Damage Control

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Playing Matchmaker

I let out a sigh as I reached my locker and began twisting the knob to open the lock. It was Monday and that meant that I was overly exhausted, my brain had yet to adjust to the new week, and I was forced to come to the one place where I would be suffering the most; school.

I had just finished taking a history exam, and for some reason I felt suspiciously good about it. I hadn’t studied all weekend because Easton had been pestering me to hang out with him. Despite our thirty minute long argument about me not wanting to go, he eventually forced me out of the house to the local park where I watched him and Brandon chase each other around the field.

It was pretty pointless going with them, but it was nice to see Brandon so happy. There were a couple times where they had tried sneaking up on me and messing with me, honestly, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t eventually succumb to their games and end up joining them.

I had just finished replacing my books for the second half of my classes when I felt two arms wrap around me and squeeze me. The sweet smell of peonies surrounded me as Sienna’s long hair brushed against my cheek. Resting my hand on top of her arms, I hugged her back as she pulled back. Turning around to face her, I flashed her a smile as she pouted her lips at me and clasped her hands in front of me.

“I’m so sorry, Mal.” She said as she continued to stare at me as if I had just kicked her dog. Shaking my head softly, I pushed her hands down as I pulled her into another hug. Despite me texting her all weekend that everything was okay, and that she didn’t need to text me apologizing every thirty minutes, she was relentless and was absolutely certain that I hated her.

“Sienna, like I said all weekend long, I’m not mad. I never was.” I reassured as I pulled back and firmly stared at her. She let out a sigh of relief before pushing her hair behind her shoulder and placing her hand dramatically over her heart.

“Even though you texted me all weekend, I was still terrified- partly because you kept saying you’re fine but it’s common knowledge that when a girl says she’s fine, she’s actually not!” She said in one big breath as she waved her hands dramatically in the air. I watched with wide eyes as Sienna took deep breaths to calm down before I raised an eyebrow.

“God, you are dramatic.” I finally said as she simply nodded in agreement. We both stood in front of each other silently for a couple of seconds before bursting into laughter. As we stood in the hallway, we both laughed like a bunch of maniacs as students around us rushed to the cafeteria for lunch.

“What’s so funny?” I heard Easton’s voice ask from behind us as Sienna and I finally simmered down. Wiping my eyes, I turned to a curious looking Noah and Easton. Turning to Sienna, we both shared a look before simultaneously saying, “Nothing.”

As always, Easton’s brown hair messily laid on his head as he wore a navy blue t-shirt and jeans. Noah on the other hand had his midnight hair perfectly styled as he sported a random black hoodie. They were both immune to the whispers and stares that followed them as they stared at us, awaiting a response.

Shrugging his shoulders, Easton walked towards me and slung an arm over my shoulders as he pulled me closer to his side, “You know shortstack, if you were talking about me, you could just tell me. I already know you have a little crush on me.” He said as Sienna and Noah burst into a fit of laughter. Feeling the heat rush to my face, I shoved Easton away from me angrily. I watched him stumble before regaining his balance as he turned and winked at me. Flashing him the finger, I turned around and shut my locker angrily. I could hear Sienna, Easton, and Noah talking about the carnival that would be in town this weekend, but I simply stood by quietly as I glared daggers at Easton who stood beside me.

I had been fiddling with my chipped nail polish when I heard footsteps approaching us. Turning to my left, I watched as Cole walked over with a bright smile masking his face. The other’s had yet to notice him, but before I could look away, Cole caught my eye and flashed me a wave. Waving back it him, I watched as Easton’s head glanced over in his direction as his eyes landed on Cole. The smile he had been sporting just seconds before was gone as Easton’s face completely morphed. I had never seen Easton look annoyed or angry ever seeing as he was always joking around or messing with someone, so I was actually surprised as to what caused the sudden shift in his mood.

Before I could question Easton, Cole’s loud voice sounded, “Hey guys.” Cole greeted as Sienna turned around happily. I watched as she placed a kiss on his cheek before pulling him into the space next to her. I felt a small spurce of happiness in my chest as I realized that I didn’t feel the same pang of hurt that always hit whenever I watched Cole and Sienna interact. There was a distant part of me that still had those feelings for Cole but they weren’t as intense as they once were. Maybe it had to do with the fact that my time was always occupied, but I wasn’t complaining.

It felt nice to not have the Cole situation always lingering in the back of my mind.

Upon hearing my name being called, I snapped out of my thoughts as I turned to Cole who stared at me with a hopeful look, “I’m struggling pretty bad with the calculus homework and I was wondering if you wanted to do it together and help me out with it.” He asked as my heart slightly dropped.

If I was being honest, I really didn’t want to. The old Mallory would be ecstatic at his proposition, but for some reason I just didn’t want to hang out with Cole, especially if nobody else was going to be around. For once in a very long time, I liked that Cole wasn’t the only thing on my mind. He hadn’t been around much and I didn’t know if it was because I was always with Easton or if he was just busy, but surprisingly enough, it had been a good thing not seeing him as much.

Before I could open my mouth to respond, Sienna butted in, “I am so glad I’m not in calculus. Numbers and I do not mix well.” She stated as Noah let out a sound of agreement.

