Ch 10

"Yo Tyler," I heard Drake call as I was carving some finishing touches on my ceramic dish.

"What's up?" I asked.

"I heard what happened in PE this morning. You're getting yourself into some serious shit."

"That only happened like three hours ago! How did you possible hear about it already?"

"I got Tanner in my second hour who told me the whole thing," He told me raising his voice slightly just enough so the junior girl at the table beside us could hear. I rolled my eyes. When is he not being a showoff?

"Anyways I just think you should be careful," he went on. "I mean, Darius obviously has some metal problems, but he's strong and he's dangerous. The last thing you want is for him to think that you're hitting on Lina."

"Come on Drake, I have a girlfriend."

"Yeah I know. You're dating Megan right?"

"Yep," I said with a smile. "Do you know her?"

"No, but I heard she's really quiet and shy. Is she nice?"

"Yeah, she's really nice."

"Cute?"

"Definitely."

"How'd you meet her?"

"I needed a math tutor and she seemed like my best choice."

"You didn't just pick her because her grades did you?"

"Well I always thought she was pretty. And she's friends with Sam."

"Well I'm glad that all worked out. I'm actually a little behind on my ceramic project so I better get working on that. Talk to you later bro."

"Later," I replied.

"Oh and by the way, Darius comes back to school in just two days."

"Two days?! I thought he was expelled…"

"Nope, just suspended."

"Well that sucks… I'll be careful though and thanks". Drake walked back to his table.

After finished my dish, I cleaned up the area. We only had about a minute left of class so I waited patiently for it to pass. Suddenly, I felt my phone vibrate.

I have a free period next hour; do you want to hang out in the library? The message was from Megan.

Sure I'll be there, I responded.

The class bell rang and everyone cleared out of the room. Instead of going straight to the library to hang out with Megan, I walked towards the cafeteria to look for Phillip and Lina.

Unexpectedly little flakes of snow began to fall. Before I even got though the other side of the school to where the cafeteria was, my whole jacked was covered in it. Most of the tables outside were left abandoned as people were huddling inside for warmth.

As I was about to follow everyone's lead inside, I noticed a girl with black hair standing outside. She was leaning against the wall next to a vending machine by herself. I couldn't tell who she was at first, but then I realized that it was Amber… What is she doing out here?

I realized that we were good enough friends so I walked over to where she was standing. She was wearing a thick black jacket with dark blue jeans and converse.

"What are you doing out here?" I asked her.

"I like the cold," she said with a smile.

"So you don't mind being covered in snow?"

"More or less; I'll go in as soon when it starts coming down harder."

"Would you like to come to the library with me and some friends? It's not going to take long for it to start coming down and you'll freeze if you stay out here."

"I don't know… Are your friends cool?"

"Of course! These are my friends we're talking about here," I said arrogantly.

"Alright then, I'll go."

"Okay cool. I'm going to find two of my friends real quick and then we'll go."

"I'll wait here," she told me.

I walked quickly through the warm cafeteria doors. As expected, there were people everywhere… After a long struggle of getting through the crowds, I finally reached the table where Lina, Phillip, and Rebecca were sitting.

"Hey Tyler, glad you were able to make it," Phillip told me. "Oh and by the way, you never got me that Pepsi you owe me."

"Pespi?..." That's when I remembered when I smacked the drink out of his hand and made a mess everywhere not too long ago. "Oh, sorry about that. I'll pay you back, I promise."

"Hey don't sweat it man, I was only kidding."

"I'll bring the money tomorrow okay; I promise. But anyways, I'm heading down to the library to meet up with Megan. Do you guys want to come?"

"Right now?" Lina asked.

"Yep," I answered.

"Well we would, but we know how much you and your girlfriend want to be alone so I think we'll stay here. But uh, have fun 'studying'…" Phil said with his normal smartass look on his face.

"Guys I was really hoping you were going to come. I already invited Amber to come and she'll feel really out of place if it's just us three. Like a third wheel or something."

"You invited that psycho hipster chick?!" Lina asked in shock. "Well now I definitely don't want to go."

"Come on, she's not so bad and she's my friend."

"Honestly Tyler, sometimes I think your heart is too pure for your own good… However, since you are one of my best friends, I'll go. You'll go too won't you Phil?"

"Of course," he answered.

"And you Rebecca?" Asked Lina.

"Sorry, I have better things to do than hang out in the library. I'll catch you later though." Rebecca waved goodbye and walked away.

