Ahh, Wednesday. Just a few more days of the tour! Just a few more days of May. I'm hanging out at Minding Spot today, where there's a very sweet review of Chemistry, and of course, options to enter the giveaway. Stop by and say hello?
Now, on to the story :)
~Richie changed over the next few months. I watched and loved James all the more for the way he helped. I was completely floored the first time Richie raised his hand to answer a question in History. And when he asked to show me some of his photography, I took it as an honor.
Mary took a different tack. She and the others were less than pleased I wasn’t with them all the time. I had a hard time mustering any feelings on the matter.
I still watched James. Still caught him going long minutes between breaths in History; laughing off the nasty scrape from my bike that completely healed in a day. The battle over whether to push things to get answers, or just leave them be, grew stronger every day.
It all hit the fan the night of Prom. I went with James, of course, caught up in the magic of all that we were together. Richie doubled with us to dinner, bringing along a shy girl I knew from eighth grade. It would be easy to fill pages on the details of that night but I’ll skip to the end.
We were taking our favorite walk down by the creek, enjoying the warmer evening, laughing, and stealing kisses in the shadows.
Richie and Charlotte were wandering behind us, still too early in their relationship to do more than look at each other and turn red.
Steven, Mickey, and the rest of the baseball team appeared out of nowhere.
James tensed beside me and I could smell the impending trouble—like the ozone after a lightning strike.
It only took a moment. Richie, suddenly more than just a piece of furniture in the back of the room, drew their attention. They were no better than third graders, laughing and mocking him and Charlotte.
“Go,” I whispered, knowing James wanted nothing more than to stop them.
James stood beside Richie. I could smell the alcohol passed around the boys in crinkledbrown bags.
“Leave,” James growled.
Fueled by liquid courage and the backing of ten other boys, Steven wasn’t about to back down. He laughed and threw the first punch. James said I screamed.
When it was all over, Richie was unconscious on the path and the boys were running away.
A deep gash ran down the side of James’ face, dark blood pooling on the collar of his shirt. It looked, different, not like normal blood.
“Get Charlotte out of here,” James instructed, turning his attention to Richie.
I hesitated for a moment, not sure if I should try to help or not.
James settled that with another look in my direction. His touched the gash I couldn’t tear my eyes away from. As I watched, it healed under his fingers.
James didn’t notice my wobbly escape. I don’t think he had any idea what I’d seen. But as I helped Charlotte back to my car, I couldn’t get the image out of my head.