Chapter 11 (Tisha's View)
Any lecture is boring when you best friend is most likely in mortal danger—which I was absolutely convinced my best friend was. I fidgeted about in my seat, trying to find a comfortable place. But, yeah, you get the picture. Nothing was going to work. My comfort was pretty well screwed at the moment.
I wanted to scream Ares right out of Olympus to give him a piece of my mind. Nobody messed with my friends. And I was pretty dang sure that Ares had something to do with it. Whenever there was Bri and trouble, Ares had to be in the mix. He just couldn't leave Bri and Cupid alone.
But the yelling at gods kind of reaction was more of a Bri thing. Trust me, I'm not exactly what you would call brave. I wish I were. Bri had no idea how cool and spunky she was. I wanted her back because I would never find a friend like her—ever.
I sneaked a glance over at the opposite side of the room to find big, muscled shoulders hunched over a notebook. Dave didn't look back up at me. His brow was furrowed and his blond hair kept falling into his face. He kept shaking it back, and I thought each time he might notice me and glance back up with one of his goofy smiles.
He never sat near me anymore. It was almost like he was purposely late for classes just so that he would have to take a seat on the other side of the room—the only seat left.
I felt a spear of jealousy as Kaylee leaned back to look at him, leaning over so practically the whole class could check out her cleavage. If there was a class slut, she would definitely be it. Worse than that, she was Dave's childhood friend.
Suddenly he looked up, but he didn't glance in my direction. His eyes flitted up to Kaylee's face, who grinned at him unabashedly. I chewed on my lip discontentedly and glanced away. I trained my eyes to the page with fervor.
My embarrassed concentration was broke when my pocket vibrated against my leg. I frowned and glanced down, pulling out the cellphone and slipping it into my lap. If the teacher caught sight of a cellphone on the school premises, I'd be looking at buying a new cellphone. This one would be confiscated for the entire year.
I had a text message from Lena. I knew immediately that it was her from the heading.
Bored stiff...get it? Haha: Tish? Will you answer already?
It took me a while to tap in my answer. I had the urge to snort. If anyone was impatient, it would be Lena. She was the queen of impatience.
Bored stiff...get it? Haha: Get a hall pass. Meet me by the washrooms.
LatinaBeauty: Im coming. Im coming.
Bored stiff...get it? Haha: Darn right you are.
LatinaBeauty: Dont push your luck.
Bored stiff...get it? Haha: Right, princess. This isnt Bri Im talking to.
LatinaBeauty: Shes rubbing off on me.
I turned the cell phone off and stuck it back in my pocket. Slowly I lifted my hand, waiting for the teacher to turn around from the board.
Mrs. Pittenbury turned slowly. "Now as I was saying—"
She turned and her eyebrows raised. "Was there something you wanted Trisha?"
I hated it when people called me that. It was like they couldn't deal with the fact that my name didn't fit into their little box that they called the world. I mean, jeez, do you think there's no such thing as an original name? I felt like saying Tisha, not Trisha! Duh! But, yeah, I'm not Bri, as you can clearly see. She would have had the guts. She also would have had the detention too.
"May I have a hall pass?" I leaned forward, rubbing my belly experimentally and pretending to look sick. "I don't feel that well."
Mrs. Pittenbury's answer was immediate. "Yes. Go. Just don't puke on my desk!"
I ran for the door, gripping the bright yellow hall pass that sat on the board as I went. I just managed to get out into the hall before the grin broke out on my face. Yeah, I was a terrible actress. So sue me. It takes someone with a lot of self-composure to do that sort of thing. Me? I was your walking disaster ready to happen.
I don't know why Bri called me dainty. Being short and petite doesn't exactly make you dainty. That required some sort of air and balance.
When I got to the end of the hall, Lena was standing there, leaning against the wall with her arms folded across her chest. She was tapping her foot impatiently. She informed me. "Took you long enough."
"It takes me a while to con the teachers," I returned. "I'm no mastermind."
"Ahh," Lena chuckled. "But I am."
I smiled patiently while I waited for her laughter to quit. I would have liked to give her a light and friendly smack for good measure, but that just wasn't my usual style. Besides, Lena was what you would call a toothpick, even thinner than me—not that I was that tiny. I was no size zero like Bri insisted I was. I had some fat on my bones. I liked to eat and I was proud of it.
"What couldn't wait until after class?" I returned, although I really wasn't that disappointed. I was actually happy to get out of that class. It was torture to see my own boyfriend ignoring me while he flirted with the school's biggest slut/his childhood friend while he completely ignored me. That kind of stuff is a hit to the self-esteem—a huge hit. Besides, the teacher's droning monotone really didn't catch my interest—except to smirk randomly. I'd never heard a woman with such a low voice.
I immediately felt bad for the thought. The woman couldn't help the voice she was born with, unless it was more a product of popping steroids...Tish! I scolded myself.
"Nothing that couldn't wait," Lena returned. "I was just bored. Besides, I heard some news from Cupid that you'll probably like."
"He found some trace of Bri?" I returned automatically. Hopeful.
Lena snorted. "Uh huh, and Ares is going to let us crack this case that easily. Come on, you doofus! Grow some brain cells."
No comebacks came to my mind. This was especially the time when I needed one. Lena didn't realize how much her comments could sting sometimes. I chewed my lip and let the comment pass without a reply.
"He's going to figure out what the crap is going on with that heat. It's driving me nuts. I've never felt so much heat ever. I don't know how we'll ever be able to keep this search up, if I'm living soaked up to my bloody forehead in a lake of sweat. Besides, doesn't it seem strange to you? That as soon as Bri disappears, the weather turns strange? It's always hot, but never this hot. You could fry an egg on the sidewalk in about thirty seconds."
