The first thought that comes to my mind at the sight of a single flower in my locker is at least it’s not a red rose.
The purple sweet pea flower sits atop a beige card with an XD written on it in black ink.
Who the fuck writes an emoticon on a card with this flower. As far as I’m concerned, I’m not departing anywhere.
And then my mother’s words find their way to me.
“Thea, this flower right here,” her fingertips brush over the petals so delicately, as if it were alive, “can be given to someone not only as a ‘bittersweet goodbye’ but also as ‘thank you’ for a great time.”
“All of these are too hard to remember,” I whine in a way any seven years old would.
She chuckles. “You’ll get the hang of it, dear.”
I brush my hand over the petals just like my mother would and smile to myself when a certain someone whose initials match the emoticon, flashes through my mind.
I put the flower in my diary and close it. This way, it’s always going to stay as a memory.
“How’s my bitch doing?” A slender arm wraps around my shoulders and pink hair comes to view. I take the chance to let her have a glimpse of the card and the flower in my diary before closing it shut again. “Who the fuck writes an emo—oh.”
Lily punches me in the arm. “You never told me how it went at the beach. Did you manage to woo your way through Ben?”
“We did. How did you even know about him?”
"We? And I’m Lily, I know everything. So, again, we?”
I give her a look. “Well...it’s a long story.”
“Good thing we have History now. You can tell me during class.”
School ended about five minutes ago and I haven’t seen Xavier all day. If he didn’t come to school, how did the flower find its way to my locker?
So, I resort to the next best thing—seeking out his friends so I can ask them.
“Cole?” The golden blond hair is what my gaze settles on as his back is turned to me. Cole excuses himself from the girl he’s talking—flirting—with and turns to face me with a guarded look.
“What do you want?” His unmasked contempt takes me by surprise because I don’t remember ever doing something to deserve that.
“Um, I just wanted to ask if you know where Xavier is? I haven’t seen him all day and I need to talk to him.”
“He isn’t here.”
“I know.” I speak slowly, “Can you tell me where he is?”
He takes a step forward, then another. I stay rooted to my spot even when he is a foot from me.
“Stay away from Xavier. He doesn’t need you to complicate his life.”
I stare into his deep brown orbs, trying to find a reason for his hatred only to come up with nothing.
“And why should I listen to you?”
“If you know what’s better for you, then you should.”
“I do know better. Which is why I am going to ignore your words and walk away.”
His hand wraps around my forearm tightly but not enough to hurt.
“Listen, Thea, stop trying to force yourself on Xavier and get a fucking life. He doesn’t want you!”
He should be glad no one’s around to hear the slight rise in his voice.
“And how do you know that? Is he gay?”
Cole’s jaw twitches. “No.”
“Is he in a relationship with someone else?”
“Are you jealous?” I gasp lightly just to tease him. “Are you in love with him?”
“Good. Even if you were, I’d fight you for him. Fair and square.” I wink.
“Shut up! I’m his friend. I know he doesn’t want you.”
“Then why hasn’t he said so?”
His grip on my hand falters as he vaguely staggers back. “Wh—what?”
“I will leave him alone if he tells me to.” This time I take a step forward and he—he takes a step back making me smile internally. His eyes search mine for lies but he doesn’t see any.
“I don’t force myself on him, Cole. I’ll leave him alone the moment he tells me to because I respect him and his decisions. He didn’t accept me yet but he didn’t tell me to stop either.”
Cole gulps once before looking away, his gaze darting throughout the empty hall.
“And, Cole?” My fingers wrap around his wrist and I free my arm from his hold. “Never dare to threaten me again. Ever.”
His unsteady expression gets masked by a face of indifference and he pockets his hands.
“Thea!” A hand waves for me and I glance behind Cole to see Flynn making his way towards us with Jason in tow.
Cole gives me one last glare before leaving past me but not without bumping into my shoulder first.
“Was Cole being an asshole to you?” To my surprise, the question comes from Jason. I shrug in response. “Ignore him. I’ll talk to him about it.”
“I appreciate it but you really don’t need to.”
“But he needs to hear it. Don’t sweat over it.”
Not able to come up with anything, I give him a grateful smile. “Thank you.”
Flynn decides to butt in. “You’re looking for Xavier?”
“You know it.”
He chuckles. “He’s at home.”
“Why?” Worry consumes me in an instant. “Is he sick?”
“No, no. He’s fine, it’s just...” Flynn glances at Jason once and he gives a slight nod, “it’s his birthday today.”
“Yeah. He doesn’t really like this day so he never leaves his house during this time of the year.”
Curiosity overflows through me but I keep myself in check. My shoulders slump before I perk up again as an idea struck me.
“You said he doesn’t leave his house?”
Flynn’s eyes narrow in mock suspicion. “Yes...” he drags the word out.
“That doesn’t mean I can’t go to his house.”
With Xavier, I’m used to the lack of noise but with the three of us, it gets a little unnerving. Yet, I don’t back down.
“I’ll give you the address but—”
“—Just don’t let Xavier know we gave it to you. He’ll have our asses on a silver platter.” Flynn finishes the condition for Jason.
A sly smile makes its way onto my lips. “That won’t be a problem.”
And I have just the right gift in mind.
I'm extremely sorry for such a late update but hope you enjoyed it. Let me know your thoughts!