Sweet oblivion (sweet se.., p.59
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       Sweet Oblivion (Sweet Series #1), p.59

           Bailey Ardisone


  “So, are you sure it will be okay for you to stay over tonight?” Zaylie asked me again at lunch. She was still worried about me. This morning when she had seen me at my locker before class started, I thought she was going to knock me over from hugging me so tightly. She had explained how worried she was after waking up in the ruined car with Mycah and I nowhere in sight and my cell phone left behind, which she returned to me. I had told her I would explain what happened later at her house. Well, as much as I could explain anyway.

  “Yes. I am positive. You have no idea how much I need it.” I squeezed her hand to emphasize my point. I couldn’t wait to spend more alone time with Zaylie. I promised myself if she were okay I would open up to her and deepen our friendship. And Mycah was right. Both she and Seth were fine. I felt better after I spoke to her over the phone early this morning, but after seeing her with my own two eyes, I could confidently believe it now. She also promised to explain later tonight what happened after I wasn’t there. Now was my chance to give back all the trust and kindness she had bestowed upon me. Nothing was going to stop me from staying at her house, not even Ray.

  “Nari, I thought you were going to the dance yesterday?” Liam asked me as he sat down at the lunch table across from us.

  “Leave it alone, butthead.” Zaylie rolled her eyes at Liam before turning back to her pile of cottage cheese covered in pepper, black olives, and sunflower seeds. I scrutinized the mixture again in disbelief and amusement. What the heck...?

  “Was I talking to you, Blondie?” Liam questioned with a raise of his brow.

  “Just shut it and mind your own bizzo.” She spoke softly and distant, not able to keep to her usual aggression she seemed to save especially for Liam. But I still saw the flicker of hurt cross his face at the words even without the harsh tone to accompany them. She had grave things plaguing her mind and didn’t like having to wait for my explanation on what happened yesterday. She knew whatever I’d be telling her later wasn’t going to be good, and the weight of what we both went through last night was crushing us. I was sure I needed to get it off my chest and she just needed to hear the truth.

  “Hey, are you okay?” Liam asked sweetly as he reached across the table and touched Zaylie’s hand that was demolishing her food with her fork. She jerked back from his touch, looking disgusted. Poor Liam pulled his hand away and looked down like a scolded puppy.

  “What? Of course I am. Why don’t you go be a pest somewhere else. Nari and I have important things to discuss and we don’t need a baboon like you lurking around.” She dropped her fork and took a drink of water. I kicked her foot from under the table at her blatant rudeness, wondering why she was being extra hostile toward Liam. “Ow! What was that for?”

  I smiled at Liam and whispered through closed lips at Zaylie in a stringed rush, “What are you doing you’re going to make the poor guy run huddled to a corner and cry or something.” I covered my mouth with my hand at the end and then chuckled a little bit to cover the secret exchange. Liam was about to get up and leave, looking completely defeated and depressed.

  “Oh, she was just kidding, Liam, you know that. Stay! Really.” I gave a benevolent smile and tried to sound sincere and cheery.

  “No I wasn’t,” Zaylie said to me, destroying my plan to make Liam feel better. It was totally obvious that he had feelings for Zaylie...I had no idea how she could still be so oblivious to it. I faked an overdramatic laugh, pretending like she was still joking.

  “You’re so funny, Zales. Liam, how was the dance for you? Something came up and I wasn’t able to make it.” I pulled him into a conversation, making him sit down again.

  “It was stupid and boring,” was his only dejected response.

  “Really? I’m sorry. Who did you go with?” I asked, feeling even more bad for him.

  “Sabrina. She was holding out for Mycah, but he never asked her, and I hadn’t asked anyone yet either. It was a last minute thing. I immediately regretted it though. She was such a chore to be around.” He rolled his eyes at the memory and crossed his arms over his chest. I noticed Zaylie act weird as soon as he mentioned Sabrina’s name, like she was biting on the inside of her cheek and becoming more rigid. Wait a minute...was she jealous? No, she couldn’t be. I sighed. I didn’t understand these two at all.

  But even more than that, I didn’t understand the feeling of pure joy and pride that bubbled forth in my chest at the mention of Mycah not asking Sabrina to the dance but instead choosing me, even if we didn’t actually get to go. I hated that he elicited these foreign feelings in me. Darn you Mycah—and the entire male species, for that matter.

  Zaylie stayed quiet and continued to eat her lunch in silence while Liam and I chitchatted the remainder of the time. Something was up with them; I could feel the changed atmosphere. Maybe I’d be able to find out tonight at her house.

  During Art, Mr. Isaacson said we could use the time to create something in our favorite medium, whatever it may be. I grabbed what I needed, already knowing what I wanted to do. Both Zaylie and I loved peonies, and I wanted to give her something special, so I immediately got to work to paint her favorite pink peonies in a unique and uncommon way. I didn’t want it to be a typical realistic painting of the pretty flower, so I made my own creation of an art piece using different layers of colors and shapes.

  I jumped at the sound of the bell signaling the end of school. I had been so lost in what I was doing that I didn’t even notice the passing of time. Thankfully, I was finished anyway and only making some tiny touches. I held the painting up and admired the detail, satisfied with the end product.

  “Very beautiful, Ms. Woodlinn, as always,” Mr. Isaacson complimented from behind.

  “Oh, thank you! It’s for one of my best friends.” I turned around to face my teacher with a proud smile. I couldn’t wait to give it to her.

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