Death and all His Friends

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I need to control those damn hormones.

I didn't know how long we talked for. After I told him what happened, Cory just sat there, staring at me. Then he shook his head and suddenly, he was telling me everything; how he found out only when he came home, at five in the morning, still half wasted. He told me how angry he was, how he wanted revenge, how he couldn't believe it, how he simply broke down.

I guess sometimes it was good talking to a random stranger about these things; someone who didn't know you enough to judge you. When talking to people who knew you, it was almost like you were expected to act a certain way. I knew that for Cory, he'd be too embarrassed and feel too awkward to go and spill his feelings to one of his guy friends. The boy had a reputation to uphold.

I knew that feeling. I knew what it was like to hold onto something so heavy that it threatened to pull you under. I knew how suffocating it was when you couldn't talk to anyone because of how they'd pity you, or how they'd react to how you were reacting.

When he was lost for words, I suddenly found myself talking about Stacy. Cory seemed to appreciate my opinion, since I was someone who wasn't a close friend of Stacy; someone who was an outsider to their glamorous socialite life.

I found myself tearing up a little as I spoke. Stacy had truly been amazing.

"She was always smiling, always friendly, always willing to help everyone. Even though I wasn't her friend…even though I wasn't even her acquaintance…I could tell she was genuine." I fell silent, staring at my blanket. It was hard to believe that someone so young and spirited could just be gone. It didn't feel real. How could someone be here one moment, then gone the next?

Cory smiled at me and lifted a hand to my face, gently wiping away the tear that had rolled down my cheek. His finger lingered on my chin and our eyes met.

Before I knew what was happening, Cory leaned in and kissed me fiercely. My brain imploded.

Whoa what? What?

I froze for 2.34759 seconds, my hands held up like I was surrendering.What was he doing? Was he insane? He didn't even know me! Oh God oh God oh God what do I do? What do I do? What do I do?

I knew this was wrong. I could feel the tears running down his face. He was too unstable right now to know what he was doing. He was vulnerable, desperately trying to cling onto something, anything.

And yet I didn't stop him…

Before anything could go further, I heard Jess pounding on my door.

"Tegan! What the hell? Hurry up and get down there. Dinner's ready! Why is the door locked?"

Cory and I sprang apart instantly, both of us breathing hard.

I glanced at the boy next to me, feeling self-conscious and embarrassed. I mean, I was pretty sure he had no idea who I was until the car accident, and even though I'd liked him for ages, I didn't think I knew him well enough for us to be kissing on my bed. Though he was the one doing the kissing. I was just freaking out.

"Um…Tell mum…" My voice came out raspy and I cleared my throat, my face burning. "Tell mum and dad that I'll be down soon."

"Ugh you're so annoying! And why do you sound so out of breath? I hate having a freak for a sister!"

I heard her retreating footsteps down the stairs and let out a sigh of relief.

I then turned back to the boy next to me. Cory rubbed his face, also glancing at me.

"Sorry about that." He whispered, looking sheepish. He gave me a small smile and cleared his throat.

I didn't know what to say. Things like this never happened to me. Never. Not even in my wildest dreams did I think that…wait, am I dreaming? This felt unreal.

Trying to be discreet, I rubbed my arm and pinched myself.

"Ouch!"

Cory looked at me confused and I wanted to die in embarrassment.

What the flip was going on with my life? How was this real?

"I think I should be going now." Cory broke the silence and I nodded, too shocked to speak.

I got up and smoothed out my crumpled uniform. Unable to think properly, I unlocked the door and headed downstairs.

I could hear my mum talking in the kitchen, probably to my dad. I was glad. At least they wouldn't know Cory was here.

I led the boy to the door and opened it.

"Thanks for listening. I really needed it." Cory mumbled as he stepped out.

I tried to smile but it turned into a grimace. I was just really confused. And uncomfortable. And fidgety. And slightly hungry. And I needed to go to the toilet.

Cory waited a little but when I still didn't speak, he gave a half wave before walking away.

Oh man, what a night.


School that morning became a blur. A huge, terrible, blur that was made worse by the fact that I still didn't have my pencil case and I was relying on Gina to give me all the answers in maths. Not the Mrs. Koots noticed or anything.

My head was still whirling from the previous night. I had never been kissed like that before. Actually, I had never had a real boyfriend before. My first kiss was back when I was ten and now, seven years later, I finally got kissed again.

But it was all wrong. I felt terrible, like I took advantage of poor Cory. Well, he started it but…

I caught a glimpse of the boy in the hallway and quickly dashed the other way. I was just grateful that it was so crowded that he didn't see me.

Oh man, how was I ever going to face him again? We lived on the same street. I couldn't avoid him forever. And what did he think? Maybe he was a major player and had forgotten all about me.

I turned and saw him heading in my direction with his friends. Panicking, I pushed past some kids who looked like they were friends of my sister and entered the girls' bathroom.

This had to stop. Why was I such a coward?

I jumped as the door burst open and Lizzy and Gina charged in.

