In the distance there was a noise, it was faint, but recognizable. I heard it so clearly that I had this feeling I was dreaming. You know, that type of dream where you can feel everything happening, except it all in your mind?
When I was finally able to open my eyes, I saw Caleb sitting on the dingy old couch in his living room, cross-legged, holding a blunt. He took a drag, which was the sound I heard, and tilted his head toward me.
“Cal,” I muttered groggily, “what are you doing? You don’t smoke.”
He shrugged. “You don’t know everything about me, Tate.”
“How did I get here?” I asked, lifting myself from the plush carpet. “I don’t remember going with you.”
“You were upset about Hunter,” he explained, “so you didn’t want to be alone.”
I rubbed my head and groaned, my eyes filling with tears. “I’m a horrible friend. He’s missing and I’m sitting here and not out there looking for him.”
“He’s okay,” Caleb said. “I saw him before I came to get you. He told me to take care of you if something happened to him.”
“You talked to him?” I asked. I got up and sat beside him. “What did he say?”
“Besides what I just told you, he said that he always knew something was wrong with him, that he was running out of time. He feels it now more than ever and he knows he can’t stop it.”
“I have to go,” I said, standing up. I headed for the door. Before I left, I turned around. “Thank you for taking care of me.”
I texted Aria. I asked where she was, and if she could meet me at my house. I didn’t know who else to talk to, or even if she would help me after everything. I thought about calling Elias, but everything was so screwed up.
My phone vibrated in my pocket. I looked at it.
ONE NEW MESSAGE: ELIAS.
My heart sped up as I opened the text.
Hey, how are you? You left so quickly. I was worried. Who was that guy you were with – a friend? I bet you wish you hadn’t skipped detention, hm? It can be made up tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it. :)
I closed my eyes and stopped walking. I was half a block from my house when my phone vibrated again.
ONE NEW MESSAGE: ARIA
I’m not home. What happened? If it’s something with that teacher I don’t want to know about it. I warned you.
I knew what that mean and it frustrated me, but I couldn’t blame her. I was being stupid, but I knew if I told her the truth about Elias, that I was going to tell him I couldn’t do this, then she’d understand.
Sleep was my next step. I figured I’d have a clearer head tomorrow.