Chapter 20

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I should have expected what would happen the next day at school. I arrived at my locker five minutes before the first bell to find Dakota pressed against it while Blake, one arm stretched up above her head, the other wrapped around her waist, kissed her like her tongue in his mouth was his only source of oxygen.

Lovely. I couldn't muster up any jealousy. After an hour-long tapdancing session with Jack last night, I'd managed to scour the memory of Blake's confused advances from my loop. I was all about Jack now. Screw this IRL version.

Ignoring my annoyance, I cleared my throat. Blake could make out with his Queen of Hell as much as he wanted, but I needed my Communications workbook. "Excuse me, your royal highnesses, I need to get into my locker."

This would be the routine for the next eight months—I was sure of it. Find Blake making out with Dakota, throw up in my mouth a little bit, then ask them to move.

Blake pried himself away from Dakota, shifting to the side. I wished I could decipher shame or regret or at the very least confliction in his expression, but there was none of that. There was none of anything. His cheeks looked carved out and hollow; his eyes empty.

"See you at lunch, Dakota." He walked away without another glance in my direction.

Dakota lifted herself off my locker and opened her own. "You know, Mazie, I can make your life bearable, or I can make you wish you'd never left your old school."

"I already wish that."

She slammed her locker closed. "You know what I mean."

"Not really."

"You went to Silverdale with Blake yesterday."

Crap, he'd told her. "Technically, I went with Shelby. Blake was just the driver. Shelby wanted to--"

"Don't try that with me. I know you're interested in him. He said so."

"He what? Dakota, he's lying to you."

"I can't believe how naïve you are. You think you can move in and what—just take what you want? You can't! Blake is mine. He'll be mine as long as I want him to be. You don't get to show up and make him act like a space case. You are nothing!"

I ignored her last remark. "What do you mean a space case? I swear to God, Dakota, I have enough problems without trying to steal your boyfriend. And I'm not some fairytale witch who's cast a spell on him. I'm not making him a space case. I don't even know what you mean by that."

"You just saw for yourself." She wrinkled her nose. "It felt like I was being kissed by a zombie. Something's wrong with him. I even asked if he started taking drugs, but I don't think he'd do that. That's not his scene."

Drugs. Maybe not illicit ones, but he was on something. "What does he have a prescription for? He had an alarm set on his phone so he wouldn't forget to take them."

She shrugged. "I don't know. I didn't ask. Figured it was for ADHD or something."

"You're not curious?"

Her eyes turned into lasers. I might be shot at and disintegrate at any moment. "I'm not with him so I can memorize his medical history. God, you are so lame. Just stay away from him and none of this needs to be your problem. Do you understand me?"

I nodded. I understood her all too well. She and Blake were both awful people and they were welcome to each other. I'd keep my sweet Jack and even without being able to touch him or smell him or leave the house with him, it was still better than being with the Populars.

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