Mary-Thea pulled on the expensive fabrics of her current outfit. It was one of Mary's. She'd wear it, just once. No one would notice, she promised herself. Dragging herself out the door and into the waiting car, Mary smiled as she smelled the familiar scent of Morgan – coffee mixed with fresh air.
"Morning," he greeted, pulling down the drive. His hands had felt so good on her body….
"G-good morning," Mary-Thea managed. This day was going to be harder than she thought. Between the breakup of Essie and Jesse (she wasn't completely out of tune; nearly stalking her former social circle kept her informed) and Max's sleuthing…she might not be Thea for very much longer.
"So, Princess," Morgan teased. Mary-Thea noticed that he was inching along the highway. Odd – he was a speed demon, usually. As if he wanted to rid himself of her every morning. "I was thinking that, after school, we could stop by Terria Café."
"I, um….I don't know, Morgan."
"Why not, Princess?" Morgan asked, his hand clenching on the wheel. His eyes reflected back at her through the mirror. They were fierce as always. Oh, Irish boys. Forever passionate.
Mary-Thea adjusted the gold, sequined miniskirt on her legs. Paired with her plain brown tank top and sparkly gold headband holding back her long, dark waves of hair…she imagined that her cover would be blown. Still, excitement twirled through her. What would Max say, with his suspicions confirmed? What would…..Jesse say? Alex? No, Alexander, Mary-Thea reminded herself. Dreading the response and seeing Alexander again, she noticed that her car was only a few miles from the school now. "I might have plans. I'm showing myself as Mary today." She admitted.
"What?" seethed Morgan, nearly braking the car in his shock.
Mary-Thea shrugged. "I'm nearly exposed already."
Morgan scoffed at her naiveté. "You're giving up that easily? Mary, I haven't forgotten that night. He tore you up. None of them cared what happened to you. Surely you aren't stupid enough to think that it will be different this time." His jaw clenched angrily.
"It's not about Alexander," Mary-Thea insisted. Or was it? She didn't know, really.
"Then who?" he demanded.
"It's about me. I'm done hiding," Mary-Thea lifted her chin defiantly. She knew Morgan understood how fake that excuse was. But she didn't care. She really was tired of being someone else.
Jesse checked inbox. No new messages. He sighed, glancing once at the clock. Then, someone walked through the door. Long, tan legs and a miniskirt at a classy length. Long, black lashes framing rustic brown irises and full lips. It couldn't be….
The class let out a collective gasp, unbridled. Mary (who else could it be?) sat down next to Jesse, crossing her legs. He was too stunned to speak. She was exactly who he remembered. Endlessly beautiful and unattainable. Halfway through class, he found his eyes stalling on her. She noticed, turning to him.
"What?" she hissed. Intoxicatingly, her breath smelled like strawberries and cinnamon.
"Where….?" Jesse whispered, trailing off.
A hint of a smirk played on Mary's features. "Here. I never left."
"No, we all thought—"
Mary scribbled down on her paper random jumbled flowers interlocked with hearts. "You were blind. All of you." She spat.
Jesse knew she was right.
Alexander got a text in first period from Jesse.
You will never guess who just showed up.
Thinking he meant Allison, Alexander rolled his eyes.
Oh? She blew up over Mary yesterday. We're over.
A message vibrated the device seconds later. Alexander knew who had just showed up as soon as he saw the message. It was a number he hadn't seen in a long time. The message was two words.