The next morning I was awoken by a loud bang on the door. I shot upright, banging my head against the sloped ceiling above my bed. There was no trace of Tony except the lingering smell of his musky cologne. I hadn't slept this good in days. Weeks even. Was it all because of Tony?
'Clay, sweetie. School starts in half an hour. Get moving!'
I nodded, then realizing my mom wouldn't be able to see it through the closed door. Closed. The open door policy wasn't really working out too well. Maybe Tony left before my parents woke. I glanced around for my phone. Maybe he had left a text. Nothing. I sighed, suddenly wanting to know where he was and if he was okay. He'd probably be at school. It was Friday now, and soon it would be weekend. I dreaded weekend as much as I loved it, while the school hallways were haunted by Hannah's presence, the classes were also a welcome distraction. In the weekends there wasn't a lot of distractions. Tony was usually working at the shop on saturday, but on sundays they sometimes went touring across the city.
'Coming, mom. Just a second.'
I quickly changed in clothes that weren't as smelly and grabbed my backpack before trodding downstairs, the sight I found there surprised me.
'Look how sweet, Tony brought you breakfast to go and a ride to school. Now go before you make Tony late as well.'
I stood there, dumbstruck. How? He had? And huh? I realized that my mouth was open and my expression must be just as stupid as I felt. Tony left before my parents woke, only to come back again, with breakfast. Tony grabbed me by the arm, pulling me towards the front door. I let him, slightly taken aback by how warm his hand was, and how gentle his touch. We got to his Mustang and I wasted no time settling in the passengers seat. Moments later Tony got in as well. The silence was deafening. Tony dropped the bag of food on my lap and began speeding towards school. I cleared my throat, suddenly nervous. Tony had spent the entire night and for some reason it hadn't felt like any regular sleepover. But what did it feel like. I was about to mentally slap myself, hoping to get some information out of my brain dead self when Tony spoke up.
'Did you sleep well? Sorry I had to take off without a note. I needed to take care of some things before school.'
'Nothing for you to worry about.'
Tony wasn't looking at me, but focusing on the road ahead. His eyebrows were furrowed and he looked to be in quite a bad mood. It surprised my, Tony wasn't the type for it. And it made me wonder what had transpired in the past few hours. His hands were clenched around the steering wheel and his hair looked slightly disheveled.
'Eat your breakfast, Clay.'
'Don't you want...'
'I already had some. Now eat, we're at school in a few minutes.'
I wanted to, desperately so, ask him what was wrong but his entire attitude made me refrain from doing so. I was worried. Not a little bit, but a lot. Was it because he had to stay with me the entire night? Was I taking up too much of his time? Or was it something else? I decided to do as Tony told me and ate the bagel that was inside the paper bag. Minutes later we pulled into the parking lot. It was a rainy day today and the sunshine from yesterday had made way for dark clouds and spatters of rain here and there. Tony wasted no time getting out of the car and I followed suit silently. We didn't have a lot of classes together except sports. First period history for me usually was first period science for him. We entered the school and I nearly tripped over a small backpack, Tony grasped my shoulder to steady me, he let go again soon after.
'I'll see you around, Clay.'
What was going on? I watched Tony's broad leather clad back as he disappeared into the crowd of teenagers, never once looking back. I had rarely seen Tony this grumpy. I knew, as much as anybody else, that if Tony didn't want to talk about it he wouldn't tell. Tony only shared what Tony wanted to share and there was no way of changing that. Ever. Several people bumped into me as I still stood exactly where Tony had left me in the middle of the hallway. A shiver traveled down my spine. What was wrong? Before I could dive inside my memories for any clues as to why my best friend was acting like this the bell rang and I had to hurry to get to the other side of the building to make it in time for history. I almost tripped several times as the hallways emptied slowly. Just as I rounded the last corner somebody spoke up.
'Wait. Hey, wait. Clay!'