An Angel's Job
Author: Lyndsay Noemia

Chapter 16
Third Time's the Charm

     At lunch, I was dreading the possibility that Ephraim would sit with us. Zander was ready to have a fight, but if they decided to kill each other, I didn't want to be in the middle of it. Melanie, Gabe, Blythe, and Tyler were ahead of me talking about something that didn't require my full attention. I stopped, hearing someone calling my name. "Hey, I'll catch up with you guys in a second." Everyone nodded, and continued their conversation. I turned around the corner, expecting to see Zander, but instead there was somebody else waiting for me.
     Someone grabbed me by the arm, pulling me in between two rows of lockers. Cold metal chilled my skin through the fabric of my shirt like winter air. "Damn, Ephraim, you could have just said that you wanted to talk to me." I pushed his hands away from my shoulders, then straightened the front of my shirt.
     He apologized, but it was obvious that he wasn't sorry. He was awarded with a glare. "What the hell do you want?" I knew my voice was cynical, but it was a reflex.
     "Well, I was hoping that you'd be a little more willing to talk to me," Ephraim reached up and pushed my bangs out of my eyes. "Although it's pretty obvious that you aren't in a talking mood." I didn't respond, just kept stared at his chest. Ephraim trailed his fingers down my jaw, then tipped my chin upward. He leaned closer to me, but stopped. Ephraim took a step backward his hand covering his cheek.
     "I probably deserved that," He said, his eyes downcast.     
     My cheeks flushed, "Probably?" I yelled, incredulously. "You have a lot of explaining to do," I pulled out my phone. "What the hell is this?"
     Ephraim glanced at the screen, and said one word that sent me into a vicious rage, "Lilith," I slapped him again, not really thinking about how it would end. He held his hand out, pushing me against the lockers. The pressure on my shoulder sent searing pain through my whole left side. Then, just like that, it was gone. And so was Ephraim.
     On the ground in front of me, there were two people, tangled together, trying to kill the other one. "What the hell is wrong with you?" He yelled.
     Ephraim shouted back, "Wrong with me? You're the one who tackled me you, you son of a bitch."
     The conversation ended, Ephraim getting punched square in the mouth. Finally, my feet decided to work, willing me forward to grab the brunette be his shoulders. A few stragglers had stopped to watch the fight, one of them instantly recognizable. Blythe had told me what his name was before. "Kendall, get over here!"
     The tall, blonde jock stayed where he was. "Why the hell should I help him out? That son of a bitch tried to start shit with me."
     I didn't answer right away, but after thinking about it I said, "Because, he's going to hurt Zander."
     Finally, Kendall gave in. In one swift motion, he had Ephraim by the neck, and held him against the lockers. "What the hell is wrong with you?" I asked him.
     "Me? That bastard just freaking tackled me!"
     I slapped him, harder than the other two times. Ephraim looked utterly shocked again, "Third time's the charm, I guess. Oh, and don't ever call my boyfriend a bastard again, or I won't just slap you next time." Zander was standing with his arms crossed against the lockers. He had red marks on his face and his lip was swollen, too. Principal Chadwick came around the corner then. "What's going on here?" He said softly. It was one of the reasons he was my favorite principal- he would have just walked into a bull fight and still be perfectly rational.
     Zander cleared his throat, "We had a fight, sir."
     Mr. Chadwick looked at me, "I'm guessing it has something to do with you?"
     Kendall coughed to cover a stifled laugh. I nodded, and Mr. Chadwick continued, "Well, the nurse isn't here. You wouldn't mind cleaning these two up and sending them to my office would you?"     
     Zander put his arm around me after I nodded again. Kendall put his hand on Zander's shoulder as he walked past, and said, "You put up one hell of a fight. That freak needs to be taught a lesson" He motioned to Ephraim, who was already on his way to the nurse's office, "Why'd you wanna fight him anyway? I mean besides the fact that he was probably hitting on Jasmine." 
     He nodded, smiling slightly, "I have... personal issues with him."
     Kendall gave him a hardy slap on the back before walking away. When we got outside the nurse's office, I made Zander sit down outside. "I'll be done in a few seconds." He didn't look happy at the idea of me being alone with Ephraim again. To reassure him, I added, "Nothing will happen, except maybe another small injury added to his collection." With a shudder, my thoughts realized that I wasn't entirely kidding.
     Ephraim was sitting on the table, with his head down. I grabbed some paper towels to wipe the blood off of his mouth. He looked up at me with sad eyes. He opened his mouth, and closed it. "What?" I asked.
     In response, he clasped both my wrists, after the last few spots of blood were gone. "I'm sorry," He whispered, and then he left.
     Zander came into view, then. Silently, he shut the door behind him, a coy smile playing on his lips. I laughed, but said, "I hope you know that as long as there's blood on your lips, I'm not kissing you."
     He laughed and said, "Then I'll just have to wait until you're done cleaning me up." I started wiping the blood off his lips and he said, "I guess it's my turn to feel like the five-year-old?"
     "Yes, but you're done now."
     Zander patted the table. "Sit down, we still have a few minutes to talk." After making myself comfortable, Zander said, "You called me your boyfriend."
     "I guess I did."
     He stood up and leaned against the table, one hand on each side of me. He smiled, his dark eyes sparkling. "There isn't anymore blood on my lips."
     "No, there isn't, but I can hear Mr. Chadwick coming." Sure enough, the door opened seconds later to the tall, aged principal.
     He nodded in my direction. "I can take it from here, Jasmine."


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