SEVEN.

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"MARIANO, GET THE hell out of my face."

"I think I'm good right here."

"Seriously. I'll get Courtney to come over here and kick your ass."

Jess looked surprised. "Courtney's shorter than you are."

"Yeah. And she's got a year of fight pent-up in her. The only thing coming between her foot and your ass is me."

"It's a simple question," he said, shrugging.

"A simple question I don't have to answer," she countered.

"It's a simple question you have to answer unless you want me to tell Luke about the ice machine." Marley grinned at him, making Jess roll his eyes. "What?"

"That happened a month ago," she said. Marley leaned up against her locker as she shut it, reveling in the scowl on Jess' face. "You really don't have anything to use against me, do you?"

Jess didn't answer. Marley's smile only got wider. "Shut up," he finally said.

Marley chuckled. "It's so nice that your blackmail is as stale as your music taste."

"The girl who likes Franz Ferdinand did not just try to call my music taste stale."

She gaped at him, eyes narrowed. "You like Tom Waits. I don't know anybody who likes Tom Waits other than my mom."

A smirk graced his features. "Well, then obviously, taste didn't get passed down."

Marley sent him a glare, looking away soon after as the bell rang. She moved from the lockers as everyone around her began to walk to their homeroom classes, eyes scanning the hall as if she were looking for someone. If she were alone, she would have scoffed at herself. As if. She was looking for someone. She'd been looking for the same person for over a year.

Jess seemed to notice this as he watched his coworker. He felt the teasing words build upon his tongue, but, much to his chagrin, he was unable to say them, as a yell interrupted him.

"MARLEY!" The voice came from down the hall. Marley's head whipped around, startled by the volume of it. She recognized it to be Courtney's immediately, panic spiking as she watched her best friend sprint down the hall, weaving through her classmates to meet her. Courtney was out of breath as she approached Marley, seeming to completely disregard Jess. He knew this was the case because Courtney hadn't stopped to insult him.

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