You could feel the agitation rolling off of you in waves. After explaining to everyone that you’ve been followed for the past few days by an agent everyone had thoroughly freaked out like you knew they would. The anger was unexplainable and seemed to come out of nowhere and the pacing is the only way to keep yourself under control.
‘This is why I like to handle things myself,’ you think as you continue to pace. The room was still full of your friends as they argued about what the best course of action would be. It started with a guard detail and now Dustin is suggesting some kind of elaborate security device.
You whip around to walk the other way when a sharp pain goes up your side. You cry out, startling everyone in the room as you sink to the floor half in surprise and half in actual pain. Another sharp pain follows quickly after and again and again, before you know it you are curled up on the floor attempting to protect yourself from the phantom assault. A sob wracks your body as you actually feel one of your ribs crack a sharp pain pierces your hand and your nose. A few minutes later the assault is done and you just lay in a heap, your body throbbing and everyone in the room in various stages of panic and chaos.
You lay still and suddenly your vision is blurry and you are gazing at a living room you’ve never seen before. A man is casually leaning against the counter as you drag yourself up and shuffle to the bathroom. You lay your head against the door, the cool wood feels good against your forehead. You don’t pay attention to anyone, it’s not until Steve puts a hesitant hand on your arm that you are brought back to the room around you. You blink taking in the familiar couch and the familiar faces of your friends. You flinch away from him and he backs up hands in the air.
You shake your head and get unsteadily to your knees your hands go to your throbbing nose when you pull away you expect to see blood but there is nothing there. You blink in surprise before you press on your rib expecting pain, but there isn’t anything there other than a phantom throbbing.
“What happened?” you ask shakily.
“We were kinda hoping you could tell us that…” Steve says hesitantly.
“I don’t know…”
“What do you mean you don’t know?” questions Hopper’s tight voice.
You gaze down at the floor before you glance up at Max, “What does your living room look like?”
“Just… what does it look like?” you ask again as you put your hand to your head attempting to soothe your throbbing head.
She begins to describe the beige walls and the TV in the corner. The window that opens up to the kitchen. You gaze unseeingly at the carpet as you recall every detail about what just happened to you.
“I see…” you say before you stumble to your feet with Steve and Melanie on either side to steady you before you walk wordlessly to your bedroom.
“Okay… what just happened here?” questions Hopper as he gazes at where you just were.
“We don’t know…” sigh Melanie, “She did that the other night.”
“When?” questions Elle.
“A few nights ago… I-I don’t remember exactly when…”
You can still feel the residual pain aching in your muscles as the water from the shower beats down on you. You don’t feel like dealing with anyone as you ponder what you think is happening. You inhale a shaky breath as you picture the living room and man leaning casually against the wall watching you get up. There is no emotion, dead eyes watch you as you make your way towards the bathroom. A moment later water is scalding your skin as you gaze around at the green tiles surrounding you, with a blink you are back in your own shower. Groaning you force yourself from the shower and into bed hoping against hope that you are able to get a good night’s sleep. You have a feeling you are going to need it for tomorrow.
The next morning dawns and before you can even think of riding your bike to school Steve is in your driveway and much to your surprise so is Dustin.
“Why are you here?” You ask in confusion as you lock the door behind you.
“I’m taking you to school, it’s too dangerous for you to ride your bike there,” says Steve as he crosses his arms.
“He’s right! You need protection,” interjects Dustin.
You furrow your brow at the duo in confusion, “Okay…” Mostly because you know that attempting to argue with them at seven o’clock in the morning is far more hassle than it’s worth. Also, you decide not to mention that you are more than capable of dealing with anyone that comes your way, but they enjoy being heroes and who are you to take that from them? Plus you simply don’t feel like riding your bike today.
When you pull into the parking lot at school you don’t think much of the fact that Steve gave you a ride until you get out of his car. You feel eyes on you instantly as whispers flare up all around you. A particular pair of blue eyes catch yours though.
“What do you think she’s doing with Steve?”
“Wasn’t she with Billy last week?”
“What are they doing with the freak?”
“What do they see in her?”
“It has to be a bet! You know they’ve been competing for King status…”
“Has to be a bet.”
“Hey! Don’t listen to them okay?” You hear Steve’s voice in your ear suddenly.
You whip your head around to face him and notice the way his hand is on the small of your back and the way he guides you into the school.
You blink attempting to refocus yourself as you try to block everyone out. You don’t have time for their rumors, you have more important things to do. You wave Steve off when you get to your locker insisting that you would be okay.
“Are you sure?” he asks in concern as he leans against your locker door, his eyes searching yours. You are beginning to understand why so many females like Steve. He has the uncanny ability to make himself look like a puppy and is quite endearing if not a little slow.
“I’m fine, Steve, I’ve somehow managed to survive without you my entire life up until now. I think I can handle first period.”
“Go!” you shoo him away much to the scandal of the female population that was trying not to be obvious they were eavesdropping and even more so for the ones who didn’t care if you knew they were.
You don’t see Steve again until lunch when he plops himself down in the chair next to you.
“So… How are you doing?” asks Steve as he pours little packets of hot sauce on his burrito.
