Ugly Things

Her mother always warned her about monsters. She should have listened.

If you don't believe in ugly things, look closely at yourself. You may find something repulsive and sickening that you didn't see before. I know I did. [student/teacher]


14. 14.

I couldn’t tell Hunter what I saw before we left. But I knew he was right, that I had to tell Elias I couldn’t see him anymore. I even thought about skipping my ‘detention’ with him, but that seemed like the cowards way out.

“Do you eat?” Hunter asked as he sat across from me.

I looked at my food --a cheeseburger with a side of onion rings and a coke-- then at him. He had finished his food already and was eyeing mine.

“Do you stop eating?” I shot back. I frowned. “Sorry, I’m just thinking about a lot.”

He reached over and snagged a ring, shoving it into his mouth. He caught my expression and said, “If you’re not going to eat it, let me. It’s not going to waste then.”

I pushed my plate toward him. “Go ahead. I’m not hungry anymore.”

“What are you so busy thinking about?” he asked as he took a bite of the burger. He wiped his hands on a napkin and blinked.

“Elias,” I said.

Hunter almost choked. “Tate, that’s gross. I’m trying to eat here.

I wriggled my nose. “That’s disgusting. I didn’t mean it like that. I just meant that I need to find a way to tell him I can’t see him anymore.”

“That’s easy,” Hunter said, grinning. “Just do what any douchebag guy would to a girl and send him a text.”

“Speaking from experience?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.

He gave me a look. “I wasn’t talking about myself.”

“So, I’m the man in this little scenario?” I asked. “How charming.”

He laughed and ran a hand through his hair, messing it up even more.

“It’s either that or in person. I’ve found that neither are good ideas. The girls, or in your case the guy, will find you and want to talk afterward.”

“I don’t think he’ll want to talk,” I said, shaking my head. “They usually don’t.”

“Are you bad at conversation?” he asked. “You could have fooled me. I’m enjoying talking to you, and for the record, if you broke up with me I’d still want to talk to you.”

“That’s comforting,” I said, realizing I meant it. “But we’re not talking about you. I guess when we go back to school, I’ll find him. What time is it?”

He glanced at his phone. “One-forty.”

“We weren’t out for very long,” I said. I didn’t even know what class I had; I’d been so busy figuring other things out.

“Gym,” Hunter said as he stood up.

How did you--?”

“I’m psychic,” he announced, tapping his temple.

“Or you’re a snoop,” I said. “You looked at my schedule at some point.”

As we left the diner, he turned to me and said, “Or you skipped gym the other day and we have that class at the same time.”

I frowned, suddenly dreading going back into that school. I knew what was waiting for me. He would be there, wanting me to come to him, to reassure him that I still wanted him. I stopped walking.

“I can’t do it,” I said, swallowing thickly. “He’s my teacher and he’ll probably fail me now.”

Hunter gripped my arm and pushed me against the wall outside the restaurant, his eyes a deep blue now. He didn’t seem to care that he was hurting me.

“Is that all you care about, stupid grades? What about you? Don’t you even give a shit about yourself?”

“Of course I do.”

I could feel something twisting in my gut as he released me and touched my face. My vision blurred as he crushed his lips against mine, never giving me time to react. His mouth left my lips tingling as he pulled away and rested his forehead against mine, his breathing heavy.

“Please keep your promise,” he whispered.

I nodded and pulled him into a hug, my head on his shoulder, and his arms locked around my back. He stroked my hair and held me tightly.

We reentered the school and I felt sick. That always happened when I got nervous. Hunter kept hold of my hand and said that he would wait for me. I left him standing in the middle of the lobby and ventured down the hall toward Elias’ room.

I knocked on the door and peered inside. It was empty. I wondered if he was on his lunch break. Maybe he was outside or in the staff lounge. That was my next stop.

I was greeted by a short, plump, deep-eyed woman when I knocked. She looked like I had just interrupted something important.

“Yes?” she said. “Can I help you?”

“I’m looking for Mr. Mills,” I said, lifting my head.

“He’s gone home,” the woman said. “Sorry.”

I had the feeling she wasn’t sorry at all. I exhaled as I left the lounge and went back to the lobby. As I rounded the corner, I stopped dead, almost stumbling into the wall.

Hunter was gone.

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