlying worry, causing me to soften.

I gave a small smile, nodding my head in reaction. It wasn't hard to guess my face portrayed some sort of problem that didn't currently exist, sadly it often rested that way. Even as I gave him my answer he seemed unsure, which caused the corners of my mouth to down turn. After a moment I raised my hand, finger extending and poking the tip of his nose.

"Boop."

A smile broke out and he shook his head, using his fingers to jab at my side again. Laughing I stayed in reality, watching as we pulled into the parking lot of a restaurant; the place was somewhat packed. We found a spot and got out, Hayley looping her arm through mine and practically dragging me to the entrance. My legs had a hard time keeping up, almost tripping and taking us both down.

"Goodness, woman." I pulled free and moved to walk ahead of her. Behind me I could hear Sam's laughter.

We were seated further back in the place, it was quieter with most up front at or near the bar. I had the luck of being sat on the inside of the bench beside Sam and Theo, Jessica and Hayley sitting on the other side. Our waiter walked up the moment we got comfortable and took our drink orders before disappearing. We all skimmed the menus in silence, it took me half a second to choose which steak I wanted. As they continued to look I pulled out my phone, typing in the pin and searching through my Instagram feed. It took a moment to realize that Theo was leaning over into my space and looking at my screen.

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