I gave Luke a confused look. "What do mean you knew it?" I finally asked. He rubbed the back of his neck. "I..uh.. I knew you liked me! Yeah. I overheard you and Raven talking, and you said you didn't, but you did. uh, do. "He fumbled with his words. "You weren't anywhere near me and Raven... How did you overhear?" I crossed my arms. "Did I saw overhear? I ment Raven told me, and I didn't believe it." He corrected. I just rolled my eyes and sighed. "and you wonder why I don't trust you?" I said, walking away, towards my house. I walked for about 5-7 steps, before Luke yelled, "Michaela wait." I didn't stop, but I heard leaves crunch under his feet. He ran two steps in front of me, then sharply turned until he was facing me. I stopped suddenly to keep from running into him. I stared at him, as he clenched his jaw. He quickly put both hands on either side of my face, then kissed me again. I started trying to pull away from him, but he kissed me harder. I relaxed slightly, which was all he needed. He broke the kiss, and looked straight into my eyes. "Look, you have no idea how badly I want to tell you everything, but I can't. I know that looks really bad, and I understand why you said you don't trust me. I wouldn't trust me either, but I need you to give me another chance. I care about you. I really do, and I'm trying to keep you safe, I swear. Please believe me. I-" I cut him off my kissing him quickly. "Ok. I believe you, for now. But if you say or do anything that causes me to doubt you, I'm done." I said, as I started walking again. He stood there for a second before running to catch up to me. "Thank you. I'll try my best." He said. He walked me back to my house, and my mom's car was in the driveway. "You need to go home now." I said, as we approached the back door. He nodded. "I'll see you tomorrow." He said, as we parted ways. I walked into the back door, and saw my mom in the kitchen. She was hunched over the counter with her hands on her forehead. I decided to let her be, and try to quietly sneak upstairs. "Where were you?" She mumbled. I stopped quickly. "Uhm, I just went on a walk." I said. She looked up at me finally, and her eyes were sad. She just nodded, and left the kitchen. I blew it off and just went upstairs. It was almost silent in my room. Only the light buzz from my fan offered any noise. The silence made me think, and with what just happened outside, I was thinking a lot about Luke. I guess it was obvious now that I have feelings for him, but does he really have feelings for me? I mean, he did say that he cared about me, but does that really mean that he has those kinds of feelings? Is he just one of those guys that's trying to trick me for sex? I've always been paranoid about something like that since my second boyfriend. I was left in a very delicate state, and he tried to take advantage of me. What did Luke actually mean when he said "I knew it"? All of these questions made me want to scream, so I decided the silence needed to be broken to get me out of my head. I plugged my phone into my speakers, and played "Something's Gotta Give" by All Time Low. I threw myself backwards onto my bed, and covered my face with my arms as I sung along. I turned it up with the little remote next to my bed. The music was loud enough that I could feel the bass through my bed, and the floor vibrated through my converse. After the song ended, and the next begun, about a minute and a half through the song, I heard three loud bangs on my door, followed by, "Michaela. Really? Turn the damn music down." It was my mother's voice. I have only heard her curse two times before now, so I immediately jumped up, and lowered the volume. "Thank you. Don't turn it up that loud again. Got it?" She said. "Yeah. I got it." I yelled through the door. At about 11:30, I decided I should probably try to sleep, since tomorrow is bound to be interesting.