I shrugged. "It is strange, but don't we have better things to do than chase after some weather movements?"
"What if the weather movement has something to do with Bri's disappearance?" Lena was insistent on this matter. I didn't think that I could convince her even if I wanted to. I, on the other hand, was a little doubtful. It was better not to disagree with Lena though. Instead, I just chewed my lip until I bit it a little too hard and a sharp pain lanced through it.
"Cupid thinks he's pinpointed the area where the heat is originating from," Lena added quickly, totally oblivious to my thoughts. "But I convinced him to wait until after we've left school to go check it out. I want to see what's going on over there."
"We're meeting in the parking lot?" I asked, letting the earlier comments seep away.
Lena nodded, her straight brown hair shaking with the movement. "Yeah, so be there if you don't want to get left behind."
Of course I was going to be there, even if it was some giant goose chase. At least doing something was better than doing nothing. I cared about Bri, no matter what Lena was insinuating.
I pushed the glare out of my muscles before they could clench into position. Lena didn't need to know what I was thinking about. It really wasn't her fault that she didn't realize when she was being too blunt or too rude anyway.
"I'm going over to the art room," Lena informed me. "You coming?"
"Nah," I returned, jutting my head back in the direction of the classroom. I lied quickly so that the lie would be less noticeable. "I have to get back to class. My grades are a little on the low side, if you know what I mean."
"Your loss," Lena returned and turned away down the hall with a flippant wave.
I glared at her back now that she couldn't see my expression. Great way to make my sour mood even better, I thought with an almost sarcastic sigh. Lena disappeared around the corner, not noticing the effect she had on my mood. Of course she wouldn't, the girl was oblivious to anything besides her self—oh, and Jason. It was only a matter of time before she realized how much she cared about the guy. Heck, I would have realized how much I cared about the guy if I were in her shoes. Besides, Jason adored Lena. I'd give anything to have a guy think about me like that. Even with Dave, it was more about the physical aspect of things than an emotional attachment.
I leaned against the wall with a sigh.
"Oh, Bri," I whispered. "Where are you?"
How long was I going to be able to take Lena as a best friend replacement? And Cupid's wounded and sorrowful looks? Not to mention the way I felt like running around like a chicken with its head cut off all the time. It really was going to drive me insane.
This was all Ares fault. I was sure of it. That guy really did need a taste of own medicine.
I felt a pit of raw anger begin to burn in my stomach. That pit seemed to advance through my body, throbbing through my chest, and making my throat raw with an unshed scream. For once in my life I was going to let it out. I couldn't always be Miss Propriety, Miss I-always-do-and-say-the-right-things. I needed to vent sometime.
I shoved my way into the women's bathroom, hoping that the walls would slow my scream from spreading to the classrooms. I let in a deep long breath of cool air-conditioned oxygen and let the scream fly from my lungs!
It felt good to get the name out of my system. I felt some of the pent up worry and anger start to dissipate from my system. But it wasn't quite enough. I needed one more good scream to clean me out. I opened my mouth to yell again but a voice interrupted me.
"No need to work yourself into a frenzy my dear. One call in enough." A deep and throaty chuckle followed the pronouncement. "Although I have to say it's rather sexy when you scream. You're always so soft and gentle. Is Bri's little sidekick starting to grow up?"
I whipped around, my heart in my throat. It pounded hard. My breath froze in my lungs as I stared at that cold and beautiful face. His eyes were hawk-like, almost yellow. They held a deep amber glint that gave him more of a look of a hunter.
Oh, but that face, so beautifully chiseled. And that dark hair falling so smoothly into place. His walk was like that of a predators as he stalked toward me and I backed up until my shoulder blades hit the wall. His hands leaned into the wall on either side of me and he leaned close until his breath tickled my face. I was effectively boxed in.
I'd never been this close to Ares before. And it terrified me. At the same time I could feel a tremor of curiosity race through my veins. There was something so tantalizing about the smile that played across his lips. Something about his dangerous nature was rather intoxicating.
"Where is Bri?" I managed to get out, my voice sounding hoarse.
"My dear, why would I have any idea?" He returned, leaning in close.
I got the feeling it was an intimidation tactic and it worked—sort of. The only problem was that as his nose rubbed across mine, I had the urge to reciprocate the motion. I quelled the urge.
"Because you took her," I returned matter-of-factly, holding my ground.
Ares chuckled at that. "I overlooked you, didn't I?" he returned, totally off topic. "I thought you were just some little kitten with no backbone. You certainly look like a kitten."
His eyes slid up and down my frame greedily.
He pushed back from the wall instantly, putting some space between us. Somehow this made me angry. "What? You think I can't take it? You think I'm some weakling who's scared of your very presence? I'm not like that!"
"I think you're too sweet to meddle with," he returned, his eyes cut off and distant. The smile had dropped from his lips. "Bri's fun to play with. She won't break."
His eyes glance back up at me icily. "You're eye candy, not to be touched."
"Why?" For some reason this only made me angrier. Why, I couldn't quite comprehend. Did I want to be touched by my best friend's own captor? Was I crazy?
He chuckled at my fury, his face playful again. "You would have been fun to play with, don't get me wrong," he returned. A light danced in his hawkish eyes. "But I won't."
"Why?" I insisted upon an answer.
"That's for me to know and you not to," he returned. With that he broke into a million pieces and disappeared.