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Rated: 13+ · Chapter · Action/Adventure · #2317496
In which Kai gets phone call he doesn't want.
Kai hits “ignore” on his phone, and drops it on the table, followed by his head.
“Are you trying to concuss yourself?”
Kai doesn’t lift his head from the table. “Why?”
“Because you keep slamming your head into the table.” It’s clear from Zone’s voice that he’s grinning like an idiot. “That’s the fourth time you’ve done it in the last five minutes. I don’t think giving yourself a concussion will get you out of finals.”
“I thought you were finished with finals.” Iris steals a sip from Zone’s macchiato. Zone steals it back.
“He’s got one more, and he’s sure he’s flunked the rest of them.”
“My brain doesn’t function the same way yours does.” Kai looks up and makes a grab for Zone’s macchiato.
Zone holds it out of his reach. “This will not improve your brain function, and it’s mine.”
Kai glares at him. “You let Iris steal it.”
“Iris happens to be my girlfriend.” Zone smirks. “What’s your excuse?”
The three friends have met up at the same place since the day they started university. Today there is a breeze, which blows across the quad, carrying with it the scent of blooming frangipani and coffee from the campus cafe. The table they’re seated at happens to be located exactly between their respective faculties, so no one has to worry about being late to class. This is a good thing because when they’re together, they tend to talk a lot.
Zone and Kai had been inseparable since high school, but Zone's sudden departure to Italy had thrown a wrench into their plans. He returned with Iris in tow, starting a semester behind Kai, and the trio had been nearly inseparable since.
“Here,” A styrofoam cup appears in front of Kai, and the smell of cinnamon tickles his nose. “Cafe con Miel. You’re welcome.”
Kai’s sister Mali sits down next to him as he takes the cup, the styrofoam rustling softly against the surface of the table. She squints at the red mark above his eyebrows. “Your forehead is going to bruise.”
“He’s trying to concuss himself before final grades come out.” Zone says, and Iris smacks him.
“You really think you failed?” Mali raises her eyebrows. “You have a 3.5 GPA.”
“3.2, actually. He failed a couple of exams, because he didn’t study enough,” Zone corrects her, getting another smack from Iris, and a glare from Kai. “What? We share a dorm room, how else would I know these things?”
“Because you’re naturally nosy.” But Iris smiles at him.
Mali is giving Kai a weird look. “What did you do instead of study?”
“Mmph.” Kai buries his nose in the coffee cup so he doesn’t have to look at his older sister.
It’s not like he doesn’t study his ass off for these things, but some things just don’t click for him. They never have; and having a best friend who can get an easy 4.0 GPA without even opening a textbook doesn’t help. Recently, he’s picked up the habit of not studying at all if he doesn’t understand something. It’s a bad habit, but right now he’s not really in the mood to break it.
There are other more important things to worry about.
His phone buzzes again, and again, he hits “ignore” without even glancing at the screen.
Iris sees the look on Kai’s face and turns to Mali, tactfully changing the subject. “Have you taken all your finals yet?”
Mali nods.
“Just handed in my last one. It was easier than I thought--” She bites her lip, glancing at Kai. “But none of them have been graded yet.”
Mali will graduate at the end of the semester, so she’s taking a seminar as her last class. Kai wouldn’t be surprised if she sailed through that one too. The thought doesn’t make him feel any better.
“So that means you’re free.” Iris presses. “Zone has a final tomorrow, so it’ll just be the three of us. Don’t say you have to study, you can’t use that excuse until next semester.”
“I’m going to Nightshade. Pepper’s working tonight,” Kai says it to his Cafe con Miel, so he doesn’t have to see the looks on the faces of everyone else. Their silence speaks volumes.
“Hanging around someone like Pepper is not a good idea,” Mali says into the silence.
“I could say the same thing about Rome,” Kai retorts.
Mali rolls her eyes. “Well, it’s a good thing you’re not the one dating him, isn’t it?”
Rome is Mali’s boyfriend. They had been in the same faculty(Rome graduated two years before Kai’s sister) and they’d started dating after Mali had interned for his uncle’s company, where she now worked as Rome’s assistant. Rome’s relationship with his sister had always rubbed Kai the wrong way, but he won’t say why.
And he doesn't make comments about the conflict of interest potentially posed by an employer dating his employee because Mali will smack him and tell him to mind his own business.
Iris is staring at them. “What’s with you two?”
“Nothing,” Mali says, but the word has a hollow ring to it.
Before either Zone or Iris can press them, Kai’s phone buzzes a third time. Zone swipes it, reading the caller ID before Kai can stick it back in his pocket.
“Asshole?” Zone’s eyebrows shoot up toward his hairline at the name flashing on the screen.
This time both girls smack both boys. Only Kai squalls.
“Ugh, Mali! The hell was that for?”
His sister doesn’t look the least bit sorry. “Why don’t you pick up the phone?”
“Because I don’t want to talk to him, ok?” Kai massages the back of his head. “Why did you give him my number, anyway?”
“He wants to talk to you, obviously.” Now Mali’s phone buzzes and when she sees what’s on the screen, she shoots another annoyed look at Kai. “I’m supposed to ask you why you aren’t picking up his calls.”
“Um, question.” Zone raises his hand before the argument between the siblings can become any fiercer. “Who is ‘he’?”
“An asshole I don’t want to talk to.” Kai pockets his phone. “I’m going to see Pepper tonight. You can come if you want.”
He walks away before any of them have a chance to answer.
Mali sees the looks on Zone and Iris’ faces. “Don’t worry, it’s not anything you said.”
“I’m fine,” Zone says. “As long as he doesn’t smother me in my sleep for asking questions.”
“It’s really not you,” Mali gives him a sympathetic smile as her phone buzzes. “Kai doesn’t like talking about certain things with anyone. Rome’s waiting for me. I’ll see you guys later.”
Iris exchanges looks with Zone as Mali leaves. “Something’s up.”
And she gets up to follow, but Zone grabs her wrist. “Don’t even think about it.”

"2. Caught
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