Chapter 12

Chapter 12: Sadina

Maddie takes a seat three places ahead of me on the bus and won’t look back. All I can see is a cap of curly brown hair rising above the edge of the seat. Well, that’s fine. A little space between us is probably a good idea right now.

I can’t believe she’s bringing that cat to school. All morning I’ve put up “Do Not Cross this Line” signs in my brain, to keep out thoughts of what I said to Maddie last night. I don’t want to think about it. I know I let her down. But what was I supposed to do, play along and pretend Bella is real?

When I saw Laurel and her little pack circling around Maddie at the bus stop, I should have stopped them right away. I waited a minute too long. I could say it’s because I want her to learn to stand up for herself. The truth is I was just tired, really really tired of standing between Maddie and the world. Mom sometimes calls me Maddie’s guardian angel. Rio thinks that image is all wrong: he says I’m Maddie’s enforcer. That’s what those hockey guys are called, the ones who get in fights for the rest of the team. I’ve seen pictures of them, and even though I don’t have any black eyes or missing teeth I know exactly how they feel.