― twenty: dare #4

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[ CHAPTER 20 : DARE #4 :i'm the son of rage and love. the jesus of suburbia. the bible of none of the above, on a steady diet of soda pop and ritalin. no one ever died for my sins in hell. as far as i can tell, at least the ones that i got away with. and there's nothing wrong with me, this is how i'm supposed to be. in the last of make believe, that don't believe in me.]


          NICO ISN'T AS BAD as Parker first perceived. In the past week, he never pressured her to do any of the couple like things that come along with relationships. He never intruded on her, never pushed himself on her, and never implied that they had to be intimate. He gave her, her space while also somehow always being there without bugging her. He brought his friends to eat with her, and Cameron at lunch. Was only snarky and rude when Leo would show up, but that began to happen less and less as the boy only kept around her when Nico wasn't there. And, he's nicer than what she previously assumed.

          Actually, the past week went pretty smoothly. Leo was still Leo. He still carried her books, handed her sloppy smiles, and called her beautiful. He ignores she's dating his mortal enemy, and the fact she has a boyfriend―which she promptly informs him of. Cameron, albeit still her actively cold attitude, was surprisingly pleasant around the new addition of Nico, Liam, and Milk around her. Parker wonders if it's just because of the dares, and that once this week is over, she'll kick the three to the curb. Milk is shy but sweet. She doesn't talk much, at least not to Parker, and stays hitched to Liam's side. Just like a frail child. Liam, on the other hand, is mean. Constantly calling her boring, bland, basic, and a bitch. Nico will tell him to shut-up, Leo will to, but the boy doesn't. And, despite his threat last Monday, he's yet to do anything hurtful towards her.

          The dynamic between Leo, Nico, and her dares, is definitely problematic in her mind. She can feel a connection between the three. She doesn't know what it is, or why it's important, but she wants to figure it out. Her conclusions are just conspiracy theories that seem completely out of this world. One, is that either Leo or Nico are a part of the Audience. The second, is that somehow Sofía is alive and is part of the Audience. Lastly, and possibly the sanest, Sofía was once a part of the games. Obviously, she didn't have the romantic dares―as her name wasn't on Parker's tablet back when she was signing the contract―but she could've had one of the other. It makes her want to ask Cameron. As Sofía would've been a mentor of either Heather or Olivia, the same time Cameron was competing. The connections would just be weirder. The mere fact that Cameron previously dated Leo's older brother, was sketchy. But if Nico's older sister was somehow involved with the games: it would make it weirder. Who knows, maybe the Audience has an obsession with the Parker and Pérez families? At least it would make things a little clearer.

          "Finally, the last week with all of them," Cameron, with her blonde hair wrapped into a messy bun atop her head, pulls herself to stand beside the younger. Parker stands at her locker, grabbing her needed supplies, and only nodding at the blonde. "I don't know how you've been able to tolerate Nico. His eating habits are disgusting, and the way he wears his hair makes me want to puke―he needs to kill it with the gel."

          Parker ignores her, as she closes and locks her locker. "Leo's not here." The brunette comments, sounding confused. For the past week, Leo's always been here. Every morning, leaning up against her locker, waiting for her. He'd grab her books before she could tell him no, then talk her ear off as they walked to their classroom. And today, he decides to just...not come.

          "You sound surprised," Cameron snorts, her eyes moving to focus on her perfectly manicured fingernails. "He's Leonardo Parker, that's his thing, not showing up and disappointing everyone in his life. Dante told me millions of stories about the way Leo would embarrass, and fail his mother. I felt sorry, I mean―could you imagine having a failure for a son? I'd cry."

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