The EnvelopeMature

The next day school dragged on forever. I just wanted it to be over and done with so that Christian and I could go out on our date. We'd decided on tonight instead of last night like he wanted. Since I had never been on one before, it was something I was anxious to experience. Plus it was a chance for normalcy, and that was something I was desperate to grab onto while I could.

Before the last class let out, I was stopped at the door by Veronica and Claire. They had been two of Cassie's friends, the other half of her otherwise horrible exterior, and had been giving me looks for days.

"We have to talk to you," Veronica said. "It's important."

"It couldn't possibly be," I said, rolling my eyes. "The two of you have never had anything important or nice to say to me in four years. So what is it?"

"It's about Cassie," Claire offered kindly, stepping forward. She looked extremely sad at the mention of her friend. "She didn't hate you, you know. She put on an act and she wanted you to know that before she was--"

"I guess you didn't go to the funeral," Veronica muttered. "But why would you when you thought she hated you? Maybe you should have gone, Kendall, that way you'd have known the truth."

"What are you talking about?" I asked, annoyed.

Claire spoke next, her voice tight, small.

"Cassie's mom told us that Cassie wrote a bunch of letters before she died, to the people she had hurt in her lifetime, and she wanted you to have this."

When Claire passed me an envelope, I stared at it before putting it in my pocket. All I wanted now was to get out of this room, to get as far away from these people as I could. I didn't want to be reminded about Cassie Winter's death, because I thought about it every time I closed my eyes at night.

So I left.

On the way out into the parking lot, after being pushed by several students because they couldn't just wait to leave, a hand fell on my shoulder. It gripped tightly at first, whirling me around. I spun and faced a pair of forest green eyes.

Jude dropped his hand and frowned. "Didn't you hear me calling you?"

"No," I said, shaking my head.

"In your own world, huh?" He smiled. "Mind if I join you there?"

"You wouldn't like my world," I told him, and it was true. He wouldn't do well there. "It's full of horrible things."

"Like monsters?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.

I suddenly wished the only thing in my world that I had to worry about were monsters. Before I said another word, an arm went around my waist, pulling me close. I inhaled the scent of cinnamon.

"Hey," Christian said roughly into my ear.

"Hi," I said, winding my own arm around his body. I stared into his hazel eyes, but they weren't looking at me.

"Hello, Christian," Jude said softly, inclining his head politely. "How are you today?"

"Not so well. You see, there's this annoying little prick in front of my eyes and it's hard to make it go away. Do you think you can help me with that?" His lips twisted into a nasty smirk.

I reached up and pinched the back on his neck with my nails, making him wince.

"Sorry," I told Jude, "but we have to go. I need to get Christian home before he contracts any more of the asshole disease."

Jude let out a small laugh. "I think he's already caught more than that, darling."

Christian's body tensed and he made a low growling noise in the back of his throat. Before he could do any permanent damage, I gripped his wrist and pulled him out the door. When we were finally close to our cars, I glared at him.

"You're so rude. What is wrong with you?"

There was a hard, unkind way he was looking at me.

"I don't want to get into this now, Scott, I just want to go home."

I shifted uncomfortably, more from his tone than anything else. I glanced at him. "What time are we meeting later?"

He frowned and shook his head. "I don't think it's a good idea right now."

"Why not?" I asked, my lips twitching. "If it's because of Jude, it's a stupid reason."

"It's not," Christian said, sighing. "There's just some stuff going on that I need to figure out and I can't do that with you around. I'm sorry."

I stood, watching him get into his car, then I turned around to leave, tears blurring my vision. Jude was standing behind me with his hand outstretched. Something in me worked on its own and I walked toward him.

The End

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