You roll your eyes, “I’m fine Steve…”
He doesn’t look convinced as he regards you with concern, “Yesterday was pretty intense…”
“I don’t want to talk about it,” you say coldly.
Steve has become rather bold rather quickly because he doesn’t seem to care whether or not you want to talk about it, “Maybe you should though! You should talk about it!”
“What good would that do?” you ask seriously as you attempt to concentrate on your math homework.
“You were scared… Hell, I was scared! You just started to scream and writhing in pain for NO REASON.”
“Would you keep your voice down!” You ask in an angry whisper, “Everyone at this school already thinks I’m some kind of freak, I would rather possession not be added to the rumor mill, especially when it involves both you and Billy.”
“Sorry! Geeze! I’m just trying to help!” he hisses back at you.
You fix him with an angry stare, “Perhaps in private would be better, you never know who is listening.”
“Ah… right…” he looks thoroughly chastised as the two of you make your way out of the cafeteria and to your science class.
“We still need to work on our project…” Steve grumbles as you both pile yourselves into the classroom.
“We can finish it up tomorrow after school,” you say decisively.
“Tomorrow? Why not tonight?”
“I have things to take care of tonight.”
“What things?” He asks almost defensively.
“Things that don’t concern you,” you mutter emotionlessly.
“Hey! You aren’t going after any more-” he asks, clearly offended.
“Steve!” You growl.
He lowers his voice to a whisper as he leans in, “-any more of those guys are you?”
“No… this has nothing to do with that…”
“You know friends trust one another right?” he asks in annoyance.
“Then you should trust me,” you say calmly as you look towards the front of the classroom as your teacher enters the room.
You hear him scoff from beside you, but you decide to ignore him, mostly because you know it annoys him when you do.
You can feel Billy’s gaze on you as you read the assigned material for your English class. Agaitiation rolls off of him in waves as you attempt to ignore him, but how can you when you know what you know?
It’s when the bell rings that a message floats between the two of you, landing softly in his mind, “Meet me behind the school.”
His eyes widen as he gazes at you like you are out of some horror movie, but you ignore the way the shock travels up his body and ricochets through his mind. A few minutes later you are standing before him as he leans against the wall.
“What’s this about?” he asks confidently, his voice doesn’t reflect the fear in his mind.
“Lift up your shirt,” you say while crossing your arms.
“Sweetheart if this is what you wanted all along…”
“No. Now lift up your shirt,” you say emotionlessly.
He rolls his shoulder and his jaw before he straightens, “What if I don’t want to.”
You tilt your head to the side, “What happened last night?”
He leans his head back and regards you with narrowed eyes, “That’s none of your business.”
“It’s my business when I’m a crumpled heap on the floor of my own house,” his eyes widen at your statement, “Now, lift up your shirt,” you say forcefully.
He holds your gaze as he angrily untucks his shirt from his too-tight jeans and pulls it up to reveal black and blue ribs. His side is all manner of colors some bruises are almost healed while others are fresh.
Shame sets you on fire as you regard him and it takes you a moment to realize that shame doesn’t belong to you.
You merely nod at him, “Thank you.”
He drops his shirt back down and refuses to look at you. His shame is replaced with anger, mostly because he doesn’t know what else to do with himself.
“Oh yeah! And what’s that gonna do huh?! You think you can fix this shit?! Fix my fuckin life?!”
“You would be surprised at what I can do…”
He snaps his head up to look at you his breath catching in his throat.
“Let’s go,” you say as you breeze past him into the school.
“Where?” he asks bewildered.
“To take care of this.”
His whips around as the door goes to slam in his face, he catches it at the last second as he attempts to tuck his shirt back in before following you down the hallway.
The ride to Billy’s house is silent as he chain-smokes cigarettes, the smoke flying out the open window. The ride is loose and fast and despite the fact that he wants you scared, you know better than to actually be. He pulls into the driveway and the two of you make your way up to the front door. You look around at the perfectly manicured yard before you enter the living room you were in last night.
“He uh… won’t be home for a couple of hours…”
“It’s fine, I can wait,” you say calmly while you pull out the book your class is reading for English.
“So you can really do it huh?” he asks as he sits down next to you on the couch. His elbows are on his knees and his hands have formed a fist under his chin. He’s wound as tightly as a wire about to snap.
You regard him quietly for a moment before you answer, “Yes, I can.”
“How?” his voice is rough as if he is holding back tears.
“You shouldn’t ask questions you don’t actually want answers to.”
He glances at you out of the corner of his eyes before he gets up and lights another cigarette taking a long drag.
“You should do the reading,” you murmur softly.
“What? Why?” He asks, almost outraged you would suggest such a thing.
“It would be best if he thought us to be working on an assignment.”
He nods absentmindedly before he puts the cigarette out and reaches for his bag. He pulls the book out and settles down to read it, but even though his eyes are moving he isn’t comprehending anything. After staring at the same page for several minutes he closes the book harshly and slams it down next to him on the couch. He runs his hands through his hair messing it up before he inhales a large breath then exhales. You watch him while he does all this in mild confusion.
