Tyler snagged my attention straight away in class the next morning.
'Saw you out last night,' he said.
I didn't know what he was on about at first, and didn't really pay much attention until he asked me what I was doing near Crickton Bridge and then the realization dawned on me. He'd obviously seen me as I was giving Jamie his blanket for the night. It was tough enough escaping the house without alerting my parents, there was no way in hell I thought Tyler of all people would have seen me.
'Oh, yeah I was just out with some friends,' I replied nonchalantly, keeping a perfect poker face.
He raised a skeptical eyebrow. 'With El?'
'No,' I frowned. 'Some friends you don't know. Why the sudden interest?' I ducked my head under my desk, pretending to root through my bag, just so he couldn't read the panic in my eyes.
'It's dangerous down there, that's all. It's where a lot of the homeless people stay.'
'No kidding,' I breathed, pulling a pen and a notepad out of my bag.
'Yeah. There was an attack there a few months ago. Some homeless guy got beaten to a pulp. He died from his injuries.'
Jeez. How easily could that have been Jamie? The streets weren't safe for a guy like him.
'That's awful,' I looked down at an empty sheet of paper.
The teacher called us all to attention and Tyler shifted to face the front again. I couldn't ignore the hammering in my chest though, my heart was still pounding ferociously at the close encounter I had just faced and the shocking news about the homeless guy. I had a sudden, wild impulse to take Jamie home with me. The urge was so intense and desperate it rendered me speechless for several seconds. The teacher had to call twice during the register before I responded, earning a few funny looks from my friends.
Why couldn't I take him home with me?
He's not a pet Evie. He's a human being.
Yeah, but if I just explained to mum and dad about the attack, they couldn't say no could they?
You know they would. There's no way your parents would let a homeless guy in their house, you know how pretentious they are.
El interrupted the mental argument I was having with myself.
'I'm feeling a Starbucks after school, what do you say?'
'Do we have to go out after school every day?' I laughed lightly.
'What do you mean?' she blinked.
'Well what if I just wanna go home and relax? I can't afford to spend money each day on shopping trips and Starbucks.'
'Wow, what's wrong with you? It was just a suggestion, you don't have to come if you don't want to.' She turned away from me, giving a little hmpff as she did so, but I didn't really care. I was too busy weighing up the pros and cons of inviting Jamie to come and live with me.