24: Be my girlfriend?

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With a clear sky above my head and an obsession to feed, I set to work planning more murders. The moment Brenda and I had shared in the library had lit a small fire in a part of me that had become cold and impassive. My mum still had not told dad about the trouble at school, and we had agreed it would remain that way (with the single condition that I stayed on my best behaviour from then on). I had explained my emotional situation to her and, as anticipated, pity had lead her defences to drop. The idea was that I was behaving inappropriately as a result of a week's worth of stifled grief- an excuse I would likely be using for weeks to come.

On the other hand, my father had heard about Kusano and Buz by the grapevine and was set on making sure I was okay.

"Dad, for the last time: I'm fine," I said, closing the door of the car.

"You could study at home, like I said," he countered, using the same response for the hundredth time.

"No. Now goodbye, dad. Other parents want to use this drop-off spot."

If this were an American film, perhaps he would have yelled, "I love you, son" as I walked away, but this is not that kind of movie. Instead, the engine of his car purred delicately as he eased into the first gear and drove away.

Despite having recent trouble with authorities, I still needed to do a few more illegal things. For once, I had brought my phone along to school, which could cost me my final warning but I mean... it's only breaking a rule if it enters the actual yard. The simplest solution was just to not attend school, right?

Liz and I had made plans to meet up at the local library, so I flagged down a commuter omnibus headed in the approximate direction. I paid for the ride with part of my allowance, holding my breath for the entire journey as the person next to me exhaled air so toxic I could nearly see the particles of dirt in it. We ran into a feisty pair of police officers a block away from the library, and they seemed to be enjoying bothering the driver, so I abandoned ship and walked the rest of the way. Elizabeth was leaning against a wall when I finally arrived. She looked at least twelve today, shiny beads plaited into her hairdo.

"Partner in crime!" I announced my presence, putting out a fist.

"Fist bumps?" she chuckled, "What is this? 2015?"

I laughed. Something told me this girl did not have trouble speaking her mind. We walked the length of the building to get to the entrance. The large glass doors lead into a pleasantly air-conditioned room which was deserted save for a young man sat at a desk, speaking timidly into a telephone. He looked even more distraught than he sounded.

Liz walked over and placed a card in front of him on the desk, which he looked at and passed back. It must have been some sort of membership license.

"Prince Charming, let's go," she said, snapping me out of my thoughts.

There was an elevator and a staircase ahead, the former seeming more welcoming than the latter, albeit my associate opted for the stairs. In a much more cliché form of literature, this is the part where I would go on about how she wasn't like other girls. No thanks. I will admit that it was an unpopular preference, but it was hardly anything to ride home about.

"Why the stairs?" I asked, as we reached a second flight. She turned around and smirked at me, giving an answer that consisted of a single word: "Bonding."

Well... okay, then.

The whole first floor was empty when we got there, but Liz still spoke in her hushed Library-voice.
"Confirm you weren't supposed to write any exams today?" she whispered, in what seemed to be a jolt of concern.

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