The next day Juliet is absent from school. And the day after that, and the one after that too.
"Okay," Flo says at lunch, slamming his tray down. "Has ANYONE heard anything?"
"We know as much as you, Flo. Calm down," Eden chides, hand on her brother's elbow.
"So I'm supposed to not be concerned that she completely shut down at dinner and we haven't heard from her since?"
"So she has to tell you her movements now?" Nat says, sarcastically.
"I'm allowed to be concerned about my friend, Nat."
"Awww, your friend? That's all? You're just concerned because she's your friend?" Nat leans in hard on the last word, her eyes dark and dangerous.
Flo flinches. "This isn't about that."
"In my experience? It's always about that."
"You...you see me that way?"
"I see all men that way. Don't take it personal."
"If not that, then what?" She raises an eyebrow, not expecting to get a good answer.
"I know it's difficult for you two to not be complete and utter fucking bitches, but try to restrain yourselves from accusing my brother of being anything like that."
Eden's usually calm voice is shaking with fury.
"And how can you be so certain, Eden? He tell you everything? You know exactly the kind of person he is?"
"Say one more thing, Natalie, just one more, and you won't have to worry about your Lit final because I-"
Lorie's hand slams down on the table, and she turns a deadly glare directly on Nat and Seo.
A complete calm settles over everyone at the table, though those magically inclined will know it's not them deciding it.
"Hey, hey, babe. Come with me, okay? Let's get away from the witches, they're shit stirring as usual."
Anders wraps an arm around a devastated looking Flo, and starts leading him away, shooting a glare at said witches.
Eden gets up to follow them.
Lorie waits until they're out of ear shot, and then sits opposite Nat and Seo.
"What the fuck, guys?"
Nat shrugs, unrepentant. "Had to be sure he didn't have anything to do with it."
"Right. And that was the best way to do it?"
"We don't pull punches. He'll get over it. So long as we find the girl."
"You're gonna pull your punches, or I'm gonna be right behind you, controlling every goddamn emotion you have. You planning on feeling horny in the near future? Forget about it."
"Ew, Lorie." Nat's tone is disbelieving.
Seo stares at Lorie. "I don't care about his feelings, Hawthorne. Either he'll get over it when the girl is found, or he has so many other things to worry about."