Chapter 2: Respite

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"I barely even recognized you at first," she said as we walked down the sidewalk. "With that hat and those sunglasses, I thought you were some kind of movie star at first."

That made me smile. "You think so?"

It was a windy day, and her shoulder-length, black hair blew all around her like a halo. I felt like I could stare at her for ages. Every inch of her seemed perfect and absent of flaws, from her glimmering, brown eyes to her sleek shoes.

"I think so."

"I don't wanna take these off, though." I groaned as I raised my arm, adjusting the sunglasses. "Every person I run into will think my parents beat me or something."

She sighed. "But maybe you could tell them what really happened and get Greg in trouble?"


"The bully."

"Oh." I laughed. "I thought his name was George."

"Don't let him hear you say that," she warned. "You'll get another bruise."

"I don't have any room left on my body. So I'm not too worried."

"At least it's not bleeding anywhere. Just bruised."

I shrugged. "If it was bleeding, at least I'd get a bandade. Or a get-well kiss."

Abigail giggled. "What the heck is a get-well kiss?"

"You know? Where someone kisses it, and it's supposed to make it feel better or whatever."

She smirked and stared at me. "And who do you think is going to give you a get-well kiss? Or whatever it's called."

I avoided her gaze, a sly grin on my face.

"Were you thinking me?"

"Oh, look!" I said. "The ice-cream truck!"

"Don't change the subject," she said, pretending to be serious.

"No, seriously." I pointed ahead of us. "There it is."

The familiar song that it played drifted towards us, and I was welcoming towards the break in our conversation. Hopefully, she wouldn't press the matter.

"Oh. Ice cream sounds really good right now... But we're not done with this."

"This?" I asked.


Well, crap.


Later that day found us sitting on a bench, our ice cream melting in some trash can down the street. She sat close to me on the bench, so that our knees were touching. Oddly, she didn't shy away.

We talked for a while, about school and our families. Although we'd been friends for a few weeks, I knew almost nothing about her. I wasn't sure how much I should tell her, either.

"I live with my aunt and uncle," she said. Abigail seemed completely fine with telling me things.


"Where are your parents?" she asked.

I shrugged. "They sent me up here for a few months. I guess they were going to counseling for their marriage and the bills weren't getting paid or something. So I got sent up here. Next thing I heard, they'd divorced and my dad moved out west somewhere."

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