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I sat up all night thinking about what I could possibly do to diffuse the situation. I'm not his guide anymore, but that doesn't change the fact that he's still around.

I wish I didn't care so much. Sometimes I wish I was indifferent like Lauren or Mia. Even being decisive like Camille would be helpful here.

Over and over I replay Ash's words from yesterday while I stumble through my morning. I thought we were closer than that. How could I have possibly known Emmett was Sam's brother? They don't even go by the same last name.

He was so cold and terrifying. Every bit the born businessman he was. Gone was the gentle laughter that always gleamed in his eyes. Along with the easy going, pleasant voice he normally used.

Mom's gone when I go downstairs. She must've left for work early. A small bowl of fruit has a note next to it.

"Brandon went into school early to talk to Coach Maddox. And I had to run quickly this morning! See if Mia or Boston can come get you."

I sigh, getting my license is on my bucket list for sure. Tryouts for the lacrosse team start today after school. It seems like lifetimes ago that Brandon invited Liam to try his luck.

I call Mia and she agrees to swing by and grab me.

"You alright, E?" She asks as I buckle in. I forget, I didn't tell anyone else.

"Yeah I'm good." I offer a smile and we pull away.

"Mid-Winter break is coming up!" She bounces excitedly. "Lauren says we can go up to her cabin for a girls weekend."

"That sounds great." I say enthusiastically.

"Just the girls again before we buckle down and get ready for the SSS award."

"For sure." I laugh.

"Ceci and Mags miss you." She says. "I feel like I haven't seen you in forever."

"I guess we've been caught up in our own worlds." I say pointedly. She blushes.

"I'm sorry, E, but I'm also not. I've waited years to have Brandon and the truth is, I love him." Mia sighs.

I soften my features. "I'm happy for you."


Liam's bandaged knuckles tap rhythmically on the table. He seems to have more energy than usual today, rocking in his chair and bouncing his leg more.

I place my good hand over on his and his eyes snap to mine.

"Are you okay?" I ask honestly. I'm sure he's not, but sometimes you can't let it out and say that you're not okay until someone asks.

He leans forward and puts all four legs of his chair down. Liam doesn't say anything really, he only sighs and gathers me into his arms. I happily reciprocate his hug.

"We'll be fine." He refers to Sam and himself.

It frustrates me that I don't know the whole story, but I suppose it would be hypocritical of me to judge that. I only hope Sam is okay.

The day is slow and gray. Asher is noticeably absent from chem and Camille isn't at lunch either. Emmett saunters over to us and tries to sit, but upon receiving glares from everyone his face falls.

"What?" He asks.

Liam squeezes my hand and suppresses a growl.

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