E i g h t
“What the hell was that?” Kat asks the second I return to my seat in Mrs. Pope’s class.
I was surprised when she didn’t question me. She only took my slip from the nurse and nodded, signaling that I was okay. I suppose she saw me helping Sawyer, so she didn’t want to give me any trouble.
There’s only ten minutes left of class, so I let out a sigh, feeling very tired all of a sudden.
“It’s a long story.” I say to Kat, causing her eyes to roll.
“Obviously. Spill the beans before I knock them over.” She demands, causing me to laugh.
“Sawyer has diabetes, Kat. Type one.” I say, which causes Kat to frown.
“Oh, shit. Is that why you screamed at everyone to go away while you rushed to the vending machine?”
“Yes, I had to get Sawyer something with sugar in it. It’s not the best for him to eat, but it’s the only thing that could get sugar into his system fast enough.” I explain, slowly starting to get an understanding of Sawyer’s challenging disease.
“Wow, that’s rough. I couldn’t even imagine having to deal with that every single day.”
“Yeah, me either. He says he has it under control, but lately I just feel as though he doesn’t. I want to help him.” I find myself confessing.
Kat smirks at me, leaning closer to my desk. “Oh? Do you?”
“Don’t start.” I sigh, pushing her away from my desk. “We’re just friends, nothing more.”
“So you did forgive him for Friday night?” Kat’s smirk widens.
The bell suddenly rings, allowing me to sigh in relief. “Finally, I get to go away from you.”
“Yeah, I bet you want to get to English class… with Sawyer!” Kat shouts as I rush away from her, giving her the finger in the process.
I make a pit-stop by my locker, grabbing my English notebook and putting my math notebook into my locker, before rushing to Ms. Faith’s classroom.
I walk inside, and smile that I’m the first one in class. I take my normal seat, and put my bag on the floor next to my feet, after pulling out my notebook and a pen.
As the class starts filling up, I smile at Brianna who gives me a short wave, before taking her seat beside me. She immediately turns around to start talking with her friends, while I remain completely silent to the world.
I struggle to breathe as Sawyer walks into the classroom, immediately walking over to take his seat in front of me. He gives me a warm smile, before I’m faced with the back of his head.
Ms. Faith walks in and begins her lesson. I listen intently, taking down notes when needed. She goes over the homework from over the weekend, and I’m proud to know that I did the assignment correctly.
After a few minutes of talking, Ms. Faith assigns us some quiet reading, followed by a worksheet. Once the worksheets are passed out, I open my textbook and begin reading the passages.
As I’m writing the answer to the first question on the worksheet, there’s a small piece of paper suddenly tossed onto my desk. I narrow my gaze at the back of Sawyer’s head, knowing it came from him.
I slowly reach for the piece of paper, opening it as quietly as possible.
Do you want to get out of here at lunch time?
What the heck does he mean, ‘get out of here’? We’re in school, we can’t just leave.
I scribble an answer onto the piece of paper, slowly folding it back up, and tossing it onto his desk as discreetly as possible. Ms. Faith has her nose in a book, so I’m lucky that she isn’t paying attention to us.
After I finish a few more answers to my worksheet, the same piece of paper is tossed onto my desk.
I open it up to read Sawyer’s reply.
You don’t need to follow the rules all the time. Live a little. Please…?
I sigh to myself, my left leg bouncing with anxiety. What will my mom say if she finds out I skipped school, and with a boy no less? I mean she has met Sawyer, and seemed to like him when he had dinner with us, but would she like him once she finds out he’s the reason I skipped school?
Oh, what the hell?
I write my reply with an anxious smile, carefully tossing the piece of paper back onto Sawyer’s desk.
The second he reads the note, he turns to give me a smile.
I smile in return, but urge him to turn around before we get accused of cheating.
After thirty minutes of working, I finish the worksheet just in time for the bell to ring. Both Sawyer and I are the first ones to stand and hand our worksheets to Ms. Faith. She thanks us, and allows us to leave.
Technically, it would be time for lunch, but Sawyer and I have other plans. Sawyer takes me by the hand, and we sprint for the front doors to the school, after stopping by both of our lockers to put our books away.
