On Monday, I woke up at five in the morning. After attempting and failing to go back to sleep, I settled for going jogging instead. I had been working out all weekend, but the run seemed like a good idea.
It cleared my mind and the morning air cooled me off. I got to drink coffee with my parents, since they were having breakfast when I got home.
I got to school half an hour before the bell. No one I knew was around, so I made my way to the picnic tables. After plugging in my headphones, I opened up a book and began reading.
A back pack slamming on top of the table got my attention. Micah was taking a seat in front of me.
“Hey,” I waved at him, turning off my iPod and putting it away.
“What’s up?” He asked, taking my book and reading the cover. Before he lost the page, I slipped in a bookmark.
“I got here too early so I’m trying to keep busy. You have no idea how much trouble I get into when I’m bored,” I said, keeping a serious face.
“You get in trouble?” Micah’s eyes widened and he looked surprise.
“Oh yeah, I get into all kinds of trouble. Last year, I almost blew up my old school,” I told him, trying really hard not to laugh.
“You’re joking right?” He asked, furrowing his brow.
“Nope, I’m not. Did I ever tell you that a bunch of gullible guys believe all the stories I tell them?” I asked, smiling evilly.
“Ha-ha-ha, very funny; for a moment there I thought your angelic look was just for show.”
“Did you just say I look angelic?” I burst out laughing at him.
I wasn’t much of a trouble maker because I was too busy doing homework or training, but I was far from being angelic.
“You know what they say; it’s always the innocent looking ones.”
“The saying is, ‘it’s always the quiet ones’” I corrected him, stealing the banana he had taken out.
“Whatever, I was close,” he said.
I had just taken a huge bite from the banana when he stole it back. He didn’t even get to bite it before I grabbed it from his hands and bit off a chunk. We started fighting for the leftover bite when Zev appeared.
“Are you guys fighting for a banana?” Zev asked, looking at us strangely. Micah and I nodded our heads while Zev looked between the two of us.
“Continue,” he said. Micah caught me off guard and shoved the leftover bite in his mouth, smirking at me proudly.
“I’ll get you back for that,” I told Micah, pointing at him.
“Hey, it was my banana,” he defended himself.
“And you couldn’t share it with me?” I asked in a sad voice.
He started looking guilty and I smirked at how easy it was to trick him. Zev laughed at us, calling us ‘kids’, even though Micah and him were the same age.
Jonah, Nate, and a guy named Leo arrived at the table shortly after. We were all making conversation, but I noticed that every time Leo opened his mouth to speak, the guys would contradict him or make fun of him.
After about ten minutes, I felt slightly bad because Leo looked flustered. It was hilarious that he kept giving his opinion, even when the guys made fun of him.
Jared, Tyler, and Nick arrived at school a few minutes later. Jared waved at me on his way to the front of the school. Nick tried getting my attention, but I avoided looking in his direction. I did smile and wave at Tyler, who was looking shy, as usual.
Layton made his way to our table right after he parked his fancy car. The dark look in his eyes was not a good sign. I knew he would try to start something, like he had done last Friday. When Zev turned to look behind him and saw Layton heading our way, he rolled his eyes.
“I’m going to my locker,” I told the group.
I had just gotten up, when Zev placed his hand over my arm, stopping my getaway.
“Are you leaving because he’s here?” Zev asked, practically daring me to lie.
“I’m leaving to prevent problems. If I leave, I won’t be here and I won’t be with him,” I replied, hanging my messenger bag on my shoulders.
“Why would there be a problem? It’s not like you’re not allowed to hang out with us or something.” I could hear the accusation behind his tone.
“The bell will ring in ten minutes and I have to talk to some teachers about being absent on Friday.”
With that said, I left the table and didn’t turn back to look at them.
Layton changed direction when he noticed I had left Zev’s table. He was following behind me, something I was already getting used to. He didn’t talk, he didn’t make any comments, but he did stay close to me. I assumed the small smile on his lips was because I had walked away from Zev.
The morning classes went by in a breeze. I made up the work I missed last Friday without having to take any homework. I didn’t let my thoughts linger on how lenient the curriculum of the school was.
I hadn’t made any plans for lunch. When I saw Zev leaning against my locker after Art, I knew he had decided for me. Just like last time, we snuck out of school to go eat at the diner.
“Are you dating Layton?” I had been focused on the History worksheet in my desk, until someone snapped me out of it.
“What?” I asked, staring at the girl sitting in the desk next to me, who had asked the question.
“I’m Janine,” she introduced.
“I’m-” I started to say, before she interrupted.
“You’re Cassidy, the whole school knows,” she finished for me, giving me an expectant look.
“Or are you dating Zeverus?” Liza, the girl in front of me asked.
“Yeah, are you dating Layton or Zeverus. I’d be happy with either of them,” Janine said, giving Liza a teasing smile.
