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Home > Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1)(11)

Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1)(11)
Author: Kasie West

“Several.”

“Wait,” I interrupt. “You’re going to college on the Outside?” Not many people do that.

“There aren’t exactly a lot of opportunities to play football after college in the Compound.”

“You mean to tell me that Norm colleges come here to scout? I thought outsiders weren’t allowed in the Compound. Do they bend that rule for sports?”

“No. They don’t. But I’ve been to a few open tryouts. And we play several schools outside the Compound. You really don’t follow football, do you?”

The doorbell rings, cutting off my attempt to answer—probably a good thing since the answer would’ve included the words my lowest priority.

“Laila, get the door,” her dad says. “Tell him I’m not here.”

“Dad, come on.”

He slips away without another word. Laila follows.

“What’s he on?” Duke whispers, nodding his head to where Laila’s dad had been standing. “Suppressors or enhancers?”

“He’s Telepathic” is all I have to say. Everyone knows that’s an ability that can slowly drive a person insane. I wouldn’t like other people’s thoughts inside my head all the time either, but still, I don’t think I would try to suppress my ability like that. Especially not at the expense of my family.

The doorbell rings again, followed by pounding. Laila comes back into the kitchen, looks out the window, and lets out a long sigh. She turns around and leans into the counter. “If he’s not going to man up, I will.”

“You’re going to man up?” I say.

“You know what I mean. We’re going to take care of that freak. Are you ready?”

“Ready for what?” I ask, but she’s already heading for the door. I slide off the stool and follow after her.

“Just play along,” she says over her shoulder.

“What’s going on?” Duke asks, following close behind.

“I have no idea.”

Laila palms the wall monitor, and as the door slides open she places a hand high on the frame. A wiry man with an eyebrow ring and an attitude nods his head at her. “I need to talk to your dad.”

“He’s not here.”

He wipes his mouth, revealing a skull-and-crossbones tattoo on the back of his hand. “I know he’s here.”

“Look, loser.” Laila moves her hand to her curvy hip. “I thought I asked you to stop coming around here.”

“Just get him.”

“He’s not here. But you see my friend here?” She steps aside to reveal me in all my nonintimidating glory. He barely glances my way, but still I tense. “She’s Clairvoyant, and she told me something interesting about your future. Right?”

I wait to hear his response to her question when I realize it’s directed at me. She wants me to confirm her lie? Doesn’t she remember I am not a convincing liar? “Yes. Your future. It wasn’t good.”

Laila gives me the is-that-really-the-best-you-can-do? look and then turns toward him again. “This is your warning. Do your business away from my house.”

“Listen, little girl, get your dad and I’ll pretend like you didn’t just make a sad attempt at a threat.”

Duke steps in front of me, and I’m surprised at how relieved that makes me feel. I shift to the side so I can still see. “Is there a problem?” Duke asks the man.

“Yeah, kid, someone owes me money. Are you going to settle the debt?”

Duke smiles. “Do you really want to take care of this business in front of the ladies? Can’t this be done another time?”

The loser’s eyes shift between Laila and me, his anger deflating. “When will he be back?” His voice is sarcastic, like he’s decided to play our game for now.

“Probably not until tomorrow.”

“Fine,” he growls. “I expect my money tomorrow.”

“We’ll pass on the message.”

The man gets into a low-riding car complete with red-and-orange flames. Duke shuts the front door.

“He’s gone.”

Laila leans against it. “That didn’t solve the problem, Duke. It only postponed it. Poison will be back.”

“His name is Poison? Seriously? Remember Flash Davis,” I say, trying to lighten the mood, even though deep down I know Poison is no Flash. Poison looks like he actually earned his nickname.

Laila grabs two fistfuls of her hair by the roots, grunts, and then marches off to the kitchen.

Duke and I stare at each other, then I nod my head toward the front door. “Does it always work?”

“What?”

“Flashing your smile.”

“It tends to. You’ll have to let me know.”

I shake my head with a smirk. He is good.

CHAPTER 10

NORM-date: n. an outing with a Normal guy I shouldn’t be here, I shouldn’t be here, I shouldn’t be here.…

My mind says these words over and over, and yet instead of turning around and walking back down the long, deserted hallway, my body seems to think pressing my ear against the door marked Athletic Trainer is a good idea.

In Government, I had left my stupid kindergarten-style note on Trevor’s desk. I knew he got it because he picked it up and looked around when he came in. But after class, Mr. Buford had stopped me to tell me about a study group that meets on Thursdays. Sure, I had failed to answer one of his questions, more because I was distracted about my note than because I didn’t know the answer.… Well, I didn’t know the answer either, but still, Mr. Buford didn’t have to act like I was an academic failure based on one unanswered question. More importantly, his keeping me after had made me miss my opportunity to talk to Trevor. So when I rushed out the door and saw him round the corner, I followed him. Here. To the kinesiology department. And pressed my ear against the door marked Athletic Trainer. Now my mind screams at me that I’m exhibiting stalkerlike behavior.

