c h a p t e r XLVII

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ten minutes earlier.

ADRIAN WAS WALKING SLOWLY through the blank halls, his hands in the pockets of his pants as his eyes ran over the different cracks in the ceiling. He had a hard time believing that less than a month ago he was attending some school for the rich in Europe. His parents had sent him there in hopes of him becoming the perfect child they'd always wanted, something he planned never to become.

Unconsciously his steps led him to the cafeteria. He stared at the brown doors for a few seconds before pushing one open and entering. Besides for the faint chatter of the teenagers outside it was silent, peaceful even. Simply him, silence and the vague smell of strawberries.

He reached the kitchen in a few strides and checked to make sure Gloria wasn't in. The Russian woman was the only person he was genuinely scared of in the school. He threw a quick glance inside and walked in once he knew he had no chance of getting a knife thrown at him. He grabbed a glass of milkshake he found in the fridge and quickly left, going back to observing the morbid interior of their school.

He thought of going back to his friends as he walked, but drinking alcohol with a milkshake didn't seem that much appealing. He walked some more until he was outside and just as he was about to sit by the tree, a boy bumped into him causing him to drop his dear beverage.

"Watch where the fuck you're going," he sneered at the boy, "Now I have to go back get another milkshake."

Before he could turn around and go, the boy grabbed his arm and pushed him against the fence.

"What the hell did you say to me?!"

"I said watch where the fuck you're going, you deaf fucker, " Adrian repeated as he glared at him.

It's only when another spoke did Adrian realize they were five against him.

"Look at that piece of trash thinking he can speak to us that way."

Before another could utter a word, Adrian punched the one who'd spoken and kicked another in the stomach. He was about to knee the one on his right but before he could someone gripped his throat and another punched him in the ribs. He doubled over in pain as he was pushed once again in the metal fence.

"And what do you think you're doing?" The boy he had punched asked with a smirk.

Adrian spit in the boy's face and just as he was about to add something a voice interrupted him.

"Hi boys."

──────

SAPPHIRE LAUGHED TO HERSELF when she saw the boys from Hayward's reaction. Two of them ogled at her while the other three were glaring as if she'd interrupted something extremely important.

"Get lost bitch, we don't need your slutty Vela ass here," the boy closest to Adrian said.

"Okay first of all I'd like to say ouch," she said, placing a hand over her heart, "That hurt me in my heart, second of all I don't think saying things like that here is very wise of you."

Another one laughed, "Like you'll do something about it, why don't you go back to your whore of a mother and let us handle our business."

Sapphire took a step closer and smiled, "Dude, didn't I just tell you to choose your words wisely?"

And with that she punched him in the nose, hard enough to hear the familiar crack and the scream going with it. She saw Adrian started fighting another one and out the corner of her eye and Aviva approaching rapidly.

One of them tried to punch her in the stomach, but she caught his arm and twisted it until she heard a 'pop'. She kicked his knee making fall, giving her the opportunity to knee him in the face.

"God that felt good," she said nodding in satisfaction.

Sapphire moved again, this time going to a boy near her and kicked him in the temple before bringing her knee to his nose, knocking him out.

The same boy whom she had broken the nose tried to kick her, but she quickly ducked and swept his feet, making him fall on his back.

"Aviva are you serious?! You said you would let me hit him at least once!!"

"Well I'm sorry okay? I got carried away."

"I didn't even get to make a threat."

"You are impossible Lorenzo."

Sapphire chuckled at her friends as she looked around to see the five boys on the ground. Aviva and Enzo were standing over a guy as they argued, Amaya and Julian were walking their way and she couldn't seem to find Maddox.

Adrian was wiping off the blood from his knuckles on a boy's Hayward uniform as he eyed him in disgust.

"All of this for a milkshake," Adrian mumbled to Sapphire's confusion.

"There you are Maddoline, you missed all the fun," Enzo exclaimed as Maddox walked towards them.

"I was coming to help and Ricardo intercepted me and asked what was going on," Maddox explained as he ran a hand through his hair.

"What did you say?"

"I said we were practicing a play for our theatre class," Maddox said while rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly.

"We don't take theatre," Aviva frowned.

"I know," Maddox said, "and I think Ricardo does too."

"You really need to practice your lying skills," Amaya then said with a shake of the head making Sapphire realize her and Julian were there.

"We should probably get going before he notices the scattered bodies," Aviva said, gesturing to the boys.

They all nodded in agreement and as they started walking away a voice called them out.

"Wait!"

Adrian had spoken.

"Um, okay how do I say this, I- I'm s-," he stuttered as if saying the words physically pained him. "I am sorry."

Sapphire smiled at him in encouragement.

"Well that seemed difficult," Aviva said, frowning.

Adrian rolled his eyes at her comment, "I apologize for what I did when we first met, I was going through stuff and I still am, but it's not an excuse for my actions."

"I am not sure how to respond to this," Enzo then said.

Amaya gave him a smile, "I forgive you, I do things sometimes when I go through stuff too."

"Well you didn't do anything to me in particular except for being annoying, but I forgive you I guess," Aviva shrugged.

Julian threw Amaya a glance and she nodded in response.

"We're good I guess," he muttered.

Enzo looked at Maddox who was simply eyeing Adrian without emotions. He wouldn't say anything until he knew his best friend was okay. Adrian had made a comment on his sister on the first day and Enzo knew Maddox remembered clearly.

"Just don't start shit with us again," Maddox said after a long silence.

Adrian nodded and glanced at Enzo who was still eyeing Maddox carefully.

"As long as you don't harm my friends, Play-Doh included, we're good," Enzo said with a nod.

Adrian gave them a grateful nod and started walking away.

"Well that was unexpected," Amaya said with a frown before smiling, "But nice."

"He-"

"SAPPHIRE, ARE YOU RESPONSIBLE FOR THE UNCONSCIOUS BODIES HERE!!!" Ricardo's voice boomed once he saw the Hayward boys laying on the floor.

"OF COURSE NOT RICKY, WHY WOULD YOU ASSUME SUCH A THING? FOR ALL WE KNOW THEY'RE TAKING A NAP IN THE SUN!"

"SAPPHIRE CAIN, COME BACK HERE RIGHT THIS SECOND!!"

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