We had to hurry to make it in time for fourth period. I made a quick stop at my locker and Zev walked me to class after that.
History went by smoothly, like it did the day before. I was excited after making friends with two girls from class.
I wasn’t too surprised to find Layton outside of my History class once it was over. He had been following me around since yesterday and I was quickly getting used to having him around. The expression on his face was what threw me off.
He was furious.
I wanted to get close to Layton and ask him what was wrong, but I didn’t have it in me to approach him. Once I passed by in front of him, he grabbed my arm and started dragging me away.
“What are you doing?” I asked, feeling uncomfortable with the tight grip he had on me.
“I have class right now and I’m going to be late,” I reminded him, although he didn’t seem to care about that.
“Layton, what is wrong with you?” I finally asked, giving up on being released.
People were looking at us as we passed by, but no one made an attempt to stop Layton. I was trying to loosen his hold on my arm but to no avail. The only way I could do it was by giving away my secret, and I wasn’t willing to do that.
I had to admit it felt nice to have some sort of contact with him. My body reacted in a way that both confused and excited me. Even while a part of me enjoyed the attention, as rough as it was, I didn’t want to be late to class.
Layton stopped when we reached the same class where Zev and him were about to go at each other the day before. I yelped when he shoved me inside with a lot of force. Desks were in the way and I tripped with one of them.
Just before I face planted on the ground, he grabbed my waist and steadied me. My body ended up pressed against his, making all sane thoughts leave my mind.
I had known him for such a short time, yet it was clear to me that I couldn’t think straight when we were standing too close.
“Where were you during lunch?” Layton questioned, looking into my eyes.
I couldn’t find my voice to speak and I suddenly felt out of breath. It was making me angry how much effect Layton had on me.
“I was eating,” I finally answered in a whisper.
“Where?” He demanded to know.
“I was at a diner somewhere in town.”
Layton lowered his eyes to my lips. I thought he was going to kiss me with how intent he was looking at my lips. We were still pressed against each other. His hands were on my waist while mine were resting on his chest.
“With who?” His tone was getting softer as he continued gazing at my lips.
Something in his eyes was calling to me and the tingles running through my body from his touch intensified the feeling.
“I really need to get to class. I’m already late,” I told him, trying to get out of his hold.
It was hard to push away the feelings I had for Layton, but going through with them during class wasn’t the right way to go.
Layton tightened his hold on me, restraining me with his strong arms. My feet were barely grazing the ground since Layton carried most of my weight with him. Not only was he a head taller than me, his arms wrapped around my body made me feel smaller.
“Who were you with?” His grayish blue eyes were growing darker.
I was sucked in staring at the swirl of colors running through his eyes and I found myself replying.
“I was with Zev.”
As soon as I said those words, Layton’s eyes turned completely black. His fingers pressed into my skin and I could feel the bruising he was creating in my waist. He looked murderously angry.
Layton made it clear he wanted nothing to do with me the moment he kicked me out of his lunch table. But every time he saw me with Zev, he behaved like if we were together.
“Layton, you’re hurting me,” I said, trying to get out of his arms.
He abruptly loosened his hold on my waist. A few minutes later, he completely let me go.
“I told you I didn’t want you near him,” Layton said, his voice sounding strained.
“Zev is my friend.”
I straightened up my shirt, which had risen higher in my stomach when Layton had been holding me.
He didn’t try to stop me when I left the room. Like he’d been doing before, he followed me out and walked me to my next class.
On the way, I thought about an excuse for being tardy.
I gave Layton a sideways glance and could easily tell he was still angry. His eyes remained darkened and his jaw was clenched. I was starting to feel bad for whoever had to put up with him in his next period.
When we got to my class, Layton opened the door and walked in. Everyone inside the room went quiet when they saw him. Layton nodded at my teacher and then turned to face Tyler.
The teacher didn’t even look mad that I was late and he didn’t ask me anything. Layton left the class right after I took a seat next to Tyler. It was funny to watch everyone sighing audibly and relaxing after Layton left the room.
I had been quietly working on the lab assignment, although my thoughts were still on what had happened with Layton in the empty History room.
“You were with Zev during lunch,” Tyler stated.
Layton and Tyler made me feel guilty about hanging out with Zev.
“What if I was?” I asked defensively.
“It would explain why you were really late and why Layton looked ready to kill someone.”
“What’s the deal with Layton and Zev anyway?” Tyler looked thoughtful for a moment before answering.
