Love Me Never

Page 27


“Oh god you used ‘libido’ and ‘teenagers’ in a serious sentence; what are you, eighty with a PhD?”
“And,” Wren says sternly to drown my groaning out. “He did kiss you.”
“As a joke.”
“Yes, well –”
“It meant absolutely nothing.”
“Yes, but you have to consider that even though your brain knows that, your body may not. And…your heart might be a bit confused, too.”
“Pffft,” I buzz my lips. “What heart? That thing I got rid of three years ago? Last I checked it’s impossible for organs to properly function outside of the body. Unless you put it on a pump. But that’s gross and I definitely did not put my dumb little heart on a pump, I threw it out the window when I was driving to Walgreen’s –”
“Isis!” Wren grabs me by the shoulders, gazing into my eyes with that unblinking stare. “Listen to me for five seconds!”
I’m stunned into being quiet. Wren, realizing this is an once-in-a-lifetime occurrence, barrels on while he still has the floor.
“It’s okay to like someone,” He murmurs. “Even if it’s superficial. You don’t have to let what my cousin did in the past define you. I know he probably did something horrible. He used to put frogs in the microwave and laugh about it. I know what he’s like. I know he hurt you. But if you’re feeling things for someone again, it’s good. It means you’re healing. You have to let that happen.”
“I don’t like Jack,” I whisper. “I don’t.”
Wren hugs me. I rip out of his grip and put on my brightest smile.
“Seriously, I don’t! Just ignore everything I said, okay? Jack’s just really fun to pick on, you know? I’m just getting that confused is all.”
“Isis –”
“Whatever he did must’ve been really bad if you go pale every time I mention it and Avery has to the go to a shrink, huh? He’s probably as bad as Nameless!”
Wren immediately clams up, mouth closing and fists balling.
“Plus Avery was drinking the entire time at the bowling alley, while he was there. And you only looked at him twice, so. Yeah. I think it must’ve been really, really horrible.” I tap my chin thoughtfully. “It has something to do with Sophia, doesn’t it?”
“Did he do to her what Nameless did to me? I just have to ask her, and –”
“I said stop.” Wren’s voice is so soft and dark I can’t help but shudder. He adjusts his glasses and looks to me with those piercing green eyes. “Don’t hide behind what he did, just because what I said to you hits too close to home. Jack’s a better guy than Nameless, I promise you. It just takes a while for people to see that.”
“Avery said he was dangerous when people start getting to know him.”
Wren sighs. “He’s dangerous, period. There’s a reason he keeps people at arm’s length. He might seem heartless, but he doesn’t want to hurt anyone again.”
“Again? So that means…he hurt someone. He hurt Sophia.”
Wren flinches. “Look, I’m sorry, Isis, but you need to leave. I can’t talk about this right now.”
“You pretended not to know Sophia at first! You lied to me!”
“Leave, please. Now.”
I glare furiously at Wren, then turn on my heel and slam the door behind me. So much for Wren helping me. I’m on my own. I’m on my own and the terrifying thought that I might not absolutely hate Jack Hunter’s guts is looming over my brain like a guillotine. And the mystery of Sophia is getting deeper and extremely annoying-er. I have to find that girl, and pronto, if I want any answers.
But do I? Is digging around in Jack’s past really going to help me in not liking him? Of course it will, what am I saying? He clearly hurt Sophia. If I learn just how badly, I can knock this funky idea out of my brain that I think he’s cute at all. It’s the perfect tactic. And until then, I’ll quash whatever idiotic feelings are brewing for him under seven tons of lead bricks inscribed with the word NOPE. I have a war to win, a date to get ready for, and an arrogant ass**le to finally force into apologizing to the only friend I’ve made so far.
Jack Hunter is not sexy.
Jack Hunter is on my shitlist, forever.
And just to let him know it, I sneak into the Agriculture building and scoop a plastic baggie full of goat-and-chicken-and-god-knows-what-other-animal-poop compost, and lob it on his windshield. It splatters on a new Dramaclub Wailer girl love note tucked under the wipers, and I smile to myself and run just as campus security yells after me. There aren’t many people in the halls, but I almost run smack into Knife-kid as I turn a corner.
“Hi,” I say breathlessly. “Can I use your jacket?”
“Uh,” He looks down at the military-inspired green jacket. “Sure. Just be careful. It’s vintage. See the holes with dark stuff around them? Those are stab wounds from Vietnam –”
“Fascinating. Thanks!” I grab it and put it on, running as the sound of footsteps gets loud behind me. I pull a hairband off my wrist, put my hair into a bun, and roll my jeans up. The first person I see around this corner has to cooperate with me, or I’m done for. I have to pretend I’ve been talking to them for ages, and I have to face away from the security, so they only see my back. I turn left and race down the hall, my heart singing when I see someone with their head in their locker. I pull their arm and slam the locker shut.
“Quick,” I hiss. “Pretend we’ve been talking for a long time, and if security comes by, point in another direction.”
“Why should I?” Avery glowers.
“C’mon, please!”
“You’ll owe me.”
“That’s great! Sure! I love owing the devil favors!”
The security comes barreling around the corner, and Avery raises her voice.
“So I was telling him not to call me again, but he just couldn’t get the message, you know? Anyway, do you have Calc or English after this?”
“Which way did the running girl go?” A balding officer pants. I pull my jacket slightly over my chin. Avery looks him up and down and jerks her thumb behind her.
“Thank you,” The other officer wheezes. They take off down the hall, pot bellies swaying. When they’re gone, Avery smirks.
“You’d think they’d be able to remember what a girl with purple streaks in her hair looks like. Idiots.”
“Right, so, what do I owe you? Let’s get this over with Shelob.”
“Are you comparing me to a giant spider?”
When I nod, she looks mildly impressed, and then suddenly points at me, all business.
“You’re going to help me break into Jack’s house after school today.”
“Wow, uh, normally I would be one hundred percent down for criminal robbery, but I’m sort of having a crisis pertaining him, and -”
“Wow, duh, I don’t care. Should I call those fat-asses back? Oh boys!! I’ve got someone here –”
“Fine!” I hiss, clamping a hand around her wrist. “Just tell me what to do.”
“Meet me in the parking lot after school. You’ll be driving. Are you in any AP classes?”