Annie and I drop off Nick with his dad, after leaving Karissa at her dorm, before returning to campus once more. I remain silent, unsure of what to say, because Annie keeps looking at me. I glance at her a few times, but pretend not to notice. I guess I am trying to change the atmosphere.

"You have to stop that," she says after a long, awkward, silence. "It is kind of obvious how Karissa tries to be your friend and you don't make it easy for her. I guess you do not know what to do around her, but there is no need to be hostile towards her."

"I was not being hostile," I say slowly, thinking over the brief conversation with Karissa earlier.

"In a sense, you were, Eric. Okay, maybe you don't know what to say to someone you liked, and she's your brother's . . . fiancée?"

"As far as anyone in the family knows, Jacks has yet to pop the question. She is the one expecting the baby. I mentioned feeling betrayed because I am more loyal to Jacks than he is to me. I don't know how to behave around her, because I don't want to do something that would offend either of them . . ."

I realize that I am raising my voice, because Annie's hand is resting on my shoulder. I glance at her and take a deep breath to calm myself. Annie does not move her hand away, not even when I park the car in the dorms' parking lot.

"You're going to hang out with your brother tonight?" she asks, running her hand down my arm, letting it rest in the crevice of my elbow.

"Yeah," I reply, clearing my throat as I turn off the engine. "I was going to . . . fix things."

"That's good . . . Maybe, while you're at it, you should talk to him about what to do around Karissa. Having him tell you what he and Karissa expect will help you clear your head . . . Thanks for coming with me today."

I look at Annie, meeting her gaze. I can now understand why her eyes are clouded sometimes. I take off my seatbelt and pull her into a hug. I hear Annie sigh softly,

"Thank you," I whisper, unwillingly to let her go. "For everything."

"You're welcome," she whispers back, pulling away slowly. "Listen, tomorrow we have two classes together. I might be willing to let my super power slip so you can see me."

I smile, "That would be helpful."

Annie returns the smile. "Call me after you talk to Jacks, and let me know how it went."

I nod and we both get out of the car. At first, Annie walks with me towards the dormitories, but then she turns to walk towards one of the other buildings.


I turn and find Jacks coming towards me with a box of Papa John's Pizza. I glance at Annie, but she is already gone into the next building. I sigh and turn back to my brother with a grin.

'Sup bro?" I say, reaching for the box. "Is this one mine? Where's your pizza?"

"Nice try!" Jacks' says with a chuckle. "Come on; let's go get a game going."

I chuckle and lead the way inside and up the stairs. We pass Charlie in the hallway.

"I'm going to visit my girl," he says, with phone to his ear. "Don't wait up!"

He sprints towards the stairs and I roll my eyes.

Jacks' chuckles, "You gotta get a girl," he says as I pull out my keys to unlock the door. "Then you will understand. Speaking of girls, Annie seems nice. You know this is the second time I see you with her . . . are you dating?"

"It's not like that," I reply, swinging the door wide to let him pass. "Yes, I admit it; Annie is a nice girl. She's beautiful, she has a great personality . . . but I don't think she will ever see me as anything other than a friend."

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