***Part Three***
Word Count: 1,029

Not surprisingly, West wasn't waiting for her the next morning where they usually met before going to school. She almost didn't go, expecting he was mad at her. Not that she could blame him. It really did look bad what he'd walked in on.

"Hi," she said softly when she finally saw him at his locker in between classes. "You didn't show up this morning."

"I thought you might have had another way to get to school."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"You know what it means, Claire."

"No, I don't."

"I'm not the one doing anything wrong."

"I'm not either."

"You were with another guy, Claire," he said, slamming his locker shut.

"Oh, God, please don't lay this on me today. I was talking to a guy. That's all it was."

"Pretty closely. And not looking too upset about it either."

"He was telling me something private."

"I didn't see anyone standing near you to overhear him, Claire. You were in the middle of a sidewalk not a crowded restaurant. And if you just met him why does he need to tell you private things?"

"Things that might affect me."

"Like what?"

"I can't say."

"Can't? Or won't?"

She shrugged. "Won't I guess? Until I know more."

"I don't get you. I find out that your dad is the person who abducted me. And you knew!"

"What was I supposed to say? Oh, by the way, the guy you were talking about. The one you remember. That's my dad. But, I still like you."

"It just makes me wonder what else you're hiding."

"I'm not hiding anything else!"

"That'd be a lot easier to believe if this guy didn't just suddenly appear, looking at you like that."

"Like what?"

"And you were looking at him, too!"

"I swear I didn't know who he was."

"I'm beginning to think I was wrong about you, that you're no different than anyone else."

"West, please. I don't know what else you want me to say."

"I should have known when you were really into being a cheerleader. It was more than just a cover story to come out with me."

"That is so not fair! Just because I'm a cheerleader does not mean I'm like them."

"But you are. Using me until someone better came along. He has a better power, evidently what I can do is too boring for you. You need someone who can lop his arm off and regrow it to excite you."

"It's not that at all. I just had no idea there was anyone else like me out there. I should have I guess, because I know someone else like you."

"Well, now you have an idea and you can find out all you want about it."

"Are you breaking up with me? Because I was talking to another guy? That's crazy!"

"Then I guess I'm crazy. I've been willing to let you get used to accepting who and what you are. I've been patient while you admitted you wanted to see me. I can't keep waiting for you, Claire."

"Are you going to tell…"

"Your secret is safe. And if you decide you're ready, really ready you know where to find me. I just can't deal with you being so unsure all of the time."

"I don't get it. I really don't. All of this because I talked to someone else."

"That just topped it off for me. It was the whole reaction to what we did. You want to do things, want to cut loose but you do and you feel guilty."

"Well, yeah, because I don't want to get caught."

"And then you turn it around as if I somehow forced you to do something."

"Because I told you no to begin with." It was like talking to a brick wall! "If you recall I didn't want to go out with you! You told me to give you one date. I did, and I had fun. I admit that. But you seem like you don't care if I get caught sometimes."

"And, that's where we're different, because I figure they're going to catch me again at some point so I may as well enjoy myself while I'm free."

"And I'd rather be free for as long as possible. And if that means staying off the radar then that's what I have to do."

"Then it seems we have our decision. We're too different, Claire. Maybe your like-you guy can be discreet enough for you."

"I'm not…"

"Don't even deny it. Because in a couple of weeks when I see him hanging out at your house I don't want you to feel bad about it or like you have to hide something else from me."

"You are unbelievable!"

"So I'm told."

"Can we at least be friends?"

"Sure, why not. Just don't count on me to rescue you when he's hurt you."

She didn't think she had to worry about that. Somehow she imagined if Adam got his way and she got involved with him he would treat her very much like the princess he believed he was entitled to. Why did she think that? Because he wouldn't want to lose her and risk having to live alone any longer.

"Your silence tells me you're thinking about whether that's even possible. So, there it is. You want my blessing or something? Go out with him. Have a blast. Have dismemberment dates for all I care."

"I'm sorry, West."

"Don't be sorry, Claire. If you're going to break a guy's heart at least be honest about it. You're not sorry or you wouldn't be doing it."

"I'm not the one breaking up."

"I'm just doing it first. It's the right thing to do."

Tears formed in her eyes. This so wasn't the way she saw this going. She wasn't sure what she wanted or expected to happen. She wanted her normal life until she had to deal with the things Adam had told her coming true. He walked away then. She turned to face his locker, hiding her face so that no one would see she was crying. She would never live that down.

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