Thirteen

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[Liam]

Of all the fuckery.

At least now Evie is the least of my problems.

"Liam Davis! Did you get in another fight? You've been doing so well." Lucy's face falls when I limp into her office.

Emmett gave up a hell of a fight. "You should see the other guy."

She sets to work bandaging my knuckles and tapping a little hammer thing against my legs. The further along she goes the lower my head sinks into my hands.

I'm seventeen for fuck's sake.

Yet I can't help worrying about Sam. No doubt he's home with Ollie now, I'll be headed there as soon as Lucy is done.

"What happened dear?" She asks scooting back in her wheelie stool.

"I don't want to talk about it." I sigh.

"Liam," she puts a hand on my knee. "I don't know what's changed recently, but you've been so ... good these last months. You're mother would be proud."

"Thanks."

"I mean it. You're mother wanted so much for you. She loved you more than anything in this world. Whatever you're going through next, she'd want you to find a healthy way to cope with it all. And I know you can do it."

I thank her again with a hug and then duck out of school. She gives me an emergency get out of jail free card, telling the office assistant I'm going home because I'm too sick to be at school.

I waste no time.

"Sam!" I yell into the house, coming through the door. "Ollie?"

"—I'm leaving I can't." I round the corner and hear the two arguing.

Boxes and suitcases are thrown all over the living room and I freeze.

"What are you doing?" My heart stops for a moment.

"Emmett is here! Don't you understand that? Either of you? That means the General is right behind. It's been years since I saw them last, and I want to keep it that way!" Sam slams his fist into the wall.

"Don't leave, don't go." Ollie reaches for him. "I love you. Who cares if you're family comes, I love you and that won't change."

"Ollie. Leave." I say cooly.

This is one of those times. Sam needs his brother, not his boyfriend.

He turns to start on me, but something in my gaze must have let him know that I was dead serious. He nods solemnly and walks out.

"You're not gonna do it so might as well put all the boxes back in the closet." I sigh and help him put everything away in silence

"His face, Liam." Sam finally says when we're done. "It's the same as the day I left. The cruel glint in his eye, I just— I'm terrified. And I hate it."

"I understand. And I'm here for you. He may have found out where you go to school, but our home will always be a safe space. You never have to go back there."

"I never have to go back." He nods along.

"We've got a year and a half left man. Think of the future. We'll go to college and everything will be great. Get out of Somerset, you're your own man Sam."

"And you know what else? Emmett practically snapped like a toothpick between my fingers. You aren't a little kid anymore and you can take him." I continue.

He smiles a little and runs a hand through his curls.

"You've got friends looking out for you. A boyfriend that apparently loves you. And a family, two brothers and a sister right here that always have your back."

"Always?" He chuckles.

"Till the day you die. Even then I might make myself I necklace out of your spine." I hug my best friend. "We can take the rest of the week off, no problem."

"No."

"No?"

"You're right. I mean I'm terrified, but best thing is to face it. SHS is my turf, ours. I dare him to do anything more to me, I was just shocked more than anything today."

"Alright, your call." I say.

"What the fuck man. The weirdest shit happens to us, I mean this is unreal." Sam lays back with his arms behind his head.

"You're telling me. We've gone through enough to warrant a mid-life crisis."

"I wouldn't change it for anything though."

"I think I would. I miss the way things used to be."

"Sometimes, me too."

***

[Evie]

I wake up swinging. Ash stands back and crosses his arms. He's glaring at me and I feel my heart sink to my toes. He's scaring me now, I've never seen him angry before.

"Did you know." He asks.

"About?"

"Emmett." He says calmly. "Did you know who he was?"

"Of course not!" I gasp. He really thought I could ever. . .

I stand and shove past him. Not everything is my fault. He relaxes a bit, but doesn't come after me.

I walk straight off campus and walk aimlessly. I end up stopping at Gerald's Creek. I throw my backpack to the ground and pick up a handful of rocks. I squat down and start tossing them one by one.

The winter is growing off the ground, and the cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom. Spring is coming. With a shout I throw the last of my rocks into the creek and a big splash ensues.

As the ripples settle in the murky water, I see the sun's reflection, and then mine. My face looks hardened and angry. I immediately drop my scowl.

Nothing's gone right since I came back from St Anne's. I haven't been living like I said I would. Enjoying the life I've been given. I get angry all the time, and I haven't been a good friend to anyone.

I stand and put my bag back over my head. It's another 30 mins, but I walk home after texting Brandon. It gives me time to reflect.

It's been a crazy day, but an eye-opening one. For all of us. We've all become so caught up with dramas and craziness. No one deserves this anymore.

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