“Teacher’s pet.” “Know-it-all.” “Freak.”
Thou shalt not kill the fools. Mantra on permanent repeat in her head, Angie Daeva ignored her classmates and walked to her locker.
“Don’t worry about them. They’re just jealous.” Tyler opened his locker, dumped all his books inside, and grabbed his letterman’s jacket.
“Right.” Angie slammed the locker and forced her eyes not to flash red when she felt the burn. “If the fools read a book once in a while, they would know the answers.” She glanced at the captain of the football team, and added, “Most would.”
Tyler laughed at her obvious criticism. “Hey, I study… occasionally.”
“Tyler, come on.” Sharon, captain of the cheerleading squad, grabbed his arm and they walked away. She tossed a smirk over her shoulder at Angie.
Angie watched the high school cliche leave. Teenagers were so odd. She didn’t understand them at all. As she stood in the hallway, a tank ran over her. She groaned when she hit the floor, breaking the fall with her head, and lay motionless for a second. The tank, BJ Harman, was the biggest guy in school. She gathered her books. When she reached for the last one, BJ grabbed it and held it just out of her reach.
He grinned. “You’re the smartest kid in school. No way you need to study this weekend.” When she reached for the book, he tossed it to Jimmy. If BJ was around, you could count on Jimmy being nearby. BJ protected Jimmy and Jimmy did BJ’s homework.
When she tried to get the book from Jimmy, he tossed it back to BJ.
Giving up, she said, “Don’t you have anything better to do?”
“Not at the moment.” BJ dangled the book in front of her.
She held her other books close to her chest and asked, “What do you want?”
BJ handed her the book. “My science project is missing.”
Everyone in school knew she had a knack for finding stuff. They just didn’t know why. She shook her head. “I can’t find something that doesn’t exist.”
“I did the project.” BJ’s indignation was laughable.
Angie raised her eyebrows but didn’t speak.
“Okay, Jimmy did most of the work, but I helped.” BJ ran his fingers through his short hair. “This is important. If I don’t get a passing grade I’m benched for the game.”
It was the first time in twenty years the football team made the playoffs. She didn’t care about football but everyone else, even her father, did. If she helped BJ, her dad might get off her back about making friends and blending in. She didn’t want to blend in in high school. She didn’t want to be in high school, but life didn’t always give you what you wanted. A slow smile spread across her face. “What’s in it for me?”
“I’m not a football fan. If I help you, what’s in it for me?” she asked.
“I’ll be your friend.” BJ smiled his best good-old-boy smile.
She barked a laugh. “Try again.”
“You’ll be under my personal protection until we graduate. No one will taunt you or pick on you.” BJ puffed out his chest.
Angie mulled that over. Under strict orders to play nice, she had been putting up with the tormenting, but her temper wouldn’t hold much longer. Solving this mystery wouldn’t take but a few seconds. She nodded her agreement. “Okay, but you better keep your word. When did you last have it?”
“This morning in the gym. I left it by the bleachers while I shot some hoops. When I went back, it was gone.”
She closed her eyes and centered herself, pulling up an image of the gym and searched the past. She watched as Jimmy took the project and hid it in his locker. She opened her eyes to see Jimmy’s pleading for her not to tell. “Go on BJ. Meet us in the science lab.”
“What? Who took it?” BJ demanded.
Angie ignored his questions. She wouldn’t be responsible for a blood bath unless she was the one bathing in blood. “There’s no way to be stealthy with your hulk-like body. Go away, Jimmy will help me.”
Jimmy nodded his agreement. “Yeah, go, I’ll help her.”
BJ shrugged and walked off.
“How did you know?” Jimmy asked as soon as BJ was out of sight.
“Who else could get close enough to him to do something so stupid.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right, but I’m tired of doing his homework.”
“If he’s not on the field Friday night, you will be the most hated kid in school and BJ won’t protect you.”
Jimmy scrunched up his face as if adding up a math equation. “I didn’t think of that.”
“Obviously, let’s get the project to Mr. Bailor’s room.” Angie and Jimmy lugged the heavy project through the school.
“You’re the best Angie. Thanks.” BJ picked her up and twirled her around.
When her feet were firmly on the ground again, she whispered, “Just remember our agreement.”
BJ nodded and checked his project.
“Miss Daeva, did you do Mr. Harman’s science project?” Mr. Bailor, the science teacher, spoke loudly, silencing the room.
“No, sir.” She should have realized her good deed would result in trouble for her.
“Angie didn’t do my project, Mr. Bailor,” BJ said. “Jimmy helped, but all Angie did was find my project when I lost it.”
“You lost it?” Mr. Bailor’s tone spoke volumes about his opinion of a student losing an assignment.
“Someone hid my project as a joke.”
“Who would do that, Mr Harman?”
“Don’t know. Angie didn’t tell me, but she found it.”
When Angie arrived home, she threw her books on the desk, and turned glowing red eyes on her father, patriarch of the Daeva Clan of demons. “How long am I to be stuck in high school? I tire of pretending I’m not evil.”
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