The teacher laid out all the art materials on the middle table and told us to do whatever we wanted before disappearing into her office. Michael just did more pencil sketching while I attempted to draw characters from my favourite manga series half-heartedly.
“You won't guess what we learnt this morning,” Amber said, failing to hide her knowing grin. Michael raised an eyebrow, waiting for her to continue.
“Derek and Darren are together,” I explained. Amber made a small, annoyed sound.
“Ruin the surprise,” she pouted, though I could tell she wasn't that bothered. Michael had a moment of shock before smiling.
“Well, I'm happy for them both,” he said.
“Zack will probably be relieved too,” Amber added. I sighed, slapping my face in my palm. She looked from me to him in confusion.
“What?” she asked. Her face turned sheepish when she realised what she'd insinuated. She opened her mouth but her phones went off, she glanced it. Confusion flinted across her features before she stood up.
“I'll be outside,” she said. I starred after her back as the door closed. What was she doing? I had a bad feeling it was to do with stopping my moving.
“You okay?” I asked Michael. He shrugged, he'd dealt with Amber when she was a lot worse. Before I'd come along and surprised her, but even I'd seen the glimpses of it.
“Yeah. Actually, it's probably better Amber isn't here. Wouldn't want to get her hopes up,” Michael said, failing completely to contain a smile.
“What have you planned?” I asked, figuring it was some surprise thing he was warning me off.
“I understand if you want to move to stay with your family. But I kind of asked Jeremy about it. There's enough space at mine. And there's less chance of things getting complicated. And if you take the spare room, Evan can't stay over as much. So you'd be helping me as much as helping yourself,” Michael ranted, his nerves growing as he spoke. When he finished he looked at me.
“Have I overstepped some kind of mark?” he asked, clasping and unclasping his hands anxiously. I starred at him for a few moments, my mind still adsorbing his words.
“It'd be pretty awesome to live with one of my best friends,” I finally said. I saw his body relax as he returned my smile. “I'll need to check with my parents. But I get the feeling they'll be okay with the idea,” I added. Dad knew I loved this place and hopefully they trusted me to take care of myself. I thought about the old scars on my wrists, or maybe they wouldn't.
The mid-morning break passed by without incident. Which was impressive considering how openly Quinn and Lewis were glaring at each other. I glanced at Nick but he didn't seem like he was paying attention to anyone in the corridor, just on getting his next lessons books out. I sat next to Michael in English, he was already there with Derek. It looked like he'd already beaten me in asking for details.
“None of your business,” Derek said, his cheeks turning a little red. I sat down behind them and made a sad sound.
“But we want to know. I mean, Darren? How did that happen?” I asked, I didn't mean it meanly, but it really threw me. They were complete opposite from what I could tell.
“He just kissed me. And it felt nice ...” Derek trailed off, very clearly blushing now.
“I wonder how long the crush has been going on for. He was pretty eager to come to bowling. It seemed a little odd, but I didn't bother asking why,” I shrugged.
“I've missed so much,” Michael murmured.
“It was probably a good thing. It was world war 3 the first few weeks. Zack and Lewis were at each other throats. Then Quinn just took over,” Derek explained.
“Lewis has mostly been avoiding me, but I've noticed how different he is,” Michael frowned, his forehead scrunching up.
“I still can't believe he got away with it. Whoever was fighting his case must've been really good,” Derek muttered.
“You going to become a lawyer and make sure it doesn't happen again?” I joked. Derek had always been pretty unsure about what he wanted to do.
“My mum would love that,” he muttered, shuddering at the thought.
“Well, I guess you have until the end of university to figure it out,” Michael said. I could tell by the way he studied Derek they'd had this kind of conversation before.
“The only thing I'm good at is cramming. And even then I need help sometimes,” Derek muttered. He shrugged it away. Michael looked ready to say something but the teacher walked in. The rest of English and Maths afterwards passed quickly. Kim mostly gushed about her last date with Anisha. I smiled but felt a little sad. I shoved it away, I would still be able to see Amber if I wanted. We just had to drive for 5 hours. It could've been worse.