Slightly over half way there folks, and we’re finally getting into some mystery and action. After the craziness of Camp NaNoWriMo, I feel like I need to go back and add more scenes with Miguel and Zoe. They need a little more page time.
For the rest of class and the entirety of history, I try to think of the best way to pack up my things for the day and cut Miguel off before he can loose me. Once the final bell frees, us, I all but jog to my locker, throw everything in my backpack and run to find Miguel.
I spot him the crowd just as he heads out the front entrance of the school and slow down to a brisk walk. If he knows I’m coming, he’ll run. I know he can’t outrun me, we’ve tested that idea before, but I’d rather not show up to work sweaty and gross.
Once I’m close enough to grab him, I announce my presence. “Hey. We need to talk.”
He jumps, then glares at me, but thankfully doesn’t try to get away. Sure enough, he looks even worse than Zoe described. Even his black hair looks ashy he’s so tired and worn out. The lines in his face make him look decades older. How has he been hiding this from his parents?
“Talk about what, Gia?” he snaps.
“You know what. Don’t play. Lyra’s back, isn’t she?”
“It’s none of your business.”
“The hell it isn’t! She’s killing you, Miguel. And David, and a few others I bet.”
“Just a few more lessons and I’ll stop going to her.”
“How many times have you told yourself that? She’s not going to give you a choice. She doesn’t work like that.”
Miguel scoffs and continues walking down the street. “Did Oliver tell you that? He’ll tell you anything so that you’ll keep hanging around. He’s liked you for years.”
“Don’t be stupid, no he doesn’t. We hardly even talked before this semester.”
“You can like someone and hardly ever talk to them. Remember Amanda Westerfield freshman year? You were obsessed and you hardly said two words to her.”
“Amanda’s coolness did all the talking and she was the only out lesbian at the time, but don’t change the subject. Oliver’s not sucking my life essence away, so he’s not the problem here, fictional crush or not.”
Miguel scoffs again, practically begging me to slap him upside the head.
“Miguel, let us help you. Tell us where Lyra’s hiding so we can get rid of her and you and Zoe can start dating like normal people.”
“Zoe doesn’t like me yet.”
“She does, though. I talked to her. I wasn’t going to tell you because I thought you two could act like adults, but if spoiling it saves your life, so be it.” I grab him by the arm. “Tell me where Lyra is.”
Miguel snatches my wrists and twists, making me swear in pain. “You don’t want to find her, Gia. I won’t let you. The people she works for won’t like that. You don’t want to make them bad.”
“Who is she working for?”
Miguel twists harder.
“That hurts, asshole! Let me go!” I snatch Miguel by the shirt and wrestle him into a headlock. He’ll hit back and I don’t care. If it saves him and a bunch of other kids, I can take a few punches.
Instead, he manages to throw me to the ground. The world spins as my head hits concrete and I struggle to keep oxygen in my lungs.
Miguel stands over me while I’m still too dazed to speak or fight any more. Stay away from Lyra and stay away from me. I will handle this on my own if I have to.”
By the time I get back up, he’s already a good distance down the street. I could catch him, but we’d just have a repeat of what just happened, possibly even worse. Instead, I pull out my phone and find Oliver’s number. I don’t have time to text him or worry about what Kole and Kellen are going to say. I’ll deal with them when my best friend isn’t slowly dying.
“What did you find out?” Oliver asks.
“Lyra’s still here,” I answer. “She’s working for some one some how and they’re going to get Miguel and a bunch of other kids killed if we don’t do something.”
“I’ll talk to Hob. Go to work like normal and I’ll pick you up. We’re ending this tonight if we can.”
I hang up and head to the cafe, praying that tonight will be soon enough.