Chapter 3

As she stood at the college gates with her mates, Ed and Joseph, Alice was desperately typing her name into every search engine and website she could think of. The chances that Adam hadn’t posted the pictures of her somewhere were slim. She realised that. But at least if she saw them before anyone else, she would have the opportunity to them taken down.

“Ali?” Joseph poked.

“Sorry, what did you say?” Alice asked, still looking at her phone.

“That guy over there is checking you out,” Ed told her.

Alice looked up and around the yard briefly, spotting a guy from her Art class. “Oh, Josh? He just has a lazy eye.”

“You always do that,” Joseph complained. “You are so pretty but you never see it.”

“I have to admit, I got a twitch the first time I saw you,” Ed said.

“Eww,” Alice cried and pushed him lightly.

“What?” Ed cried. “It’s a compliment.”

“You make my dick hard isn’t a compliment, Ed,” Joseph sighed.

“Not fully hard,” Ed corrected. “It was a semi at most.”

Alice felt her head droop at this revelation. She hadn’t thought of Ed that way, specifically because he was constantly flirting with Joseph. To be honest she’d assumed they were a couple until Joseph had made it very clear he was out of Ed’s league. The dropping of this bombshell only made Ed try harder. It hadn’t occurred to her that Ed was bisexual—and it was bisexuality awareness week not long ago.

‘Oops,’ Alice scolded herself.

“What about Jerry?” Joseph asked. Once again, the conversation had turned to Alice’s love life, and her friends were desperately trying to find her a ‘non-douchebag’ for a partner. They didn’t trust her to pick for herself after the Dave fiasco.

“Oh jeez, he seems like a total simp,” Ed sneered.

“I wish someone would simp for me,” Joseph sighed longingly.

“I’d simp for you,” Ed offered, drastically changing his tune. “I’d simp for you so so hard.”

“Oh sweety,” Joseph tutted and flicked him on the forehead.

Alice couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for Ed. He was so totally infatuated with Joseph and had literally zero chance with him. It was the very definition of being placed in the friendzone. Usually, Alice hated that term—friendzone—but in this case, it fit the reality of the situation quite well.

Joseph looked over Alice’s shoulder at her phone. He had the advantage of being tall and a predisposition for nosiness.

“Why are you googling yourself?” he frowned.

“It’s funny to see what you find,” Alice said, coming up with the lie on the spot like a champion. “You should try it.”

Alice had zero intention of telling her friends what she’d done. Aside from the fact she was overwhelmingly embarrassed, there was the fact she would have to listen to their judgemental opinions and convince them not to try and beat up Adam. Although their hearts might be in the right place and they might assume they had the advantage of being older, the pair were not exactly adept fighters. A bee had landed on Ed last week and he’d run about the bench screaming for a full minute.

When Dave had torn out her heart the guys had turned super defensive and offered to beat him up. After seeing Dave and his group of rugby mates they’d re-evaluated, decided that sending him a strongly worded message over social media was the way to go.

Classes passed in a blur of worry and depression. The knot in her stomach and the cloud in her brain made it difficult to concentrate on anything other than dwelling on recent events. She was also worried about her little brother and was panicking that she made a mistake in not warning him about what she’d done. Would Adam really be nice to him? And how would Jamie even respond to that after years of bullying?

Alice’s eyes flitted to the clock for the umpteen time. In a few hours, she would find out if all the anxiety was worth it.

Alice was so tempted to message Adam to make sure he’d remembered to keep up his end of the bargain. Would he be annoyed at her? It wasn’t worth running the risk of pissing him off. Alice would just have to deal with the feelings of anxiousness for a while.

The horrible thought occurred that Adam could ignore his promise completely and just blackmail with the photographs. It made her feel sick to think about it. She couldn’t even touch her lunch.

“You need to eat, sweetie” Ed coerced her, watching her push a tomato around her plate in its seventh circuit of the lettuce track.

“Do you want half of my sandwich?” Joseph offered. It was his usual—a tomato and salad cream on wholemeal. Alice turned her face in disgust.

“I’m just feeling a bit… iffy,” Alice lied. “Time of the month.”

As the boys nodded and turned their heads away, Alice felt guilty for lying to them for the second time in one day. Saying ‘I feel ill because a guy might blackmail me with the naked pictures I sent to him last night,’ would just open her up to too many follow up questions and scrutiny.

‘I’m such a total idiot,’ Alice sighed to herself.

She stabbed at the cherry tomato, popping out its juicy, seedy mess before dropping the fork and slumping in her chair.

‘Only two more classes to go,’ Alice soothed herself. The lessons passed even quicker than the morning ones, but by the time she got home, Alice was bursting to ask Jamie how his day had been.

Pulling down the door handle, Alice was surprised to find the door was still locked. She frowned in annoyance as she searched under the plant pots for the key. Mum was always changing the location of the key for security, but all that did was make life difficult for the inhabitants.

Alice hugged herself and rubbed her arms as she turned on the lights and central heating. She curled up on the sofa with a throw, TV, Hot cup of coffee and her coursework as she waited for Jamie. The coffee didn’t help her nerves, yet she couldn’t seem to stop sipping at it, even pouring herself a second cup.

By the time she heard Jamie come through the front door, her hands were visibly shaking. She threw down her work and ran to greet her brother.

“What happened to you?” she cried, seeing his now shorter hair was also platinum blonde.

“Oh,” Jamie smiled, touching his hair gingerly. “Do you like it? Zoe Bentley did it for me after school.”

“What?” Alice cried.

Zoe Bentley was the most popular girl at Jamie’s school. Her sister, Christine Bentley, had been the queen bee of the school in Alice’s year. Zoe was dating Reece Holland who was also popular, and one of Adam’s little gang of nasties.

“Yeah,” Jamie shrugged. “It’s been a really, really weird day. Adam Hargreaves was—”

Jamie shook his head as though he didn’t know what to tell her.

“He was nice to me, and so everybody else started being nice to me.”

Alice felt her face stretching into a smile. She breathed the biggest sigh of relief.

Jamie smiled back at her. “I can’t believe I went to Zoe Bentley’s house.”

As Jamie filled her in on all the details, becoming more and more animated in his storytelling, Alice slipped out her phone and texted Adam, “Thank you.”

“No need to thank me.” He replied. “I’ll text you next week with further instructions.”

Comments (1)
goodnovel comment avatar
Tonie Sledge
He likes her! I think he’s also liking her brother… he just likes playing the bad guy more lol

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