Chapter One Hundred and Nine

After We Fell


chapter

one hundred and nine

 

TESSA

 

In class, the guy I’ve determined is a future politician leans over and whispers to me, “Who did you vote for in the election?”

    I feel slightly uncomfortable around my new classmate. He’s charming, too charming, and his dressy clothes and brown skin make for a very distracting sight. He’s not attractive in the same way that Hardin is, but he’s certainly attractive, and he knows it.

    “I didn’t,” I reply. “I wasn’t old enough to vote.”

    He laughs. “Right.”

    I didn’t really want to talk with him, but in the last few minutes of class our professor instructed us to talk among ourselves while he took a phone call. I’m relieved when the clock strikes ten and it’s time to go.

    The future politician’s attempt to continue making small talk with me as we exit the classroom fails miserably, and after a few seconds he dismisses himself and walks the other way.

    I’ve been distracted all morning. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what Steph must have said to Hardin to get him so worked up. I know he believed me about the rumors about Zed, but whatever else it was that she said to him bothered him enough that he didn’t want to repeat it.

    I hate Steph. I hate her for what she did to me and for getting into Hardin’s head and hurting him—by using me, in a way. By the time I make it to my art history class, I’ve planned ten different scenarios of how to murder that horrible girl in my mind.

    I sit next to Michael, the blue-haired boy from the first class with the good sense of humor, and spend the entire hour of art history laughing at his jokes, which is a good distraction from my homicidal thoughts.

    At last the day’s over, and I’m heading to my car. Right as I reach it and start to climb in, my phone starts vibrating. I expect it to be Hardin, but looking down, I see it’s not. I have three text messages, two of which just showed up.

    I decide to read my mother’s first: Call me. We need to talk.

    Next is Zed’s. I take a deep breath before pressing the small envelope-shaped button. I’ll be in Seattle Thurs-Sat. Let me know when you’re free :)

    I rub my temples, grateful that I saved Kimberly’s message for last. Nothing she has to say could possibly be as stressful as telling Zed that I take back my offer of seeing him or having a conversation with my mother. Did you know Loverboy is going to London next weekend?

    I spoke too soon.

    England? Why would Hardin be going to England? Is he moving there after he graduates? I reread her text message . . .

    Next weekend!

    I rest my forehead against the steering wheel of my car and close my eyes. My first instinct is to call him and ask him why he’s hiding the trip from me. I stop myself from doing that because this is the perfect opportunity for me to try not to jump to conclusions without asking him first. There is a chance, a small one, that Kimberly is mistaken and Hardin isn’t going to England next weekend.

    My chest tightens at the thought of him still wanting to move back there. I’m still trying to convince myself that I’ll be enough to keep him here.