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Chapter 12: Iris

After Astrid leaves through the Gym doors, Peter tells Rena that he’ll see her later. He gives me a look and points towards the gym doors. I nod my head the tiniest bit as my heart rate picks up. I walk towards the opposite exit and make my way around the gym. Peter takes me by the hand and pulls me into a classroom. He pulls me farther into the room and kisses me against the far wall. I rest my hands on his shoulders as he pulls at my hair. We kiss, passionately, until we’re both gasping for air. He kisses my neck when a gasp comes from behind Peter. Peter whips his head around and glares at a kid standing in the doorway.

“What do you need?” Peter growls.

“A...Astrid. She asked me...e to come get...t you. She has...umm...something to tell you.”

“Fine.” he says and pulls away from me. My knees shake from the effort of keeping myself standing. Peter stalks towards the boy who ducks his head. “If you tell anyone what you saw here, you won’t live to see another day. Do you understand me?”

“Yes...uh, yes sir.” he says. Peter stalks out of the room and disappears from sight. The boy relaxes and glances at me.

“What’s your name?” I ask and step closer to him.

“Uhh, Jeremy.”

“What group are you from?”

“The Dorks.” he says.

“Well, I’m Iris. Astrid’s sister, unfortunately.”

“Why unfortunately?”

“Because she’s lied to me so many times and won’t tell me that she’s done those things she’s lied about. Peter helped me clear through some of her lies, but most of the rest, I can’t seem to understand.”

“Peter helped you sort out some of her lies. You trust Peter that much?”

“Of course. He helped me when everything was taken because my sister did something she wasn’t supposed to. He has fed me and given me a place to sleep. Astrid hasn’t done anything. She hasn’t even said she was sorry.”

“You’re going to trust Peter instead of your sister?”

“I guess I am.” I say. Jeremy raises his eyebrows and walks away as he whispers things underneath his breath. I walk out of the classroom and down the hall to stand in line to tell me how many days I have left. I know I’ll have longer than some, but I don’t want to see the number. Someone taps me on the shoulder and I turn to see Kally standing behind.

“Where have you been? I haven’t seen you in like forever.”

“I’ve been trying to get used to my new surroundings. My sister did something she shouldn’t have and everything was taken from me. So I’ve been living with The Darlings and The Varsity. I’m sorry I haven’t been around.”

“Oh, you poor darling. You know that if you needed a place to stay, you could have come to me.”

“I would have, I was just sad that my sister would betray me like that. I thought she knew me better. We could have talked about it, but she decided to keep it a secret.”

“That doesn’t sound like the Astrid I know. Maybe she’s being manipulated.”

“Yeah. I thought that at first, but then I realized that she could be jealous of me or...well there could be many different things, but I could have helped her. I just don’t understand. I’m sure we could have come up with a different situation that could have ended up differently.”

“Don’t worry. I’m sure everything will work out. Just takes time.” Kally says.

“I’m sure.” I say. We creep up the line and talk about what we should make next. I catch a glimpse of Astrid taking names with a frown on her face. A river of guilt hits me, but I ignore it. We inch up in line until I’m first. She writes down my name without glancing at me. I place my finger on the button and feel a sharp sting. I pull my finger away and wipe the bead of blood off my finger on my pants. I glance down at the screen and see a number I’ve been dreading to see. 434. The numbers shine up at me as though taunting me. Astrid scribbles on her clipboard and continues with Kally without looking at me. I shake off her rude behavior and make my way back to the Gym. When I walk in, I see Peter curled around Rena like he was with me. He glances at me and shakes his head. I can tell in his eyes that he wishes it was me, but I can’t help when a solemn tear rolls down my cheek; my body looks calm compared to how tangled my mind is. I turn away and walk up the bleachers to my small bed of blankets and sheets. I lay down and think of all the things I would say to Peter if he was really mine.

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