I woke up to very loud snores, and although I was slightly annoyed, I was more amused than anything. Mason was famous for his snoring.
I grabbed one of the many pillows from our nest and whacked him on the chest with it, startling him awake.
"You snore like an elephant." I complained when his eyes found me.
He blinked a few times as he processed what I said through his groggy state, and then finally mumbled “Do elephants even snore?"
I playfully hit him with the pillow again and got out of bed, briefly glancing at my alarm clock to see that we had an hour and a half before school.
"You brought everything you need for school right?" I asked as I walked over to my closet to pick out my outfit for school.
"Of course." Mason replied, going over to my dresser to grab some clothes to change into. He stayed over so often that he had his own drawer in my dresser.
I picked out a grey hoody and black leggings, my go to outfit, and walked into my bathroom without another word so I could get ready for school.
Twenty minutes later Mason and I were both downstairs, accompanied by Liam and Emma for breakfast, which consisted of cereal. We're definitely not the type of family to make grand breakfasts every morning, I'm sure that would get expensive very fast.
"Do you two want a ride to school?" Liam offered, taking me by surprise. He doesn't usually give me rides to school, what's the special occasion?
"Sure." I replied hesitantly, sharing a look of confusion with Mason.
Liam rolled his eyes at us, "I don't have to be at the office until a little later today."
I heaved out a relieved sigh, that's a perfectly normal reason for giving us a ride to school. I thought someone had a doctors appointment, or he had bad news to tell me. One time when he offered to give me a drive out of the blue, it was to tell me that someone dangerous was back in town. Thankfully we later found out that it was false information, but I've been cautious of rides to school ever since.
"Well we better get going." Liam spoke, standing from his spot beside Emma.
As Mason and I got up as well, Liam leaned down to give Emma a kiss goodbye, saying a quick "I love you."
"I love you too." She replied, sending him a sweet smile, and my heart ached to have a love like that.
"Bye Emma." I called to her as we made our way out of the kitchen.
"Have a good day at school. Learn something!" She replied, saying the same thing she always did. It was basically tradition at this point.
Soon the three of us were in Liam's car and off to school. And I was loving the fact that I didn't have to take the bus.
School was passing by in a blur, I hadn't seen Jacob yet, so all my focus was on Mason and Alyssa in the first two classes of the day. I wasn't too bothered by the absence of Jacob, he wasn't in either of my morning classes so I wasn't too worried about the fact that I hadn't seen him in the hallway, he probably had classes on the other side of the school.
Thankfully lunch came quickly and I was now at our usual lunch table accompanied by Alyssa and Mason, keeping an eye out of Jacob.
"Yesterday I walked in on them about to kiss." Mason told Alyssa.
She gasped, her dark brown eyes going wide, "You ruined kiss number two!"
"He didn't mean to, but it really sucked. What if I don't get another opportunity?" I spoke up, training my eyes on the door to the cafeteria in case Jacob showed up.
"You're so dramatic." Mason complained, but I barely heard him because my eyes landed on a certain blond haired British boy.
I waved my arm in the air to catch his attention, and when he saw me I gestured to the seat across from me, beside Alyssa, since Mason was beside me and the table only sat four people. Usually people push two or even three tables together to sit more people but we never had enough friends to have a reason to do that.
Jacob looked hesitant for a moment, but when he saw that his usual seat was taken, he started towards us.
"I hope it's okay that Jacob sits with us." I muttered to my best friends when I realized that I didn't ask them beforehand.
"Of course it's okay! I'm perfectly fine with listening to a British accent for the rest of lunch." Alyssa enthusiastically replied, fiddling with her pin straight black hair.
Was she nervous to meet Jacob? She never plays with her hair unless she's worried or nervous.
I gave her a questioning look but didn't get a chance to ask why she be nervous because Jacob arrived to the table.
"Is this seat taken?" He asked, his voice deep and smooth as he pointed to the chair beside Alyssa.
"It's all yours." I replied, sending him an inviting smile.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Mason glaring daggers at Jacob as he sat down beside Alyssa. What's his problem?
I nudged him with my elbow, and when he turned his glare to me I gave him a 'what the hell?' look.
His stare softened and even looked a little apologetic, and I gave him a smile to show that I forgave his weird behaviour.
