As soon as those words left his mouth, Emma's eyes widened. Her smug expression turned into fear and disbelief.
'Did I just say that? Out loud?' She asked herself, wondering why she had blurted that out.
James' flushed face returned to his usual arrogant expression.
"You think I'm 'cute'?" He asked the blushing girl.
"So you do find me cute," he said, answering his own question, bringing his face closer to Emma's.
Emma's cheeks turned a deep scarlet. She stopped walking, and James did the same.
She inwardly reprimanded herself for saying such things out loud, still wondering what had caused her to say those kinds of words. She never was the type to flirt, neither was she the type to fall in love too easily, but her past actions and doings proved this wrong.
She fully knew his overall arrogant personality would never let her get away with it. He'd remember this moment for the weeks, months, and even years to come.
Instead of admitting what she did, she went for her confident approach. Something inside her just told her to act that way, and so she did.
"And so what if I did?" She asked sassily, surprising James by her sudden change of tone.
"Well, it'd make no difference," he replied.
Emma went silent.
'What did he mean by that?' she asked herself.
It was then he continued speaking.
"Since I already know I'm the cutest, and the most handsome," he said jokingly.
Emma nudged him playfully in the rib.
"You really are a jokester, James," Emma admitted, her lips pouting.
And this was when his signature smirk returned.
"I'm your jokester," James said seriously, emphasising the word 'your', getting a pout as a response from Emma in return.
At this point in time, the two had already reached their destination.
Emma had insisted that the two of them go and visit Lily in the clinic, where Professor Celine would be waiting for them with the results of the toxicology report.
Being the gentleman he was, he opened the door for Emma, waiting for her to enter the clinic before entering himself and closing the door.
Professor Celine was already there, waiting for the two students and passing time by ever so slightly glancing at Lily before looking back at the toxicology report.
The two exchanged greetings with the professor and nurse before they came to the inevitable part of the day. Finding out what the toxicology results were.
Professor Celine cleared her throat.
Once everyone's attention was on her, she continued speaking.
"Well, from my toxicology test, it seems that Ms Carmichael was poisoned," she started.
"Poisoned? How was she poisoned?" Emma asked worriedly.
Deep down, she felt like she had something to do with it. Of course, she wasn't the person who poisoned her best friend, but something inside her told her that this was somewhat her fault.
Maybe it was because if it wasn't for her, Lily wouldn't be at ZALE in the first place, or if it wasn't for another theory Emma had about why Lily was targeted and poisoned.
James wrapped his arm around Emma's shoulder protectively, trying to calm the trembling girl.
"Professor, please, continue," he encouraged politely.
Professor Celine continued speaking, voicing the results of the toxicology test she had done with Lily's blood sample.
"Her blood sample proved to have contained excessive amounts of ammonia. I believe she may have been exposed to it in the library, or somewhere else here in ZALE, but that information is not proven or verified yet, it's only just that. A theory," Professor Celine stated.
Emma nodded. She may or may not have done her research on all the types of poison Lily might have been poisoned with or exposed to in an attempt to find out why Lily was in this state.
"Ammonia is a corrosive gas and may be fatal if inhaled or taken in in large doses. If she was exposed to it, that'd explain why she's in this coma-like state," Emma reasoned as she tried her best to stay calm.
Who'd blame the girl? Her best friend was lying on a hospital bed on a ventilator, having huge difficulty breathing, and possibly on the verge of death, while she had also found out that she was poisoned on her very first day of school.
Even the slightest possibility that it might've been her fault Lily was in this state scared her to her very core, and she'd never let herself live it down if it was the truth.
"Professor, how do you think Lily was exposed to such high levels and amounts of ammonia?" James asked suddenly.
Everyone turned to look at him.
"Good question, Mr Carrington. As of now, I have no idea, but my best guess is to check the library where she was found," Professor Celine replied.
In other circumstances, Emma would have agreed with her professor, but this was a different case.
"Professor, I do have one doubt. If Lily fell unconscious due to exposure to high levels of ammonia, why didn't I get poisoned too? I was with her all day except for when she-
She stopped, realizing something.
"Oh," she said as realized what had happened.
Lily had been poisoned while she was shining the trophies in the library.
As it took a while to sink in, Professor Celine looked at Emma with an expression filled with pure worry, and not to mention pity, before glancing at her watch and realizing the time.
"Oh my. It's not quite long before my next class. I'm expected to have a class in a few minutes. It's best I get going. Have a good day, Ms Grey and Mr Carrington," she announced as she took her leave.
Shocked at the abrupt leave, both Emma and James stared at where Professor Celine once stood.
After a few moments of silence, Emma turned to James.
James curtly nodded.
As if that was enough of an answer, Emma said goodbye to her unconscious best friend, and the two exchanged goodbyes with the nurse, before heading straight for their destination with an objective in mind.
Next stop, the library.