He'd done it so casually, she might have missed it completely if she hadn't already suspected. He didn't know she'd heard him. He didn't even know she was there. If he had, a ready lie would have sprung to his lips, just like every other time. For years, they'd danced around each other, testing one another. She sometimes wondered if he'd dropped clues like breadcrumbs, just to see if she'd follow the trail. Call him on it, because he wanted her to know but he didn't want to have to tell her.
She didn't make a soundjust crept back out into the hallway, letting the door swish softly closed behind her. She walked, heart hammering in her ears, down the hall. Waited for his footsteps behind her, the hand on her shoulder, the smile and the lie in his eyes that he so obviously wanted her to see through.
Her shoes squeaked on the linoleum, rubber soles quiet enough except when she turned a corner. The bell rang, and students spilled out into the hallwaychattering, laughing, slamming lockers to get their books before the next block of classes. She navigated the sea of bodies like a pro, barely noticing the jocks and the geeks and teeming teenaged masses she elbows her way past on her way to the parking lot.
She glanced back over her shoulder, to see if he was there. Caught between relief and sadness that he wasn't. She rummaged through her purse, digging for her keys as the gravel crunched beneath her feet. She had history nextshe'd get detention for sure if she cut. She'd been luckytoo lucky, lately. No one had questioned her when she'd slipped off on her little fact-finding missions, and she'd always gotten the notes and made up all the quizzes. Turned her homework in on timeeven if that meant slipping it into the teacher's boxes after hours, using the key no one knew she had to the teacher's lounge.
She turned the key in the lock of the little red Volkswagen convertible, and threw her bag on the passenger seat as she slid in. Her radio blared to life as she keyed the ignition, and she snapped it off two notes into an Evanescence song. She just sat in the sun-warmed driver's seat, staring at the campus without really seeing.
She hadn't imagined it. She hadn't put the words in his mouth. He'd had his back to her, bent over her desk, staring at the little green alien doll that usually sat on top of her iMac like a mascot. His voice had been lowhe'd been talking to himself. Not to her.
"So, Chloewhat if I told you Cyrus wasn't an alienbut I was? Would you freak? Because Lana would..." he'd trailed off, shook his head, and set the doll back on top of her desk where it slumped against the pencil cup. "But you wouldn't."
Finally, she had something up on Lana Lang.