"Ethan is the guy that drove you to Sam’s house yesterday?" James asked.
"That’s him. Yesterday he seemed like a good person, but I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover, can you?" I popped a fry into my mouth.
Sam, Angie, James, Sean and myself sat around our favorite table at The Brew and ate our lunch. I couldn’t stop thinking about Ethan and his smugness nor could I get Mike out of my head as well. I was somewhere else; I was no longer at lunch.
"He sounds very dumb if he’s trying to pick a fight with Josh," Angie said. "Everyone knows that guy has anger issues."
"He sounds kind of like a douchebag to me," Sam said. "I mean, he could be nice and we are all just judging him, but I guess we won’t really know."
Sean shrugged and leaned back into his seat and placed his arms behind his head. "Who cares? It is now old news."
"How is this old news?" Angie said. "It just happened this morning and we know that Josh can hold grudges."
"We helped him with the grudge holding," James said. "He should be able to forgive and forget."
"You’re forgetting that Josh and Emelia have been together since we were freshmen. For her to just quote on quote forget that she has a boyfriend – one of the scariest boys on campus nonetheless – is stupid and very unbelievable."
I felt nudging beside me and I looked over at Sam. She had her eyebrow raised. "Everything okay?" she whispered to me. "You don’t look like you’re all the way here."
I shrugged. "No." I surprised myself by telling the truth and I think that I surprised Sam too. "I don’t know exactly what’s wrong, but I know that something is."
"Do you need to talk about it?"
I shook my head and placed a little smile on my face. "Not here or now. I just need to think about some things." I shrugged.
"Briana," Sean said, calling my attention. I turned and looked over at her. "Dude, where are you?" I bit my lip, hoping he didn’t hear anything that Sam and I were discussing. "I asked how the whole jock training thing is coming along."
"Adam?" I asked as I continued to put fries in my mouth. "I think he’s getting better. I went to see him this morning and he’s looking like he’s getting back into his quarterback groove."
"And the Sutter boy?" Angie asked nonchalantly as she filled her mouth with salad. I paused for a bit, and sighed. Everyone at the table glared at me as I looked away in thought. "Briana?"
"Sorry," I muttered. I looked around the table. "I don’t know how he is. I don’t really care to know how he is actually." I put another fry into my mouth and leaned back into my seat. The lunch table had never been quieter as I quietly closed my eyes to think. I sighed and opened my eyes as the quietness ticked. "I’m sorry. I’m just really tired and-" I noticed that they weren’t quiet because of me, something behind me had caught their attention.
Turning, I noticed Amelia Cruz standing at the front counter of the Brew. She had spotted us and was now making her way over. Amelia – aka Adam’s ex-girlfriend – was who I helped at the ending of last year. She wanted to get away from Adam because he wasn’t a kind person and she needed my help. I, of course, never turned down anyone in distress even if that means that I get the short end of the stick. She had to have known that I was helping Adam and she was coming here to me to voice her opinion about it.
Standing, I met her halfway. She had a smile on her face as I approached. Once we were three feet apart, she leaned down and brought her arms around me. I was completely dumbfounded at the fact that she was hugging me and not slapping me in the face.
Once she pulled back, she couldn’t stop smiling. "It’s great to see you. I knew you would be here and I just wanted to see how my favorite person in the world is doing."
I eyed her slightly and smiled back a little bit. "Amelia, it’s nice to see you too." Her smile began to falter a little bit and that’s when I knew. "Something is wrong." Her smile faded a bit and I could see her bottom lip quivering. She wasn’t happy, but she played the part very well. "I’ll ride with you back to school and you can tell me what’s going on."
Amelia smiled, pat my shoulder and then turned to leave. Once she was out of the room, I turned and glared at my table. James spoke up first. "What do we do?"
"We do absolutely nothing," I muttered picking up my backpack and running a hand through my hair. "At this moment I’ll see what is going on. You all go back to class until I figure out what to do." I smiled some and turned to make my leave. I needed something to get my mind off Mike and life and this was what I needed.
I met Amelia outside. She drove a very expensive BMW that was a weird creamy color. I got into the passenger’s seat and looked over at her. She looked over at me and smiled. "I know that you’re helping Adam." I opened my mouth to interject, but she stopped me before I could say anything. "I’m not mad at you and that’s not why I’m here."