Phillip, Lina, and I made our way out of the cafeteria and into the freezing cold. The snow was coming down three times harder than it was before and I was having trouble seeing my way around. With time, we found Amber and the four of us headed down to the library together.

"Why does it have to be so COLD here?! Why can't we all just move to Arizona! I hate the cold!" Lina ranted as we walked through the library doors.

"Shh… This is a library," Phil told her. The library was actually really busy as well. I guess everybody that didn't want to get crammed into the small cafeteria came here.

I immediately noticed a girl with brownish-reddish hair sitting down at one of the computers at the far side of the library. She was wearing a black jacket with blue jeans and her hair was wavy and beautiful. Lina must have caught me staring at her because she immediately caught on.

"Is that her?" She asked.

"Yep," I responded with a smile.

"Wow," Lina said after a moment. "She's actually…. Pretty…"

"What are you talking about," Amber asked.

"Tyler's girlfriend; the one with the red hair," Phillip answered.

We walked over to her. When she noticed us, she stood up ready to give me a hug, but then looked down at my snow covered jacket.

"Aren't you going to give me a hug?" I asked her.

"I will once you take it off," she told me.

"But Megan…" I said in a shocked tone. "Are you sure?... I mean, we're in public…"

"I meant your jacket!" She quickly corrected. She rolled her eyes at me in a playful way. "So do you want a hug or not?" I let out a short sigh and looked over at Lina.

"See how she treats me?" I asked her. "All I wanted was a hug…" I finally took the jacket off and then Megan put her arms around me and hugged me. I instantly felt five times warmer.

"So where's your girlfriend at?" Lina asked me looking around.

"What do you mean, she's right here…" I said pointing to Megan.

"So you really are dating Tyler?" She asked Megan.

"Yep," She responded.

"So what, did you lose a bet or something?"

"Thank you Lina…" I said under my breath.

"Let me introduce you guys," I said to them. "These are my friends Lina, Phil, and Amber," I told Megan pointing to each of them.

"Well it's nice to know that you have some more friends than just Phil. I was starting to think you were a loner Tyler," Megan teased.

Phillip sat down at the computer next to Megan's. Lina and Amber took two other close by computers while I decided to just share with Megan.

We all logged in to the computers and went straight to our social media websites. I went on to my Facebook and saw that I had an unread message.

"Guys, I have an unread message on Facebook!" I announced with joy.

"So happy for you," Amber said in a careless tone. After her comment, Amber put one earphone in her ear, leaned back in her chair, and put her feet up on the table next to where Lina's arm was. Lina gave Amber a death glare but Amber was too busy looking down at her phone and texting to notice.

"You should be happy for him," Phil told Megan. "No one ever messages Tyler."

"No kidding," Lina added. "And it's not even his birthday. This is a special event indeed." Megan bit her lip.

"Nice friends you have," Megan said to me.

"We're not really his friends," Lina told her. "He's paying us to come here and act like we're his friends to look cool in front of you. I'm not joking either; I'm getting a twenty out of this."

"I better be getting my Pepsi!" Phil announced. We all laughed. "So who's the message from?"

"Kailey," I told them.

"Oh, that explains it. False alarm everyone; it was just an anonymous Facebook friend of his. And to think you actually had a real person you actually know message you… How bizarre for us to think that."

"What does it say?" Lina asked.

"It says: Hey, how's it going?" I read.

"That's deep," Lina commented.

"So deep, I could see Adele rolling in it," Phillip added. Lina rolled her eyes

"When did she send that?"

"Sometime last night."

"And you didn't even respond until now. Some friend you are!"

"Who's Kailey?" Megan asked.

"Tyler's internet girlfriend," Phillip answered. I rolled my eyed and explained who she really is.

"Wow and you're actually trying to help her? That's so sweet!"

"Well I'm not doing a very good job at it... I'll try to talk to her more." I felt a wave of guilt hit me as I realized that I never take the time to talk to her ever.

Suddenly Amber dropped her feet to the floor and sat up in her chair. Her earphone went flying out of her ear.

"Everything alri…" Phillip started to say before Amber cut him off.

"Hey, do you have a lot of friends on Facebook?" She asked me talking fast. I sat there for a moment and blinked from the random question.

"Yeah I guess so…"

"Do you know a girl named Sam?"

We all sat there for a moment staring at her. Lina slowly looked away from her with a look on her face that read: what the hell is wrong with her? It took a minute for me to process her random question.

