We are on the first floor within the view of the outside parking lot. It was full every day and today was no exception. From secondhand to hand-me-downs to brand new presents from the folks for their sixteenth birthday, there was a large array of vehicles resting on the open area. School staff have their own designated area on the other side of the building, much to the relief of the students.
Just on the tree line that disappeared to the school forest conservation, a figure raised its arm up and waved, the same time Abe slowly lifted his head up, staring at its direction. A few seconds passed before the figure backed away into the shadows of the grove with Abe watching as I did until it was gone, and I have to wonder whether what I’d seen was real or not.
Great, first class and I’m already tripping.
I jolted in my seat with a small squeak when the bell rang. Thankfully, it drowned out my embarrassing pitch.
“Jumpy, are we?”
For the life of me, I did another surprised little peep to see Abe smirking down at me.
It was only nine o’clock, but he already looked worn out.
I mean, he doesn’t look dirty or tired but the way the cuffs of his blazer was opened, and its sleeves were rolled up suggested he’d already had gone and done with the day and it has barely even begun.
His dark hair was tousled and there’s shadow on his face, yet he still looked put together.
If I didn’t have to spend time looking this effortlessly cool, I’d offer a thousand fruit baskets to the old forsaken grotto in our backyard.
It came with the house and my parents thought it was unassuming but charming enough if someone would have noticed it that they decided to keep it.
It’s supposed to be prayed to but all we’d ever done was have it cleaned but retain its rustic aesthetic, or so I heard my mom say to the groundskeeper.
Thinking about it, maybe I should have tried an offering or two. I’d for sure do now for what was about to happen.
Before I could process what was going on, he had grabbed my bag and had pulled me by my wrist. The shock seemed to extend to Ophelia and Jared because they’d only found their voices to call out to me when Abe and I had reached the hallway before any student could exit their first classes.
Miss Holly’s voice rang out just as students started to flood the hallways and Abe lead us to the emergency stairs.
“Wait.” I tried to pry my hand from his but for each weak attempt at pulling, the strength of his grip only tightens, and his steps turned more harried. It was like he was running away from something.
He took the stairs one step at a time and I have no choice but to follow suit with my short legs and by the time we reached the rooftop, I was a heaving mess and sweaty in all the wrong places. Gross.
Abe let go of me, dropping my bag on the concrete. He took his blazer off, throwing it unceremoniously next to my bag, and cracked his head to the sides. From the side of the door, there was a huge, thick wooden plank that he picked up with both hands and fit into the handles of the door.
What was he planning to do?
My hands automatically reached for the hem of my skirt as the wind blew pass us but the chill that I felt running up my leg to the back of my neck was not because of it.
Abe eyed me from the bottom top, his gaze darkening when it zeroed in on my forehead. On my wound. His scowl alone made me shiver in fear.
“You’re cold.” It wasn’t a question as much as it was an observation, yet he made no move to comfort me. I can’t help but thinking that if it were Harry, he’d have given me his blazer now or wrapped me in an embrace, rubbing my arms with his huge, warm hands.
Abe hovered closer to me, brushing a rough finger on the side of my face. “Why are you so afraid of me, Callie?”
All this time he knew yet he went out of his way to torment me. Always on my toes not knowing what to expect. Abe was likely to push me off the roof as he was leaving me taunted, unharmed but mentally wounded.
I’d have chosen the free fall anytime.
I couldn’t take his mind games.
“I guess nobody told you,” Abe murmured.
I gave him a questioning look, but he already turned his back from me, unwilling to elaborate. I knew better than to pry.
I considered making a run for it and decided the very second that it was a stupid idea.
First of all, Abe’s long legs would outrun me the few steps it’ll take me to get to the exit. Secondly, I don’t think I’d be able to pull that barrier that he’d secured on the door, and lastly, I love my life.
Who knows what he’ll do to people who try to escape him?
Oh, wait. I do know.
He’d drag them further to their death.
“Were there anyone else?”
Alright, now I’m entirely confused. I must look so stupid not having any idea what the hell I’m doing on the school rooftop, which was forbidden to access by the students, with my estranged cousin rumored to have an affiliation with notorious people.
Wow, that did not just come out of my head. It sounded like something out of a novel, or a drama series. And everybody knows how those ends.
The brain fog might also just be because of my head trauma. I mean, it doesn’t feel that bad but I could very much well just be imagining this conversation right now and it’s all playing out in my mind how I expected a conversation with Abe would be.
I’ve never interacted with him since that first day that he and Ane arrived, and I planned on avoiding him like the plague as much as I can. It was both a blessing and a curse that I got to stay at home and recover. I thought I’d gotten a clear pass when I hadn’t seen Abe when I returned back to school but, no.
Still, he found me.
“Those girls, are they the only ones who treat you like shit?”
Oh. He meant them.
Of course, he did, the whole school knew.
It was even more embarrassing than being provoked privately by Kim and her friends. Not that being eyed publicly was worse, I just hate the attention especially because it was negative.
I shook my head at Abe.
He didn’t need to know about those guys who worship the ground those girls walk on. I don’t want to make the situation larger than it actually is. And nobody had tried anything after Kim and the rest of the girls were suspended.
In fact, all was peaceful since Harry came to my defense. I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time that day and heard something I even would’ve chosen not to listen to.
Now that I think about it, I was in that cubicle because I was running away from Abe.
Everything that had happened could all be traced back to him.
Not that I blamed him, though. Even without his help, I’d be able to find myself in trouble. Or trouble finds me.
Either way, I’m just lucky like that.