In the end, Matt and Jason both got detention for the rest of the week. It angered me that the principal gave Jason detention too, even though he never touched Matt. The principal claimed Jason 'instigated' the fight and if he was punished for it, there might be a problem with Matt's parents--not the kind of heat the principal wanted to deal with. That was the Durants for you. If their precious son got in trouble for something 'he would never do', the Durants would come up to the school raising all kinds of hell. To be honest, I seemed more angry about Jason's sentence than Jason himself was.
"...Something like that was bound to happen. I have a history of getting into trouble. It's kinda like a curse." That was the only thing Jason said when I asked him about it. "You know, when I asked you to tell me about yourself, I figured you would use your words like a normal person, unless there's some hidden telepathic ability you have that I don't know about?"
"What?...Oh sorry. I'm not sure where to start."
"What do you like to do for fun? Anything other than hanging out with me?"
"I can't physically process how arrogant you are. It's beyond human capacity. For fun though, I like to read, take pictures, draw sometimes."
"What kind of stuff do you read? I bet it's those vampire romance novels like Twilight."
"Ugh, yeah right. Those make me gag. Besides, I hate Twilight. No vampire should ever sparkle. No, I read fiction. Fantasy mostly, as long as there's some supernatural element to it."
"I dunno. I guess it kinda gives me a way out of reality. In those stories, there's adventure, excitement, and fear. I feel like that's how life should be, not this boring domestic crap."
"'Boring domestic crap'? It's official, I have never met a girl like you. If you had a life like those fantasy stories, wouldn't monsters exist? What if not all monsters looked like monsters? What if they looked human? Would you cower in fear? Would you run?"
"I guess it depends."
"So, you're gonna sit it down and as it to tell you about itself then?"
I was silent as I thought about a response. Jason must have taken my silence as a yes because he burst out laughing. This time, I didn't blush or get annoyed.
"It doesn't have to go that deep. I don't have to know anything about it. A monster is only a monster if it behaves like one. It doesn't matter what it looks like. What matters is what it does. If it was to attack, I would run. If it was to leave me alone, I wouldn't necessarily see it as a monster. It just depends."
At some point during my speech, Jason had stopped laughing. I could feel him staring at me as we continued walking. After a few seconds, Jason cleared his throat.
"So, um, why are you still here?"
"Here as in...?"
"In Freeridge. If you don't like it here, why not leave?"
I shrugged. "Never thought that much about leaving," I lied.
"Yeah, that's bullshit, but I won't push...What about your family?"
"Not much to say. It's just me and my dad. My mom left him years ago. I almost wish she'd taken me with her but, then there wouldn't be anyone here to take care of my dad."
"So, she just up and left?"
"I don't really remember. It's kind of a blur. Most of my childhood is, but that's probably because there wasn't much to remember...Um, you mentioned earlier about your mom, that she died."
Instantly, Jason shut down. As soon as I mentioned his mom, he clenched his jaw shut and fixed his eyes on the ground. I could tell he wasn't going to open up about it and I felt bad for bringing it up. I pulled out my phone and snapped a picture of Jason. He halted mid-step and stared at me.
"Why did you--?"
"I told you, I like taking pictures."
"Oh, come on. Not only did you not get my good side but you caught me after a fistfight. That's not gonna be a picture worth keeping."
"It will. No matter what it looks like, I'll keep it. I'm grateful to you, Jason, for actually being friends with me."
"Don't thank me for that but please delete the picture? I don't like people taking my pictures."
"Then you shouldn't drop your guard. I'm keeping it and you can't stop me."
I stuck out my tongue at him stubbornly. I didn't leave room for him to complain again as I strode in front of him. Now suddenly he's camera shy? I knew that arrogant bravado was just for show.
"Uh, what's with school anyway? You keep saying something about not having any friends. I'm sure someone would be your friend, besides me. Maybe you're just not seeing--"
"That's not it. It's complicated."
"Yes, you are. Extremely complicated. I find it interesting and, believe it or not, I've got the patience. Let's hear this complicated tale."
"I don't want you to know about it. Everyone already does and obviously, they don't like it. You're kind of my only friend and I'd really rather not lose you."
"I appreciate the high honor you have me in but, friends don't keep secrets. If this keeps up, you'll end up knowing my secrets too but you've got to give in order to receive. Right?"
"Fine, follow me."
I broke off from the sidewalk and walked across the street, Jason hot on my heels. I kept praying that the story wouldn't scare him off, not that I really believed it would. Next up: the house and murder of the Wright family. We still had a few blocks to go before we reached the house, but I was already getting goosebumps.