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“It was horrible Kat.”

“I imagine it was.”

“He just left me in the middle of the fucking woods, at night!” I sigh, glancing down at Kat who is currently lying on my bedroom floor.

“He’s a jerk, that’s not a surprise.” Kat says, her expression stoic.

“I was almost enjoying myself, until he practically forced me to jump into that lake.” I frown.

“Okay technically, he didn’t force you, you agreed.” Kat replies sheepishly, glancing up at me from the floor.

“Whatever. He put the idea into my head, and then basically pressured me. He was taunting me for being someone who doesn’t take risks.” I explain again, though I’ve already explained everything from last night in depth to Kat.

She’s staying over at my house tonight since it’s Saturday, and we both have nothing better to do.

“I get it, you were dammed if you did, and dammed if you didn’t.” Kat nods, trying to convince me that she’s on my side. “Have you talked to him since he dropped you off last night?”

“No, he texted me, but I never responded.” I shrug, glancing at my phone. It’s been sitting on my bedside table all day, and hasn’t rang once.

“Oh? He texted you? That’s different…” Kat trails off, paying far too much attention to the ends of her nails.

“Yeah, although I have no idea how he got my phone number. I know I didn’t give it to him.” I say out loud, purposely looking at Kat.

“Yeah, that is weird. Super weird. He must be a stalker.” Kat smiles while discreetly glancing up at me. The second we lock eyes, my own widen.

“You gave him my number, didn’t you?” I sigh.

“It was really cute though, Tin! He messaged me on Facebook. He actually took the time to search for me, to ask for your phone number.” Kat explains in a rush while pushing herself up off of the floor, and plopping down beside me on my bed. “I couldn’t not give it to him.”

“Why wouldn’t he just search for my Facebook, and message me?” I laugh, nudging Kat with my shoulder.

“Don’t ask me, ask him.” Kat shrugs, reaching for my bowl of potato chips.

I glare at her as she sets the bowl onto her stomach, reaching in for a ridiculous amount, and then stuffing them into her face.

“I’d rather not.” I reply, crossing my arms over my chest.

“You’re gonna have to talk to him eventually.” Kat says with her mouth full of crispy potatoes.

“Come on dude, you’re getting crumbs everywhere.” I sigh, “Besides, I don’t really want to talk to him. Not yet at least.”

“I’m sure he’ll confront you at school on Monday.” Kat says, her mouth now empty.

“And if he does, I’ll deal with him then.” When I spoke it came out a little more irritated than I would’ve liked, Kat’s worrisome face telling me so.

“I’m sorry, I’m just confused. I don’t even know what we’re doing, or why he suddenly wants to spend time with me. I barely know him! He just popped up out of nowhere one day, and bam! It’s like he’s a disease or something…” I trail off, glancing over at Kat who’s trying not to laugh.

“Like AIDS? Is Sawyer like AIDS, Tin?” Kat asks, her tone serious.

We stare at each other, each of us blinking slowly.

“…Yes.” I finally confirm, “Sawyer is like AIDS.”

There’s a moment of silence, before the two of us burst into laughter, Kat nearly spilling the remaining bowl of potato chips onto my bed.

“What’s so funny in here?” My mom suddenly asks while walking into my open bedroom door, a small smile on her face.

“Tin… Tinsley has… Tin has AIDS!” Kat laughs hysterically, myself laughing along with her.

It takes us around three seconds to realize what Kat has just said, both of us immediately shutting up to look at my mother’s horrified face.

“Come again?” She says slowly.

“Crap, no, mom… it’s just an inside joke! I do not have AIDS!” I say quickly, before Kat and I burst into laughter all over again.

“There’s something deeply wrong with the both of you…” My mom trails off, her expression both confused and horrified.

“And you’re just now figuring this out?” Kat laughs some more, before the two of us finally quiet down.

“Anyway… I was coming up here to see if you girls wanted to go get our nails done. I don’t have to be at work until later this evening, which means both of you will have to watch over Baxter tonight.” My mom instructs, waiting for us to give her an answer.

Kat and I look at each other, both of us knowing that we don’t have any money to spend on our nails.

My mom finally takes the hint and sighs, crossing her arms over her chest. “My treat.”

Kat and I both smile wide while nodding to my mom, “We’ll be down in a minute.” I tell her.

After we each throw on a sweater over our tank tops, we both walk downstairs to see that my mom is already outside and in the car. Baxter is over at his friend’s house until a little later, so we have time to go get this done, before he gets home.

“Do you girls ever wear anything other than leggings?” My mom asks while glancing at the two of us as we walk over to the car and get inside. I immediately turn the heat on, making sure to roll up all of the car windows.

It’s getting colder outside by the day, winter fast approaching.

“What’s the point?” I ask while pulling my seat belt on.

