Chapter 35

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Camryn's POV

Colton was a great distraction from my breakdown yesterday, but now as I sit alone in my algebra 2 class, I've never been so confused and sad. Being alone allows my mind to think. Think about my birth parents, think about what my life could've been like. It's all overwhelming.

"Okay class, I've assigned you partners for our graphing project, so pay attention as I call out the names," my teacher announces. Oh no. I hate projects that require partners, but thank goodness she chose them for us so I don't have to struggle.

"Sarah you're with Michael, Destiny with Kayla, Robert with Sydney, Nathan with Camryn..." She continues with her list but I stop listening. I'm paired with Nathan. He used to throw stuff at me, but he's the one who spoke to me after my accident. He's the one who said him and his friends are glad I was okay.

I don't know how to feel about this. I look over to his side of the room and he's already looking at me. He has an uneasy look on his face.

"Okay class, move around, sit with your partner," Mrs. Garcia says, clapping her hands.

Nathan gets up from his desk, but instead of walking to me, he walks towards the teacher. He whispers something to her, but I can't hear.

"Oh Nathan go sit down, she's a smart girl, you're lucky to have her," she says patting his shoulder. Nathan walks over and sits in the chair next to me.

"I'm sorry you're stuck with the freak," I say, reaching into my bag for my notebook.

"Freak? What? No no no, you got that all wrong," he says quickly pointing back to the teacher.

"What, so you weren't trying to switch partners?" I ask, still not looking at him because honestly I'm quite hurt.

"No, I mean yes, but not because of that," he says. "I just think you'd be better off with a girl partner, you know, with that jealous boyfriend of yours."

That gets my attention. I look up at him and he's serious. "What?"

"He kinda beat up my cousin, so I just don't want any of that trouble," he shrugs.

"I can't believe I have to ask, but, who's your cousin?" Colton's beaten up a few people so I had to ask.

Nathan laughs. "Ryder." I must've made a face because Nathan laughs again.

"I'm sorry about that," I sigh.

"You don't have to apologize for him," he says. "Just make sure you tell him he has nothing to worry about me and you, bro code."

"What?" I laugh. "I thought that only counts if you're friends, you don't even know Colton."

"Not bro code between me and Colton, bro code between me and Ryder. I'd never hit on someone my cousin has liked for a while," he states.

Oh. I look down at my hands on the table. I knew that Ryder liked me, but it's sad being reminded of how I hurt him.

"I didn't mean to make you feel awkward, it's Ryder's fault for not making a move sooner," he shrugs.

Before I can say anything, Mrs. Garcia places a packet on Nathan's desk.

"Okay class, go over the project with your partner, make arrangements and you actually have time to start in class," she says glancing at her watch.

"This doesn't seem too bad," Nathan says looking over the packet. I notice he's wearing his varsity jacket. All of his patches are for football. He's a typical jock, or that's what I thought.

"Why are you being so nice to me?" I blurt out.

"What do you mean?" He asks.

"Well in case you haven't noticed, I'm not the most liked person in this school, and I distinctly remember you used to throw things at me," I remind him. He raise his brow at me and reaches for my notebook.

He rips out a blank piece of paper and crumbles it up. He tosses it behind him and it hits a girl named Sarah in the back of her head.

"Hey!" She says angrily. Nathan ignores her.

"You mean like that? I do it to everyone, don't take it personally," he laughs and so do I. "People are stupid, it's cool that you don't let them get to you," he half smiles.

"Thanks," I say. We spend the rest of the class going over our project layout. When the bell rings, Nathan says bye as we part our ways into the hall.

As I walk towards the office for second period, I see Colton at his locker. "Sup hot stuff," I say from behind.

"Somebody's in a good mood," he smiles as he kisses my forehead. I am in a good mood. I made a friend, or maybe not, but its still something. It's good knowing that not everyone thinks bad of me.

"I am," I say back. Colton holds my hand as he walks me towards the office. "Oh I forgot to tell you, I have work right after school so you'll have to drop me off." This morning Colton and I took my car to school, but I forgot I needed to go straight to work. Lucky for me I left my uniform in my car.

"So you're going to let me drive your car home?" He asks with a playful smile on his lips.

"Yes and you better be careful," I scold.

"Aren't I always?" He says sarcastically.

***
Colton makes sure to drive off carefully as he leaves the diner parking lot. I told him not to speed and to pay extra attention to the road. Ever since the accident I get anxious whenever I or someone I love drives.

I had to bounce back from my fear pretty quickly since my mom sort of shut down after the whole thing with my dad. My mom is getting better, I think I saw her smile the other day, but I know she's still hurting. I guess I am too, but I can't show that. I need to be strong.

I walk into the diner already dressed since I changed in my car. Colton kept poking me as I tried to get dressed and I bit his finger to get him to stop.

"Camryn!" Abel cheers as I walk behind the counter. She looks extra happy today, then again, it is payday.

"Hey Abel," I say as she hugs me. She gets called into the kitchen and she's on her way. I tie my apron behind my back and jump right in to cleaning dirty spots on the counter.

"Hey Cam." I turn around to see Ryder in the kitchen, waving at me with a giant spoon. His blonde hair is combed to the side with gel and it looks really nice.

"Hi Ryder," I wave back. I want to tell him that I got partnered up with his cousin, but he looks busy cooking.

I continue cleaning the empty counters until someone rudely sits down on a stool and throws a wad of napkins at me.

"What the..?" I look up and meet the eyes of one of my favorite people in the world. "Aimee!"

"What's up cousin? Did you miss me?" She cheers.

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