Everett was spurred into action. He didn’t know exactly why he did it, but he picked Rae up bridal style, ignoring the throbbing pain in his head. Rae was surprisingly light, but then again Everett didn’t know what he was expecting.

“Well, I’d like to see her fight me now that she needs help from glow worm,” Everett heard Sayer say from behind him, but due to the sharp pain in his head, he knew that he just read Sayer’s thoughts. Not thinking or realizing what he was doing, he projected pain on Sayer, and he gave a grim smile when he heard Sayer hiss in pain as he carried Rae to the infirmary.

“Look at that, you’re back already,” said the sarcastic voice of Benjamin when he saw the two walk in. “Now from the look of that ankle, it’s definitely dislocated and possibly broken. If you would just carry her in here.” Benjamin made a motion to follow him, as he walked through the halls and found a room. Everett gently set Rae down on the bed before grabbing the bottle of the blue pills and swallowing one.

“Okay, you are totally free to stay in here Everett, just make sure you stay out of the way.” Benjamin then proceeded to roll up her pant leg and feel along the ankle, laying his hands in place for the setting of the bone. “Everett. Distract her.”

Everett thought quickly about what to do. “I heard you think that I was adorable, earlier today.” Everett attempted and succeeded to speak through his mind and into Rae’s.

He saw her blush as Benjamin, in one quick movement, set her ankle back in place. Rae flinched, her eyes closing and her teeth clenching, as she inhaled sharply. After a few moments, her eyes opened.

“Ow,” she said breathing deeply. Everett looked at her with concern, before turning to Benjamin. He opened his mouth to say something, but Benjamin spoke first.

“Her ankle will be fine, I just need to put a cast on it,” he said as he turned on his heel and left the room. Everett turned his head to Rae, despite the pained look on her face, she was still blushing. Everett was mildly surprised first, because he knew how much a broken ankle hurt, and yet Rae still wasn’t crying in pain, and second, because Rae always seemed so tough and detached that the fact that she was blushing this much simply because he knew that she thought he was adorable made him laugh.

“I am in excruciating pain right now, and you find it appropriate to laugh,” Rae said with a straight face, but he knew she was joking. He was still laughing when Benjamin walked back in, supplies for the cast in his hands.

→ ←

Rae refused to look at Everett while her ankle was bound. Instead she focused on the top of Benjamin’s head as he worked. It wasn’t nearly as enticing as Everett’s head which she glanced. Where Benjamin had flat and dull brown hair, Everett’s was a rich dark brown with flowing waves that made her want to run her hands through it… Stop. What am I doing? She thought. Oh gosh. What if he heard me? She glanced nervously at the boy, but she couldn’t tell if he had heard. In fact, he looked quite miserable. He was concussed, after all. No doubt all the mind reading took its toll on him.

“Do I get crutches?” she blurted out, turning her mind to the first thing it thought of.

Benjamin nodded. “All done. I’ll go get the crutches now.” He returned after a few agonizing minutes of Rae trying to control her thoughts, something she had never done before.

She stood hesitantly, putting as little weight as possible on the ankle as she placed the crutches under her arms. Then, turning to Everett, she said, “Thanks, Mood Ring. You should get some sleep. You’ve had a long day.”

“What about you?” Everett asked.

“I have something I need to do. Just some last minute homework,” she said with a wave of her hand. “I’m fine now.”

“Well, if you’re sure…” he said.

“Thanks Benny,” Rae said on her way out. “I’ll see you both around.” She hobbled out on her crutches into the late evening air. An idea had come to her, but she refused to let herself think about it until she was a safe distance away from the mind reader.

Rae rushed back to her room and started tearing through her desk drawers. It had to be in here somewhere. With no luck at the desk or in her closet either, Rae flopped down onto her stomach to crawl under the bed, sifting through dust bunnies and random objects that had fallen under there over the years.

“Aha!” she called to no one in particular, extracting the tiny ring she had been searching for.

She stood up, about to head out to find Everett again, but then she saw the time on the digital clock. It was late, too late to go to him now. Visiting hours were over already and he was probably asleep by now.

Pursing her lips, she sat down on the bed. Maybe tomorrow then…

Laying back, she held the ring to her chest, wondering if he could hear her thoughts now. She fell asleep not long after.

In the morning, she woke with the ring still in her hand and resting on her chest. Her ankle throbbed terribly that morning, but she limped out of the dormitory and to the Mess Hall nonetheless.

Her eyes alighted on the head she had been trying so hard not to think about sitting at a table. Moving forward, she was intercepted by a chuckle.

“Look who’s so tough now,” Sayer taunted. Rae paused only long enough to throw him a glare. Keeping her head high, Rae sauntered past as gracefully as she could with crutches. Swiftly and without warning, Rae let her crutch fly to the right and jab Sayer in the solar plexus. “Oof!”

With a smirk at his doubled over body, she walked by, continuing on to her original destination. She plopped down next to Everett who was picking at a bowl of oatmeal.

“How are you feeling?” she asked.

“I’m all right. I’ve been better too,” he said with a faint attempt at a smile.

“I’ve got something for you,” she said, pulling the ring out of her pocket. “Here. I want you to have it. It’s to say thank you for helping me yesterday when Sayer knocked me down.” She pressed the ring into his hand.

“A mood ring?” he asked, observing the ring in the early morning light.

“Mhmm,” Rae said, bobbing her head while smiling. But then her eyes drifted to his hair again, and suddenly she remembered what it was that seemed off. “Your hat,” she said, tilting her head to the side. “It’s missing.”

He reached up to feel the top of his head. “Yeah, I guess it is. I must have lost it in the woods.”

