You walk down the hall between classes, looking around subtly for any sign of Whitney or her cronies. The last thing you needed is to pass out at school again. You had heard rumors of Dr. Harper dragging people away, and not being seen again for months if ever. You shudder and realize that you'd been lost in thought.
You spot Kylar, surrounded by a few other students. This is hardly unusual, of course, and you brace yourself to have to sacrifice your basically-okay standing with the rest of the student population to defend her. Again.
To your surprise, Kylar breaks away from the group of snickering students and runs up to you, looking panicked. You blink, shocked. She never does stuff like this, she's too shy.
"Sh-she is too my girlfriend!" Kylar shouts at them before looking at you pleadingly. Tears well up in her eyes.
You are, of course, not dating her.
Hell, this is only the third or so time she's talked to you. You'd been trying to strike up a conversation everywhere from the canteen, to the playground in the back of the school, plus every time you see her around... but until last week you'd only been talking at her while she maybe-listened.
Over time though, mostly in the last week or two, she'd given you some noises of acknowledgment when you spoke, chiming in once or twice. It made your heart flutter and you felt more confident. You'd started flirting with her, reveling in how she'd squeak and her face would turn bright red. But as you got bolder, winking and asking what color her underwear was, she started to hesitantly answer.
Admittedly, it had started to get kind of... weird. Like licking each other's cheek, and running into her around town oddly often. You tended to be everywhere, you knew, trying to scrape together enough to pay Bailey, but still. When you caught her in your bedroom that one time, you got a sick feeling in your stomach. The moment you saw her the next day though, staring at you and then quickly looking away, the fondness that you had developed for her returned with a vengeance.
Then one afternoon, while quietly watching her draw at the park, she had turned to you and sheepishly apologized for sneaking into your bedroom and thanked you for helping her when she was getting bullied. Sure, she looked kind of angry when you had to leave to get to the cafe in time for your shift, but you're sure it was nothing important.
The point is, you had a feeling that how you answered this would affect a lot of factors in your life. Your first impulse is to affirm what she said, wrap an arm around her shoulders, and guide her away from the bullies. Of course, if news got around it would make you a pariah.
You weren't sure why, but everyone seemed to be awfully... sexually aggressive lately. You would never admit it out loud, but it scared you. Getting even more unpopular could be dangerous. Denying it, or just ignoring her altogether, would crush Kylar, you were sure of it. You didn't know much about her besides unusually dark rumors, but you knew that she had big emotional reactions to things even if she didn't make that obvious straight away.
Regardless of what's in your actual best interests, you go with your gut.
You look at the bullies, acting insulted.
"Of course Kylar's my girlfriend!" You wince as they all glare at you, acting disgusted and whispering disparaging remarks at the two of you before slinking away to their next class.
Kylar lets out a shaky, relieved breath once they leave. She looks up at you and you can see the adoration in her eyes. You think you see a flash of something else, something darker there too, but she blinks her tears away and it's gone.
She throws her arms around your waist and you enthusiastically hug her back. This is the first time you've really ever touched her, you realize. It already feels addictive. Your nerves are on fire and it's hard to think straight. She stutters out a thank you that you barely hear, instead choosing to focus on how incredible your calloused fingertips feel against her.
Kylar separates herself from you, and you think she looks reluctant to do so. You feel the same way. She hurries down the hallway to her next class and you say a slightly too late you're welcome. You can't be certain if you heard it or not.
As you walk to the locker room for swimming lessons, you can still feel Kylar's touch and you feel amazing. By the time the day ends, you idly wonder if this is a decision that'll come back to haunt you later. People seem to be capable of such malicious things in this town, after all. You're sure it'll be fine, though.
Weeks later, As you stare up at Kylar's cheerful face, the room slowly growing dark, your foggy mind realizes she drugged you. You're still not sure if it was worth it, but you just hope to live to find out.