"Yeah I know a Sam... We're all friends with her actually."

"Do you mind pulling up her Facebook for a minute?"

"Um sure; I can pull it up…" I looked up Sam's name and found her profile. On her newsfeed, there was a picture of her she just uploaded a few hours ago showing her lying on a couch. The text under it read: I'm finally home from the hospital. Hopefully I can start going back to school in a few days.

Seeing this picture brought relief to Phillip, Megan, and I; however it seemed to have the opposite reaction to Amber.

"Hospital… Why does it say she was in the hospital?! What happened?"

"What do you mean what happened, you honestly don't know about the car crash that happened?" Lina asked in a shocked tone. "Not even about that whole incident with Darius and Marcus?"

"Amber just started going to this school, she wasn't here when all of that happened," I mentioned to her.

"Oh yeah," Lina said as little blond highlights started to show through her black hair.

We explained to Amber everything that happened. After the story was over, she seemed oddly much more calm and relaxed.

"How do you know Sam anyways?" Phillip asked her.

"We're uh, old friends I guess. I used to know her a while back and we got really close. But that was like five years ago."

"Well once she starts going back to school, we'll reintroduce you to her," Phil added.

"No it's fine. I think it's better if we just remain as old friends."

"Umm okay… If that's what you want…"

"Thank you for looking her up Ty," Amber told me leaning back in her chair and putting her earphones back in. I could hear her heavy metal music from where I was sitting and could tell from the repulsive look on Lina's face that the genre of music was not her type.

After an awkward silence created by Amber disembodying herself from the rest of us, Phillip finally brought up a new topic.

"So guys, guess what?" He asked with a smile on his face?

"You finally hit puberty?" Lina asked smirking.

"Finally hit puberty?.. Yeah, says the one that's almost two feet shorter than me!"

"Not even close to two feet!" Lina argued.

"Okay, whatever! Anyways, I applied for a job at that market that's close to where I live and I think I might get the job. They said that they'll give me a call by tomorrow to let me know."

"Hmm, I don't like it Phil…" Lina said with concern. "I think you should just back out on this…"

"Hey, I gotta do what I gotta do. Besides it'll be good to get a job. It teaches you responsibility and crap like that. Everything that all my past teachers told me I lacked."

"Your past teachers? At least you passed those classes… I'll be lucky if I pass Algebra class with a C," I told him.

"Hey, I'm doing the best that I can!" Megan butted in.

"I know I'm sorry… You should come over to my house this weekend to help me."

"You sure? Last time you said I could come over; you ended up not even being there…"

"I know and I'm really sorry. I wasn't expecting Phillip to show up and it completely lost me that you were supposed to come over."

"I know, it's no big deal. I don't think I'm doing anything on Saturday though. I'll ask if I can come over."

"Sure that'll be fine."

"Well if you'll be busy with your girlfriend on Saturday, can we hang on Sunday?" Lina asked me. "I need to get out of the house and you're one of the only friends that my parents actually like. I mean you know how strict they are already, but ever since Rebecca and I accidentally broke my great grandmother's old vase, they haven't been letting me do anything…"

"Nice going," Phillip said sarcastically. Lina rolled her eyes.

"I'll see if you can stop by," I answered. I honestly don't know what my Sunday will be like though."

"Well if I get the job, I'll be spending my Sunday working…" Phillip said with 'excitement'.

"If I can't hang out with Tyler, I'm going to be spending my Sunday staring at walls and calling people all day long," Lina added. "What about you, Megan?"

"Me?" She asked. "Umm I guess all I'm really doing is going to church."

Suddenly, a group of punk teenagers started walking towards us. Amber looked up noticing them and waved. She took her earphones out and stood up.

"Sup Amber, we've been looking for you," said a tall male. He had a big tattoo of a snake on his arm, long black hair, and piercings. His friends looked very similar.

"Sup Gale? What do you guys need?"

"We're headed to that frozen yogurt place down the road during sixth hour. You wana come?"

There were five of them in total. All of them seemed to have this same look though. It was a look of disdain, as if we were lower than them. They looked at Amber in a way of saying, 'what are you doing hanging out with these lowlifes'? As if they were any better…

"Yeah sure, I'll go," She answered to them. Amber picked up her backpack and walked to them. "Later," she told us, as the six of them walked away.

