“Sorry, Val drove me,” I apologized as soon as they were within earshot. We climbed the greying steps to one of the three sets of mahogany red doors that would lead us inside. They matched the school’s brick exterior well, and each one sat beneath a tall window fixture. “I swear, I’m never getting in a car where she’s driving again. That was horrible.”
“Yeah, we saw her cut off Mrs. Doyle,” Lilly snickered. “Oscar might have some choice words for you after that.”
“Like I care what that mortal thinks,” I grumbled. “I’ll hex him if he tries anything.”
Helena gasped. “Cari! Your mom would be furious if you used magick that way.”
Lilly, on the other hand, snickered again. “Are we going back to jinxing the local youth? Because I seriously missed doing that with you guys.”
Cari thought back to their days in primary school, when Lilly would lure her and Helena into skipping class and the three of them found ways to jinx their bullies. “If I have to be stuck attending this stupid school, I might as well have fun while I’m here.”
Our school wasn’t as big as other private institutions, and I honestly preferred it that way. The fewer mortals I had to deal with on a regular basis, the better. There were probably about three or four humans attending per magickal student, so the odds weren’t exactly in our favor. Hell, I think there were only three freshmen homeroom classes at twenty kids a pop… And somehow, they managed to put all the magickal freshmen in the same class.
Aside from Lilly and Helena, the only other magickal classmate I had for homeroom was Finn Piper. He was a young member of the Salem Pack, and his energy always seemed to match Lilly’s–which seemed fitting, since the werewolf was assigned to the seat behind the Naismith heir.
“Finally!” he turned in his seat just as Helena took hers to his left. I sat behind her in the second row, and I swear I couldn’t tell you the names of the kids who sat next to me. I didn’t care. They were just a couple of mortals, so what was the point? “Tell me everything!”
I blinked. “Everything?”
“What are you going on about, Piper?” Lilly demanded.
“You know,” he said, his tone insistent. “Tell me what happened yesterday with Jude!”
“Who’s Jude?” asked Dane Cash, the most popular guy in our grade. He sat in front of Helena and to Lilly’s left.
“A douchebag who goes to our cram school,” Lilly explained away in a hurried tone. She threw Finn a glare, but he smirked and shrugged her off as he turned back to me.
“You missed it, Dane. Cari kicked his ass!”
Dane spun around and studied me curiously. His cider brown eyes were wide with surprise. “Seriously? You kicked some dude’s ass?”
“A senior,” Finn boasted.
I ignored Dane’s ogling and muttered, “There’s nothing to tell. He tried to hurt one of my friends. I had to do something.”
“Yeah, like send him to the infirmary,” Finn snickered. “Way to go, Cari.”
“Finn,” all three of us turned to Helena as she spoke up. “S-Stop. You’re making things weird for Cari.”
“Fiiiine,” Finn chuckled, turning back around in his seat. “Hey, Lil–you shooting for student council?”
“We’ll see,” she teased, sticking out her tongue.
I reached over and gently squeezed Helena’s shoulder. “Thanks.”
She smiled back at me and patted my hand. “Did you study for the English quiz?”
I nodded. “Yeah. Still can’t believe Gardner is giving us a test right after spring break.”
“I know, right?” gabbed Helena. “I’m glad it’s just a refresher. I’m spending lunch in the library, though, just in case. Join me?”
“Duh!” I grinned. “Don’t leave me alone with those two.”
“Heard that!” Lilly and Finn practically shouted mid-conversation.
I tossed and turned, begging for sleep to take me. My mind was restless; I was anxious at the thought of working again. I hadn’t held a job in over a century, and I couldn’t exactly list my experience as a farmhand turned cowboy on a resumé.
“I used to help out on a farm, and then I joined a gang–but you probably read about that in your history books. I went by a different name, though, so maybe not.”
And what the hell was Sage going on about? The nonbinary witch had somehow known about my past, and they acted as if I had told them. How’s that possible? I wondered. When could I have told the–?
Then it hit me, as did a wave of embarrassment. My eyes shot wide open. Oh, god… It was during the field trip, wasn’t it? I knew I shouldn’t have fed from that guy at the pub.
The man in question was blackout drunk–so much so that I didn’t even need to compel him to forget about me. I remembered drinking from him, and then…
Nothing. My memory of the rest of that night was blank. I groaned and sunk deeper into my down blanket. The chances that I went to Sage’s hotel room and made a fool of myself were astronomical. It wasn’t a matter of if I said anything, but what I said.
I rolled over, fighting my shame with exhaustion. Whatever. I’ll talk to Sage about that tonight. In the meantime, I need to try to sleep before my hunt.
And it was as I was on the brink of sleep that I recalled what Cari had said the night before:
“Please, can I borrow your yearbook? I know what I saw. That girl was real!”
I had kicked her out of my apartment so that I could play video games.
She helps you out every chance she gets, dipshit, I chastised myself. Would it kill you to do something for her for a change?
I’ll get it later, I grumbled.
You’ll forget later, I challenged myself.
And with that, I rose from my bed, too pissed to sleep. Where the hell did I put that stupid thing, anyway?