"Alright, what's going on?"Lizzy demanded, her manicured fingers on her hips.

"Yea Tegan. What are you hiding?" Gina added.

"Have you guys been following me around hoping I'll go to the bathroom so you could gang up on me?" I asked with a quirked eyebrow.

"Maybe. Now tell us!" Lizzy screeched.

"Not so loud." Gina mumbled.

I stared at them, wondering what I should do. They were my best friends but this was a really hard situation to explain.

"Nothing happened."

"Nah uh! We've been watching you, right Gina?"

"Yes. And you seem to be hiding from someone."

I paused, trying to figure out if they're lying or not. Since when did my two best friends become detectives?

"Look, I'll tell you later."

"No you won't."

"Please Tee?"

"Later. I promise. Just not in the girls' bathroom because that's dodgy."

My two friends glanced at each other and shrugged.

"You better, Micheals. Otherwise you will die."

The rest of the day progressed slowly, and I couldn't wait until the end of school. Then I remembered the promise I made to Gina and Lizzy.

"Alright, we're all alone now. Tell us who you've been hiding from." Lizzy said as we crossed the road.

"We won't leave you alone until you do. We'll follow you home if we have to." Gina added when I didn't say anything.

"Come on Tegan! Please!" Lizzy jumped in front of me, her hands clasped together like she was praying.

"Oh alright." I grumbled. "Last night…Cory stopped by my house."

Lizzy squealed, her hands covering her mouth and her eyes wide and bulging.

Gina narrowed her eyes suspiciously.

"And?" she asked shortly whilst Lizzy proceeded to hyperventilate.

"And…we talked…about Stacy."

"Whoa, whoa, hold up a sec." Lizzy grabbed my shoulders and looked deep into my eyes which was quite disturbing.

"Lizzy, you're being creepy." I muttered as she continued to stare at me.

"You're telling me that Cory Worthington, the Cory Worthington, came over to your house last night?"

At my nod, Lizzy looked like she was going to faint.

"So what happened?" Gina cut in.

"Yea," Lizzy started prancing around, skipping in circles around Gina and I. "Did he tell you that he's been in love with you since the moment he first saw you-"

"No."

"-and that he couldn't live without you-"

"No."

"-and then sealed his love with a passionate kiss?"

At my silence, Lizzy stopped skipping mid-step. Gina went white.

"Oh my God." Lizzy gasped.

"Tegan…" Gina began.

My mouth hung open. I was trying to defend myself, I was even going to lie, but no words came out.

"Tegan, you didn't!" Gina looked shocked.

"You did!" Lizzy practically screamed. She started to laugh hysterically and even Gina began to smile.

"It was nothing." I snapped, my mouth finally working.

I shoved past the two of them and continued to walk.

"But you don't deny it." Gina jogged to catch up to me, her smile lighting up her face.

At my silence, Lizzy let out a mad cackle.

"Oh Tegan! That's great! That's unbelievable!"

"What was it like?" Gina asked darkly, her smile turning sly.

"Yea. Tell us everything! How did it happen? Where did it happen?"

Despite my efforts, I couldn't stop the smile that appeared on my face as I told them about my slightly sleazy night.

After much joking around and speculation about what the kiss meant, Gina and Lizzy left my side to go to their respective houses and I continued journeying home alone. I was quite enjoying the walk when…

"Hey."

I would've recognized that voice anywhere but for some reason I didn't panic.

"Are you still around?" I said almost automatically, turning around. I was in a strangely good mood. All that chatting with Gina and Lizzy had been good.

Raith shrugged, a small smile turning up the corners of his mouth.

"Who's Cory?"

Good mood terminated. Indefinitely.

"None of your business." Stupid spying creep. Now where did I put that knife? Yesterday I had tucked it into the waistline of my skirt. Then it cut my thigh when I sat down and I bled a little on my uniform. It made me look like I had my period. Not cool.

"Okay, let's try a different question. Where's my ring?" Raith continued.

"Look I really don't want to deal with this-"

"I need my ring."

"Well I don't have it! And I don't know where it is! I looked but it's gone."

"What?" His eyes grew dark and his smile disappeared.

"Whoa calm down. I'm the one who should be mad! I'm the one getting stalked by a psychopath!"

"Psychopath?" His voice lowered several octaves. Seriously, where did I put that knife?

"Um yea. You clearly have issues. What's with the whole 'If you touch me, you'll die' thing?"

"You don't believe me?"

"About the touchy die thing? Nope."

Raith sighed and walked in a slow circle around me, which was just a little disconcerting. It was alright when Lizzy had been skipping around me by Raith reminded me of a shark circling a poor, unfortunate surfer.

"And why not?"

"Because it's insane."

He tilted his head, as if deep in thought. I crossed my arms, feeling sick as I remembered that I had left the steak knife on my bedside table. Great. Just what I needed.

"I can explain it."

I jumped as he spoke, momentarily having forgotten where I was.

"Huh? Really? How so?"

Raith looked me straight in the eyes, a smirk on his face.

"I kill people."


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