CHAPTER 1

“She’s going to be mine by the end of the month, mark my words.” Mike did this after every relationship he was in “ran its course.” Hell, he did it while the relationship was still running its course. Although Mike played like he was getting lucky with each of them, Ben knew that

Mike was more of a romantic than that. Plus he was pretty sure Mike just liked the drama.

Ben rolled his eyes and dug a notebook out from under a heap of clothes. He slammed the locker shut again.

“What’s eating you?” At last, Mike had noticed Ben acting odd, opening and closing his locker repeatedly.

He struggled. Telling Mike about the locker incident was not an option. Mike stared at him, waiting. “Thinking about that test,” he blurted.

And if he were being honest, the test really had upset him. Maybe that was why he’d had that…vision?

He stopped his mind right where it was—he wasn’t even going to think that. It was a momentary lapse. That was all. Was it? Could the stress of taking a test do something like that to someone?

Was this his breaking point? His dad was already dealing with a lot caring for his mom, what if he needed caring for as well? An image of his space-out mom gripped him and he shook it off.

Momentary lapse. Momentary lapse.

“Oh yeah?” Mike was still rifling around in his locker.

“Dude, why didn’t you tell me you were going to study?” Ben’s left palm felt moist against the locker door. He dropped it to his side.

“I did tell you. When you were too busy texting Miss Thang yesterday after school.”

“What the hell, man? Maybe next time you could give me a little more notice? I’m the only one that failed that thing in there.” Ben’s voice rose but no one really took notice. The noise of the hallway drowned him out. “You know Mr. Flynn is the only teacher that won’t pass us just because we’re on the hockey team.”

“The hell you mean you failed that test?” Mike squared up with him. “You had plenty written down. Even for the last question.”

“Yeah, hockey plays.” He spoke through clenched teeth, hands tightening into fists.

A look of confusion played on Mike’s face before he chuckled.

The chuckle built into full-on laughter. “Are you serious?”

Ben wasn’t about to sit there and be laughed at. “Fuck you.”

He turned and left, a path clearing in front of him quickly. It was lunch time and he should have been heading toward the cafeteria, but Ben couldn’t think about eating right then. They had always made fun of the people that studied so hard, his sister included. And now Mike was studying too? There was no way that Mike had actually tried to tell him he was studying.

Ben stomped to the gym and sat on the bleachers where a group of hockey players and their girlfriends had gathered. He pretended to listen to them, his mind wandering back to what had happened at his locker, and the test before that. If his dad found out about either, Ben was in serious trouble.

Momentary lapse.

 

 

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