"Do they do that often?" Jacob's voice brought me back to reality, reminding me that he was sitting across from me.
Alyssa nodded, "All the time, it's like they have telepathic conversations or something."
I had to agree with her on that, sometimes Mason and I knew exactly what each other were thinking, and we could get across our feelings without words sometimes. We've been best friends since elementary school, way before we met Alyssa, so our bond was that strong.
"It's our party trick." I joked, Mason nodding alone in agreement, a proud smile on his face.
"So I was thinking we could continue with the painting today after school." Jacob suggested, completely changing the subject.
I saw Mason stiffen beside me, and the surprise in Alyssa's eyes, but I ignored them to answer, "Sure, I'd love to."
Jacob's lips lifted in a satisfied smirk, and for some reason he sent it Mason's way, a challenging glint in his grey eyes.
What in the world was going on with them?
"I can drive us both over to your house again." Jacob offered.
I wasn't going to say no to that, a day without riding the school bus even once was a success in my books.
"That would be great."
There was a brief moment of silence that fell over the four of us and I shifted in my seat, uncomfortable. Things were never awkward when it was just the usual three of us, but I understand that Jacob is pretty much a stranger to them and everyone needs to get to know him and visa versa.
"I'll call you tonight to let you know what happens when I go home." Mason spoke up, turning to fully face me so no one else could see the vulnerability in his eyes. He was scared, and I wished so bad that I could save him from his horrible living situation. Liam and Emma have offered to take him in but Mason's dad would never allow it. He's stuck until he graduates.
There’s no way he can get away from his dad, to the outside world his dad is a good working man, but behind closed doors he’s a monster. The police would never believe Mason if he went to them, so he’s trapped and no one can do anything about it.
"Of course, and come over if you need to." I replied, sending as much comforting energy his way as I possibly could.
I saw his shoulders relax in the slightest and it made me feel a little better. If I could take any of that burden away from him, even if it was just a little, I would in a heartbeat. Just seeing that I can ease his mind for a while made me feel like I was doing something to help.
"The first party of the year is this Friday, the three of us are going, would you like to come with us?" Alyssa invited Jacob as Mason and I turned back to the two of them.
Jacob's eyes were flicking between me and Mason, a thoughtful look in his eyes like he was trying to figure us out, and he didn't catch what Alyssa said.
I was the first to notice how distracted he was and decided to save him, "Yeah we'd be happy to have you come to the party with us." I made sure to mention the plan again because he would have no idea what I was talking about otherwise.
Thankfully he snapped out of his thoughts and sent me a grateful smile as he replied "I'd love to."
"Perfect!” Alyssa cheered, beaming at all of us.
"Yeah, perfect." Mason mumbled beside me, clearly not as happy as Alyssa. Does he seriously not like Jacob? He doesn't even know the guy, he has no reason to hate him. I think they could get along well if they just gave each other a chance.
Thankfully the bell rang and ended the awkward lunch. I was more than happy to get out of there, quick.
I tossed what was left of my lunch into a garbage can but one of my wrappers missed and fell to the floor.
“Crap.” I cursed under my breath as I bent down to pick it up at the same time as someone else.
I looked up to thank them but the words died in my throat when I saw who it was.
Our school janitor, Russ, was swiftly dropping my wrapper into the garbage can, avoiding my stare, and then limped away as vague memories of when I was just a young child bubbled up in my mind.
Back in grade nine I was shocked to see him working here, and I thought about telling Liam and Emma about it but that would’ve freaked out and made me change schools for my safety. I didn’t want to leave Mason so I never told anyone that I knew Russ.
Only days after the beginning of high school, Mason and I met Alyssa and the three of us have been inseparable ever since. I never regretted my decision to not tell anyone about Russ, but I wish I didn’t have to face the scariest thing that ever happened to me, every time I saw him.
“Jenny, are you okay?” Mason’s deep voice broke me out of my thoughts just as I was sinking into a bad memory.
I nodded, “Yeah, I just got distracted.”
He gave me a skeptical look, his warm brown eyes searching my face for answers I wasn’t willing to give, but he didn’t push it, which I appreciated.
“Let’s get to class, science waits for no one!” Mason joked, lightening the mood considerably.
That’s why I loved him, he always knew just how to make me feel better. And I hoped I could do the same for him.