Keeley successfully avoided Aaron for a month by eating lunch behind a bunch of bookshelves in the library, sneaking out the back entrance of the school and going to a different subway stop, and looking over her shoulder everywhere she went.
Her friends were worried when she stopped showing up at lunch but she told them that she needed to spend more time studying and would hang out with them on the weekends, which appeased them. Grades were no joke to scholarship students.
Literature class was a slightly different story. Aaron took every available opportunity to talk to her. It was made worse by the fact that Mr. Weisz frequently asked the students to discuss part of the text with their neighbor.
Keeley made a sincere effort to address the questions and nothing more but Aaron had other ideas.
"The Valentine's dance is in two weeks. Are you going with anyone?" he asked boredly, as if the answer couldn't possibly matter to him.
"No. I have other plans that night."
Plans that included staying far, far away from him. They went together in her first life and Lacy 'accidentally' pushed her into a punch bowl in front of everyone.
Lacy had to know about what happened the day Aaron didn't join his usual group for lunch. Everyone in the student lounge buzzed about it for days, according to Lydia. The last thing Keeley needed was to be targeted by that witch when she wasn't even involved with her wannabe boyfriend.
"Plans with my friends," Keeley said with an air of finality.
"I see." The conversation ended there because the teacher ended the discussion time and called on people to share their answers.
Lydia and Jeffrey were both in her last class of the day so Keeley broached the subject to make sure she actually did have plans that night after it ended.
She invited them for pizza and video games at her place. What single person could turn that down?
"Sorry, I got asked to the dance," Lydia said apologetically. "Why don't you two come together? We could double up; it would be fun!"
Panic flashed through her eyes. She forgot that Lydia had a date before since she was caught up in Aaron's group of friends. No! She couldn't go anywhere near that dance!
Jeffrey looked at Keeley with confusion. "I saw the signup sheet for volunteers to help set up the decorations. Your name was on it. You're planning to set up and then leave?"
What? She never signed up for that! Someone was messing with her…but who? Aaron or Lacy? Or had she magically collected another enemy she had no idea about?
After school she talked to the teacher in charge of the volunteers and pleaded her case, saying she didn't sign up for it personally so she shouldn't have to go.
The teacher didn't take her seriously and thought she was backing out because she was lazy or wanted extra time to beautify herself for the dance. Keeley's name remained on the list.
Oh, why hadn't she pushed harder to transfer schools when she was reborn? Her dad looked at her like she had grown a second head when she brought it up because she was already halfway through her last year of high school.
When he explained that no one would accept her transfer at this point and it would look bad to prospective universities she resigned herself to her fate thinking five months couldn't do much to her.
Ha. How had she ever thought that when she was dealing with people like Aaron Hale and Lacy Knighton?
Keeley conceded defeat. "Lydia's right; we should go together. Pizza afterward?"
"You're on," he said with a grin before waving goodbye and heading towards his locker.
"I'll talk to my date about it," Lydia promised. "See you tomorrow!"
This was going to be terrible, she just knew it. Dances were overrated anyway but possibly having to contend with enemies would definitely make things worse. Who wanted her there so badly that they would pull such a lame trick?
Lost in her thoughts, Keeley bumped into a vaguely familiar figure after parting ways with her friends. "Watch where you're going, peasant!"
It was one of the rich kids. She was fairly certain his father worked for the UN…but where did she know him from? Sandy hair and brown eyes. She knew this face.
He sat at Aaron's lunch table in her past life but she couldn't recall his name. There was something else too…something she couldn't put her finger on about this guy that frightened her.
"Sorry," Keeley mumbled. She noticed as he strode past her to meet up with Lacy at the end of the hallway.
Her heart hammered in her chest. Lacy's friend! She remembered now! He was interested in her but she only had eyes for Aaron.
A bit older with a different hairstyle…he was the one driving the car on the day she was killed!
He must really love her to do her dirty work so she didn't have to bloody her dainty little hands. What was his name?!
Flying down the hallway with an animalistic urge to escape danger, Keeley was abruptly yanked backwards by the handle on her backpack and felt pain in her shoulders from the unexpected force.
She struggled to break free but Aaron was a lot stronger than her. He was the last person she wanted to see and angry tears sparked in her eyes.
"Let me go!"
"In a minute. You're a difficult person to track down. If I didn't know any better, I would think you were avoiding me," he scoffed as if the idea of anyone avoiding him was preposterous. Entitled jerk!
"What do you want?" Keeley grumbled, still held hostage by her backpack.
She would leave it here overnight if her wallet and keys weren't in there. She needed those to get home.
He noticed her teary eyes and frowned slightly. "Why are you crying?"
"None of your business," she snapped. "Just leave me alone, Aaron! We aren't friends!"
Once upon a time she thought he was her best friend because she spent all her time following him around like a lost lamb. Back then, Keeley felt closer to him than any other person.
They laughed, they talked, they acted like a real couple in love. And it was all a lie.
He chose Lacy. Why wasn't he sticking with his choice? Was he toying with her now because she kept resisting?