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One week. It’s been one week, seven days, since Jason died. Since Noah murdered him. Everything is finally starting to go back to normal, although it feels like a dark cloud is still hovering over the college, but there’s still a small part of me that blames me for Jason’s death. I know I shouldn’t, though, but I’ve come to realize it’s a thought I’m probably going to be stuck with for the rest of my life. I don’t think it’s ever going to go away, the guilt, but I’ll just have to find a way to deal with it. That’s all I can do.
It’s currently late afternoon and I’ve recently gotten back to my dorm. I have basketball practice in about an hour, and it’s going to be my second practice since Jason died. We have some games coming up and therefore, the coach wants everyone to be at all practices. I’ve already used my excuses so I couldn’t really skip even if I wanted to. Noah is most likely going to be there though. Wherever I go, he seems to be there too. He’s like my shadow, and I can’t seem to get rid of him. Truth is, he’s been breathing down my neck quite a lot recently and it’s only getting worse. Maybe he’s still mad because I’m refusing to go out with him, let alone talk to him most of the time. I think I’m starting to get on his nerves because he seems to be angrier for each day that passes, simply because I don’t respond to him the way he wants me to. I’m kinda worried, though, because when he left this morning, he seemed to be shining brighter than the sun itself, which is weird compared to how he has acted lately. Maybe, and hopefully, he’s just in a good mood for once, but I doubt it.
I meet up with Mike a few minutes before practice, and for once, he’s alone. Normally, he’d be accompanied by Colin or Nadir, but not today apparently. Not that I mind though. It’s nice spending some time alone with Mike once in a while. He is, after all, the guy I’ve connected with the best since I got here. It’s just something about him that I like - in a friendly kind of way. He’s just so easy to talk to and chill to be around.
“So, how are you?” Mike asks me as we walk towards the gym and I fix the strap on my bag before I sigh.
“Fine, I guess”, I mumble, “what about you?”
“You guess?” he says as he meets my stare, completely ignoring my question.
“Yeah?” I reply uneasily. “Or no? I don’t know. You tell me.”
Mike raises his eyebrows at me and a small smile is playing on his lips. “You know I can’t.”
“Too bad for you then”, I shrug. “I guess you’ll never know for sure then?”
He furrows his eyebrow and acts offended. “Are all Swedes this mean? Or is it just you?”
“Ouch. That hurt.” I playfully dodge his shoulder, although I have to admit that I didn’t hold back on the strength completely, and Mike rubs his shoulder, but chuckle lightly at my reaction.
“C’mon”, he says, “we better hurry if we don’t want to be late.”
Our coach really don’t like it when we’re late, and in order to avoid it as much as possible, he made up a stupid rule which basically says that for each minute we’re late, we have to run one lap around the entire gym hall. Let’s just say it wasn’t fun when I accidentally fell asleep, while studying, and ended up coming to practice fifteen minutes late.
Luckily for Mike and I, we make it just in time. Everyone is there as well, meaning that we won’t enjoy watching someone running laps all alone this time.
Mike immediately says hi to everyone and walk up to Colin and Nadir while I put my bag down on the floor and pull out my basketball shoes.
I can feel and hear rather than see someone approaching me as I tie my shoelaces, and as I look up, my mood went from being pretty good to being pretty bad.
Noah smiles brightly at me, but I can’t help but notice the mischievous glint in his eyes.
“Hi, babe”, he greets me and I furrow my eyebrows at the new nickname, but continue with tying my shoes. Noah remains quiet, silently watching my every move and probably waiting for my response, and I slowly stand up while putting my hair in a high ponytail.
“Leave me alone”, I mutter before I attempt on pushing past him in order to get to the others. Noah, however, quickly drapes his arm around my shoulders and pull me towards his chest.
“I’ve missed you too, babe”, he says abnormally loud and clear, immediately catching all the guys’ attention.
I’m just about to open my mouth to snap at him, in front of the whole team, as he does something which takes me by complete and utter surprise.
He quickly leans in and pecks my lips. In front of the team.
The silence that follows is painful and horrifying as it gives me time to comprehend what just happened.
I look at him, completely perplexed, and all I can see in his steel blue eyes is the same mischievous glint as before. He leans in closer again, my heart immediately quickening its constant beating, and I can feel his warm breath against my neck.
“You better play along, Linnéa”, he whispers huskily in my ear, “we don’t want another one of your friends to get hurt, now do we?”
I take in a sharp breath, my whole body freezing at his words, and I can feel his disgusting lips on my neck just before he pulls back with a smile.
No. No. No. No. No.
Slowly, as in a trance, I turn around and meet everyone’s questioning stares.