Kat sits in the back seat, and once her seat belt is on, she taps me on the shoulder. “Radio?”

I nod and press the first button, one of the many pre-programmed radio stations. Country blares through the speakers, causing my eyes to widen as I turn my head to face my mother. “Really?”

“What? I like country!” She whines, reaching to turn the song up even louder.

“My ears! Stop the madness!” I hear Kat whine from the back seat.

I immediately press the second programmed button, smiling when classical 80’s rock greets us.

“Scorpions, my how I’ve missed you.” Kat sighs in content, eagerly singing along to Rock You Like A Hurricane.

“I think you’re the only two teenage girls I know, who like to listen to 80’s rock.” My mom laughs, pulling onto the next street over.

“Correction, love. We love 80’s rock.” I say, nodding my heat to the beat of the song.

“Oh, sorry, my mistake.” My mom rolls her eyes, taking another turn down Pine Street.

We pull up to a red stop light, right beside a familiar 4-door sedan.

I glance to my right and see him, staring back at me. He immediately rolls his window down, motioning for me to do the same. I point to my ear, pretending to tell him that I don’t know what he’s saying, casually shrugging in the process.

I almost think he’s about to leave me alone when my arm jerks to the side. I watch in horror as my window rolls down, continuing on until it’s no longer visible. I immediately glance to my left.

My mom has a smirk on her face as she keeps her head straight, facing forward. She’s absentmindedly whistling, pretending as though she has no idea what’s going on.

If this teaches me anything, it’s that my mother is a ruthless, and horrible actress.

“Mom!” I shout, causing Kat to chuckle from the back seat.

“What’s up sweetie?” She smiles, glancing over at me.

I groan, slouching down into my seat.

“Tinsley, I know you’re listening, and I’m sorry about last night!” I hear Sawyer shout, causing my insides to drop. “Please just return my texts. I want to talk.”

I completely ignore him, and when the light turns green again, I practically slap my mother’s shoulder to get her to drive.

“Ow! Tinsley Marie!” My mother shouts, using my middle name for emphasis.

Katarina fakes a gasp, “Tin! You are to never hit your mother!”

I sneak another glance to my right, ignoring my best friend. Sawyer’s car is driving at the same pace we are, so he’s still right beside us. My mom turns her blinker on, to take the next left turn, Sawyer still going straight. As we veer off and away from him, he gives me one more wave, followed by a sad smile.

“You could’ve at least spoken a single syllable to the guy.” My mom sighs, finally pulling into the plaza located just outside of town. I see the sign for nails and hair salon, a small smile gracing my lips.

I love getting my nails done. I don’t do it often, but when I do, there’s just something about it that makes me feel more empowered. Almost as if I can do anything, just because my nails are done.

“And we’re changing the subject now.” I nod as the three of us get out of my mom’s car, and walk into the salon.

“Can you at least tell me what happened last night? Did he do something he shouldn’t have?” My mom asks, probably referring to something sexual.

“Not like what you’re thinking, but in a way, yes.” I confirm. “I really don’t want to talk about him though, I already had to explain everything to Kat, and that took forever because she kept interrupting to ask questions.”

“What? I like to be well informed.” Kat shrugs, the three of us taking a seat at different salon chairs.

We each tell the stylist what we want, and while they get to work on our nails, the three of us talk and gossip about anything and everything. It mostly consists of Kat and me telling her about our first week at school. I tell her about all of my classes, while Kat gives her a list of boys that she’s already defined as contenders to win her heart this year.

Once our nails are done, mom drops us off back at our house, so Kat and I can watch over Baxter. He was dropped off at home around thirty minutes after we got back, and the second he came home he went up to his room. I still haven’t gotten anything out of him after seeing him upset on Monday, but he assures me that everything is fine, and I shouldn’t worry.

Kat and I spend the remainder of our night watching movies, and stuffing our faces with enough food to last us until next winter.

The only thing in the back of my mind, and the only thing I dread, is having to go back to school on Monday.

“Rise and shine!” My mom shouts… directly in my ear.

I jerk awake suddenly, springing forward, causing my blanket to slap my mother in the face.

“Wow, thanks.”

“Serves you right.” I glare, slowly standing up from bed. “Maybe next time, you won’t yell in my ear.”

“Well, you didn’t wake up for your alarm. You’re late.” My mom finally says, causing my eyes to widen.

“What? Why didn’t you wake me up?” I shout, rushing over to my closest to pull out a fresh pair of leggings, pairing it with my black and green striped sweater.

“Um, I just did.” My mother states dryly, causing my eyes to turn to slits as I glare at her.

“Yep, you’re mother of the year.” I mumble, just low enough so she couldn’t hear. “Is there any breakfast made?”

“You mean the pop-tarts in the cabinet?”