Rae pursed her lips. She didn’t know why exactly she said what she did next, but it seemed like the right thing to say. “I’ll help you look for it.”

→ ←

“But I have class right after breakfast,” Everett said, not exactly sure why Rae offered to help. It just didn’t really seem like something Rae would do.

“Did you make it to any of your classes yesterday?” Rae asked with a smug smile and an eyebrow raised.

“Uh huh,” Everett nodded, a little wary of where this conversation was going.

“Oh really?” Rae asked. “Which ones did you make it to?”

“Weapons training and Greek as a Second Language,” he said matter of factly. Rae looked at him before shaking her head.

“Well, since those were the only classes you made it to, and you had to sit out on weapons training today because of your concussion, why don’t you just skip whatever classes you have for the rest of the day. It’s not like they’ll notice that you’re missing, since you’ve never been there,” she finished with a smile. Everett rolled his eyes.

“You are by far the worst mentor ever,” Everett said smiling. He finished his oatmeal quickly, which was a mistake on his part, because then he had to sit and wait for Rae to eat the literal mountain of breakfast foods on her tray. Once she had eaten the almost impossible amount of food, the two stood up and began walking to the woods.

“So,” Everett began, “I have no idea where those guys took me, all I know is that my hat fell off after I was tied to the tree.” Everett looked over at her as he finished, and he couldn’t help but notice how she was struggling to traverse the uneven forest floor with her crutches.

“Good thing I know these - woods,” she had paused when her crutch snagged on an exposed tree root.

“You need some help there?” Everett asked with concern, even though he was smiling at her determination.

“Pfft. No,” she said as she kept going a little faster than before.

Everett shook his head but followed. After a few agonizing minutes of watching Rae struggle, he couldn’t take it anymore. He scooped her up in his arms. When he heard Rae’s intake of breath to protest, he cut her off.

“I don’t want to hear it,” he said before adding as an afterthought, “through my ears or through my mind.” When he heard Rae huff, a smile broke across his face. After walking for a while, Everett stopped.

“Okay, this is where they jumped me, and this is also where I forget where to go.”

→ ←

Rae patted his chest, letting him know to let her down now. He looked at her for a moment as if debating if he should let go of her. The way he looked at her… Rae had to glance away.

Once on her feet again, leaning on a tree for support, she started to look around for where she had found his glasses.

“I’ll look in this area. You look over there,” she ordered. He raised his eyebrows at her commanding tone. She needed him to get away from her and her thoughts.

As soon as he was out of earshot and hopefully out of thought-shot as well, she let herself think about what had happened, the way he made her stomach flip when he picked her up.

A few unfortunate guys had tried to make a move on Rae before, but that was it. Everett didn’t seem to be trying. She wasn’t the type of girl to fawn over a guy, no matter how good looking, but there was something about his easy going personality, his sensitiveness, and his gentle disposition that made her like him. Was that it? Was she falling for him? She hadn’t known him for long. In fact, it had only been a few days.

Just then, Everett returned. “Were you even looking?” he asked, noticing that Rae hadn’t moved.

“Of course I was!” she said defensively. With a quick scan of her eyes, she found the hat near to the spot she had picked up his glasses the other day. “See? There it is. Right where I knew it would be.”

She stooped to pick it up, limping on one leg towards him to reach up and place it back on his head. Taking a step back, she smiled. “There you go.”

He smiled a goofy smile back at her, his glow a bright yellow.

Rae picked up her crutches and announced, “I’m gonna see if I can make it to my next class. Maybe you should too. I’d be a bad mentor if I made you skip all of your classes.” Not that I wouldn’t want to… she thought before she could stop herself.

→ ←

Everett you can do this, if she’s not in there then you can go back to your room. Just knock on the door. Everett was psyching himself up to knock on Rae’s door. It was later on the same day, and after his classes. He had gone back to his room to do his homework when he remembered that they didn’t assign homework at this school. After sitting at his desk for a half an hour trying and failing to make any progress on his manuscript, he sighed, then got up and decided to go take Rae up on her offer to help him fix that decrepit shack in the woods.

He walked the little grassy area between the guys and girls dorms and then walked inside, trying to act natural as curious girls watched him walk up the stairs to the third floor. When he got to the top floor he realized he forgot which room was Rae’s. He turned away from the long hall of doors to look out the window. Everett stumbled a few feet when something bumped into his back. He turned around.

“Sorry, it was my fault, sor- Everett?” When he turned around and came face to face with Avery. “Hi, I’m sorry that was my fault. I need to look where I’m going,” she joked.

“Oh, it’s okay,” he told her. “Where are you headed to?” he asked.

“I’m just off to see Austin.” Everett nodded, then he realized that Avery would probably know which room was Rae’s. When he asked her as much, she nodded slowly.

“Yeah, its room ninety eight,” she said slowly before walking down the stairs. Everett shrugged and began walking down the hall, until he reached door 98. He stood there for a good five minutes until he finally found it in himself to knock. After a couple seconds, that seemed like a couple minutes to Everett, he heard a scuffle and the door opened. The girl that opened the door was not Rae.

The girl that opened the door had straight brown hair going just past her shoulders, small, heavy lidded brown eyes, and a small flat nose. He was about to turn and leave, thinking that Avery gave him the wrong room number, when he saw Rae sitting on a bed behind the girl.

“Hey, Theo,” Rae said cheerily. “Aria, you can let him in.” The girl, Aria, seemed to hesitate for a second before opening the door wider to let him in. He walked in awkwardly, looking at the room as he moved, before Rae caught his attention.

“We were just talking about you.”