“I can’t believe I’m allowing you to take me out of school. My mom is going to kill me!” I laugh, following Sawyer through the parking lot and to his car. We both get inside, both of us buckling our seat belts, before Sawyer speeds out of the parking lot.
“You’ve got to learn to live a little, Tin. You don’t have to follow all of the rules, all the time.” Sawyer smirks, now carefully driving us down the road.
“So, where are we going?” I ask, turning to glance at him.
“I have no idea.” He smiles wide, his eyes never leaving the road.
“Sawyer! This entire thing was your idea!” I laugh, lightly slapping his arm.
“It’s called being spontaneous. Spontaneity doesn’t have rules or known destinations.” Sawyer says with a smile, carefully glancing over at me.
“Well, we left during lunch and I’m hungry, so how about food?” I ask, reaching to turn the heat on. It’s getting colder outside by the day, so I hug my red sweater to my body as Sawyer continues to drive down the empty road.
“Sounds good. Where do you want to eat?” He asks.
“How about Chick-Fil-A?” I ask, a smile finding its way onto my lips. I love Chick-Fil-A, but I don’t go as often as I’d like.
“Perfect, we’re just about to pull up to one.”
As Sawyer makes a quick U-turn, he carefully merges into the right lane so he can pull into the parking lot. We both get out and race inside, our light sweaters no match for the chilly air.
“What do you want? I’ll get the food while you grab a table.” Sawyer instructs, turning to face me.
It’s then that I realize, I didn’t bring anything with me. All of my stuff is in my school bag, including my wallet with my money. “Crap, Sawyer, I didn’t bring any money. Just get yourself something then, it’s fine.” I smile lightly, though on the inside I’m feeling extremely depressed.
Chick-Fil-A is my life. Why would God do this?
“That’s ridiculous, Tin. I’m not going to eat in front of you. I’ll cover your food. What do you want?” Sawyer asks, giving me a deadpanned look.
“I couldn’t!” I shake my head.
“Oh for God sakes, just tell me what you want.” Sawyer sighs, glancing behind us to the people now in line, waiting for us to give our orders.
I realize we’re holding up the line, so I decide not to fight him. “Fine, I’ll take a 12 count chicken nugget meal, medium with a tea, and extra Chick-Fil-A sauce!” I say quickly, before moving to go find a table for us.
Sawyer waits for our food, and once it’s served, he brings the tray over to the table I’m currently sitting at.
“Your tea.” He says, placing the cup of sweet tea in front of me.
“Thank you.” I smile, reaching for a straw.
I’m not going to lie, I downed at least half of the tea in one go.
“Thirsty?” Sawyer smirks while setting my food in front of me.
“Just a little.” I nod, placing the drink down to start eating my lunch.
“I always knew you were thirsty for me.” Sawyer says, causing me to almost choke on my waffle fry.
“Excuse me?” I finally say, once I’ve taken another drink of my tea.
“Sorry, I had to. You should’ve seen your face!” Sawyer laughs, unable to contain it.
I glance around and notice other people staring at us, amused smiles on their faces, while one woman seems annoyed by it.
I would throw a waffle fry at Sawyer’s head, but that would mean giving up a waffle fry, and one just simply does not do that.
“I strongly dislike you.” I mumble, shoving a chicken nugget into my mouth.
“At least you didn’t say hate.” Sawyer smiles, taking a ginormous bite out of his spicy chicken sandwich.
“It’s getting close to that, don’t worry.” I smile sarcastically, tossing my straw wrapper at his face.
“So, what should we do after this?” He asks, finally giving me a serious expression.
“I don’t know, you tell me. It was your bright idea to skip.” I reply while finishing up the last of my fries.
“So what? You could still help me out a little. There’s got to be something you want to do.”
I think about it for a few minutes. Is there anything that I want to do? I mean we’ve already left campus, so it’s not as if we can just waltz back up to school and pretend we never left. We might as well make the best of today, since my mom will probably lock me in my bedroom for the remainder of my senior year anyway.
“We could go to your place, that is, if your parents aren’t home. Wouldn’t want you to get busted for skipping school.” I smirk, casting Sawyer a glance. He frowns, but only for a second, before he turns it into a smile.
“My parents aren’t home, they’re out on business. We can go to my place, if you want.” Sawyer nods while finishing up his last waffle fry.
