Gene filled up the glasses with drinks and then sat them down on the kitchen table, gesturing at me to sit down. Once we were sitting I reached for my glass, trying not to think about how awkward this whole situation was.

I was only used to see Gene at school. Now being with him in this new surroundings was definitely something that required getting used to. What also wasn't usual was his thoughtful expression. For once his smile was gone – and I hadn't even said or done anything, at least nothing that I was aware of. Could an assignment really be enough of a reason for him to drop his smile that always seemed to be plastered on his face?

"Are you like, annoyed of me being here or something?" I asked when I couldn't take the awkwardness anymore. Whatever it was, better address it than dance around it on tiptoes.

Gene shot me a surprised look. "What? No, what makes you think that?"

I shrugged and sipped on my drink, already regretting my decision of bringing the elephant in the room up.

The boy next to me cleared his throat, and just a second after that his usual smile was back on his lips. "So, what do you say, let's get back to that assignment and finish it already?"

"Yeah. And then we talk about why you don't have any animals here," I replied, moving to get up from behind the table.

Gene copied me and we went back to his room. I tried to focus to get this thing done as fast as I could, wanting nothing more than to get out of here already. The wooden boards underneath me creaked with every little movement I made, causing me to fear that the whole house would crash and bury me under its ruins any second.

Thankfully it was only another half hour before we were finally done with the assignment. Gene lead me to the door and then kicked me out with another hollow smile, leaving me to make my way back to Michael's alone. There wasn't a thing I'd rather do, though, so I took to my heels and started walking, distancing myself from that ancient house more and more with every passing second.

I couldn't think of a reason that would explain Gene's odd behavior. He had been his nice usual self today at school, and had only started acting like this now. Maybe he really didn't like seeing me at his house.

Deciding that it wasn't important enough to talk about any longer, I took out my earbuds once more to distract myself on my way home. Grey clouds were still covering the sky – the weather hadn't gotten better since yesterday – but it didn't look like rain, at least not anytime soon.

That was good. I was sick of rain already.

My mood worsened even more when I thought about the empty house that was waiting for me. Michael wouldn't be home for another hour or two, depending on how busy it was at the garage today, so I'd have nothing and no one to pass the time with. How inconvenient.

I did know where Asher's group could be right now, though. They talked about meeting up at the soccer pitch after school to practice. It was a shot in the dark since they could have gone home already, or just not showed up in the first place, but it was a shot.

The soccer pitch it was, then.

It didn't take long until the school came into sight, and not soon after I was on the field behind it. Just as I had hoped, Asher and his friends were there, running around and passing a ball from one to another. Even Tyler was there, standing rather remotely, not really seeming to participate.

Gill was the first one to spot me. She looked up in surprise, coming to a sudden halt which caused Asher running behind her to trip as he tried to stop as well, and he landed head first on the ground.

Misfits [bxb] ✓Where stories live. Discover now