Nick stood face to face with Noelle, his eyes flaming with anger. His face was red because of some odd reasons, his fingers curled up into fists with the flyers scrunched up in his palms. He gazed at the crowd briefly, as if daring them to say anything else.
Noelle, however, appeared to be more furious than him. She was leaning against her locker, her eyes red and puffy as if she had been staying up late all night, crying. Her posse was hovering few feet away, glancing nervously at them, waiting for a war to start.
They stared at each other, holding the gaze for a while until Nick spoke, in a deep voice that would make anyone shudders. “What,” He said, throwing the flyers onto the floor “Is this all about?” Noelle took a brief glance at the flyers with a disgusted look and stared at him, “Funny, I was supposed to ask you that question at well.”
Nick hadn’t seen that coming. He remained in silence and raised an eyebrow instead, waiting for her to continue. “Nick.” Noelle muttered, looking at her feet. “How do you think it feels to wake up one morning to see pictures of my boyfriend with another girl everywhere?” Her voice cracked as she looked up at Nick. She blinked and tears rolled down her cheeks, for a second it looked as if she was genuinely, well, sad.
If she was guilty, she certainly didn’t show it.
“Did you do it?” Nick finally said after a brief moment of silence. Noelle’s head snapped back up, her face looked astonished. “You think I did this?” She cried, looking bewildered. “Nick! How could you even think such a thing? You’ve been doing it behind my back and for God’s sake, why would I want to tell the whole world that my boyfriend had betrayed me for a……” Her tears came rolling down like rivers, and all of the waterproof mascara had gone to waste. It seemed like she was trying to find an ugliest word to describe Scarlet, but gave up when she saw the warning in Nick’s eyes.
“I didn’t betray you, Noelle.” Nick sighed, his eyes looked tired. “We didn’t do anything. She was my best friend, you know that. Everyone in this school does. I don’t even know how could anyone buy that damned shit.” Nick said through clenched teeth. “Whoever that did this is going down, I’d tell you.”
“So what were you doing at her house in the morning then?” Noelle asked, her voice raising, which caused people to turn and stare. But Nick didn’t mind.
“She was sick.” He replied shortly.
“So? What makes you think you’re responsible for it?” Noelle retorted and rolled her eyes, her arms crossed in front of her chest. Nick looked at her in silence for a moment; the air around them was suddenly clouded with tenseness. Noelle shifted uncomfortably and bit her lips, “Nick,” she said, “I didn’t mean ----”
“I’ll deal with you later.”
And with that, he turned and left, without saying another word.
Scarlet blinked as she felt someone shaking her shoulders, calling her name. Her vision was in a blur and all she could see was a moving shadow. She shut her eyes and waited for the dizziness to go away and opened her eyes again, only to find herself lying in his arms.
“James…” She muttered; her voice so weak that it came off in a whisper. “What are you…” Her voice trailed off. She looked at the tiled walls and ceilings, realizing she had been lying in the bathroom all the time. She tried to remember what happened, but the last thing she knew was everything faded into darkness, swallowing her in.
“I had been searching everywhere for you.” James said, looking worried. “Are you okay? Why are you lying in here?” He pulled her up slowly, allowing her to regain her balance before speaking. Scarlet sighed, not wanting to talk about it.
“I need to get some air.” She said, smiling faintly. James nodded and held her arms gently, leading her outside. He didn’t say anything else, and Scarlet was grateful for that. The least thing she wanted to hear about was the flyers. But it probably didn’t help much, since the walls were pretty much covered with them. Pictures scattered all over the floor, but none of them said anything.
They walked through the hallway together, ignoring all the rude stares. Some people were coughing especially loud when Scarlet walked by, calling her “slut” as much as they could within her hearing. She ignored them and kept going, realizing some of her school mates were actually defending her, to her surprise.
But apparently not everyone believed her. “Nick probably paid her for sleeping with him,” She heard a girl hissed under her breath, “Why would he go out with a girl like her? I’m so much better.” She added conceitedly, as if to make herself feel better.
“Watch it, b*tch.” James stopped and said, to Scarlet’s surprise. The girl turned red from head to toe, stammering. “I… I didn’t mean ---”
James gave her a cold stare before grabbing Scarlet’s hand, “They’re best friends, and she’s my girlfriend.” He announced loudly to no one particular, but enough for everyone in the hallway to hear. Whispers grew louder and a couple of disapproving looks were thrown in their directions. He looked around, his eyes intense as he surveyed the crowd. No one dared to say anything.
Scarlet struggled, trying to get his hand off of hers, but it was stuck. “What are you doing?” She whispered in his ear, but James ignored her. Nervously, she looked around the crowd, searching for Nick. Her heartbeat was so loud that she could hear it herself as she bit her lips, hoping that Nick wasn’t around to hear this.
But there he was, leaning in front of the lockers with Noelle. There was deep disappointment in his eyes. He gazed at Scarlet, astonished before glancing at James, who lifted his chin in a challenging manner. And slowly, his eyesight fell.
He pushed himself off of the locker he was leaning against and started making his way towards them. The hallway fell into dead silence the moment he came face to face with Scarlet; you could hear the sound of clock ticking on the wall.
But he didn’t stop. He looked away and walked right past them, his eyes shut when their shoulders brushed. He made his way out of the hallway and disappeared into nowhere.
He was gone.
And that was when Scarlet’s heart exploded into millions of tiny pieces before her very own eyes.