“You should ask one of them.”
“I don’t get why Layton hates him so much. Zev is pretty cool. He’s actually nice,” I said, thinking about Layton’s bigheaded ways.
“So Zev’s nice, but Layton isn’t?” Tyler asked.
“I don’t understand Layton, he’s confusing. And besides, he doesn’t even like me.”
Tyler started laughing at me after I said that.
“Nothing, you’re just way off. Layton is a little complicated but Zev is the same way.”
“Layton is mean and arrogant, even though he hardly opens his mouth. Zev is really nice and he’s funny,” I explained.
“You hardly know Layton, and Zev isn’t exactly ‘nice’,” Tyler scoffed.
“I don’t want to know Layton, he’s evil,” I told him, crossing my arms.
Tyler shook his head but he stopped arguing with me about it.
“He’s usually not so bad. There’s a reason why he’s been acting differently these days.”
“I don’t understand why Layton has to hate on Zev so much.”
“Let’s just say Zev is messing with something that he shouldn’t, and it’s putting Layton on edge.”
His words confused me, so I figured a change in topic was probably better. Layton and Tyler had been friends since they were little. It didn’t matter what I said, he would always take Layton’s side.
I started working on the notes for the lab we had to do the next day and our conversation for the rest of the period was focused on that.
Before going to gym, Tyler walked me to my school locker to pick up my change of clothes. I was prepared in case I didn’t like the ones coach gave me.
Coach handed me a pair of red shorts and a black and red t-shirt with the school’s name. I took it and went to change in the locker room. A girl coach in there gave me a locker to use for PE and I put my stuff away.
The shorts were a smug fit and they reached me mid-thigh. I was glad that the shirt was slightly loose. I changed into a pair of running shoes and made my way to the gym. I had just walked in and was headed towards Jared when Zev caught up to me.
“Hey stranger,” he said, giving me a dazzling smile.
That boy really was something. I instantly gave him a smile of my own and started following him to the bleachers we sat in yesterday.
“How come you don’t change?” I asked him as we sat down.
“I don’t think I could make the clothes look better than you do,” Zev replied, looking me up and down slowly.
I blushed, feeling nervous under his gaze. When the teacher blew the whistle, I concentrated on him instead.
“Everyone who is dressed, I want you on that side of the gym.”
Coach pointed towards the end of the gym. I got up, waved goodbye to Zev, and made my way over to the other end.
“If you didn’t change, you’re getting a zero for the day. Remember that when your begging for extra credit in order to pass this class.”
Coach glared at all the people who hadn’t changed.
I felt Layton watching me while I waited for Coach to give out instructions. I was tempted to look back at him and hold his gaze.
I debated the pros and cons of doing that when coach interrupted my thoughts. He made us do some stretches and then some exercises. It wasn’t long before we finished and that was it for the day.
Once coach dismissed us, I made my way back to Zev, who was smirking at me.
“What are you looking at?” I asked Zev.
He was playing with something in his hands.
“You,” he replied casually.
He was twirling around in his hands a pair of magnets.
I took a seat right next to him with our shoulders touching. Zev began asking me questions about the last half of my day, making jokes about me not making any friends.
“How long have you known Nate and Micah?” I asked.
“Our families go way back,” he replied.
My gaze kept drifting towards his hands, where he was twirling the magnets.
“What about Layton?”
“What about him?” There was an edge on his voice even though he tried to play it cool.
“Never mind.” I shook my head at him.
There was no point in getting into that conversation with him. I hadn’t seen Zev mad and it was the last thing I wanted to do.
I put those thoughts in the back of my head and focused on the magnets he was playing with.
“Where did you get those?” I asked, trying to take them from his hands.
He pulled his arm back and I smiled when I saw the smirk on his lips.
“I saw them in the Chemistry closet,” he shrugged.
“You stole them?”
“I burrowed them,” he replied.
“Can I burrow them?” I asked, again going in to take them.
“Nope,” he said.
Zev held them out for me to take. When I outstretched my hand, he pulled his arm back.
“You’re mean,” I said, but I couldn’t help but smile.
I gave up on asking him and tried to take them away forcefully. We were both laughing while I struggled to take the magnets away from his hands.
I cried out when someone wrapped their arms around me. When I turned around, I found a very angry Layton glaring down at me.
He remained quiet, pinning Zev and me down with his stare.
