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Chapter Nine: "It's Not Unsual"

It's not unusual to be loved by anyone
It's not unusual to have fun with anyone
but when I see you hanging about with anyone
It's not unusual to see me cry,
I wanna die
-It's Not Unusual, Tom Jones

I stood sandwiched between Riven and Ryan who both looked like they wanted to punch each other.

"Roy, right?" Riven asked, looking bored.

"It's Ryan," Ryan responded through clenched teeth.

"Ah, right. My bad, dude," Riven apologized although he sounded anything but apologetic.

Ryan just shrugged and he and Riven stared at each other, both sizing the other up.

"So, I hear you're dating Josie," Ryan started conversationally.

My stomach turned and I felt like I was gonna be sick.

"Really?" Riven raised a brow. "And where'd you hear that?"

"Word travels fast, dude."

"Well, I'm not dating Josie," Riven said, looking bored.

My heart, which had been tight, felt light again. I wanted to let out a sigh of relief and happy dance.

"Ah, so what were you two talking about?" Ryan asked, slinging his arm over my shoulder possessively.

Riven glared at his arm while Ryan glared at him. The testosterone was so thick me and my estrogen were suffocating.

"Nothing really," I said as Riven looked on at us, his expression settling back to bored.

Ryan looked like he didn't quite believe me.

I sighed. This party couldn't end soon enough.

The next day, I was getting dressed for school when I saw it. Another note.

I sighed, a feeling of dread creeping through my entire body, as I reached forward and grabbed it.

'"What would Ryan say if he knew you no longer loved him that way?"'

Those words were taunting. And those words pissed me off. Mostly because I knew they were right.

My feelings for Ryan were fading and my feelings for Riven were steadily becoming dominant.

I blew out a long breath. Today was gonna suck.

In English class, Mr. Mann let our class work on our projects more. This prodded Riven to slide his desk extra close to mine.

"Is it really necessary for you to have your desk so close to mine?" I asked irritably, his face bought back flashes of the note.

He looked at me and smirked. "It's kind of hard to work on a project together from opposite sides of the room, Angel."

"You really need to stop calling me that," I grumbled, opening the textbook and turning to the scene we would be reading.

"Why? Because of your boyfriend?" His voice was suddenly very venomous.

"Yes, because of my boyfriend," I snapped, matching his cold tone. "I don't think he would like it if he knew you were calling me 'angel.'"

Riven frowned before his face went back to bored again, shutting me out.

He said nothing, so I took that opportunity to direct our attention to our assignment.

The entire class was very uncomfortable. I could feel the anger radiating from Riven's body although he didn't show it. Also, every girl in the class was watching every move Riven made with awed wonder, while they shot glares in my direction every now and then.

Words could not explain the joy I felt when the bell rang, signalling the end of class.

I bolted up and out of my seat, trying to scoot past Riven. However, he blocked me, his tall frame completely overpowering mine as he loomed over me.

"You're gonna make me late for class," I muttered through gritted teeth.

"You're too good for him," Riven said, ignoring me.

I looked up at him and blinked. "W-what?"

"He doesn't deserve you," Riven continued. "Ryan's not who you think he is. You could do better."

"So, what," I snapped, staring him straight in the eye. "You're exactly who I think you are. You're so honest and perfect that you deserve me."

Riven shook his head, looking haunted.

"No, Angel. I'm not who you think I am. You could do better than me too," he responded chillingly as he walked away.

I just watched him go, unsure of how I should feel about that.

At lunch we all sat together. Josie sat cozied up to Riven, on Riven's other side sat his two brothers-who I learned were named Ian and Brandon.

Carmella was sitting beside Ian and she turned a deep shade of red whenever he so much as glanced at her. Ryan was sitting beside me, his arm slung over my shoulder, Madison sat on his other side, picking at her food and Raveena sat beside me, looking like the picture of elegance.

I kept thinking about what Riven said. How Ryan wasn't who I thought he was and it bugged me.

I wanted to write it off as pettiness. I wanted to say that Riven had only been trying to scare me. But the more I thought that, the less I believed it. Although I hated to admit it, Riven had clearly been telling the truth.

I peeked at Ryan, wondering what he could be hiding.

Then I remembered the note that I had gotten. The one that said there was more to Riven than what met the eye. I remembered how Riven had told me he wasn't who I thought he was.

I peeked at Riven. He was flirting with Josie and she was lapping it up the way a cat laps up milk.

I wondered what Riven was hiding. I wondered how he knew Ryan was hiding something.

Takes one to know one, I thought to myself, counting down the seconds until this day was over.

I don't think there's any greater feeling than when you return home after a long, torturous day at school.

After a shower, changing into sweatpants and wiping off my makeup, I was on top of the world.

But you know what they say, good things never last.

When I walked into my bedroom I saw it: another note lying neatly on my bed.

I wasn't scared anymore. Now I was just pissed. I marched up to my bed and snatched the note up, glaring as I read it.

"Isn't it always so sad when someone you know isn't who you thought they were? But it's not like Riven can talk, he's just as bad as your Ryan. And you're worse than them all. They lie to others, you lie to yourself."

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