I woke up on time as usual, I let my hair fall down straight, and wore a flannel, and dark denim jeans. I felt like keeping it pretty simple today, even though I was slightly nervous. I ran downstairs, grabbed a bagel and ran out the door. I threw all of my stuff into the back of my car, and headed in the direction of Silverton High. I no longer needed the gps, so I turned on the radio, and actually enjoyed my trip to school. I parked in my normal spot, and made my way to the school. The first person I saw was Raven, which was unusual to say the least. She had a pretty big smile on her face, and she wouldn't stop staring at me. "Uhm, hey... Raven." I awkwardly said as I approached her. She blinked a couple of times then shyly looked away. "Oh! Hey." She responded, before hurrying off. I stood there slightly confused, then went to my usual lonely spot in a corner to wait for the bell to ring. I took a sketch book out of my bag, and decided to waste time. I was halfway through drawing this cartoon person when the bell rang, signalling that it was time to start heading to first period. I took a seat next to Connor, who was shaking his leg under his desk, reading a sheet of paper on his desk. "Hey, you ok?" I asked, making him jump slightly. "Oh yeah, I'm fine. Thanks." He answered. He seemed different. Not only in the way he acted, but also in the way he looked. His clothes were darker, unlike his usual preppy colors. He was wearing grey jeans instead of his light beige khaki shorts. I couldn't make out what was on the paper, but whatever it was, it was stressing him out. I didn't have the chance to ask him any more questions, because the teacher started instructing us. I turned my head, and looked out the window. It was partly cloudy, but otherwise nice outside. I was about to turn my focus back to the teacher, when I saw a solid black crow sitting on one of the bare branches on a dying tree. I couldn't explain why I was so fascinated by it. Maybe it was the way the sunlight hit it's feathers and gave it a blue hue to its darkness. I got snapped back into reality as the teacher repeatedly called my name. "Michaela. MICHAELA. Pay attention please." I felt myself blush as the class giggled. I didn't stare at any birds throughout the rest of my classes, thankfully. Soon lunch rolled around, which has quickly become one of my favorite parts of the day. I sat down next to Connor, and surprisingly, Luke was on time. Luke smirked at me as he approached his seat. He finally sat down, and was about to start a conversation, and I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned to Connor, as Luke lowered his head to focus on his lunch. "Hey, uh, well first off, how are you? I haven't really gotten to talk to you in a while." Connor started. "I'm fine, are you? You've been acting kinda weird." I responded. "Yeah I'm fine. Just trying out something new I guess. Anyway, I just had a question." Connor said, sitting up a little straighter. "Sure. Shoot." I said, opening up the drink I brought. "Well, ya see... I was kinda wondering if we could hang out or something sometime. Maybe we could study or something?" He looked nervous. As Connor asked to hang out, Luke's eyes flicked up. "Uhm, sure why not? Can always use someone to study with." I said, trying to calm him down. He sighed of relief. "Great! How about today?" He pressed forward. "Sure. Where?" I asked, ignoring Luke's glares. "Well, I was kinda wondering if it would be ok to study at your house. That place has always fascinated me, and this would be a good chance to see it up close." Connor said quietly. "That sounds fine by me. How about 4:00?" I asked. Connor lit up. "4:00 is absolutely perfect. I'll see you then." Connor finished, as he turned his attention to Cody and Kaitlynn. I turned to Luke, who wasn't looking at me. Instead he was talking to Raven, who was frowning. Her eyes flicked up at me for a second, then back to Luke. I finished eating in silence. The bell rang, and I quickly got up. Luke walked with me, but didn't grab my arm. "What the hell was that about?" Luke asked. I widened my eyes "What are you talking about?" I asked. "You just made plans for a date with that preppy asshole." Luke shot back. "I didn't plan a date with him. We are going to study. And he isn't a 'preppy asshole'. Also, why do you care anyway?" I asked, speeding up my pace a little bit. Luke grabbed my arm and slowed me back down. I finally looked at him. He sighed and clenched his jaw. "It's... It's because I like you, Michaela. I thought I made that pretty clear last night. But I can't be with you, if you are with that damn fish face." He said. I chuckled a little. "I'm serious!" Luke said. "I know. Listen, I like you too, so don't worry. Connor should be the least of your worries, we are just friends. Now it's your chance to trust me." I said. He sighed. "Fine. If I trust you then that means you have to actually trust me too, right?" He asked. I nodded. "Ok. Study with the preppy nerd. I trust that you will make good choices." He said, before turning into his hallway for class.
