The Quiet

I followed her gaze to the other side of the room, where there were two windows. One was closed tightly. But the other was opening slowly. I could see some kind of shadow come over the bottom.

Someone was coming inside.


10. Poison

Lena’s smile was anything but friendly as she bent down behind Cari and whispered something to her. I didn’t hear what she said, but I could tell by Cari’s expression that it wasn’t nice.

Standing up, Lena walked over to me. Instead of stopping, though, she just used the toe of her shoe to kick dirt at me. When she was gone, I stared after her. I brushed the dirt off of my pants and shook my head.

“That’s mature,” I muttered. “What did she say to you?”

Cari shrugged. “Oh, you know, same old thing. ‘Your hair is ugly, stay away from Clayton.’ She needs to work on her socializing skills.”

I shuddered. “I hate when she uses my full name. She used to do that when we were together, and it was only when she was really pissed, usually at someone else.”

Cari smiled a little, and said in a shrill, annoyed voice, “You know, Clayton, I really hate that you’re spending so much time with that new girl. I mean, she’s so gorgeous that I’m jealous you’ll leave me, even though we’re not together.”

I laughed so hard that my ribs ached. When I was done, I nodded. “That sounds about right. She’s got this weird jealousy thing going on and I don’t get it.”

“I don’t know why she feels so threatened,” Cari said. “I’m not even doing anything.”

“It doesn’t matter if you’re doing anything or not,” I said softly. “When she sets her sights on someone, everybody else needs to get out of her way or she’ll tear them down.”

“I won’t get in her way then.” Cari stood up and shrugged. “I have to get to English or Mr. Harris is going to kill me. Can we meet later?”

My only reply was to hand her my cell phone. After she gave her my number, she left. I sat for a long time on the grass, under the warm sun, when I felt a pair of hands against my neck.

“I guess she listened to me,” Lena whispered against my ear. Her hands found their way under my shirt and felt rough when they touched my scar. “Do you want to come over later? My parents are going out.”

I hissed out a breath when she pressed against me. There was something I was trying to remember about her, but the way her lips felt against my neck, it was hard to remember what.

When one of her hands started to wonder below my waistline, I reached out and gripped her fingers in mine. When I turned and stared at her, her eyes narrowed, and she pulled herself away.

“You're mental.” I snapped. “Jesus Christ, Lena. What the fuck is with you? One second you’re pissed at me, next you’re trying to get down my pants.”

Apparently something about what I said upset Lena, because she slapped me across the face. I couldn’t believe she had done that. She had never before, not even when we broke up, and I expected it then, even though she was the one who dumped me.

I rubbed my cheek, narrowed my eyes, and wanted so bad to hit her right back. Sometimes I pictured myself punching her in the face, or taking a bat and smashing Liam in the face so hard his teeth broke.

But the only thing I said to Lena was, “It’s a good thing we aren’t together anymore, or I probably would have killed you.”

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