Recap: As Zelie is leaving the library, she hears a conversation she probably shouldn't have. She decides to leave to get her stuff in the classroom where she finds the teacher gone. On her table is a note which, upon reading, she reads and starts dancing around because she's extremely happy.
OH. GOD. NICK HAD JUST SEEN HER DANCE AROUND. LIKE. AN. IDIOT. Zelie's face reddened to a deep red, so red that she might camouflage in roses extremely well.
"Don't let me being here stop you from dancing," Nick stated casually, leaning on the doorframe. Zelie quickly whirled around, facing her bag, too embarrassed to say anything. She quickly gathered up her bag, coat, and the textbook which lay on the desk. Zelie begrudgingly took off Nick's coat and handed it to him as she passed by on her way out.
As Nick left her peripheral vision, Zelie turned her head slightly as she continued walking to watch as he stumbled over his own two feet to catch up to her. Zelie swiftly faced forward as Nick stepped into place beside her.
"So," Nick started, his amber eyes staring at her intently, "you know my sister, Vanessa?"
"Uh, know her?" she asked. He nodded. "No, I don't."
"Then, how'd you meet? Why were you outside in the first place? Didn't you have detention from Mr. Mancaster today?" Zelie flushed crimson with mortification.
"You, uh, knew about the, umm, detention?" He nodded, a sad smile on his face. "Well, that's embarrassing," she muttered under her breath, but somehow Nick heard her.
He patted her shoulder. Zelie's lungs contracted as she held in a deep breath, not daring to breathe or say anything.
"There, there. It's ok. Nothing to be embarrassed about." Then, all of a sudden, the hold on her stuff loosened and her coat, along with the textbook, fell to the floor with a loud thud.
Without hesitation, she bent down and picked up her coat but before she could get the textbook, Nick had gotten to it.
"Here," Nick said, picking up the thick textbook from the floor and handing it off to Zelie.
"Thanks," Zelie mumbled, her face still blushing. But Zelie struggled to shove the textbook into her already full backpack.
When she continually failed to do so, Nick spoke up, "Wait, umm, give me the, umm, stuff that, uh, doesn't fit into your backpack. You can fix it when we, uh, get back to the, umm, library.
Zelie's head jerked up from gazing at her feet straight to Nick's face. In the distance, Zelie heard a loud clattering sound, as if something had just fallen to the floor. Nick's amber eyes perked up at the sound and he held up a finger in front of his mouth.
"What was that?" Zelie whispered.
"I don't know. I'll go check. You wait right here," he answered in a low voice. Slowly, he crept towards the area where the sound had most likely come from. Soon, he reached the end of the hallway and bent down to pick up something. Zelie could hear the jangling sound of keys being picked up. She picked up her bag and started towards Nick.
As she got closer to him, she heard him say, "Hey, Lani."
And then, a moment later, a female voice responded, "Hey, Nick. How ya doing?"
"You can come out now," he said, "It's just me and Zelie." Then, a girl with long, dark brown, wavy hair and hazelnut colored eyes stepped out to meet Nick and Zelie. She laughed nervously and hid her hands behind her back. IT WAS THE SAME GIRL FROM THE LIBRARY, Zelie realized as soon as the girl had stepped out from where she was hiding.
"What were you even doing hiding behind the wall, anyway?" Nick questioned. It was a good question and Zelie had wanted to ask that too but had this feeling that she'd seen this girl somewhere before with Nick. Maybe during class or in the hallways or something. She couldn't remember.
"I, uh, was just trying to find you?" Lani answered hesitatingly.
Nick eyed her, squinting, then raising an eyebrow. "You sound unsure Lani. Were you spying on us?" Lani's gaze flitted around as if trying to find something to take the attention off of her. Finally, Lani's eyes settled on Zelie's. Lani smiled and held out her hand. Zelie shook her hand.
"Hi, I'm Ailani. You can call me Lani, though," she said.
"Zelie. Not sure if you need a nickname for that," Zelie answered. But she was lying. When Zelie was little, Nikolai used to call her Zel. Ever since the accident, Zelie had let no one else call her that. It was for her brother and nobody else.
"How about...Zay? Lani suggested, pulling Zelie back from her memories.
"Hmm? What about it?" Zelie asked.
Before Lani could answer, Nick, butted in, "She's asking if Zay would be alright for a nickname. For you."
Zelie hesitated for a second before nodding. "Sure. If that's what you want, go ahead." Then, all of a sudden, a ringing sound startled Zelie. She watched Nick take his phone out of his pocket and pick up a call from his dad.
"Give me a second, 'kay?" He said, putting the phone to his ear and walked off into the distance. Lani nodded and smiled at him before turning back to Zelie.