"Well, why are you here?" I asked.
"A friend of mine needs your help," she said. She still hadn’t started the car or moved or anything. The only thing that she did was clench the wheel and stare forward. "But she just wants your help."
I looked at her intently and shrugged. "I am going to need help. My friends are really good-"
"Just you Briana!" She screamed at me. She turned and looked at me. "She’s not comfortable with sharing her situation with just anyone yet."
I nodded. "Of course. I’ll respect her privacy." I smiled a little bit which made her smile.
"Good." She turned the key into the ignition. "I knew that I could always count on you." Amelia backed out of her parking spot. She flicked her blonde hair over her shoulder and sped on down the road towards the school. "She wants to talk to you after school. She wasn’t able to come to school today, but I promised that you would leave right after school if that was okay with you."
She looked over at me and I smiled.
"That’s perfect for me."
"Good." She looked back at the road. "It’s going to be a long evening."
"No help whatsoever?" That was Sam. She was screaming in my ear. "You know that you don’t work alone right?" She stood by my locker, yelling at me and not allowing me to have a response. "Of course you know this." She ran a hand through her hair and huffed. "But Amelia is just Amelia – a damsel in distress who is now seeking to help other damsels that might be in distress."
"And did she not see us at the table? She totally stole you from our lunch. How does that make her even feel? Does she even feel?"
"And forget the fact that I always help you with the fixing. Does she even care that I was there to help her when she wanted to break up with Adam because he was emotionally abusive?" She glared at me, arms crossed. "Did you forget the fact that he was abusive in that way?"
"No," I said finally able to get a word in. I shut my locker and looked at her. "But people’s privacy is the main policy. I can’t just say no because I want my friends to help." Sam looked over and gave me the side eye. "You know that I’m right."
I proceeded down the packed hallway towards the entrance and Sam was right on my tail. "And who is this Ethan character? How come you didn’t tell me about him any sooner?"
"You were in distress about your sister Sam," I muttered. "I’m sorry that I wanted to save your sister more than I wanted to tell you about some guy who is related to our nurse."
Sam stopped and glared at me. I turned around and looked at her.
"I know that you’re tired and I know that you’re very good at doing things alone, but I know that there is something wrong with you." She shrugged. "I’ve been your best friend since grade school and I can you read you better than you can read you." She leaned out of the way of passing people who were ready to go home. "Now I know you hate when I intervene, but it has never gone wrong. Has it?"
"Alright," I muttered. I grabbed her arm and pulled her out of the way of oncoming traffic. "You are right and you know that I don’t often admit that, but I can’t just bring you along and frighten her; I don’t even know what kind of state she’s in."
"Right," Sam said. "I understand all of that. I also understand that you can’t blow off your friends, i.e. myself."
I glared at her and then sighed. "I don’t mean to blow you guys off. I just need to figure some things out on my own. I don’t need any third parties involved."
Sam tilted her head at me. "Whatever you say your highness." I clenched my jaw as Sam turned in the opposite direction and walked away.
I guess that I couldn’t please everyone.
Turning, I made my way out of the building and towards the football field where I had parked my dad’s car. The football team was already out there practicing in their separation of offense and defense. I scanned the rounds for Adam and I spotted him talking to some scouts that were lined up along the sidelines watching their practice. He had a big grin on his face and I could only assume that whatever was being talked about was something good for him.
"He’s your boyfriend?"
I turned and noticed Ethan leaning against the driver side door, with his arms crossed and his eyes fixated on me. He had a busted lip and a smirk along his face. I crossed my arms. "No."
"He’s who you’re helping for this week?"
I opened the backseat, threw my backpack in and glared at him as I shut the door. "If you will excuse me, I have somewhere to be and you’re blocking the door."
"So you’re going to act like I don’t exist."
"Well you act like what happened earlier was minimal so I don’t think it will be hard for me to act like you’re not standing here actually talking to me."
The smirk on his face faded and he dropped his arms. "You’re really doing this?"
