24 | Roland

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Roland hated going to the Hadden's house. And not for the reason that he knew everyone else hated going to the Hadden's house—the feeling of inferiority that inevitably came with walking into the home of a family with an incredible amount of power in this town. Roland's family had that power too, and so it didn't faze him. He wasn't worried about that.

Roland hated going to the Hadden's house because whenever he did, something bad happened. Mixing nerd and popularity seemed to have some sort of effect on the universe that caused everything to go wrong.

So when the butler let him into the mansion and Roland walked his way up to Michael's room, he had a terrible feeling that everyone coming together again would cause far more harm than good.

He walked into Michael Hadden's bedroom and looked around cautiously. Michael was lying on his bed, eyes glued to the ceiling and surprisingly not to his phone. He looked up as Roland walked in and offered a small smile.

"Hey, man. Long time no see."

"I guess you could say that." Roland replied, nodding towards the injured football star. "How are you holding up?"

Michael shrugged.

"Alright, I guess. I can't go on my phone or do anything except lay in bed and wish I was somewhere else." He looked over at Roland as the latter perched himself on the desk by the door. "What about you? Did my sister do anything to you to force you here?"

Roland shook his head.

"No. But I mean, I figured if she needed to meet after telling everyone she didn't want to do this anymore, it must be important." He looked around the room, "Do you think everyone else is going to show?"

Michael nodded.

"I think they will. Jordan might be a bit on the angry side because of everything that happened yesterday, but I still think she'll show up if Mary asks. Like you said, if she changed her mind about this then there must be a good reason."

Roland nodded and the two fell silent until footsteps could be heard coming up the stairs. A few seconds later, Lindsey walked in, followed by Jordan just half a minute later.

"The queen bee isn't even here, is she?" Jordan asked as she walked in and sat down on the foot of Michael's bed. "What a surprise."

Everyone else exchanged uncomfortable glances; there was nothing to say to someone who had just found out that her best friend had been screwing around with her older brother for years without telling her.

"Mary should be here soon." Michael spoke when no one else moved to, "It shouldn't be too much longer."

"I should think not." Jordan replied coolly, "After all, I'm not about to stay in this cursed house for longer than I have to."

No one responded to that, and Jordan folded her arms across her chest. Roland couldn't help but stare at her as she did so; even when she was fuming with anger, Roland couldn't shake his crush on her. His crush he had had since middle school. It just wasn't going anywhere, and he had hoped that when the five of them stopped hanging out it would become easier.

But here he was, back at it again, with no reason why.

The door opened from behind him and everyone turned to look at Mary, who walked in and shut the door behind her. She stalked over to the other side of the room, passing Jordan and ignoring the death stare coming from her former best friend, before sitting down on the armchair near Michael's bedroom window. She was holding a piece of paper in her hand and staring at it intently, refusing to make eye contact with anyone else in the room.

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