“So what do you say?” Cole questioned once again. Feeling stuck, I realized that there really wasn’t much for me to do. If I said no, everyone would question why, but if I said yes, I felt like I would be stopping all the progress I had made with getting over Cole.

Before I could say a reluctant yes, Easton, who had been unusually quiet this entire time, spoke up.

“Sorry man, I’m gonna a have to steal Mallory this week. She and I already made plans this week to work on our history project.” Easton said with no remorse in his voice as he once again slung an arm around my shoulder. I watched with slightly wide eyes as everyone eyed Easton’s gesture as it registered what he had actually said.

Easton and I both knew we didn’t have history together, but I kept my lips sealed and simply nodded in agreement. I watched as Sienna flashed me an excited wink as she realized what Easton had said. Giving Sienna a pointed stare, as if to say ‘behave’, I turned to Cole with an apologetic look.

“Sorry Cole, but I can send you my answers if you wanted to check them?” I offered as Cole nodded in understanding and thanked me.

We all stood there conversing about random things with one another for another couple minutes before heading towards the cafeteria. Easton and I straggled behind the others as I turned to Easton with an eyebrow raised, “History project? Really? You’re not even taking history this semester.” I deadpanned as Easton simply shrugged with a small smile on his face. His irritation from earlier was nowhere to be found as he looked back to be his old self.

“You should be thanking me. Anyone could tell from a mile away that you didn’t wanna go.” He pointed out as he brushed his fingers through his hair.

Ignoring his last comment which was completely true, I slightly lowered my voice and diverted the topic, “You were awfully quiet today.” I commented as I watched Easton’s face for a response. I was truly curious as to what caused the random shift in his mood earlier, but knowing Easton he would probably brush off the question.

“Me quiet? Never.” He answered with a wink.

Typical Easton, always ignoring the actual question at hand.

Rolling my eyes at him, I opened my mouth to answer, but before I could say anything else, Easton shushed me as he pointed his finger in front of us. Turning to where he was looking, we both watched as Noah waved goodbye to Cole and Sienna before jogging over to a tiny girl standing across the hall in front of her locker. I had never seen her before, but she looked familiar as she pushed her short brown hair behind her ear and continued talking to Noah who towered over her. It looked like he was messing with her or saying something embarrassing because her cheeks were crimson red.

“He likes her.” Easton whispered in my ear as we swiftly walked past them. Noah didn’t once divert his gaze from the girl in front of him as he continued his flirting.

“Jeez, way to keep your friend’s secret.” I jokingly jabbed as Easton scoffed loudly.

“Secret? As if. The guy’s made it obvious he’s into the girl. She seems to be the only oblivious one.” He said as I shrugged my shoulders and glanced back at Noah and the girl.

“Maybe she just doesn’t realize it.” I offered an explanation in her defense as Easton let out another scoff.

What was with him and scoffing today?

“Her and the rest of the female population. You ladies are always oblivious when someone likes you.” Easton said as his gaze lingered on me. Rolling my eyes at the nonsense he was spewing I waved him off.

“No. You boys just aren’t clear enough. Emphasis on the fact that I didn’t use the term men." I shot back as Easton simply gave me the side eye. I knew he had nothing left to say and I felt satisfaction knowing I had beat him in today’s argument. “Someone should tell the poor girl before she thinks Noah is harassing her.” I jokingly said as I pushed my hair behind my ear. I watched in confusion as Easton suddenly stopped in his tracks as a chesire grin marred his face.

Turning back to look at him, I gave him a questioning look as before it finally registered as to what I had actually done.

“No. No. No.” I vehemently shook my head as Easton nodded his head slowly with an evil smirk on his face.

“Yes.” He evilly said as I continued shaking my head, feeling the urge to smack myself upside the head.

“We are not going to expose Noah!” I exclaimed as Easton shook his head and walked closer to me.

“We’re not going to expose him. Just give him a little push by playing matchmaker ” He explained as I continued to shake my head at his absurd suggestions.

This boy was never up to any good and was always dragging me into his shenanigans.

“I am not going to be a part of this.” I stated firmly as I crossed my arms across my chest.

Easton simply raised an eyebrow before pointedly saying, “You owe me. Besides, consider it as you contributing to your end of the deal.” He said, knowing fully well he was manipulating me.

Shutting my eyes, I let out a deep breath as I heard Easton speak up again. “C’mon Mal, I promise we won’t do anything Noah wouldn’t appreciate.” He assured as I uncrossed my arms.

There would be no escaping this. Easton had his mind made up and would be relentless unless I agreed.

“Fine.” I finally said as Easton whispered a loud ‘yes’.

“I knew you had it in your shortstack.” He happily said as he dragged me down the hallway, his mind already buzzing with all the ideas he could use.

God, I was so screwed.

Hey guys!

It’s been a while since this book has seen an update and I’m sorry for the delay but here we finally have it!

For those of you that haven’t read my other book ‘The Loudest Silence’, you wouldn’t know that I had actually cut my hand earlier this month and needed to get stitches. This ultimately did make it harder to do just about anything, but I am nearly healed and ready to be back in business!

Please keep in mind that I am in college now, so a lot of my time is put towards my school work, however, that doesn't mean I have forgotten you all!

It is still very important for me to update and I plan to continue with it as much as possible.

Thank you all for your private messages and comments about this book!

I hope you all enjoy this update!

Much love!

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