4:00 came quickly. Connor wasn't a minute late, and as soon as I opened up the door, his eyes searched the whole room. "Can I have a tour?" He asked. "Why not." I answered, before showing him around the house. It took a good thirty minutes to make it through the house tour, not including Connor's minor interruptions to comment on a piece of art or furniture. When we finally finished, we grabbed a textbook, and headed out onto the back porch. "So, uh, what do you want to study first?" I asked, flipping through the book. "Michaela, I didn't come here to study." Connor admitted. I shut the book. "Oh, ok... So then why did you?" I turned to him. "I wanted an excuse to talk to you outside of school." He confessed. I nodded. "I'm sorry I tricked you, or whatever." He continued. "No, it's fine. You know you could have just said so in the first place. I consider us friends so I would have been fine with it." I smiled at him. "Really? You consider us friends? I thought you thought I was annoying." He looked away. "Well, at first I might of, because I wasn't used to such enthusiasm at school, but then I realised you were the first person that was nice to me at that whole school. If it wasn't for you, I probably would have been stuck eating lunch with kids I thought were scary." That made him laugh a little. "Ya know, it's a little embarrassing, but that's the whole reason I started wearing these new clothes. I didn't want you to think I was just some preppy nerd guy." He blushed a little. "Connor, You shouldn't change yourself to make other people think you are something you're not." He looked at me again. "Yeah, I know, but honestly, I don't want to be that guy any more. I want to me more like... Cody and Luke, for example. They are both so cool, and mysterious. Everyone wants to know them, and be liked by them. People don't walk all over them because they are afraid to. People aren't afraid of me. They trick me into doing their homework, and getting them out of trouble. I don't want that anymore. I want to be respected and feared." Connor said. He was right about Luke and Cody, though. Everyone wanted to be liked by them, since it's so hard to get that close to them. I started feeling bad for Connor. "Have you tried talking to Luke? Maybe he could help you. Ya know, give you some pointers or something." Connor scoffed. "And look even more pathetic? No thanks. God. Who am I kidding? I'm never going to be like him. He just has a natural trait that forces people to stare at him and either want to be with him, or want to be him. You have to be naturally born with something like that, and I'm not. I'm forever going to be a doormat for other people because I don't know how to tell them no." Connor said. I frowned. "I'm sorry. I don't know how to help you." I looked away from him. I saw something out in the distance, but I couldn't make out what is was. It was about 6:30, so there was still some light outside. Connor started talking again, but I wasn't listening. I squinted in the direction of whatever the object was. It was the guy again. "Shit." I mumbled. "What?" Connor asked, ending whatever he was talking about. "Out there, in the beginning of the woodsy part. There is a man there." I quietly explained, not letting my eyes leave the figure. "What? Where?" Connor frantically asked, trying to follow my eyes to the man. "Michaela, I don't see anything. There's nothing there." Connor continued. I knew that wasn't right. I still saw him. I never took my eyes off of him. Could Connor really not see him? "Connor, he is right there, straight ahead of us. Just look straight and maybe slightly to the right. You can't possibly miss him." I said, still quiet. "Michaela, I really don't see anyone. Are you ok?" He asked. "I don't know, maybe I'm a little lightheaded. Maybe you should leave. I really enjoyed talking with you though. I'll see you tomorrow." I said, still not letting my eyes leave the figure. I realised I hadn't blinked, which automatically made my eyes ache a little. "Ok. I hope you feel better Michaela. I'll just walk around the house so you don't have to let me out." Connor said, and with that, he was gone. I forced my eyes to stay open, even as they started watering. I slowly pushed my phone up out of my pocket, and pressed the home button. The Siri beeps went off, and I gave it a command. "Call Luke" "Calling.Luke.Mobile." It responded. It rang three times before he answered. "Hey. Are you ok?" He asked. "Luke. Get over here, now. That man is back. I see him. I can't blink, because I'm afraid he will disappear and make me look like an idiot." I responded. "Michaela, blink. I believe you. You can't keep your eyes open the whole time it takes me to get to your house. Plus what are you going to do? Chase him down? Just let him go if he is gonna go. I'm on my way. Just stay where you are." He told me. "Ok, fine. I'm on the back porch. Hurry." I said, before ending the call. My eyes were watering like crazy now. They were half forcing themselves shut, but I wouldn't let them completely close. God I was so close. Luke was right though. There was nothing I could do, especially not by myself. And who says if I walked towards him he wouldn't just leave? I sighed, and blinked. When I opened my eyes, sure enough, he was gone. "Damn it." I mumbled to myself. I through my books inside so they weren't just sitting out here. Soon enough, Luke showed up.