LIE

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Chapter 28

This is not how I wanted this to happen. But here they are, right before my eye. The two of them looked at me with a variety of emotion; anger, concern, confusion, sadness.

These people in front of me; I hurt them. I know that now.

Evie tripped over words, couldn't form a sentence. Indra was staring past me blankly.

"Excuse me." Ms. Stal's voice said. We looked at her.

"You have work to do. Don't just stand around." She said.

I put my hands on my hips defensively. "Mind your own business." I thought.

Ms. Stal walked away.

The fourth member of the group cut in, "Yeah...can we get started? I don't want my first grade to be a zero."

I turned to him, slightly annoyed with him. "Who are you?" I hated how he was just there, lingering.

He held his hand out to me and grinned a little. "Austin."

I looked at his hand. I didn't take it. I pivoted and stepped up on the wing of the stage.

"Ok," I started. "What do you want us to do?" I held my arms out and leaned down dramatically with a snarky smile.

Austin started speaking. I didn't pay attention to him; I glanced at Evie. She was about to pop. I need to tread carefully, this isn't the place to talk.

"You good?" Austin asked Indra after a plan was formulated.

"Yeah." Indra shrugged.

Austin turned to Evie. She sat on a small wooden staircase leading up to the stage.

"Just go with the flow." She confirmed.

Austin nodded then turned to me. I held my hands up. "Got it."

"Good." Austin said. He was pretty much the one leading, the rest of us had other priorities. Obviously.

Austin sat down in a seat. I reached into my bag and pulled out my phone. I turned it on and looked at the time. It's only 1:15?! I want to go home.

I bit my lip and put my phone down. I just happened to turn my head to the right.

Jason was standing by the wall with his bag on his shoulder. No one else would've seen him unless they went to the door. What's he doing here?

I got up and started walking.

"Luc," Evie called.

It didn't entirely register in my mind that she called me, I was focusing on keeping a low profile, so I kept walking.

"What's going on?" I asked when I got to Jason.

"Not much, I just wanted to see what theatre arts is about." He responded.

"You're skipping?" I asked.

"Ceramics is boring. Everyone is so dull." I chuckled when he said that.

"Well, we're probably going to be presenting soon, one of the acts may entertain you." I said.

Jason grinned a little. I smiled widely. "Wish me luck!" Cause I feel like I sure as hell need good luck.

Jason pat my shoulder and wished me good luck.

We all sat down in the seats when Ms. Stal called us together. She announced that we had time for a group to go.

"I'll go with Austin's group." She stated. Anxiety shot through me.

"Shit." I hissed. How did I know we'd go first?

"Come on up guys." Ms. Stal said as she sat down.

The others got up. I followed slowly behind them. It was so silent, save our footsteps -- rubber and wood hitting the wooden stage.

"Whenever you're ready." Ms. Stal said.

We stood in a line. Kind of. I stood behind them to the right a little. I crossed my foot behind the other.

Indra started speaking first. "What's happening today...?" He said. I didn't really know what we were performing, all I knew was to wing it.

From the corner of my eye I saw Evie staring at me from the corner of her eye. I chose not to acknowledge her. Not until we were alone and when she was less pissed.

Third Person:

When Indra stopped speaking it was Evie's turn. She trembled with rage. She slowly inhaled, then exhaled.

"Well, if you're really sure..." She noticed her voice was filled with anger and trailed off.

She thought to herself, this may be my only chance.

Evie quickly glanced at Luc, then looked at Indra.

"I'm sorry, I can't stand here and bullshit." She said to him.

Evie quickly turned to the side and glared at Luc.

Luc had an idea of what was about to happen and briefly considered leaving.

"I want to know where you were. What happened?" Evie demanded.

Luc rolled his eye and adverted his gaze. Austin looked at the three of them, dumbfounded. The teacher sat with her mouth slightly agape.

Evie stormed over to him. "You aren't brushing me off! You always do this! No. Not this time."

"Evie..." Indra tried to calm her down.

"Tell me now!" She snapped loudly.

"Not now." Luc responded.

That made Evie even angrier.

"Yes now!"

She gestured to Indra, "We were worried sick about you! We didn't know if you were dead or what!"

The rest of the class looked around -- no one could tell if they were acting or not.

Luc looked at Evie, angered. "I just told you now is not the time. Can you back off?!"

"Why not, huh? Why not?! If I let you go right now you'd just run away again and avoid me!" Evie snapped.

"Now hold on a second. Is that what you think I did? Run away?!" Luc questioned as he walked towards her.

"Well didn't you?!" Evie argued.

Luc opened his mouth. Indra jumped in between the two of them.

"You two stop this fighting!" He ordered. Evie huffed and walked away to the other side of the stage.

Luc began to follow her, "stay out of this Indra. This is between Evie and me!"

Indra stayed at Luc's side. "Yeah? Well it's between me too! I'm just as much your friend as her and I want answers."

When they reached Evie, Indra stepped in front of Luc.

"Luc, I want answers!" He repeated.

"Well ask the damn question, Indra!" Luc snapped at him.

Evie turned and jumped in. "Don't bother asking him! He'll just brush you off!"

Luc scoffed and walked away.

"See?" Evie gestured. "You're running away right now!"