“Are you sure? We can go somewhere else, if you want.”
“Tinsley, it’s fine. We can go to my house.” Sawyer nods, taking his last bite of his chicken sandwich.
I finish my last chicken nugget, before Sawyer and I throw our trash away in the nearest bin. We leave Chick-Fil-A, and head down the road to what I assume to be Sawyer’s house. I’ve never been here before, so I have no idea what to expect.
After ten minutes, we pull up to what appears to be the President’s house. It’s the biggest house I have ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of houses, well so to speak.
“What the hell?” I glance at Sawyer as we both get out of his car, “Why didn’t you tell me you were royalty?”
“Oh shut up, I’m not. My parents just work a lot, and they have a lot of money. It’s not my money, it’s theirs.” He explains, causing me to give him a deadpanned look.
“Oh please, all rich kids say that. It’s definitely your money too.” I reply, my wide eyes never leaving the front of Sawyer’s mansion-sized house. It’s at least three stories, with probably close to ten bedrooms. I don’t even want to know how many bathrooms there are. I’d hate to see their power bill every month. Though, if they can afford this house, surely they can afford the bills that come along with it.
“I know what you’re thinking.” Sawyer suddenly says while grabbing my hand, temporarily catching me off guard. He walks me up the steps to the double front doors, holding up the key from his key chain. He unlocks the door, and immediately walks over to turn off what I suspect to be the house alarm.
Of course he has an alarm, why wouldn’t he?
“And just what do you suspect of me thinking?” I ask, finally turning my attention to Sawyer.
“I suspect you’re wondering how I could possibly come from this kind of money, and why I never talk about it. I’m sure you’re also wondering why my family decided to move to this town, when we could’ve moved some place far more sophisticated.” Sawyer begins to rant, causing my head to spin.
“Sawyer, slow down. That wasn’t what I was thinking at all.” I smile, causing his eyes to widen.
“Then what were you thinking?” Sawyer asks while taking a step closer to me.
“I was thinking, this boy is very fortunate. I’m sure his parents try their best, but at the end of the day, maybe they spend a little too much time at work instead of at home.” I say out loud, before fully processing my words.
I glance at Sawyer and see him watching me intently, his eyes focused, his expression stoic.
He clears his throat once, before turning to walk away, “Let’s go to the kitchen, I can get you a drink.”
It seems as though I may have hit the nail on the head. I just hope Sawyer doesn’t hate me for it.
“What would you like? I’ve got soda, water, tea, Gatorade…” Sawyer trails off.
“Tea is fine.”
“You like tea.”
“Anytime I’ve gotten you a drink, it’s been tea.” Sawyer says as he pours me a glass of tea.
I take a sip, and then shrug. “It’s my favorite drink, so what?”
“I’ve just noticed, that’s all.” Sawyer says while pulling out a water bottle for himself.
“You notice a lot, don’t you?” I suddenly ask, placing my full attention on Sawyer.
“No.” He replies, causing my eyebrows to furrow.
“No, but I do notice you.”
“For the most part.” Sawyer shrugs, causing my insides to twist.
“Why only me?”
“If you don’t know the answer to that, you’ll have to wait until it comes to you.” Sawyer says, not giving me anything more to go on.
I think about his answer, trying my best to figure out what it means. I come up with nothing.
“You’re infuriating.” I finally say, reaching for my glass of tea to take another drink.
“But Tinney, it’s part of my charm!” Sawyer playfully whines, trying his best to get me to smile or laugh.
When I don’t budge, my eyes widen a fraction as Sawyer begins to walk closer to me, intentionally entering my personal space.
“Sawyer, don’t!” I warn, taking cautious steps away from him.
“What? I’m not doing anything, Tinney.”
In a matter of seconds, a squeal escapes my lips as Sawyer chases me around the island of the kitchen, almost as if we were toddlers again.
“Sawyer, stop! This is silly!”
“Well, if you’d stop running from me, we wouldn’t be doing this!”
Sawyer and I both immediately stop in our tracks at the house of a throat clearing.
Sawyer and I both glance toward the entrance of the kitchen, a middle-aged woman standing tall in her heels, her arms tightly crossed over her chest.
“Mom?” Sawyer finally says, causing my heartbeat to quicken.
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