“I’m not,” I said, without finishing my sentence.
I had spoken to Liza last week, but our conversations had been kept short and were focused strictly on History topics.
“It’s just that…” Janine said.
And that was how she and Liza launched on a nice tale about Layton and Zev.
I wasn’t surprised to hear that Zev, Layton, and the rest of the guys knew each other since they were little. They apparently ruled the school, making kids either praise them or avoid them.
According to Janine and Liza, Layton and Zev used to be best friends. One day they left for summer vacation during middle school, when they came back, Layton and Zev had stopped talking. After that, it was basically a domino effect for the rest of the guys, who split up as well. Every one of the friends took sides, some went with Layton and some went with Zev.
After avoiding each other like the plague at first, things began turning violent. Layton and Zev would get into fights almost every day. Janine and Liza said they had practically turned against each other.
“It’s just that,” Liza said, turning to look at Janine, who was encouraging her to continue.
“That…” I pressed.
“Layton and Zeverus stopped fighting about two years ago,” Liza finished.
“Yeah, it was weird when that happened. We were all waiting for one of them to explode and start this huge fight,” Janine said. Her excitement towards Layton and Zev fighting was somewhat disturbing.
“What’s wrong with that?” I asked, not knowing what the big deal was.
I would have thought it was better that they weren’t fighting, although I had to disagree with them. I had been present when those two were about to go at each other.
“That’s the thing. They started their confrontations again right after you came along,” Liza finished.
I spent the rest of History and most of my next class in silence. I couldn’t stop thinking about what Janine and Liza had said.
After a very boring Science class, Tyler dropped me off outside the girls’ locker room.
When I finally made it to the gym, I wasn’t sure who to sit with. Instead of picking between Layton and Zev, I sat further down the bleachers. I took out my iPod, deciding it was better than being alone with my thoughts.
Coach gave us a free period during PE. He was playing basketball with the team, and probably thought that was better than making us exercise.
“Why are you all the way over here?” Zev asked.
He took a seat right next to me. Our shoulders brushed with any small movement.
“No one else was here after I finished changing.”
“I’m here now,” Zev smirked.
“It’ll be an easy grade if you go change. We’re not doing anything,” I told him.
Instead of doing as I said, he took out a pen from his jeans. It was probably the only school supply he was carrying.
“Nah, I don’t feel like changing.”
“You won’t be doing anything,” I told him, giving him a flat look.
“Didn’t I already say that you look too good in those shorts? I can’t compare.” He gave me a teasing smile and winked.
I laughed at the suggestive look he was giving me.
“Right, blame me for not changing during gym,” I replied, sarcastically. “Most of the class is going to fail if they keep it up like that. Hardly anyone changes.”
The pen he had taken out was used to draw on my arm. I was surprised with how good he was. In less than five minutes, he drew an interesting sketch of a Wolf. It was strange that he’d chosen a Wolf, but I didn’t question it. Zev was like that, different.
“Uh oh…” I mumbled when I noticed him.
“What’s up?” Zev asked.
“Layton alert, Layton alert,” I playfully said.
Zev grinned, but I felt his posture stiffen beside me when he noticed Layton coming.
There was an awkward silence for about ten minutes after Layton arrived. He was sitting on my left, while Zev sat on my right. Layton was usually quiet, so his silence was expected. Zev being quiet was strange and only heightened the tension surrounding us.
This is exactly why I sat far from these two in the first place.
“So…” I said to no one in particular.
Layton gave me a side-glance, while Zev chuckled, but at least a grin remained on his face.
“I heard some very interesting things during history. The story about two guys who used to be best friends and now hate each other,” I said.
Layton snapped his head in my direction and Zev’s grin was wiped off his face after I spoke.
“Who told you that?” Layton asked.
“Some girl in my History class,” I shrugged.
“What’s her name?” Zev questioned.
“I’m not sure,” I lied.
I looked at Zev first, and then at Layton. Both of them suddenly looked worried, but they were trying to keep a calm façade.
“What else did she say?” Layton’s voice got an edge to it that hadn’t been there before.
“I know the story was about you two,” I quietly replied.
They heard. They had to hear because they were both sitting right next to me, but neither of them said anything.
“What happened between you and Zev?” I asked Layton during the walk from the gym to my car.
“It’s a long story,” he replied curtly.
“I have time,” I offered, and he gave me a scowl after I did.
“Not yet,” he said, just as we reached my car.
Before I could slip inside, Layton wrapped his arm around my waist. He crushed me against his chest, nestling his head in my neck. His embrace was warm, and started the tingling sensation all over my body. It felt amazing to be wrapped in his arms, being pressed against his chest.
My legs felt shaky when he finally let go of me. Thankfully, he helped me get in the car.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Cassidy,” he said to me in a husky voice.
Oh Layton, what you do to me… It was all I could think as I shakily started my car.