"Good riddance," Lina said just loud enough for them to hear. "Nice friend you got there," Lina told me with irritancy. I didn't say anything back and just focused on my computer looking through my newsfeed.

My left hand was resting on my lap when I felt someone's hand slowly set on it. I looked over at Megan who gave me a warm smile and intertwined her fingers with mine. Her hands were warm and comforting.

"Have you guys kissed yet?" Lina asked sudden while texting on her phone. Our hands instantly pulled apart. I felt my face turn red.

"Umm yes," I answered.

"I wasn't talking about you and your Mom Ty, I was referring to your girlfriend."

"Girlfriend? What girlfriend?" I asked. Megan punched my arm and gave me an angry look.

"Yes, we have," Megan answered.

"Don't mind Tyler," Phillip told Megan. "I'm sure he's just not used to actually having a girlfriend. I know we're not."

"He better get used to it!" Megan said angrily. I smiled and reached out my hand to hers. After a moment of staring at me with anger, she rolled her eyes and held my hand. "You're lucky I like you," Megan told me.

"You're lucky I need a math tutor," I responded in the same tone. Suddenly, Megan's face turned from a smile to a frown. She stared at the floor for a minute not saying anything.

I realized in that instant that my joking has gone too far. Did I really just say that? What the hell is wrong with me? I thought to myself in anger. Most people know that I'm a very sarcastic person, but sometimes I guess I don't know when to stop.

Megan looked up again but pulled her hand away from mine. My heartbeat skyrocketed.

"Are you okay?" I asked her. She nodded but didn't say anything. "Megan, what's wrong?" I asked again. Megan noticed the concern in my voice and looked up at me.

"Nothing," she said simply. "I'm fine."

Lina and Phillip could both tell the mistake that I made. They looked at us in concern knowing that I didn't mean what I had said.

"Hey, don't take Tyler personally," Lina said to Megan. "I know, he's an idiot sometimes, but he's only an idiot because he really likes you."

I was surprised to see Lina stand up for me. Words couldn't explain the gratefulness I felt for her actually trying to help with my mistake.

"I know he's an idiot," she said back. "But he's my idiot." She wrapped her arms around me for a moment and then pulled away. We both looked at each other and smiled.

I'm sorry, I mouthed to her.

Its okay, she mouthed back.

When lunch finally ended, I agreed to walk Megan to her sixth hour. Being the gentlemen I am, I offered my jacket to her.

"No, you take it," She told me. "I'm no stranger to snow, I can handle it."

"Just use it for now okay, I'll use it during Spanish class."

Megan finally agreed to take my jacket.

"Thank you," she said in a sweet voice.

"Hey Megan, I'm really sorry about what I said before…"

"Just don't even mention it alright. I took it the wrong way at first, but it's fine."

"I really am sorry though… There's obviously a reason why I'm dating you, and it's not just because I'm failing math."

Megan suddenly stopped walking. I stopped too and we stood there for a moment.

"Do you remember the first day we met?" She asked me.

"The first day? Yeah, of course I do. The day I first talked to you?"

"Yep. Do you remember what you said to me?"

"Not really… I know it had something to do about you not having to help me with my math if you didn't want to."

"Then do you remember what I said?" She asked.

"Just that it was really awkward…"

"I guess I'm kind of anti-social; in case you haven't noticed… You completely caught me off guard and I didn't have time to think of a response. I said something like: 'I want you to pass so I can see you next year,' or something like that. I obviously liked you then…"

"So I guess we've both said some stupid things to each other that we didn't think through," she continued." It's not a big deal though because I know you didn't mean what you said. You were just trying to think of a clever response."

"Thank you Megan," I told her. I smiled at her and saw a twinkle in her green eyes. She was beautiful, especially in the snow.

Megan put her arms around my neck and kissed me. It lasted about three seconds and was different than the other time we kissed. He lips felt warm and my body temperature felt like it rose about two degrees.

"You have about two minutes left to get to class," Megan told me taking off my jacket.

"But I still have to walk you to your sixth hour," I protested.

"Do that and you'll be late."

"I'll run."

"Just go," she told me handing my jacket out to me. "I'll see you in about an hour anyways." I didn't protest. I grabbed my jacket and said goodbye.

Halfway to my Spanish class, I felt my phone vibrate. I opened the message expecting it to be from Megan, but saw that it was actually from my Mom. I read the message and completely froze. My heart stopped and everything went still. The message only contained three short words…

Dakota is missing.