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Her Touch(5)

By:Alexa Riley

“Fuck what they say. Fuck what they think. You did the right thing, and so did I. If anybody gives you any shit, you let me know. I’ll take care of it.” Suddenly I’m like a big brother protecting his little sis, and it feels nice. Like I’ve got someone to look out for.

“What are you gonna do? Come to school and break everyone’s nose?” She smiles, even though I can see unshed tears in her eyes.

“If I have to. But I think taking you to school and letting everyone see you’ve got backup will probably keep the loudmouths quiet.”

I nudge her with my elbow, and she nods. I can see her take a deep breath and smile. The cloud has passed, and I put the truck in drive and take her to school.

When we get there, I park the truck and go around to open the door for her.

“Eli, what are you doing?” she says, looking around to see if anyone is watching. They are.

“Just flexing a little muscle. Need to let the baby bitches know they can’t mess with you.” I give her a wink, and she rolls her eyes, stomping away from my truck. “I’ll pick you up at three!” I shout, and Maggie throws a quick hand up to tell me to shut my mouth.

I wait until I see her make it inside safely and then hop back in my truck. For someone who never had any family, I’m feeling pretty protective of her. Something about Maggie makes me want to walk around with her all day and make sure she’s smiling. Maybe this is what Major feels like with her.

I put my truck in drive and pull away from the school, trying not to examine my feelings too much. I’m not sure how long my therapy will take, and getting attached to a family that’s not mine is a bad idea. I need to get along with them and have a good time. But one day I’ll have to leave their house, and I need to stop these warm feelings growing in my chest.

No matter how much I like them.

Chapter 3


I can’t help but glance back at the truck, feeling butterflies in my stomach. They push away the dread I had about going to school and facing Nick today. I can still feel the warmth on my cheeks from how sweet Eli was to me.

This was what I was wondering about. This is the one sensation I never got with Nick. Where it felt like my stomach did a little flip. I bite my lip and turn around. I’ve been caught looking back at him, but he’s still looking at me, too, making sure I make it into school safe.

When I enter the busy hall, I head straight for my locker, getting a few hellos from people. I’m wondering if word about Nick has gotten out and what he might have told people. What had he said about yesterday and what happened with Eli?

It doesn’t matter, I tell myself. Nick and all of his friends will be long gone after graduation at the end of the year. I won’t have to be in their social circle, a place I didn’t care to be in to begin with. I didn’t fit with them, but maybe that was more because of me. Who knows? I’ve moved so much through the years that I’ve been somewhat content not making friends, knowing that I was most likely going to move once again.

I always stuck to getting good grades and losing myself in books. It’s easier to do that. I’d take care of whatever home Dad and I had together. I enjoyed making dinner every night and helping out. We’re a team. Always have been. Maybe that’s why the moving never bothered me. As long as we were together, I didn’t care, and I knew it was for his job. I knew if he thought for a second it bothered me, it would eat away at him. But the truth is, it doesn’t bother me at all.

I open my locker and put away some of the books I won’t need until the end of the day. I don’t want to lug them around if I don’t have to. Checking my phone, I see I have a little time before class starts, so I make my way to the bathroom. I wash my hands and pull my hair into a ponytail.

I hear sniffling behind me, and I turn around and glance under the stall. I see a pair of flats that have a Harry Potter design on them. I take a step toward the door of the stall. Unsure what to do, I decide to go for it and I tap on the door.

“Are you okay?” I ask. The sniffling stops, but she doesn’t respond. I push on the door a little, but it’s locked. “Unlock it,” I say as softly as I can. I hear the latch move, and I push the door open.

“Alice?” I recognize the crying girl from my Advanced Algebra II class. She’s hard to miss with her curly red hair. She doesn’t look happy to see me.

“It’s not true,” she blurts out suddenly, more tears spilling down her cheeks. I can’t stop myself from grabbing her and pulling her into my arms, wrapping her in a hug. I still have no idea what could be wrong with her, but she’s making my heart hurt.