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"The Elemental Ninjas have done it again, saving Lance from a monster that could light itself on fire."

I looked at the TV that hung from the wall, continuing to drink my smoothie. "Get off your high horse," Jason says. I looked at him to catch him rolling his eyes. I knew he wasn't being rude though. The wide grin on his face was proof of that.

"I'm not on my high horse. I let Andy borrow it," I said, cracking a grin. I looked over at Andy to see his reaction. "Sorry buddy, I sold it," he chuckled.

"Look who's coming our way," Colby muttered. The four of us looked to where he was pointing.

It was rare to see Valerie Smith at Aidan's Diner, let alone walking up to us. "Save me," Asher muttered under his breath.alerie stopped in front of our table. I looked at her and sighed. "Yes Valerie? Is there something we can help you with?"

"I know your secret," Valerie huffed. She played with a strand of her short brown hair. I sifted a hand through my dirty blonde curls, looking at her. What was she talking about?

"Which one," Asher asked coldly. Valerie shot him a dark glare and raised her hand, as if she was going to hit him. She looked at me and her brown eyes softened. She put her hands behind her pink dress. "I can't believe you didn't tell me, baby."

"I'm not your baby, Valerie. As you remember, I stopped hanging around you because I'm a 'fag,' and you didn't want to 'turn' into one," I snarled, doing air quotes.

Valerie sighed. "I know you're an elemental ninja." I bit my lip, feeling panic rise. "What makes you say that," I asked. My voice went quiet. "The burn marks on your arms, silly," Valerie smirked, and I rolled my eyes. "My dad is a blacksmith, Valerie," I stated. "Why make excuses babe," Valerie asked, putting a hand on her hip. I felt my blood boil.

"Didn't he tell you not to call him those things," Jason shot Valerie a dark look.


"I don't like it, and I ain't a ninja. My arms are burnt from helping my dad forge weapons." Valerie huffed at my statement before turning around, walking to the door.

"That went well," Colby muttered. He sank in his seat. Asher shook his head. "Not really man."

"I hate her," Andy mumbled angrily. "We all do, but at least we're decent to her," I smiled. They all nodded in agreement. I turned to Colby. "How's archery going?" Colby sat up straight and beamed, brushing his blonde bangs out of his eyes. "Good. Great actually,' he smiled shyly. "That's great Cole," Asher grinned as he gave him two thumbs up. Colby blushed, biting his lip gently.

Andy looked at me, raising an eyebrow, but I only shrugged. Colby and Asher were some of the quietest people I knew but whenever they talked to each other, they'd blush, or giggle, or something along the lines of that.

"Hey guys," Jason started. I silently thanked him for breaking the silence. "I'm going to the park to tutor someone. Does anybody want to tag along?" Desperation laced his voice and it made me wonder who he was supposed to be tutoring.

"Sorry Jase, I've got a karate class that I need to attend," Andy got up. Andy's dad often hit him, so he started learning karate. I knew Andy's dad personally though, because Andy's house was right across from mine. My dad and I go over there three days a week to eat dinner. Andy's dad — Edward — always asked my dad how he was holding up. When I was a kid, I didn't realize what he was talking about. I wasn't until recently that I found out that Edward was talking about my mother's death.

Asher got up too. "Sorry dude, I've got to babysit. Colby said he'd help me." I looked at Colby as he rose to his feet. I watched Andy, Colby, and Asher walk out of the dinner before turning to Jason. "I'll go with you Jason," I grinned. Jason smiled back, breathing out a sigh of relief.

"So Jase, who are you tutoring that you need a bodyguard?" Jason got up from out of his seat, shaking his head with a small laugh. "I wouldn't exactly call you a bodyguard, Dean."

"What would you call me then? Your boyfriend," I asked as I rose to my feet. I was only teasing Jason, though. I knew he was straight. "Absolutely not," Jason laughed. He out his arm around my shoulders. "More like backup."