“Do you doubt me?” You ask calmly.
He lets out a forced laugh as he shakes his head, “I don’t know what to think sweetheart.”
He looks up at you and his eyes lock with yours. They are a deep blue and remind you of the turbulent sea in a hurricane, this time though you think you can see a little bit of sun hidden in the depths. As if for once he has hope.
The door opens almost violently and if you hadn’t felt the waves of anger rolling off of the male before he made his way into the house you would have been startled.
“What’s going on here?” Billy’s father asks, you see right through his forced cheery facade and see for what it is a very dangerous question.
“We were just uhh…” Billy stalls in shock, clearly not expecting him yet.
“Working on an English assignment, we were paired up in class,” you finish easily for Billy regarding the man before you carefully.
“Right…” Billy trails off looking anywhere but at his father.
“I see… Will she be staying for dinner?” He asks, completely ignoring you.
“No, our assignment shouldn’t take that long,” you say calmly before you dutifully go back to your book.
‘Assignment my ass… Like I’m going to believe this isn’t his next whore…’ The thought flits across your mind, but you just keep your face blank giving nothing away.
Billy catches your eye looking nauseous. You merely nod your head towards the book before you go back to your own.
You hear the heavy boots of his father as he walks into the kitchen but you make no move to do anything.
Billy’s leg begins to bounce with his nerves.
Abruptly you stand and regard the man as he returns from changing from his work clothes. He stalls in the hall and just looks down at you in confusion.
“You’re going to stop hurting Billy. You will not hurt anyone in this family,” you say seriously, the order hanging in the air. “If I find out you’ve hurt any of them there will be consequences. Now you are going to forget this conversation ever happened.”
His eyes are blank and unseeing as you turn back to a bewildered Billy.
“That’s it?” He asks in bewilderment.
“Yes,” you say calmly, “I would like to go home now.”
He blinks up at in confusion.
“You have to take me there,” you supply in place of his obvious confusion.
“How do I know this worked?!” he asks in bewilderment.
“You don’t… yet. Also, don’t say anything to anyone,” he blinks at the order vaguely wondering if you used your power on him.
With that, you turn and walk out the door with a very confused Billy following dutifully after you.
The next morning, before you even step out of your front door, you can hear the arguing.
You roll your eyes as you gaze between Steve and Billy with Dustin and Max standing off to either side, both looking equally exasperated by their ride to school.
“Why are you both here?” you ask in annoyance regarding them both with crossed arms and narrowed eyes.
“I”m taking you to school!” They chorus before they return their glares back to one another.
“This is becoming excessive…” you murmur more so to yourself than the group surrounding you.
“Look, you don’t need to be riding your bike to school with…” Steve trails off looking imploringly at Billy.
“What? What’s going on?!” asks Billy in obvious annoyance around the cigarette between his lips.
“Nothing that concerns you…” you say regarding Billy calmly.
“You heard her! Nothing that concerns you!” Steve echos tauntingly.
“Enough, Steve,” you reprimand.
Billy scoffs from your other side, “You heard her Harrington, enough,” he says with a triumphant smirk.
Steve whips around in a fighting stance to regard Billy.
“ENOUGH! Both of you!” you exclaim in annoyance, “I don’t know what’s gotten into either of you, but I can take care of myself just fine. I’ve been doing it for a long time.”
“Yeah, but that doesn’t answer the question of who’s taking you to school, sweetheart?” Billy interjects indicating the two cars before you.
“Who was here first?” you ask in annoyance.
“I was!” They both chorus and you just cross your arms with a sigh.
You look to Max and Dustin for the answer and Max raises her hand, “We were here first.”
You nod decisively, “Billy can take me to school, Steve, you can take me home, okay?”
Billy smirks triumphantly and Steve just regards you in surprised betrayal.
“But it’s Hargrove! What if his bad driving kills you?!” Steve yells in annoyance.
“Billy has been giving me many rides to and from school, I’ll be fine.”
“He has?!” Steve asks following you to the passenger door of Billy’s car.
“Yes Steve, he has, long before you did,” you say patiently.
Steve just squeaks in indignation as you shut the door effectively ending the conversation.
Flying down the road towards school Billy has a Cheshire grin on his face, “You know you could have just told Harrington you wanted me to take you…”
You glance at Billy out of the corner of your eye, “I honestly didn’t care either way.”
“Sure sweetheart… Sure…” he says with confidence dripping from his voice.
Max scoffs in the back seat, “You know she’s too smart for you right?”
“What did you say?” he growls back.
As the siblings begin to bicker back and forth you notice it, the buzzing.
“Quiet both of you!” you exclaim shutting them both up momentarily.
“Hush!” you exclaim the order hanging in the air as you turn your head this way and that trying to get a read on the buzzing in your head.
Your eyes widen as it starts getting stronger and there you see a vehicle sitting at the intersection not fifty feet away clearly waiting for someone. You narrow your eyes as you regard the car.
“Billy,” you murmur turning to look him in the eyes, “Floor it, if they catch us we might as well be dead.”
He just nods, the barest hint of fear in his eyes as he lays his foot down on the gas pedal, his car roaring to life.