"I’ve had a very long day, week actually and it’s only Tuesday so I think you would understand that I am not the person that is going to sit here and listen to you talk." I observed him. "I get it, you think that I’m pretty and that’s neat. I also get it, you’re just not worth my time Ethan at least not right now so can you please move?"
Ethan clenched his jaw. "Whatever you say, your highness."
Before I moved, I looked at him. "Did you just call me your highness?"
"Well you’re no princess," Ethan said. "Anyone can see that. You’re more determined than a cheeky princess. You’re like a queen. You’ve got your head screwed on. It would be an insult if anyone called you a princess. You’re more than that."
Ethan’s smirk appeared on his face again. "What is it with you?"
He shrugged. "You don’t scare me Briana. Nothing you say can make me want to hate you. Most of what you say is nothing but the truth. I like you."
"You barely know me."
He smiled, showing his pearly whites and making my insides fall. "I’ve seen enough of you to confirm my attractions." He jammed his hands into his pockets. "But I don’t want to bore you with what I like about you." He passed by me. "You’ve got somewhere to be and it would be a shame if I held you up."
He walked away, leaving me with only the lingering smell of his hypnotic cologne and that smile that would haunt me forever.
I looked at the house that I sat in front of and then looked down at my phone where Amelia had texted me the address of her friend, Cynthia. Looking back at the house, a shiver went through my body. I knew that I couldn’t back out now, but I really wish that I did have some type of backup present with me at this moment.
Getting out the car, I glared at the house – or shall I say mansion?
Cynthia lived in Rona, the same town that Adam lived in – and most of the obnoxious people that went to my school. Her home was huge so I knew that her ego had to be really small to ask for help from myself.
I walked around the car and up the mountains of stairs that it took just to get to the front door. On the door were these huge knockers. I looked around, stuck my phone in my pocket and then used one of the huge knockers to beat on the door.
I stood for a minute until the door opened. The lady that answered was a short frumpy lady. She had on the black and white uniform of a maid and so that’s who I suspected her to be. I smiled some and she smiled back at me.
"How can I help you dear?"
"I…" I bit my lip and smiled. "I’m here to see Cynthia. Is this the right place?"
The maid nodded. "Yes. This is the right place." She opened the door more and I walked in. She shut it and I stood there just gazing at their amazing home. Two staircases, a chandelier and amazing lighting. I turned and the maid was smiling. "Cynthia’s room is up the stairs and to the right. There are many doors, but hers is very noticeable." And then she left my sight.
I turned back and looked at the staircase and took the one that was on the right and walked all the way up. It was spiral and it led me to the same place that the stairs on the left would have led me to. I walked down the hallway, trying my hardest to scan all the doors.
Cynthia’s room had her name written across the top in glitter letters. I tapped it slightly. "Who is it?" she asked.
"It’s Briana," I muttered. "I’m Amelia’s friend."
"Of course. You can come on in."
I walked in and was taken back. Her room was all white. It had a TV that built into the wall, a mini fireplace and – this is no exaggeration – a chandelier that hung right between her bed and TV. She stood to the side of me looking at her vanity and primping herself. Her hair was long, brown and wavy. She had on the perfect sundress and she was beautiful. She turned, looked at me and smiled.
Of course I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but it was hard to figure out what was wrong with her by the look on her face.
"I’ve heard so much about you."
"You don’t go to our school." That was the only thing that I knew. Cynthia’s smile began to fade.
"No, I don’t."
"So why did Amelia make it seem as though you did?"
"It’s complicated." She clenched her jaw. "Take a seat Briana; this is going to be a long evening for you."
I was hesitant to, but I took a seat on the edge of her bed. She paced some and ran her hands through her hair a lot which made me noticed that this problem was deep. She looked back at me, eyes glossing over.
"What is it?" I asked.
She shook her head. "My family is very powerful and very famous." She sighed. "And that doesn’t just go for my immediate family, it goes for my aunts and uncles on either side. We have always been in the limelight."
"I don’t care about your family," I muttered. "I care about you and what’s going on with you."
She stopped pacing and looked at me. "I was raped." I opened my mouth to say something, but I couldn’t respond at all. "And… and my brother’s best friend did it to me."
My mouth fell slant.
It was going to be a long evening.
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