“Finally,” says Reagan as she sits across from me and Addison, obviously reading my cell. She doesn’t understand the term personal boundaries. “A reasonable explanation, plus points to Deke for at-mentioning you instead of talking about you like you aren’t watching the feed. I should totally accept his invitation to next week’s dance for that.”

“What are people saying?” I peer over at Reagan and she purses her lips.

Reagan’s small, but she’s full of personality. One of those people you know is there the moment she jazz-hands her way into a room. She’s shorter than me, shorter than most of the girls at school, but she’s runway pretty.

She befriended Addison and me in sixth grade and, I won’t lie, my relationship with her has had its share of ups and downs. Reagan is infatuated with drama. She’s like watching a busy little bee bouncing from flower to flower and Addison and I are the home-base hive.

Addison clicks her tongue in disgust at Reagan. “You’re a gossip. It’s a compulsion for you. We’re aware, so dish what you know.”

At least Reagan has the decency to fidget with her rings in guilt. “I didn’t really gossip about you, Bre, as much as I discussed your current situation so I could get an appropriate sampling of the thoughts of the student population.”

She’d make an excellent politician.

“I’ve considered buying you a muzzle,” Addison says.

Reagan flashes us her brilliant smile. “Put diamonds on that baby and I’m your girl. But I swear, I didn’t trash you.”

What she’s excluding is how she didn’t defend me, either, but that’s a part of Reagan I’ve had to learn to accept...or not accept. We’re friends, but we’ll never be close.

“What are people saying?” I ask again.


Reagan rests her elbows on the table and there’s a spark in her eyes as she misreads my question as forgiveness. “The story going around is that Razor tried to hit on you and Kyle came to your defense when you got scared. Razor was pissed Kyle interfered, so he threw him in the bathroom and they had a shouting match. I’m wondering if Kyle started that rumor because it makes him less assholey than normal.”

She drenches a fry in ketchup. “Everyone thinks Kyle is all heroic for saving our poor, defenseless, quiet Breanna Miller from the clutches of the Terror.”

Kyle is a psychopath. “No one thinks I’m sleeping around?”

“God, no.” Reagan chokes on the fry and pounds her chest as if she can’t breathe. I glance over at Addison and she rolls her eyes. As I said, Reagan’s dramatic.

I release a relieved breath, but tension still cramps my muscles. I’m safe, but for how long? In theory, if I write Kyle’s papers, then I won’t be branded with a big scarlet letter for life, but it kills a part of my soul to think of helping him cheat.

“The bright side of the whole debacle is that your number of Bragger followers is going through the roof,” says Reagan. “Everyone wants to see your response.”

If it weren’t for the fact that being on Bragger and following Kyle’s account is the only way I feel secure he hasn’t posted the picture, I’d delete my account in a nanosecond. Bragger is proving to be a nightmare. “There won’t be a response.”

Addison and Reagan share a long look and I consider crawling under the table to die.

“A nonresponse is still a response,” says Addison. “It means you’re hiding.”

“I am hiding,” I mutter.

“Posting a cute picture of a kitten should do the job.” Reagan dips another fry into the ketchup, then points it at me. “It’ll say you’re innocent, plus half the girls in school will share it. I’ll find one and send it to you via email next period. If you don’t post it immediately, I’ll steal your cell on the way home and I’ll post it for you.”

Reagan would also make a great public relations savior.

“So...” Addison cuts the hamburger in half and takes a bite. “What really happened in the bathroom? And let’s not forget you were in a boys’ bathroom. I have to say, Bre, I had no idea so much drama would be coming from you.”

Me, either.

The bell rings and I hop to my feet. “We’ll talk later.” No, we won’t. I’m praying Addison’s right and that the rumors will dissipate and everyone will forget. “See you.”

I squeeze into the crowded hallway and, like a salmon, fight against the current of bodies to reach the stairs. There’s three floors, and the higher up I go, the less populated it becomes.

Nausea crawls along my insides when I arrive at the desolate third floor. Kyle leans against the lockers like he was waiting for me. He jerks his head to a hallway off to the side that has a clearly marked no-trespassing sign.

I scan the hallway. No other students. No other teachers. Only two rooms are used on the third floor because the heating and cooling systems fail whenever they attempt to regulate the temperature in more than two classrooms.

I follow Kyle but stay near the corner in case I need to run. I could have turned and gone the opposite direction, but it doesn’t matter if I run. He’ll find me, and I can’t deny he holds all the power.

Kyle acts like he’s normal, but every hair standing on end informs me he’s completely unstable.

There’s an unnatural silence surrounding us compared to the echoes of noise from the corridors below. The air is stale, like no living soul has visited here for centuries. People have told ghost stories surrounding the third floor—a girl who killed herself a few years back, a boy who snapped the neck of another fifty years ago, the forever fables of homeless students who squat here because there’s nowhere else to go.

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