Luc pivoted. "You won't let me speak! What do you want me to do?"

"Oh now you want to speak!" Evie retorted. Luc crossed his arms.

"What's that supposed to mean?" He asked.

Evie counted on two fingers, "you never bothered to call or text us! And suddenly here you are. Like everything is alright! Then you have the audacity to ignore us?!"

Luc blinked, taken aback. He knew deep down she was right, but he wasn't going to speak now and let the horrors come out.

His facial expression softened. Once it became clear to Evie that he wasn't going to say anything else, she became enraged. She pushed him by the chest.

"Say something." She pushed him again. Luc stayed silent.

She pushed him once again, "Say something!"

"Say something!" She screeched and slapped him in the face. People gasped.

She gasped and covered her mouth, eyes wide with horror. What have I done? She thought.

Luc looked at her with a wide eye. He growled lowly and stormed off the stage. He exited the auditorium from a hidden hallway and entered the art hallway.

Luc:

I trudged down the hallway furiously. She's so infuriating! Why couldn't she just wait?! Indra too. I cannot believe she did that!

I couldn't calm down.

I swear if security comes up and talks to me, someone is going to god.

From behind me, I could hear running footsteps.

"Hey!" Jason's voice called.

I slowed to a stop and turned to him. He was running towards me. He stopped when he was in front of me.

"Here." He panted. "I brought your bag." He held it up and I took it.

"Thanks." I muttered. I put the bag on my shoulders and started walking.

Jason walked at my side.

"You wanna talk about what happened?" With everything that happened, I kind of forgot he was in the auditorium. But I guess I really know how Evie and Indra are feeling.

"Not now." I answered.

"Fine." Jason said. "Where are we going?"

"Home." I answered.

"But they haven't dismissed us yet." He protested.

I looked at him. "And what of it?!"

Jason blew air and continued to follow me.

I was relieved to get home. The first thing I did was "steal" Baby Alexandria from Jeanette and sit with her in the rocking chair.

"I think my friends hate me now." I spoke softly to her. Upside of having a baby; you can tell it everything and not worry about any feedback. Downside; they're the only one who knows what was said and can't offer insight.

"I don't blame them; I'd hate me too. What was I expecting? They'd throw a party for my return and everything would be okay?"

"I just... I want them to understand me. I wanted to tell them everything, but I couldn't. Evie was too impatient. I just wanted to wait until the time was right."

"Well... With her actions and words, I can tell she still cares."

I know I did just drop back in. That's not fair to them -- what did I expect? It was so sudden. So of course they acted like that immediately.

"What are you two up to?" Jeanette asked. I looked up at her as she entered the room. She sat down on the floor in front of us.

I smiled at her slightly. I felt love and admiration for her. But before I tell her that, I want to make sure it wasn't put there because I feel in debt to her. Them. Yes, of course I'm grateful to them, but I don't want the love I feel is for the "wrong" reasons.

"What's going on?" I asked.

Jeanette chuckled and shook her head. "Not much. I just remember how you wanted nothing to do with Alexandria, and now I have to practically rip her from you."

I chuckled lightly.

Alexandria was moving her arm and fingers a little bit. She reached up towards me and I felt a small tug. She caught her fingers in my hair. I pulled back gently, but she decided to grab on.

"Stop pulling my hair." I complained as I grabbed her hand and untangled her fingers. Jeanette shook her head and snickered.

"How was school?" Jeanette asked after I took my hair back from Alexandria. I didn't tell her my friends ganged up on me.

"It was fine." One thing I hate about my schedule this year, I have English next semester, which means I start on my senior exit at the end of the year. I think I already have a topic in mind.

Once again, we're in theatre arts. Jason wasn't hiding out today. I sat in a seat on the far right of the auditorium. I stayed far away from Evie and Indra. They stayed away from me too. Still can't believe she slapped me.

I just twiddled my thumbs and played on my phone as the other groups presented.

Once all the groups presented, Ms. Stal was moving us forward.

"Alright, this is going to sound weird, and I know this will be difficult for some of you, but our next assignment is: singing." The class groaned a little.

"This is just so we can get to know each other, get comfortable. Use this to get something off your chest, to say something you'd never say, to give a message to someone, or just to let us know how you're feeling currently." She elaborated. I rubbed my forehead. Am I sweating?

A girl raised her hand. "So we can choose any song to sing?"

"Yes." Ms. Stal confirmed. "Just no more than five minutes please. And keep the cursing to a minimum."

"We'll start performing the class after next, okay?" She finished.

There was a dry 'okay' from the class, then light chatter.

Guess I need to think about options. I leaned my head back and stared at the ceiling. How do I feel? I feel empowered in a way. More confident. I also wanted to get a message out. I wanted to tell the others to wait, and that there's more to me than what you can see on the surface.

Am I even ready to tell them everything? My past?

"Luc." I heard someone whisper from behind.

I turned my head.

Jason was standing at the entry way of the other door. He smiled and waved at me. I smiled and got up.

"What are you doing this time?" I asked after I leaned against the wall with him.

"You know, I think I'm going to switch into this class." Jason started.

I raised an eyebrow.

"It's only the third day and things are very interesting." He stated.

That means we'll have every class together now. We're gonna drive each other crazy.

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