His lips pressed in a thin line, and a scowl crossed his face. He knew whose locker it was.
“Back so soon? Is your p**n career a failure already?” A catty voice rose out of the murmurs, and I shut my eyes.
I felt Jared’s lips on my forehead before he pulled away. I opened my eyes to see him turn around, shielding me, but I yanked his arm back and stepped forward.
I should’ve known Piper was a part of this. I don’t know how she did it, but she was responsible, and I wanted to deal with her. Hell, I’d take pleasure in it!
I briefly noticed everyone in the hall squeezed together, patiently waiting for something.
“Actually, we’re just waiting for you.” I smiled and kept my tone even. “You know that video that came from Jared’s phone this morning? The one that everyone saw? He didn’t send it. His phone was stolen Saturday night. Would you know where it is?” I raised my eyebrows in my best condescending look.
She blinked but straightened her shoulders and tilted her chin up. “Why would I know where his phone is?”
“Oh, because…” I drifted off and hit “redial.” Behind Blue Eyes started playing from her locker, and I held up my phone screen to her so she could see that I was dialing Jared. Everyone else saw, too.
“This is your locker, Piper,” Jared pointed out after I’d hung up.
“You know, I just love that song. Let’s hear it again.” As I called his phone, everyone heard the song echo from Piper’s locker once more. Now there was no doubt.
Jared stepped forward and bent down into her face. “Open up your locker and give me my goddamn phone back, or we’ll get the Dean, and he’ll open the locker.”
Option A would prove to the entire school she was a thief and a liar. Option B would prove the same thing but also get her into trouble. She was standing there like she had a choice.
“It was Nate’s idea,” she blurted out, her voice cracking.
“You stupid bitch!” Nate growled from the crowd, and I looked over to see him step forward. “It was your idea.”
Jared pulled his arm back and punched Nate across the nose, sending the guy spilling to the ground like a wet dishcloth. The bystanders gasped and backed up, and I tried to resist the urge to do the same to Piper.
At that moment, Madoc pushed through the crowd, wide-eyed with shock at the bleeding Nate on the floor.
“Are you okay?” he asked, looking pissed as he came to stand by my side.
I nodded and turned my attention to Piper. “How did you do it?”
She pursed her lips and refused to meet my eyes. So we’re going to be stubborn today, I see.
“Your dad’s a cop, right? What’s his number?” I held up my phone, my fingers primed to dial. “Oh, yeah. 911.”
“Ugh, alright!” she gritted out. “Nate took me to Homecoming and then to Tori’s party afterwards. When we saw you and Jared head upstairs, Nate took his camera phone and climbed onto the balcony. When he showed me the video later, I saw that Jared had left his phone on the dresser, so I snuck back into the room to take it.”
“So the video came from Nate’s phone. It was transferred to Jared’s before it was texted.” I spoke to Piper but my eyes were on Jared. He looked at me, not angry like he should have been, but relieved. Now I knew he wouldn’t do something like that to me. I should’ve always known, I guess.
Shit. I really messed up his car.
“Get Jared’s phone, Piper. Now,” Madoc ordered, with a scowl I usually didn’t see on his face.
She huffed and walked up to her locker, working the combination until the lock clicked. Yanking the door open, she shuffled through her purse while the rest of us waited.
The crowd hadn’t dispersed. If anything, it’d grown. I was surprised teachers hadn’t come out of the classrooms yet. Jared hovered over Nate, who still lay on the ground holding his nose. He had to remember a night not so long ago that he’d been in the same situation with Jared and probably decided that it was better to just stay down.
Piper finally picked the phone out of her bag and threw it at my chest. Out of reflex, my hands shot up to catch it, but there was a dull ache from where it’d hit. She was scowling at me, and I almost wanted to laugh. Almost.
“We’re done,” she snapped and waved her hand to shoo me away. “You may go.”
“Piper? Do yourself a favor, and get some help. Jared is not yours, and he never will be. In fact, he won’t ever look at you again and see anything good, if he even saw anything good in the first place.”
Piper’s eyes narrowed to slits, and I could tell by the muffled whispers that the crowd was more on my side than hers now. I guess it didn’t hurt that everyone knew that Jared hadn’t sent that video. Hell, I guess they were really on his side.
Oh well, they didn’t need to like me, but it helped to not have them against me, too.
I twisted around to pass Jared his phone but was yanked back by my hair. Pain shot through my scalp as I slammed back to the lockers.
My equilibrium was thrown off, and I stumbled to right myself again. Shit. That had hurt. What did she think she was doing?
I saw Piper’s fist priming for a punch. My eyes nearly bugged out of my head, but I reacted.
I ducked, and her fist caught my hair instead of my face. Shoving her away, I whipped my hand back and smacked her across the face. Before she even had a chance to stumble, I brought my other hand across her other cheek, and that sent her crumbling to the floor.