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( holly, jolly, pt. ii )
• °:.☆ . ₊°• ☆ . ° .• °:. *₊ ° . ☆
LAURA KNOWS IN her gut that something is wrong.
She can feel it like sharpened claws slithering down her back for the rest of the school day, waiting for the perfect moment to strike and sink deep into her skin. It's a haunting sensation of always being watched. She finds herself looking over her shoulder in the hallways, double-checking every corner to ensure nothing is lurking on the other side.
She isn't even sure what she's afraid of— the boogeyman coming to abduct her? Whatever it is, it has her filled to the brim with anxiety for the second half of the day. Her face is no longer blotchy from crying, but she feels like she's teetering on the edge of another breakdown at any moment if she gets pushed that way.
It makes things worse when Laura is walking down the hallway after her last class and is yanked into an alcove. A gasp falls from her lips while her heart leaps into her throat. She blinks, and soon Steve's face is in focus, a finger pressed to his lips as he violently shushes her.
Laura gathers her bearings enough to smack him in the chest and hiss, "What the hell?"
"Shhhh! Shh! Shhh!" Steve's shushing is louder than her voice. He finally gets her to fall silent — mostly out of incredulity — and peers around to make sure nobody is nearby to hear them. Luckily, this hallway is where the Seniors' lockers are, and most of them have either gone home already or are getting ready for the big football game tonight.
This is what she has been fearing: a moment alone with Steve.
Before she'd woken up in his house this morning, they have never shared one-on-one time. They hadn't interacted before he'd gotten involved with Nancy, and afterward, their time together had only consisted of group hangouts. There has never been a reason for them to be alone because they aren't friends. They have nothing in common.
But now they've been linked by accident because of something Laura did while she was violently hungover.
"If you're trying to kidnap me, I will hurl on something other than your parents' potted plant," Laura threatens in a low whisper.
"No, I—" Steve squeezes his eyes shut in annoyance. "Why would I want to kidnap you?"
She shrugs, having no real reason.
"I think we need to... talk," he forces out the last word like it's being pried from his mouth.
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