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"The careless conversation had quickly turned into something entirely else."

Chapter 14
In the dark

Mary, Matt, Luca, Zoe and Ethan. They all were packed in a little van parked near to the park. Luca and Zoe were sitting in the front seat and the rest of them sat at the trunk. It was so tight Mary had to sit shoulder to shoulder with Matt. Not that she minded though. She was surprised to realize, that in such a short time period Matt had become almost a friend to her. She trusted him. At least more than she trusted the others.

"We going or what?" Zoe asked Luca impatiently.

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Luca started the car and checked that everyone were present. Then he drove off to the quiet streets of New York. There were a few cars here and there, but mostly the streets were empty.

"You think the others are already there?" Ethan asked drawing a throwing knife from under his jacket. Mary drew in a quick breath, but Ethan didn't seem to notice. He just swiped the blade to his jeans carefully, like handling something valuable. Something dear to him.

"Yes." Luca said. "They better have something to eat when we get back there. I'm so hungry I could eat a lion."

"The hell they will. All they think about are themselves. I think we should stop on the way and buy pizza." Zoe said a little excitement in her voice.

"I'll have pepperoni and pineapple!" Ethan exclaimed.

"Ew, no one eats pineapple with pepperoni." Zoe said throwing Ethan a disgusted look.

"I do."

"Yeah, because you're disgusting!"

Ethan was about to snap something back at the black haired girl, but Luca was faster.

"Ethan, you are too mature to fight over something as irrelevant as pizza toppings. Be the smarter one." His voice was flat, no emotion to be heard.

Hurt flashed on Ethan's face. He obviously hadn't expected Luca to take Zoe's side. When the hurt washed away it was replaced by anger. He pressed his hand tightly around the handle of the knife.

"You have no right to talk about maturity to me." He said almost hissing.

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The darkness and the fleeting lights from the streetlights danced on his face, casting long shadows over his sharp features. His eyes were gleaming dangerously.

The careless conversation had quickly turned into something entirely else. Mary barely had the courage to breathe. She turned to look at Matthew. His eyes were fixed on Ethan. Mary could almost see him taking notes in his mind.

"I have every right to say whatever I want." Luca said matter-of-factly.

"No you don't, not after what you did." Ethan whispered.

His voice was quiet, but it filled every square inch of the minivan. Luca flinched a little, but did not say another word.

"Stop the car." Ethan said.

"No."

"Stop the car Luca." Ethan said spatting the other boy's name as if it burned on his tongue. As if it tasted bitter.

Luca stamped his foot on the brake and the car came to a halt, jerking dangerously to one side. Ethan kicked the back doors open and jumped out of the car.

"Ethan! Come back!" Zoe shouted after him. "If this is about the pizza I'm sorry, Ethan!" She seemed lost. So did Mary and Matthew.

Ethan slammed the doors shut. Zoe's eyes were wide from confusion. She had no idea what had just happened.

"We can't let him just leave, can we? How's he supposed to get back home?" She asked turning to Luca.

"That's not our problem. He's quite capable of taking care of himself." Luca said driving the car back to the street.

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Ethan stumbled to the nearest lamppost pressing his forehead against it. The cold surface of it cleared his head a little. The fog of anger and frustration was replaced by the clearness of hurt and sadness.

He turned around leaning his back against the lamppost and slid down. He curled his knees up and buried his face into his hands. A few strong shudders went through his body, making him shiver. His black curly hair fell on his face, covering the pained expression.

How could Luca be so cold after everything?

They had been so happy. It had been the best summer in ages. The summer he'd spent with him. He had been happy. Luca had been happy. Or so Ethan had thought. But when the summer heat had been washed away by cold winter winds, the warmness in Luca had been wiped away with it. As if it never had even existed.

Ethan remembered someone telling him how there was two sides to a person. There was the summer side, happy, careless. When summer came around people hid their darkest secrets deep down inside them. And then even the summer sunshine couldn't bring them back up into the light.

Then there was the winter side, cold, true to one's self. It was in dark where the secrets found their way back to the surface. When it was cold outside, it was easy to show the cold within.

Ethan ran his fingers through his pitch-black hair. He wiped away the single tear that had found its way to his cheek. He looked around to see where he had ended up. The block didn't seem familiar. He had never seen the restaurants lining the street. Chinese, sushi places, pizzerias.

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The delicious smell of pizza made the hunger in Ethan's stomach lift its head. He pressed a hand on his stomach, preventing it from growling and started to make his way to the open door of the pizzeria. It was almost empty, only one group of customers were sitting in a corner table.

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Ethan ringed the bell on the counter. A round faced man emerged from behind a curtain and gave Ethan a wide smile.

"How may I help such a delightful young man?" He asked.

"I'll take a pepperoni pizza with pineapple, thank you." Ethan said without hesitation.

"Oh! What great choice, that's my favorite one too!" The round-faced man shrieked. "It would be 12 dollars, please."

Ethan handed him the money.

"We'll bring the pizza to the table in a minute." The man said disappearing behind the curtain.

Ethan sat down to one of the empty tables and took his phone out of his pocket, trying to figure out where exactly he was. He opened the New York map and scanned through it getting a rough image about his whereabouts.

He was far from home and his only way getting back was by foot. He reached under his collar and pulled out a pendant. It had been his as long as he could remember. It was always there to remind him of who he was deep down, even when he didn't remember it himself. He pressed the smooth metal tile between his fingers. It was warm from resting against his bare chest.

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"Nice pendant you have there buddy." An amused voice came from behind him.

(None of the pictures above are mine.)