Zev got up and stood in front of Layton. They both looked ready for a confrontation. I was scared that there would be a repeat of yesterday, so I got in between the pair.
Zev was usually calm, but I knew Layton wouldn’t mind fighting.
“I’m gonna go sit with Layton. I’ll talk to you later,” I told Zev.
I grabbed Layton’s hand and pulled him away, trying to get him to walk with me.
“Princess, you don’t have to go sit with him just because he’s being a little bitch,” Zev said, closing the small distance I had created.
“What the fuck did you just say?” Layton’s voice was low and menacing. His breathing hitched up and a light tremble took over his body.
“I said your being a little bitch because you know Cassidy would rather sit with me than with you,” Zev calmly replied.
Layton stepped closer to Zev. His fists were clenching and unclenching. I was scared of what he would do, he looked really pissed off. When I turned to Zev, I was thrown off by how amused he looked. He didn’t seem scared that Layton was about to hurt him.
I couldn’t believe Coach Walker was oblivious to what was happening.
I put my hands on each of their chests and tried pushing them back. They were stronger than me, that much was obvious.
When my hand came into contact with Layton’s shirt covered chest, I felt the small electric shocks that took over whenever we touched.
I assumed he felt them too because he snapped his head in my direction. I looked at him pleadingly, begging for him to back down. He gazed at me for a moment, before turning back to glare at Zev.
A growl erupted from Layton’s chest when Zev’s arm wrapped around my waist. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t dare move out of the way. If they didn’t have me blocking the way, they would easily start a fight.
“Cassidy,” someone called my name.
When I looked behind Layton, I noticed Micah making his way to us. He gave me a quick smile before taking his place next to Zev.
Jared was right behind him, although he stopped right next to Layton.
While Layton and Zev were glaring at each other, Jared and Micah were doing the same.
“What the hell are you guys doing?” I yelled at them desperately.
The four guys turned to look at me, surprised by my outburst.
“You sit down with Micah,” I pointed at Zev.
“I’ll pretend he came to hang out with you,” I said, giving Zev a harsh look because he was still standing up.
“Come on, let’s go.” I grabbed Layton’s hand with the strongest grip I could muster.
He didn’t budge at first. I gave him a pleading look and started rubbing circles with my thumb on the outside of his hand. I was thankful when I felt his posture relax, and he slowly followed after me.
I took my time getting dressed after PE was over. The bell had run a few minutes ago but the emptiness of the locker room was helping me clear my thoughts. It was ten minutes after three when I finished.
Layton was leaning against the wall, glaring at everyone passing by. He made his way towards me once he saw me leave the locker room.
He had waited for me. I thought to myself.
“You’re still mad?”
I didn’t say anything.
“Zev’s an idiot,” Layton muttered.
I shrugged, but kept my gaze to the front. My indifference was getting to him and that made me happy.
“Why do you even talk to the guy?” Layton asked.
“Because he’s not you,” I replied.
“Damn right he’s not me!” Layton snapped.
Layton kept trying to make conversation, but I remained quiet. I hoped my silence would give him a clue.
We were at my car about five minutes later. Layton was still by my side and he waited while I unlocked the door.
I was about to slip in my car, when Layton stopped me. He was holding my hand gently, which was a first from him. When I looked up to meet his gaze, the irritation I felt dissipated.
He was looking at me with a soft expression that was making me feel lightheaded.
I didn’t know how long we stood there, simply gazing at each other. I felt disappointed when he released the hold in my arm. It only lasted a second, because Layton’s hand began sliding slowly down to my waist.
His touch was intoxicating. I didn’t want him to let me go. In fact, I wanted him to press me closer to his chest. As soon as his arms wrapped around my waist, he gave me a light squeeze. I smiled at him and couldn’t stop the breathless chuckle that escaped my lips.
Layton gave me a sincere smile. It was one of the times I got to witness him smiling genuinely.
“I’m sorry,” he apologized with a husky voice. The emotion in his eyes and the way he was holding me was warming me up. I couldn’t speak, so I nodded my head and smiled again.
Once I was inside my car, Layton waved at me while I reeved out of the parking lot. My emotions were spinning out of control, and my body felt the response from Layton’s touch. My feelings were still muddled by the time I made it home.
My afternoon was filled with homework, hot pockets, and talks with my parents about how school was going. I decided it was time I stopped lazing around and headed outside for a late afternoon run when the sun was setting. Layton had not left my mind.