“Fair enough.”

Once I get dressed, I run my brush through my hair, deciding to leave it down for the day. I toss my phone into my bag, and slip on my black ankle boots, before rushing down the stairs.

“Late again. Surprise, surprise.” Baxter comments.

“Kiss my ass.”


“Right, sorry, kiss my ass please.”

The three of us grab our things and rush out to mom’s car. I stuff my pop-tart into my mouth as we cruise down the street to school. Baxter takes control of the radio, being that he stole the front seat from me, so I’m stuck listening to horrible rappers that sound as if they’re being strangled into their microphones.

While my mom stops the car so that Baxter can get out, I climb into the front seat. I watch as Baxter rushes up the steps to his school, glancing around quickly before pushing through the double doors.

I raise an eyebrow at his apprehensive behavior, but shrug it off as mom pulls away from the curb.

“You haven’t broken a nail yet, have you?” Mom suddenly asks.

I glance down at my beautiful set of burgundy fingernails, smiling at how shiny the polish is.

“Seriously? We literally just got them done two days ago.” I deadpan, reaching my left hand out so my mom can fully inspect each finger.

“Yeah, but knowing you, nothing is ever sacred.” She sighs, shaking her head slightly.

“I resent that.” I mumble, crossing my arms over my chest.

A few moments later, she pulls up beside the curb to my school. After saying goodbye to my mom, I get out of the car and glance up at very bane of my existence, Bronson Lee high.

I yank my bag over my shoulder as I dally up the walkway and into the front doors. I immediately spot Sawyer standing beside a row of lockers, a few other guys standing around him. He glances in my direction, but I almost immediately put my head down, walking in the opposite direction.

Just as I make it to Kat’s locker, I feel a strong hand grip my shoulder.

I let out a surprised squeal, before turning around to face the culprit.

“Sawyer!” I sigh, pushing a few pieces of my hair out of my face, “You could say excuse me, or hey, or something to let me know of your pending existence directly behind me.”

“My bad. So what’s up?” He smiles, stepping beside me as I glance to an amused Kat for help.

She only shrugs and continues to pull certain books out of her locker, shoving them into her bag.

“Not a thing, I literally just got here.” I deadpan, glancing over at Sawyer.


I turn my face, staring into Kat’s eyes. “So, Kat, what’s up? How was your night last night?” I smile.

“It was fine. I’ve gotta go, catch ya later!” She suddenly smiles wide, slamming her locker shut and turning to walk away.

“Traitor!” I shout.

AIDS!” She coughs, just loud enough for me to hear.

“What did she just say?” Sawyer asks, a pure look of confusion sweeping over his immaculate features.

Immaculate? What the heck?

“Um, nothing! Listen, I’ve gotta get to my locker, and then first period. Bye!” I wave before turning to walk in the opposite direction of where my locker actually is. Sawyer notices, and smirks as he steps a few lockers down until he reaches mine. How he knows which locker is mine, is a little creepy, yet I can’t help but smile.

“Right, my locker is right here…” I trail off, lamely trying to play off the fact that I went the wrong way.

“Gosh Tin, you’re so smart. Why can’t everyone be as wise as you? Please, share your intellectuals with us, don’t hold out on our accounts.” Sawyer deadpans, a fake smile on his face.

“Fuck off.” I sigh, reaching forward to open my locker.

“Bold words for a not so bold girl.” Sawyer comments, gaining my attention.

“Don’t even start with that. I really dislike you.” I point my finger at him before rummaging through my locker to locate the necessary items I need.

“So you’ve said.” He chuckles, leaning against the locker just beside mine. “Still, I have yet to believe you.”

“Well you should, I’m not one to lie.” I smile sarcastically, shoving the last notebook I need into my bag, before slamming my locker shut.

“Such hostility. Where is all of this anger coming from, Tinney? Do you need to speak with someone?” Sawyer asks, a fake look of concern now on his face.

“Don’t you have someone else you can bother? Perhaps a friend, if you’ve ever managed to land one of those without financial compensation involved.” I comment dryly, giving Sawyer a stoic expression.

“Wow, is that the best insult you can come up with? Hey everyone! Tinsley Payne is the greatest insult-er of all time! Please, come and bow down to her greatness!” Sawyer suddenly shouts, causing heads to turn in our direction.

My cheeks turn pink as I put my head down, immediately reaching out to slap Sawyer against his shoulder.

“Shut the hell up, you moron!” I gasp.

“What? I’m just trying to give you the proper recognition that you so respectfully deserve.” Sawyer shrugs playfully, an evil smile gracing his face.

“You’re incorrigible!” I sigh under my breath, turning to walk away from him.

“Face it Tinney, you can’t get enough of me, and you know it!”

Someone, anyone, please end my misery.

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