What the hell? What the hell? What the hell?
Warren stalked the hallways to the Gym. He'd changed his mind about going to class. Screw Powers and to hell with getting suspended. He needed his old friend back - seclusion.
Their new timetable had ensured that at Monday, midday, the Gym was devoid of life. Not even Coach Boomer was there. He'd be somewhere in the teacher's lounge, spouting off some testosterone, and everyone else was in a different class. Sure enough, when the double-doors came into view, Warren was spared from the fluorescent lights, or any light for that matter. The Gym was in total darkness, and Warren wrapped it around him like a shroud, laying himself down on the bleachers.
He didn't know what just happened. He didn't know what to make of it.
God damn. Wait. Right. What's fact? Focus on the facts Peace!
His hands were shredded. Little flecks of China decorated them like paint.
Good. What else?
Will knew that he didn't hate him. Warren had wanted him to know that before Layla had interfered.
They'd done something to their friendship. It still wasn't friendship per se anymore, but it wasn't in tatters either. It was something. And it could be built on.
He'd slipped up. He'd told Will what had been really bothering him. The prodigal son had let him down and Warren didn't want to face that he'd been wrong about him. He'd made Warren feel good, and he'd just taken it away from him. And it felt cold.
Stop it! Warren reprimanded himself. He was not weak. He was not cold. He was Warren Peace. Solitary, and content that way.
But he'd run out of facts; those white and black areas that simplified. Now there was only grey.
A great heap of blue, red and white streaked freakin' grey!
His damaged fists slammed into the wooden bleachers with a crunch.
Warren hoisted himself up into a sitting position, rubbing his face with his hands, not caring about the blood, or pricks of china, or the papery feel of the splinters. At least they had a pure, solid feeling. There was no ambiguity with them.
Resigned, he let the errant thoughts in for a moment.
What was it? Was it because I hadn't seen him for so long? It has to be. There's absolutely no other explanation. Not a suitable one; not an acceptable one. None. God, a couple of months ago all I wanted was to hurt him. But – dammit! What was it?
Warren jolted out of his head. The thoughts were getting locked back away. Some things didn't need to be figured out or explored, and this was just that kind of time. He could be some kind of friend to Will again. But that's all there was to it. Just friends. That's all he wanted. It would all be a laughable memory, and Warren would be able to put this – whatever this was – down to mental and physical exhaustion. It'd work.
It has to work. I don't ever wanna know what this means.
She clutched the wall next to her. Her eyes were wide, and wild, mirroring the vines that sprawled out around her from the ground. She retched for what felt like the thousandth time, but nothing came.
Kissing? They were Kissing?!
She forced herself to take deep slow breaths. She tried to be rational. Warren and Will were still fighting. They couldn't be kissing! And they were both boys! They were best friends, so close –
What if Will lied about their fight? What if, this whole time they'd been seeing each other behind her back? She cast her mind back, trying to remember anything, trying to notice any signs, any signals that they were giving off.
She remembered how Will always gave Warren a soft smile – the same one that he gave to her – when he'd catch Warren's eye. Warren would scowl and nod, but the smile would just turn into a goofy grin. She remembered how often Will would be touching Warren. A hand on the shoulder, playful hits, a pat on the back… God knows how many times during the day.
She slumped to the ground, the grass growing up so as to cushion her. Her confusion felt like an ocean, and she was drowning. Warren didn't give off any kind of signs. Yeah, he was friendlier with Will than he was with the rest of them, but that's because Will kept making the extra effort. Everyone else was content with giving Warren the space he was used to, and letting him come to them.
But Will was always going to him…
He was never going to Will. He didn't have to.
But were they kissing? Layla started to doubt herself for the first time. She had only seen them from behind, so she never saw their faces. But they were so close! Every part of their legs and torsos were touching! That she was sure of.
Layla broke from her daze, and looked up. It was the blonde girl Warren had threatened their first day back after Homecoming. She didn't answer her, but didn't look away.
"What?" said Layla.
"You're Will's girlfriend, right? The Plant Girl?"
She had no other answer so she just nodded.
"Well I'm Stacey."
"What do you want?"
Stacey scoffed. "What does every girl want?"
Layla raised an inquisitive look her way and shrugged lazily. She didn't care. She didn't want to know.
Stacey came down on the balls of her feet, managing somehow to make it look dignified and dainty, and knelt before Layla.
"I want Warren Peace," she said. "And you're going to help me."