I turn to Maddox, who hoisted his backpack on his shoulder. “Come on, I’ll walk you to class. Where do you go next?”
He digs in his pocket for his neatly folded schedule and unfolds it as we stop in the main classroom. I spot a girl hanging behind, staring intently at the door we walk out of as if she was waiting for Maddox to stroll out. And I feel warning bells in my head.
Why do I feel like this girl is coming to challenge me for Maddox?
“I take Chemistry next. Do you think you can show me there and still get to class on time?”
The girl decides to cut in at that moment, stepping in front of me, giving Maddox a flirty smile. “I take that class next! I can take you no problem.” The girl purrs, twirling some of her dark hair around her finger. “I’m Lauryn, by the way.”
Maddox looks over her to me, where I stand biting my lip. This just got much more complicated. Lauryn Maxine was the most intimidating and bossy girl at the academy. She loved to be the center of attention, especially around boys. Any girl that got in her way would be torn to shreds.
“Dove?” he said, the question in his voice evident as he completely ignored the girl in front of him.
“Um, excuse me, I was talking to you!” Maddox glanced at her, then grabbed my arm and pulled me around her. I heard Lauryn growl a bit, and I pale. “What’s wrong, Dove? Are you feeling okay? ″ Maddox’s eyebrows furrowed in a cute way, and I resist the urge to smile.
Aw, he’s so sweet.
“Yeah, um, I feel a little under the weather. Why don’t you go to class with her? You two are going to the same class, right? My class is in the opposite direction, so I’ll see you later.” I reason.
Maddox nods, but a look flashes through his eyes. Like when you see a shiny new toy in front of a toy store that you can’t have.
“Okay, well, be safe then.″He murmurs, and grabs my hand, giving it a squeeze. He’s so cute. I see his eyes get three shades darker and he lifts an eyebrow.
Shoot, I said that out loud. I quickly tear my hand from his, trying my best to hide the blush on my face, and blurt “Sorry, I’m sorry. Bye. I’ll see you later”.
I look back to see him frowning at me as Lauryn wraps her perfectly pink talons around his arm. He quickly shrugs her off with a blank look, but she seems unaffected by that and smiles again. “I don’t know what’s wrong with that freak. I mean, cute? You’re obviously a grown man. You look hot. Or sexy.“.The last thing I see is her reaching up on her tippy- toes to whisper in his ear, and him making a disgusted face.
I turn to hurry out the door and down the stairs.
“Babe! I was wondering how long you and that hunk would stay upstairs. Even Mrs. Habard came down. What were you two doing, you sly dog?” grinned Ben, popping up from behind a bookshelf.
I frowned but still told him. “We were up there with Lauryn. He’s upstairs with her right now, since she’s going to walk him to class.”
Ben makes a disgusted face and says “That slut? Girl, I’ve hated her ever since I found her and some dude trying to use the meeting rooms for an unintended purpose. She’s going to walk him alright. Right into the janitor’s closet.” I blush but shake my head and keep walking. I hurry out the building and to my next class, attempting to stay ahead of Maddox and Lauryn.
I’m surprised to see Crispyn waiting for me in the classroom. It’s only been two months since school started back, yet I hadn’t noticed him until just now? And apparently, he felt the same because as soon as I stepped in the classroom, he waved me over, a surprised but pleased smile on his face. Thankfully, before he could say a word, the bell rings, and Ms. Wright walks into the classroom. “Good morning, children. How was your morning? ”
A chorus of positive and negative responses met her question, and she held her hands up for silence when she had had enough. “Today, we are doing partner work, so everyone can choose a partner. No groups of three, please. I’ll hand out some papers for the assignment.”
Crispyn quickly turns to me.
“Guess you’re stuck with me. ”
I nod, smiling at him, and he taps his chin with his finger. “I’ve never really noticed you were in my class before, but now that I know you, it won’t be easy to get rid of me.”
“Shoot, I thought I could avoid you.” I sigh dramatically, shaking my head. The girl in front of us hands me a paper without even turning around, and I grab it, writing my name on the top. I read the directions on the paper and frown.
Research one president per group and have one person present it by the end of class.
I pull my laptop from my bag, and turn it on, thankful I had retrieved it from my locker before class.
“So, you and Maddox are getting real close huh? Are you trying to steal my best friend,? Or are you trying to be something... more?” Crispyn winks at me, and I feel my face burst into flames, as I copy down some information from the laptop in front of me.
“We are just friends, I promise. I’m not going to steal your best friend. And besides, he doesn’t like me like that. He barely knows me.” I reply, giving him a small smile.
