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Chapter 5

AS SOON AS I REACHED MY DORM I pushed the door open and pulled out my phone. I couldn’t believe I was about to dial his number and this was at least the last person I wanted to speak to right now.

“Hello? Who am I speaking to?”

I rolled my eyes at him. “Don’t act dumb, Malik. Who’s the boy? Did you send him here?” I asked, my top and bottom teeth gnashing together.

“Hey, hey, calm down, Zoe. It was a joke. But on a serious note, no, I didn’t send anyone. Why do you ask?”

“I can’t say if I’m right or not which is why I am going to do my research, but, I think I saw a group’s tattoo on a student here. Any ideas?“. I heard the parlor door open then slam shut again, causing me to grow impatient and I started to act jumpy. “Hurry up, Malik!”

“I suggest you act normal. In fact, since this may be a coincidence, get close to him. I don’t care how close, just extract information. If he really is part of a dominating group or gang, you’d be able to warn us before it’s too late.” I heard him say calmly.

“Okay then.” Was all I had time to say before Tracy barged into my bedroom without asking.

“You okay, Zoe? You sounded a bit pissed off.” She asked, a worried expression morphing its way to her face.

“Yeah, yeah. Something came up at home and it wasn’t really a friendly conversation.” I answered back, giving her a blank expression. I felt a slight pang of guilt. This was the first lie I had told Tracy, knowing she was built out of lies. It would eventually build-up, I thought to myself. Then I wouldn’t be able to save our friendship. It’s like they always say, nothing good lasts forever. I was in a gang and she just happened to like someone like me. A small smile made its way to my face at the thought. She always encourages me, no matter what. She’s smart and quirky, making you ask yourself; whoever said a girl couldn’t have it all? But if she EVER found out about what I have been hiding, more or less my second motive here, she’d probably hate me for life. Like the rest of them.

She shrugged her shoulders, showing she believed me, then walked back out to the kitchen. I sat on my bed and plugged my phone into my Bluetooth speaker and listened to a few songs while I read A Piece of Cake by Roald Dahl. Yes, I’m part of gangs and mafia and whatnot, but I still have a life to live. After what felt like several hours, I could smell something good wafting from the crack between my door and the door frame from how it was open. I could also hear...voices? I stepped out slowly, unaware that I was still wearing the clothes from the party I had left. I walked into the parlor, making sure to be as silent as possible. At first, I could only see Tracy, a bucket of KFC with her arms wrapped around it while her feet were propped up against the coffee table. She seemed freshened up, too, wearing a camisole and shorts in lieu of pajamas. What I didn’t see, was that she was leaning against someone. I couldn’t recognize them at first, but then I realized that it was that idiot! I waited for Tracy to stand up to use the lavatory, then I walked over to him and slapped the back of his head.

"Malik! Why are you here?” I whisper-shouted.

“Calm down, I wasn’t here for her.” He motioned to the busy looking Tracy behind him with his thumb. “I was here for you. I thought it’d be better to speak to you in person, about the issue. But when I arrived at-” He paused to look at the time on his phone. “Ten in the evening, you were apparently busy. So I crashed here with your purple-haired friend.”

I sighed, processing all the information I had gotten, then I turned back to Malik. “So, what do you propose we do then?”

“I need to see this boy first. Then, and only then, can I decide on anything.”

I nodded my head and we walked out after I told Tracy we were leaving. She responded but I had already shut the door too loudly on purpose, just so I couldn’t hear her. She didn’t need to know.

We walked over to the boys' dorm and I knocked on the first door as a confident guess. A boy I didn’t know wearing a white shirt and sweatpants answered first, then called Dominic. It took a while before he actually came but when he did, nothing could explain the priceless yet weird expression they both hand on their faces. Recognition.

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