Chap. 2

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I sat with my back against the brick wall, my sketchbook in my lap.

I love the calm serenity that the early morning brings.

Before the disruption of the cool morning air and the soft leaves blowing in the wind by the mindless chatter of the student body.

I wish I could just stay in this moment.

I looked down my sketchbook, picking up my pencil to add some detail to the leaves on my tree.

I'd been coming out here for two weeks now to draw the tree across the courtyard.

It was an ancient oak tree, the branches drooping and the wood rotting.

But there was something special about it to me, something compelling.

My phone buzzed in my pocket, signaling that it was exactly 8:00 AM.

It was time for me to actually start my day.

I closed up my sketchbook, shoving it into my backpack before heading to the front office.

"Good morning Lee," Nurse Addie greeted.

"Morning," I greeted, tucking my hands into my pockets as she unlocked the medicine cabinet.

I'm not sure who else on campus has controlled medicine through the school nurse.

I know Warren keeps Excedrin Migraine and Tylenol PM in his room, both forbidden for students to have on them. But nobody really gives a fuck.

Except Parker.

I twisted one of the bracelets around my wrist as Nurse Addie pulled my old man medicine container down, handing it to me.

I popped Tuesday morning open, retrieving the pills inside.

Nurse Addie handed me a Dixie cup filled with water, and I downed all of the pills in a single swallow.

"That's not healthy," she informed me.

I don't actually care.

I handed her back the container and she locked it back up safely in the medicine cabinet.

"And how are you feeling today?" she asked me.

I hate that question.

I've been asked that question so many times in my life, more than I can count in the past few months.

And I never have a proper answer.

"Am I free to go?" I asked.

She nodded, picking up the phone to call Parker I'm sure.

I exited her office, heading down to the cafeteria for breakfast.

I ended up with three pancakes, eggs, and bacon for breakfast before locating my lunch table, at which Dustin, Justin and Kara were already seated.

"Get enough there?" Kara teased.

I shoved a forkful of pancake into my mouth, smirking at her.

"Has anyone heard from Warren?" Justin asked.

I shook my head, looking over at McKenna walked into the cafeteria.

She tentatively looked around, as though she was searching for a table to sit at.

I waved her down, inviting her to come and sit with us.

"I'll bet he overslept," Justin commented.

"Who?" I asked, tuning back into our table's conversation.

"Warren," he reminded me.

"Like that's anything new," I said, taking bite of my eggs.

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