“Just because he doesn’t know you, doesn’t mean he can’t get to know you. And I’ve never seen him so eager to talk to someone other than Madison, his sister. ” His voice lowered a bit when he mentioned Madison as if he was a child sharing a secret when he wasn’t supposed to.
“Yeah. he told me about her. And their... past and present living situations. We both came from similar backgrounds. ” I whisper, and Crispyn’s face lights in understanding and a bit of pity. “He must really like you, to trust you with that much. Maddox really isn’t very... erm...”
“Friendly? Open? Yeah, I know. He scared the Cheese Whiz out of the Rodney Lane this morning because he was harassing me.” I close my laptop and watch as Crispyn writes some stuff on the paper, and then writes his name on the top.
Crispyn puts the paper to the side and runs his hands through his hair. “In that case, you must be really special. Maddox hates to intervene in situations that don’t deal with him. Heck, Maddox doesn’t really like to even talk to me sometimes.” he admits, his blue eyes dead serious.
I want to believe Crispyn, I really do, but I just can’t allow myself to think that someone would really want to get closer to me. I’m just me. I nod silently, but I can tell Crispyn doesn’t seem to think that I’m convinced. He lets it go, and even volunteers to present our research.
Crispyn really is a nice guy, and I’m glad to know him. We talk a bit after the presentations until the bell rings, and we get up to head to our next class. I walk to the back of the classroom to turn in our assignment and Crispyn joins me.
“Don’t look now, but I’m pretty sure Maddox has come to fetch you,” he mutters, giving me a sly look.
“Since when does he know the way to the History class, huh?” I ask, shaking my head at Crispyn’s guilty face. Busted.
“Okay, fine, so maybe I texted him about you being in my class to brag a bit.”
“Crispyn! Why would you do that?” I scold weakly, as I blush hard and walk towards the door, Crispyn at my heels.
“Oh, hey Maddox. Did you....have a nice class?” I ask awkwardly as he towers over me, looking at me with twinkling eyes. Did he hear us? Does he know I know? “No, but it’s better now,” he says, his hard face shifting, offering me a tiny smile, making me blush.
“Aww, is it cause of me?” Crispyn gushes, stepping in between us, and I giggle as Maddox quickly wipes the small grin off his face, rolling his eyes at his friend.
“No you dumba- I mean dummy. I was talking to Dove.” We start to walk down the hallway, Crispyn leading the way.
Crispyn raises his eyebrow at both of us. “You gave her a pet name? Wow. And you didn’t tell me, Charlie? I thought we were friends.” he pouts, crossing his arms over his chest.
Maddox smirks and says “well, don’t 'thought' next time, ” and walks a little nearer to me, our hands brushing at every step.
We stop at my locker, Maddox refusing to leave me, and Crispyn just not wanting to walk alone. I grab my Algebra book and put away the Erudian History textbook that I didn’t even use. The locker next to mine slammed shut, revealing Tuesday.
“Oh, hey! Tuesday, right?” Crispyn asks, reaching over to do that handshake thing boys do.
Tuesday nods, then looks a little embarrassed. “I’m kind of lost right now. Do any of you know where the Algebra class is?”
I nod and give him a friendly smile. “We’re heading that way right now, why don’t you join us?” He brightens a bit and joins our little group. Maddox causally slings his arm around my shoulders as we pass Rodney and his friends. Maddox narrows his eyes at him and Rodney looks just about ready to pee his pants for a second, but then his face contorts into a sneer. Showing off for his friends.
Then the whispers started to reach me.
“Who are they? And why are they with her?”
“Three hot guys and one girl, wow she must be a slut.”
I flinched at the last comment, and Maddox seems to notice. His face hardens even more as he glares at each and every person until they all just try to escape from his gaze. His hand grabs mine and squeezes it, my small hand practically disappearing within his grip. He leans down to whisper in my ear. “You’re not a slut, Dove. They’re just some jealous motherf- idiots.” I nod at him, but I feel no better.
We start to walk a little slower than Crispyn and Tuesday, yet they don’t even notice, too busy talking about some TV show with a robot or something. We pass the Algebra class, and yet I don’t even open my mouth.
Because Maddox looks upset. We get to the more abandoned classrooms and he starts looks through every classroom window and tested every door handle. Then, he finds one open and walks in, tugging me behind him.
The last thing that goes through my head before I’m pulled in is:
At least I’m going to die by the hands of a cute boy.
How do you like this gift? Also, do you guys like everybody's name? Maddox and Crispyn are a bit cliche, but I really like Tuesday's name.