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an SAT/ACT vocabulary novel

Chapter Six

Part 1

“I . . . uh . . . .”

Hadn’t I just had some plausible excuses lined up? My mind was completely devoid of words. No poise under pressure—not a good quality in a cop.

“I just . . . lost!” I exclaimed, completely unintelligible.

“You just lost,” he said, his brow furrowing over his seriously piercing green eyes. Somehow they made my heart pound even more furiously. “How caveman of you.”

“Look . . . I’m new around here,” I explained. “And I just . . . I’m trying to make friends, and to be honest, you seemed . . . interesting.”

What the hell was I saying?

“Really?” he said, ushering me back out into the hallway. It seemed he didn’t want whomever was down below doing the cavorting and the smoking to overhear us. “I thought I just saw you eating lunch with the Conenites. You seem pretty much acclimated to the situation around here.”

“Um . . . Conenites?”

“Marshall Cone and his friends?” Jon said like I was some sort of doofus for not having inherent knowledge of his nickname for them.

“Right. Well, they’re okay, but—”

“No, they’re not. But that’s not exactly the point. The point is, you don’t hang out with the Conenites and find me interesting. The two things don’t mesh.” His face was growing hard as he spoke and took a menacing step closer to me. I felt my pulse speed up. Was this kid dangerous? I mean, I could definitely take him, but the last thing I wanted was to get embroiled in a sparring match in the middle of the hallway—especially not with Cox potentially lurking around here somewhere.

“So I repeat,” Jon said. “Why were you following me?”

“You know what? I don’t have to stand here and take this kind of invective from you,” I said, deciding to cut my losses. We were in a deserted hallway, and his behavior was getting more and more disquieting. “We could have been friends. And who knows, you may have found me very interesting. But now we’ll never know.”

“Gee. I’m real broken up about it,” Jon said, narrowing his eyes.

“Fine,” I said.

“Fine,” he replied, shoving through the door again.

I stormed away, fuming, my face so hot it felt as if my makeup was going to melt right off. Jon Wisnewski was infuriating.

So why was my brain imagining what it might be like to run back there, grab him and kiss him? Ugh! I needed to see a shrink, stat.

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