Youth

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Chapter 70

We’re sitting back in the courtroom, everyone is gathering in the gallery again as we have just received the news that the jury has made their decision. It took them over two hours but with whatever they choose to convict me with, I know what the truth is.

Sandra’s closing statement was strong and certainly gave us some edge over Reynolds. Who, from the sound of his statement, knew his case had completely fallen apart.

The jury files into the room and we’re all asked to stand. My fingers find their way to the necklace Lukas got me and I trace the ‘B’ over and over again from nervousness.

“If the jury would like to give their verdict?” The judge says, leaning forward in his seat.

A lady clears her throat and nods, she holds a paper in her hands and reads off of it, “On all charges,” She pauses and looks up at all of us in the room, “We find the defendant not guilty.”

Even though I know I’m innocent, I couldn’t help but feel relieved. It’s like this huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I can finally take a breath. I can finally live my life and go outside whenever I feel like it.

This feeling is eccentric, I turn to Sandra and Jess and give them both a hug. They risked their careers to fight for me and I can’t thank them enough.

“So, what’re you gonna do with your newfound freedom?” Sandra asks, smiling confidently.

“I’m not sure about the long-term. My life is pretty much ruined because I will forever be known as the girl who was put on trial for being a suspect of murder but right now, there’s only one person I want to see.”

“Just letting you know, that envelope came from that very same person,” Jess whispers, winking as she pushes me leads me out of the courtroom, “Go get him.”

And so after getting my ankle monitor cut off and finally feeling unburdened, I approach the outside world with a new understanding of freedom. Sandra follows me out because of the news reporters or the ‘flesh-eating vultures’ as she likes to call them.

She hails a cab for me and gives me one last hug before she shoves cash in my hand and pushes me into the car.

“Destination?” The driver’s voice is gravelly like he smokes twelve packs a day.

There’s only one place I can go to find Lukas. One place I know where I can find him.

School.

As the car pulls up to the building, I hand the driver the cash and watch as he drives away.

My eyes run over the building that’s all too familiar and I can’t help but feel a comforting feeling, like home. A real home for me.

This may seem like the last place I want to be, but if I could find Lukas in our Spanish class, framing every latin descended word from his perfect lips then that’s what I’m going to do.

I walk into the office, a proud look on my face as I approach the secretary. She looks surprised, “I just saw what happened on the television, I’m glad they proved you were innocent. I was on your side the entire time, Bo.” She rubs my shoulder and smiles sweetly, “But why are you here? The school day is just about over and I think you’ve been dropped for being gone for so long.”

“Thank you so much but is it alright if I could visit a classroom just until the end of school? I have some things I need to take care of,” She nods knowingly and slides a clipboard toward me.

“Just fill this out and I’ll give you a visitors pass.”

I hurry and scribble in the details for the paper and soon enough I’m scaling the hallways I thought I’d never see again.

The classroom door looks exactly the same. Oak has always been my favorite for doors, it shows personality.

I take a deep breath and prepare to go in. I know I can do this, I know I can see Lukas and we can finally kiss and be happy that we can be together without anything getting in the way of us.

But I can’t. There’s something wrong and my feet feel like they’re deeply rooted to the ground. Almost like my brain is telling me to turn around and leave and never come back but my hand stays on the handle, wanting to open the door. Like my heart is telling me to stay and be with Lukas and feel at home. And feel loved.

What’s best for Lukas though? To be with an eternally screwed up girl who dragged him and his friends into her mess or to find someone else, to love some other girl and live the perfect suburban life that I already know he wants.

My heart jolts from my chest and I let out a little shriek when a firm hand lands on my shoulder.

“Bo? Is that you?” I turn and come face to face with Adrian, Adrian of all people, “Oh my god it is you!” He pulls me into a hug and nearly squishes my body.

He pulls back from the hug and grabs ahold of my arms, a suspecting look in his eye,“What’re you doing here? Wait, what do you like, pancakes or waffles?”

“Pancakes, why is that even a question?”

His eyes widen and he pulls me into an even bigger hug, “It is you! It’s really you!”

“Adrian, I just got out of court. Nonguilty, like I promised. Are you alright though? You’re acting more overbearing than usual,” My voice is muffled because of his chest and I have a feeling he’s not letting go anytime soon.

“What do you mean? You’re out of prison obviously and you’re not all mopey and locked up in your home. You got declared nonguilty and you’re here? There must be something wrong in that pretty little head of yours,” He finally fully let’s go and then I step back a little, just so he can’t grab me anymore.

“I’m actually here for—” Adrian cuts me off and his signature smirk plays on his face.

“I see what you’re here for but luckily for you I saved you from a ton of embarrassment because he isn’t here right now,” I furrow my eyebrows and Adrian continues, “We finally went to a party yesterday and your lover boy got pissed drunk, he might’ve even taken an ecstasy or two.”

“Adrian!” I fold my arms across my chest but I can’t help but smile. Things are already feeling like old times.

“I’m joking about the pissing part but he was pretty fucking fucked last night Bo, you should’ve seen him. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Lukas that wild before. Except for the night, he slit his hand open, that was pretty bitchin.”

I roll my eyes sarcastically, “Can you tell me where he is please?”

“My place, I was just heading there to check on him, actually. Haven’t seen the poor bastard since I left him wi–in my brother’s old room. Do you want a ride?” Adrian raises an expectant eyebrow and I nod. He wraps his arms around my shoulders and pulls me in close like he’s protecting me. It almost feels as homey as Lukas.

Almost.

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