An Angel's Job
Author: Lyndsay Noemia

Chapter 6
My Warden

     "Are you going to tell me what the fight was really about?" I asked.
     Ephraim looked surprised and sighed. "Well, when I told him to leave me alone, he didn't like it. Jasen isn't the type you order around, you know? So when I was walking out of school he came over and we started fighting." Something at the edge of my mind nagged me that he was lying, but the thought was overshadowed by what happened next. When I nodded, my cut reopened.
     "Dammit!" I said.
     Ephraim looked up when I reached for the clean bandages. He asked, "Do you need help?"
     I had been able to manage redoing my bandages by myself before, but it was complicated. "Uh, sure." It sounded more like a question. Ephraim gestured for me to turn around. I winced a little when he pulled the bandages off.
     "Sorry," He said, then asked, "Now I just wipe it off and replace the bandage?" I nodded not trusting myself to speak. Something about Ephraim being so close should have been awkward because I didn't know him that well. It was actually something that was comfortable. It was something I liked. He had finished putting the bandages on, but he hadn't moved away from me. I turned around, half hoping he would scoot back, half hoping he would stay there. One half was bigger than the other. I looked up into his zombie eyes. He leaned down, but moved his lips to beside my ear. I could hear the smile in his voice, "I should be going."
     "Damn right you better be going." James was standing in my doorway. Ephraim was startled, and jumped back, but not that far away from me.
     His pale face went red with embarrassment, "Uh, I was just leaving, sir."
     James stiffened, "You got to the count of five to be out of my door, son." Ephraim should count his blessings that James gave him to the count of five instead of just beating the crap out of him then and there. Ephraim walked quickly and about fifteen seconds later I heard the front door slam.
     Meanwhile, I had taken some extra interest in the pile of books that Blythe left me. "Jasmine, I expected better of you."
     The past tense made me flinch. "What did I do James? He was telling me something."
     James rolled his eyes. "You're right, I forgot that it was necessary for people to be pressed together to talk."
      At this point, I was at the end of my fuse. I pushed against James, something that was so unexpected to him that he staggered backwards. "Get out of my room! And stay out!" I slammed the door in his face.
      "Jasmine Storm, you will not speak to me that way!" He yelled. I walked over to my iPod dock and turned it all the way up. Finally, after pounding on my door, and yelling a few not so nice things, his boots clomped against the hardwood floors. I sat down on my bed, having finished my homework. After a few minutes of only hearing my iPod, there was a soft knock on my door.
      "Jasmine, please let me in." Clarice. I thought of snapping at her, but she wasn't the one I was mad at. She came in after a second and sat down on the bed with me.
      I kept silent. Clarice spoke, "James thought you two were kissing."
      "Yeah, I know." My tone was cold.
      Clarice continued, "James is just protective of you."
      I stood up, "He didn't even let me say anything! He isn't protective, he's a warden!"
      "Jasmine, calm down." Clarice placed her hand on my arm. "He doesn't like Ephraim, anyway. Seeing him that close to you just made him mad." I kept quiet. Seeing that I would be angry for a while, Clarice got up and exited my room.
      Even thought it was school, I had to admit that it felt great to get up and go somewhere. There was no way my car was going to be able to take me to school, so I had to catch the bus. freshmen and sophomores were clumped in the back, but one moved out of the back seat when I asked. The kid who was sitting across from me, a tall guy with shaggy brown hair, was staring at me. "Yes?" I asked.
     He blushed and said, "Well, I've just never seen you here. Are you new?"
     "No, but I'm a junior. My car is broke down. What about you?"
     "I'm a sophomore. The name's Zander Gregg." He held out his hand.
     I smiled and took his hand, "Jasmine Storm." The bus started slowing down. Zander and I got up, but the bus hit a pot hole. Zander slipped and fell on me. A few immature freshmen made catcalls.
     "Sorry." Zander said and straitened up. I noticed he had chocolate brown eyes. After we split up, I thought of Zander and Ephraim. It was involuntary to compare them. Zander was cute in that pale, awkward sense. They were both pale, other than that I really couldn't think of how else they were alike. Something about Ephraim was alluring, though. His confidence was one of those reasons. Another was he was a total badass one minute, then super sweet the next.
     My thoughts were sort of blurred through classes, until lunch. Sitting at our normal table was Blythe, Melanie, Gabe, Tyler, and Ephraim. I sat down and we began talking about our classes, and other things. Then, Ephraim grew tense. Immediately, we all looked in the direction that he was. "Hey, Zander. I didn't know you had lunch with us." I said.
      He smiled and said, "Mind if I sit down?"
      After he was situated I said, "This is Blythe, that's Tyler, Gabe, Melanie, and Ephraim this is-"
      Ephraim stopped me, "I know who he is."
      The harshness of his tone seemed out of character. Zander just ignored him, "So how's your day been?" He asked.
      "Good, but it is still school." We both laughed, oblivious to the five people staring at us.
      Then Zander noticed my bandages, "Hey, what happened?"
      I felt my cheeks flush, "Some guy rammed into my car and I hit my head." Not completely a lie.
      Zander stared at me a little longer, then focused on his food. Lunch went by in an awkward silence, that outmatched the one that Ephraim had caused about a month ago. Art was worse, because I didn't want to ask about Zander and Ephraim didn't seem to want to talk about anything. When we left for the day I was stopped at my locker. "Hey, do you need a ride home?"
      Ephraim was standing at my locker. "It wouldn't be a problem?" I asked.
      "Of course not." He gave me a heart melting smile, then went to put his books away. Again, I compared him to Zander. They certainly didn't dress alike, either. Zander had been wearing a faded red shirt, pale blue jeans, and worn out sneakers. Ephraim was wearing a black knit shirt, dark red skinny tie, black jeans, and black Converse. When I turned around, someone else was waiting for me. "You riding the bus again?" Zander.
      "Not home, but I think I am tomorrow."


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