Offenders (17)

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Going to school the next morning was strange. Everything that had happened the day before seemed almost like a dream, so I was surprised when I didn’t see the stalker or Lena at school. I wondered what exactly happened to both of them.

Just the thought of what had happened made my head hurt. I didn’t want to think about it. I needed to act like it never even happened.

But Dex could tell it was still bothering me. Aiden ignored it, Kristie couldn’t tell, and Anthony knew, but wasn’t going to say anything. Dex, however, didn’t have much of a conscience like Anthony.

“You can’t let this bother you,” Dex informed me as we walked into school. I stopped dead in my tracks and he ran right into me.

My grip on my backpack strap tightened. It annoyed me that he could tell that I was upset, but it also made me happy that he cared enough to notice. But I still didn’t want to think about it.

Aiden and Kristie made their way by us and into the school, leaving Dex, Anthony, and me. One of them just didn’t care while the other one just didn’t notice. But that didn’t bother me.

“I’m the one that did the most damage, Violet,” Anthony assured, but I couldn’t help but disagree. “If it wasn’t for me, he’d just have a bashed up face. I made it so he had the mentality of a five-year-old.”

“What you did was bad, but you can’t say what I did wasn’t any worse,” I whispered, looking around to make sure no one in the hallway was listening to us. “But what’s freaking me out isn’t that I beat him up. He deserved that. What freaks me out is that I wouldn’t have stopped if Dex didn’t stop me.”

Anthony frowned. “What do you mean?”

“I wanted to keep going,” I explained. “I wanted to keep hitting him. I didn’t want to stop. If Dex hadn’t grabbed me, I think I would have kept hitting him until he was dead.”

Dex looked away from me, a look I couldn’t read on his face. I frowned at him. He refused to make eye contact, and I knew something was up. Why did he suddenly look like this when I mentioned him stopping me?

“That guy hurt your friend.” Now that Dex seemed preoccupied with not looking at me, Anthony was the one trying to make me feel better. “We all wanted to hurt him. I’m sure you would have stopped eventually without Dex’s help.”

I didn’t say, but I wasn’t so sure about that. Anthony didn’t understand the feeling I was feeling when I was punching the stalker. I liked hurting him. I liked the feeling of my flesh hitting his. I liked the feel of his blood.

But then I snapped out of that trance, I was disgusted. I hated all of it. It made me sick to my stomach and I couldn’t believe what I’d done. And that just scared me even more.

“You did nothing wrong,” Anthony assured again before making his way around us. “If anyone’s to blame, it’s me. So don’t beat yourself up about this.”

I made a face.

Anthony turned white. “I probably shouldn’t have put it that way. But whatever.”

And then he walked down the hall, leaving Dex and I by ourselves. My strongest teammate still wouldn’t look me in the eye as he now looked at the floor, still looking anywhere but at me.

“What’s wrong with you?” I questioned Dex now that we were by ourselves.

Finally, he looked up at me, surprised. “What are you talking about?”

“You wouldn’t look at me,” I told him, as if he somehow didn’t know. “Why weren’t you looking at me?”

He continued to act like he had no idea what I was talking about as he asked, “What?”

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