19 | Mary

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"She's mixing horizontal and vertical stripes...and navy and black. How in the world did no one run her over on the way to school today?"

It was nice for Mary to be able to talk like that again and actually believe that it was the most important thing in her life. Jordan and Kate giggled from either side of her, eyeing the rest of the hallway to see if they could get their own jabs in. Poking fun at the fashionably inept was one of the few things in life that brought Mary any kind of joy anymore.

"Did you guys hear about Lindsey Marcum?" Kate asked after a brief pause in their conversation.

Jordan and Mary exchanged worried glances for a second before Mary responded.

"What about her?"

"Well, I heard that she's not going to be able to play in the first soccer game of the season because she did something to her ankle this past weekend." Kate rolled her eyes, "What an idiot. She probably tripped down the stairs."

"Yeah, probably." Mary laughed as Jordan stood beside her in silence, clearly unsure of whether or not they were making fun of the other people in their former investigative group. "What a loser. Not even being captain of the soccer team could actually make her cool."

"Who are we talking about?" Mary turned around to receive a kiss from Parker before he slung his arm around her. "You all know I love to give my input."

"We know." Kate giggled, "Just talking about Lindsey Marcum and how she's not gonna be able to play in her games because of a stupid ankle."

"Damn, that's a shame. Guess we'll just have to play for two teams this season." He laughed, "The guys' team is always better anyways."

"So, Jord, where's Landon?" Mary asked, trying to see if she could direct the conversation away from people she actually knew and kind of liked now, "He's usually around in the mornings."

"He should be here soon." Jordan promised, "He's probably just catching up with some of his friends or something."

"Shouldn't you be top priority, Conrad?" Parker asked, leaning down and kissing the top of Mary's head, "I know my girl's the only thing I care about."

Mary made a face that she assumed a loving girlfriend of three years would make, but inside she felt herself throw up. Parker was not exactly the most devoted of boyfriends, despite the front he put on around their friends.

The Green's barbeque had been a better tell of his true colors.

"Hey, Jord!"

Landon came barreling up from down the hallway to stand next to Jordan, giving her a quick side-hug in one of the most awkward displays Mary had ever seen. Jordan accepted the hug before turning to look at Mary and Parker in an "I told you so" kind of way, leaning against Landon to show him she wanted him to show some sort of physical affection.

"So are you all done being weird, babe?"

Mary raised her eyebrows as she waited for Jordan to answer her boyfriend's question, knowing full well that if Parker talked to Mary that way, he wouldn't be seeing any sort of action for the next month.

"What do you mean?" Jordan asked, her cheeks turning pink with the beginning of embarrassment.

"Well, you've been blowing me off every day to work on school stuff, so I was just making sure you're done being stupid and we can hang out now. You know, go to parties and stuff together."

Jordan nodded timidly, her eyes darting to Mary as the latter realized Jordan had been blowing Landon off to investigate her brother's murder. That definitely wasn't something she could just tell people randomly.

"Yeah, I'm done being weird." She nodded, taking a deep breath. "I was actually hoping we could go to Friday's football game together!"

Landon nodded excitedly.

"That's what I like to hear! Are there any parties we can hit up afterwards?"

Jordan took a deep breath.

"Yeah, I'm sure I can find someone to let us come."

"You're the best, babe." Landon grinned, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek before starting to walk away. "I've gotta run to class, but I'll see you later!"

"Love you!" Jordan called after him, but he was too far gone by that point to hear her or respond.

"Well, that was fun." Kate said dryly, "I would suggest finding a new boyfriend, Jord. Landon just doesn't do it for me anymore."

"Well, he doesn't need to "do it" for you, Kate, now does he?" Jordan snapped, "I love him and he loves me, so I don't see any reason for us to change our relationship at all."

"Whatever." Kate shrugged, "But if it were me—"

"Which it's not."

"But if it were me," Kate continued in annoyance, "I'd stop taking him to parties and see if he's even interested anymore."

The bell rang signaling the five-minute warning to get to homeroom, and Jordan looked as if she weren't sure whether to start crying or start smacking Kate.

"Well, we'd better get to homeroom, right Jord?" Mary asked, hoping to stop whatever Jordan was about to do. "Let's go."

Jordan nodded slightly before following Mary away from the group, leaving Parker and Kate by themselves.

"Are you alright?" Mary asked.

"I'm fine." Jordan replied firmly, "Kate just bothers me sometimes. And if you say one thing about her being right, I'll...I'll..."

"Don't worry." Mary shook her head, "I won't say anything."

Jordan raised her eyebrows.

"Wow. Maybe that whole investigating thing turned you soft."

Mary felt her heart start beating faster. Was she letting her guard down? She wasn't about to be called soft by someone she needed to fear her.

"I doubt it." Mary replied coolly before dripping her iced coffee down the shirt of a girl by the lockers wearing the same top as her. "Oops. Guess we can't be twinsies now."

Jordan raised her eyebrows.

"I see you haven't lost your touch."

"I haven't lost anything." Mary shook her head, "And I don't plan on losing anything now."

A/N: What do you think about them not investigating anymore? Do you think it'll last?



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