Liam ran ahead to discover what Ryan's first class was, leaving me and my saviour alone. We walked in tense silence, being careful not to look at one another, before his obnoxious joke shattered the quiet.
"You look like you've seen a ghost," he teased me, causing my lips to twitch downward.
I didn't reply.
"Oh, come on," he continued. "Not even a few words for the guy who clearly saved your arse?"
"You didn't save anything," I lied, staring forward. I'd never been a good liar.
My reply caused Ryan to laugh, the same bark-like chuckle from the graveyard. "You could've fooled me. You shat yourself when you saw me."
"I don't know what you're talking about," I denied, but Ryan's grin widened at my words. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing," he replied. His shoulders rattled with silent laughter. "Nothing at all."
Suddenly, he grabbed my arm and spun me to a stop. I considered resisting, but as I glanced at the students that surrounded us, I decided not to cause a scene.
I looked up and into his eyes. He was over a head taller than me, and his presence sent chills down my spine. A sense of fear rushed through my bones that I couldn't explain, and all I knew was that I needed to escape.
At the same time, I felt instantly calm. Like my body was fighting a war between relaxation and utmost horror at his touch. Ryan's shoulders were stiff, but his eyes were uncharacteristically kind, as if he too was struggling between contrasting, but fierce, emotions.
It seemed I wasn't the only one feeling uncomfortable, because he quickly dropped his hand. With a look of revulsion on his attractive features, he peered down at my school blazer, where his hand had been a moment earlier.
Despite myself, I was disappointed. Was it so bad to have touched my arm through layers of material? I wasn't disgusting. I wasn't pretty by anyone's standards, but I'd never been looked at with such distaste before, except for when people realized who my aunt was. Ryan already knew my bloodline, so I didn't understand what his problem was.
"What?" I demanded, pulling my arm from his reach like I'd been burned.
Shocked back into the present, Ryan forced his lips to form a charming smile. It wasn't convincing, and I glared at him hatefully.
"What's your problem?" I barked, but his smile stayed firmly in place.
"I think we should be friends," he told me, much to my surprise. My eyes widened, but I fought to keep my lips in a hard, white line.
"Friends?" I parroted back to him.
Ryan nodded. "Yeah, friends. Y'know... when people do things together, are nice to each other, help each other with their homework..."
YOU ARE READING
Named after the aunt who burned down her high school, Olivia Peterson never had a chance at a normal life. But when an innocent birthday tradition results in a new set of curtains-and an unforgiving hole scorched into her carpet-Olivia realises that...