Pretending(9)

By: Shanna Clayton



“Fine. We’ll figure out another reason.” She taps her fingers against her chin, thinking. I can practically see the wheels in her head churning from here.

“Wesley would be pissed,” I remind her. “We don’t get involved in each other’s business.”

It’s still hard to believe Hannah knows Wesley better than I do. I mean, Jesus, he’ll sleep with the cook, but he won’t even talk to me. It bothers me more than I’d like to admit.

“Let me fire her for you.” Gwen looks truly excited by the idea. “Trust me, I’ll have no problem doing it in your place.”

She’s ridiculous, and I don’t have the patience to argue with her anymore today. After dealing with Wesley and his friends last night, and then taking two finals this morning, all I want to do is curl up in my bed and sleep. Gwen isn’t letting me get out of going to Graffiti Bash either, which means I’ll be up all night again.

“I think I’m gonna take a nap, Gwen. Do me a favor. If you see Wesley, tell him we’ll stay away from his party.”

Gwen nods. “I’d rather tell him to kiss your ass, but you’re the boss.”

That must be her selective memory talking, because she completely forgot that earlier while she was yelling at me.

I take one last look around the library. Harland and I used to spend hours in here researching. Memories of him are everywhere in this room, from the sound of his voice, to the spicy old-man cologne that I loved, to everything he taught me about reading hieroglyphics and studying ancient artifacts. Spending time in here isn’t the same without him. This room makes me wish for some of that old magic back.

What’s even sadder is that it’s obvious no one comes in here anymore. This place is in desperate need of a good cleaning. We usually keep the library locked up, which is why it’s been overlooked. Dust is caked on the shelves, and it smells a little musty too. Maybe later I’ll come back and work on getting this place back to its former sparkling self.

Gwen’s voice rises from out in the hall, catching my attention. “Hannah, pack your bags—you’re fired!”

Holy crap, I didn’t really believe she’d do it!

The two of them argue in the next room, their voices growing louder by the second. I could easily go put an end to it by telling Hannah she can keep her job, but my feet refuse to budge. Instead I quietly head the opposite way towards my bedroom, a wicked smile pulling at my lips.

I’ll probably go to hell for this. But right now I don’t seem to care.





~ ~





When I walk inside my bedroom, my cell rings. There’s an unknown number on the screen. It could be important. I guess.

“Hello?”

“Hey, baby, it’s Styler. You have no idea how good it is to hear your voice.”

Gah!

I pull the phone away from my ear to look at the screen again. Why didn’t the damn thing warn me he was calling?

“Dolly?” His voice reverberates against my hand. “You there?”

I place the phone next to my ear again, inwardly groaning.

“How did you get this number, Styler?”

“Hayes gave it to me.”

Mental note to self: strangle Hayes.

I changed my number since the last time Styler called. I never gave him my new one, and there was a reason for that.

“I still don’t get how you two became friends.”

Styler is part of my past. We dated in high school, back when I lived with my mom in Savannah. I wish he would stay part of my past, but one could only be so lucky.

“We met on Facebook, remember?”

“You mean do I remember how you maniacally stalked all my guy friends to make sure I wasn’t dating anyone new? Yeah, I remember.”

A snorting noise comes from his end. “I didn’t do any such thing.”

I roll my eyes. As far as exes go, he’s the delusional kind. “So what do you want?”

“Can’t I just call to see how you are?”

“No, you can’t just call to see how I am. Styler, we broke up.” I’ve told him this before. I hate constantly spelling it out for him. He’s not that stupid. Actually, he’s kind of smart. Book smart, anyway. It’s what attracted me to him in the beginning. Emotionally, on the other hand, he’s the biggest idiot ever.

“Like you have more important things to do,” he says, mocking me. “If you weren’t speaking to me right now, I bet you’d be going through Harland’s old books. Or watching documentaries on the History Channel.”

“Hypocrite. You like those documentaries too.”

“Yes, but unlike you, I enjoy doing other things. Like having a life.”

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