Chapter 9

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“Here it is, sir.” I slapped the printed pages held in a gray folder on my teacher’s desk. The look of disapproval was sent my way, but I ignored it as my mind drifted. I needed to return home to pack my suitcase for my trip to Canada. Behind me, Mathew was fumbling with a lighter, the clicking noise filling the empty room as the professor flipped through a couple pages.

He grunted, his eyes travelling between us as he finally closed the folder, placed it amongst another stack of work resting on his desk. “I shall assess it further. The marks shall be emailed by Monday morning.”

I didn’t bother to offer any other words to the professor. With a quick sweep of his hand, he dismissed us. Mathew lit his cigarette once we were outside, resting beside me, one leg propped behind him on a wall. No words were exchanged between us as we watched the passing vehicles, the lights from a few cars momentarily blinding me every now and then as they passed.

The cold chill of the night increased as I checked my phone. Brad was only a couple minutes away and was in light traffic. I glanced at Mathew, briefly wondering how he planned to get to his home. He hadn’t driven his car to college and had told me earlier today that the engine was being checked. At my gaze he lifted a packet of cigarettes.

“Want one?” He asked. I shook my head. I had tried smoking once, when I was sixteen. I hadn’t enjoyed it, to say the least. Mathew shrugged, slipping it back into his pocket and leaning back against the wall.

My arms folded against my chest as I stared down the road, the wind burning my eyes, causing them to water. Rain began to sprinkle from the dark sky above and I huffed loudly, grabbing my hoodie and pulling it over my head. Small puddles began to form on the slick road and more than once, my jeans were sprayed as a result of oblivious drivers splashing right through them. The smell of Mathew’s cigarette began to waft away and I watched from the corner of my eye as he let it drop to the sidewalk and crush it with his sneaker.

A car slowly came up, halting near Mathew. He looked towards me. “You want a ride?” He called. I glanced ahead. There was no sign of Brad. And almost fifteen minutes had passed since he had said he would be able to collect me in less than two minutes.

But I would wait. “It’s fine,” I finally told Mathew. He looked reluctant to leave me, but eventually nodded and opened the car’s door. My lips pressed together at the sight of his mother, sitting by the driver’s side, her beady eyes locked on mine. Her mouth opened, but scoffing I turned, giving her my back. I wouldn’t be entertaining her strange, ridiculous words.

I would rather wait for an hour for Brad, than get into that car. But thankfully, I didn’t have to stay so long.

Just as they finally left, Brad pulled up, offering  many apologies. An accident had made the trip here longer and he had to take a different route.

I knew instantly that someone was in my home as soon as Brad dropped me off. The living room lights were on and I could see the shadow of a familiar person moving around. My pace quickened as I neared my door. Swinging it open, my eyes immediately landed on Xerxes.

Dark brows were furrowed in confusion as he met my gaze. “Good evening.”

I scoffed, glancing down at a suitcase and a bottle of my last soda drink.  I shook it. Empty.

“You sure did make yourself comfortable.”I grumbled, assessing the papers on the small table in the living room and an unzipped suitcase. Xerxes said nothing, just continued to watch me as I took off my bag, resting it on the floor, kicking off my sneakers.

My feet moved swiftly towards the kitchen. I hadn’t had lunch for the day and I was starving. There was no leftovers from the dinner I had yesterday and I knew I would have to...oh.

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