Chapter 27

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Taelor slammed her lunch tray down on the table and tossed herself into the seat beside me. She was practically vibrating on the spot and there was a very wide smile on her face. This could only mean one thing. 

Something very big had happened in the world of Taelor. 

"Are you normally this excited to eat lunch?" Archer asked Taelor with a raised eyebrow. 

Taelor shook her head, not even minding Archer's highly sarcastic tone. "Guess who just asked me to the winter formal, Hadley," she said, gripping my arm tightly. 

"Hmm... I'm going to take a wild guess and say Noah Parker did," I said, giving her a grin. 

Taelor nodded vigorously and let out an excited squeal. "Do you know how long I've had a thing for Noah Parker? Since freshman year! And he finally asked me out! Oh my God, Hadley, Saturday is going to be the best night ever!"  

Noah Parker was a friend of Ty Ritter and was on the football team like his pal. Taelor had had a thing for Noah since she first laid eyes on him at freshman orientation three years ago. She just never actually talked to him. 

And I could understand why Archer would have no interest in listening to this at all. 

"He sure didn't beat around the bush, did he?" I said. "It's Thursday and the dance is on Saturday." 

"Yes, well..." Taelor trailer off. "He told me he'd just been mustering up the courage to ask me." 

"Do you even have a dress?"  

"Yes! Of course I do! I was going to go with Brie and Chelsea and the girls even if I didn't get asked! I found this dress in Bloomingdale's the other weekend, and let me tell you, Hadley, it's absolutely gorgeous. It has this - " 

She stopped her rapid babbling for a moment and then stared at Archer. He was picking at my fries again and the look on his face was anything but interested.  

"Can I help you, Taelor?"  

Archer dropped his fry and leaned forward on his elbows, resting his head in his hands. He gave Taelor such a ridiculous smile I was surprised she didn't say anything about it. It was literally all I could do not to burst out laughing. 

"Aren't you going to ask Hadley to the winter formal?" Taelor demanded.  

My jaw dropped as I looked at her in horror. "Taelor! What was that for?" 

Taelor shrugged off my comment like it was nothing and continued to stare at Archer demandingly.  

My boyfriend - I was still getting used to calling Archer my boyfriend, but there was no getting around that fact, since we were dating - and my best friend embarked on a stare down of wills. It lasted for a good few moments before Archer got to his feet, strode around the table, got down on one knee and took my hand in his. 

"Archer!" I hissed. "What the hell are you doing? Get up!" 

He ignored me and said in a serious voice, "Hadley Ann Jamison. Will you go to the winter formal with me?" 

"No! I don't want to go to the winter formal!"  

A smirk curled Archer's lips as he got to his feet. "Thank you, Hadley." 

He took his seat at the table again and started picking at my steak fires. 

"There," he told Taelor smugly. "I asked her to the winter formal, and she said no. Happy?" 

"Okay," Taelor finally said. And then she rounded on me with an angry look. "Why don't you want to go the winter formal?" 

"I hate dancing," I said at the exact same time Archer said, "I hate everyone at this school." 

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