“Did you get approval from your physical therapist?” an unfamiliar voice asks.

“Not yet, sir.” That’s Trevor. “But I was hoping you could clear me.”

“That’s not how it works. How is it feeling?”

“It feels much better.”

“Really? Because last time I saw you, it seemed you were in a lot of pain.” There’s a long pause. “I know you want to play, but you have pins in your shoulder. It takes awhile to get used to something like that. Your body needs time to recover.”

“It’s been almost a year.”

“Why don’t you do some windmills for me?”

I slowly raise my head to peer through the window. Trevor’s back is to me as he sits on a table. His shirt is off, and two purple scars run down his right shoulder. I can’t look away. I haven’t seen many scars. There was this kid my freshman year who didn’t want to see a Healer because he thought the cut across his knuckles would make him look tough, but a month later he changed his mind and got his skin regenerated.

My eyes wander from Trevor’s scars to his back. Despite his claim otherwise, the boy doesn’t appear to have an ounce of fat on him, let alone a layer. Considering Trevor is my future best friend, I let my gaze linger a little too long on his back.

He lifts his arm to do a rotation and lets out a grunt of pain.

“I thought you said it was feeling better.”

“When I do that, it feels slightly less better.”

“Trevor, I know how much you were hoping to avoid it, but I think another surgery might be in your future.”

Trevor hangs his head, and his shoulders rise and fall.

“I’m sorry.”

He straightens up. “Not your fault, sir.” Then he stands and grabs his shirt. I duck back down and make a run for the exit. Back in the bustling hallway, I slow down and move with the flow of the crowd for a moment, my mind too preoccupied to remember the direction of my next class.

Lunch comes, and I haven’t stopped thinking about Trevor and his injury. I wonder what happened to him. I stand by the commons again, looking around. I’m starting to recognize a few faces here and there, but nobody I feel close enough with to invade their group. I have no idea where Trevor and his friends hang out for lunch (maybe they go off-campus), and since he hadn’t stuck around for even one minute after Government to say anything about my note, I’m beginning to wonder if he’s trying to avoid me. He probably senses the you-are-being-stalked vibes I’m giving off. Maybe I should go to that study group Mr. Buford recommended after all and meet some people.

I suck at making friends.

The library is the only option that makes me feel halfway decent, so I head there. I pull A Tale of Two Cities from its place and sit down. When I turn back the cover, it automatically opens to where an index card is stuck between two pages. I furrow my brow and read, Wanted: good zombie hunter. Call 555–3681. Be prepared to provide references and past experience. On the back Trevor had drawn a stick-figure zombie wearing a powdered wig and chasing a man. A smile creeps onto my face. He has a sense of humor and creativity. I wonder when he put this in the book. I search the aisles for a while but can’t find him anywhere. I program his number into my phone for later and slip the card into my bag. And we’re back on track to best-friend-land.

After school I pull out my phone and call Trevor.

“Hello?” he answers.

I sit on the end of my bed. “I’m answering the ad for a zombie hunter.”

“Would you be able to start immediately? Apparently my life is in danger.”

“Can you describe the zombie that’s after you?”

He hums a little. “He’s a really old guy with an English accent, he might have a goatee, and he’ll definitely be carrying around a really thick, boring book. You might be able to pry it from his decaying hands and beat him back to death with it. Or maybe just reading it to him would work.”

He had to go there. “Boring? I could get a really thick book of my own and join his cause.”

“Oh no, did I just lose my zombie hunter?”

“Are you offering me the job?”

“Well, there’s one more step. Friday night a group of us are going to watch a movie at the Cineplex. Coincidentally enough, it’s the newest zombie one. It will be your official study guide.”

I notice he made a point of saying a group would be there; it wouldn’t be just the two of us or anything. He’s definitely not interested in me. So this confirms the fact that he is perfect best-friend material.

“Are you up for it?” he asks.

I have a very sensitive gag reflex and watching maggot-eaten skin for two hours probably isn’t the smartest idea. “Yeah, sure. What time?”

“The movie starts at eight.”

“Okay.” It’s silent for a few moments.

“Addison? Can you hold on a minute?”

“Sure.”

“What’s up, little man?” I hear him ask. I’m not trying to listen in on his conversation, but he’s not attempting to hide it.

“Will you play catch with me?” the voice of a young boy says.

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