Lani had a mischievous smile on her face and it scared Zelie. A lot. Zelie gulped loudly but Lani didn't notice.
"So," Lani smirked, "what's with you and Nick? Like do you guys...know each other?" Zelie shook her head, knowing she had to be careful with her tone and choice of words.
"No, we just have a couple of classes together, I think. That's it." Zelie managed to say this without messing up her speech but she couldn't stop fiddling with her hands. She was sure that Lani had noticed that but said nothing of it.
"Oh, ok." Then to herself, Zelie heard her mumble "interesting" under her breath. Zelie stared at Lani, unfazed by her choice of words.
"What's so interesting?" Zelie asked, her voice calm and steady.
Lani's dark brown eyes widened. "You heard that?" Zelie nodded, her eyes wide.
"Kinda hard to miss that. So what's interesting?"
Lani shrugged. "Nothing. Just something me and Vanessa were talking about back at the library." Zelie knew what Lani was talking about. She'd heard it.
"If I said I was eavesdrop-" However, before Zelie could finish the word, Nick came rushing back towards them.
"Dad's here. He wants to meet with the people who found the...body. That means Vanessa, Cameron, and you, Zelie," he said, not even a little out of breath after running down the entire hallway. Zelie could never run, not even a tiny bit, without breathing harder at the end.
While lost in thought, Zelie heard Lani say, "Alright, I'll go get Cameron and Vanessa but I'm not so sure about Cameron. She still seemed out of it before I came down here."
"Ok, thanks, Lani." He smiled, allowing two little dimples to appear on his cheeks. Then he turned to Zelie and looked down at her.
The sad thing for Zelie was that she was short. She was only about five foot three which made her feel extremely small compared to Lani and Nick. Lani was most definitely, at least, an inch or two taller. And Nick. Oh, man. He was like half a foot taller than Zelie. So Zelie did what she had to and tilted her head higher, but not too high, to look at Nick this close to her. As if this would ever happen again, she thought. After this, it's not like we'll ever need to talk to each other again. Might as well take an advantage of this.
She stared at his amber-like eyes. But before she could stare at him anymore, fingers snapping in front of her face pulled her out of her trance.
"...Zelie? Did you even hear me?!" Nick's voice was saying, as he continued snapping his fingers. Then Zelie turned into a tomato. Or at least, she wished she had but sadly, it was only her face. Zelie looked around for Lani, but Lani was nowhere to be seen.
"I, uh, yes?" She stuttered hesitantly. She tucked a few loose strands of her copper hair and held her hands in front of her.
Nick sighed, then smiled softly. "At least you're ok and haven't gone still like Cameron. What I said was, you're coming with me to meet my dad and tell him what exactly happened and how you found that thing. He's waiting at the school entrance."
"Okay," she answered to no particular question. She gathered herself up, shaking her head a few times and picking up her jacket, which was somehow now on the floor.
Once Zelie had gotten her stuff, she and Nick began walking towards the entrance of the school, which lay on the opposite side of where they were right now. Zelie decided to take this chance to ask about Lani.
"Sooooo, Lani, is she your…girlfriend?"
Nick turned on his heels and stared down at Zelie. A deep red color had colored his entire face and was on its way down his neck.
"No! She's my best friend. That's all. Nothing else," he muttered. Zelie didn't believe it for even one second. She could tell that he wanted to be more than just friends but wasn't doing anything about it. So Zelie did the next most sensible thing to her. She held up her hands, at least as well as she could while holding her jacket and textbook.
"Sorry. Didn't mean to pry. I was just very curious because the way you looked at her said otherwise."
Nick sighed sadly. "It's alright."
"You don't have to answer this but you do like her, right? And I said that you don't have to answer be-"
"It's ok. I can answer that but I trust that you won't say anything to her?"
"Of course not." Zelie's heart hammered in her chest, knowing that the answer would either lead to heartbreak or a chance for her. "I do. Like her, I mean. But it could never work." Zelie's dark blue eyes widened, as she inhaled a deep breath.
"Why not?" she asked, curious about Nick's
"Because she doesn't like guys. She's into girls."
Zelie sighed. "Ah, ok. I see. I'm sorry."
Nick shrugged, a small smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. "There's nothing to be sorry about. It isn't anyone's fault. Besides, I support her and just want her to be happy."
"Yeah, I suppose that's what matters most."
A/N 'Sup y'all's. I hope you liked that chapter. It was a lot longer than the first part of this chapter, in my opinion. PLEASE PLEASE COMMENT AND REVIEW AND FOLLOW AND SHARE AND WHATEVER ELSE. I'm just a new writer so I really depend on other's judgment.
Also, I might start posting these chapters every other week rather than every week. So sorry for any inconvenience!
SORRY FOR THE LATE CHAPTER!
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