15 - Apologies

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The walk to Peter's apartment building wasn't a long one, only a few blocks from school. The leaves on the trees were thinning; orange and brown colours painted on the dirty sidewalks. This part of the borough of Queens was quiet this hour of the afternoon and was almost a world away from the hustle and bustle of Midtown Manhattan without the consent noise from beeping taxies and busy streets. I found it rather peaceful, walking alongside Peter in a comforting silence, only interrupting our quietness to ask about how I planned to apologise to Mary Jane for brushing her off all day and most of yesterday. As we came to stop at the apartment building main doors, I gave him a pointed look as I shifted my backpack over my shoulder. "Mary Jane is the easy one, Gwen's going to take a few goes and maybe even some begging on my behalf."

Peter gave me a quick smile as he yanked open the building door, letting me in through first like a true gentlemen. "So, you're going to be begging for her forgiveness? Have you ever actually done that before?"

We headed up the stairs, by passing the elevator. We both knew that elevator was a death sentence, you could be waiting nearly a full ten minutes sometimes before the doors dinged open. With his comment, I was rolling my eyes. I was not usually the type of person to apologise or beg for forgiveness, we both knew that. "Well, they do have some explaining to do before I declare myself sorry, but we'll see."

"Right, because they somehow got us partnered together." Peter nodded. "I'll give it to them, maybe they're geniuses too, it couldn't have been easy getting Ms. Riley to agree to it."

We exited out of the stairwell, turning a sharp corner and heading down the hallway. Music drifted out of one of the apartments, loud with a heavy beat. "They're girly but they get crap done when they want to." I replied, blowing some air into my cheeks as we arrived outside the two doors. I was a little nervous being here. I hadn't had many fights with both girls over the years but right now that feeling of betrayal was slipping away and I think it had to do with Peter's advice, something I wasn't about to admit to him.

Peter rested up against the wall, his bag slipping to the ground. "Be nice to her, okay?" His chin tilted to the door I stood in front of, my hands wringing by my sides.

I gave him a quick nod, my lips turning up in a slight smile. "I'll try, no promises though."

Suddenly before Peter could even open his mouth to reply, his own front door swung open. Ben Parker stood in the threshold, staring across at Peter. I had never seen the man not reasonably chipper but this afternoon, there was a flicker of anger resting in his eyes. "Peter, where have you been?"

Peter swept his gaze away from me, stepping away from the wall. "Uncle Ben, I can explain--"

"You're grounded remember, young man?" Ben went on. "After that fight with Flash Thompson in school and bailing on picking up your aunt from work, I don't what you're thinking. Now you're out all afternoon with Florence when you're supposed to be home. I thought we discussed this, Peter."

I couldn't tear my eyes away from Peter, seeing the flicker of guilt cross his face. I didn't know our study session was breaking his grounding, he had never even mentioned he was supposed to be home. "I'm sorry, it was my fault--"

Ben's heavy gaze shifted to me. "I'm sorry, Florence. It is nice of you trying to take the blame, but right now this hasn't got anything to do with you. Why not just go home, dear?"

"I'm here to see Mary Jane, actually..." I shifted on my feet, knocking quickly on Mary Jane's door and praying someone was around to let me in before I had to spend another second awkwardly watching this argument unfold.

"Oh, well it was nice to see you again so soon. Tell your parents I say hello, won't you?" Ben asked nicely and I gave him a weak smile, my eyes flicking back to stare at Peter. He was staring down at his shoes, a little embarrassed. I saw the way his jawline ticked and I knew there was a tiny bit of anger resting deep within him.

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