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The Bro Code

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Rule Number One: Bros Before Hoes

It started with a pizza. The pepperoni kind.

On that particular Thursday afternoon, I was in Pizza City with half the senior class, just trying to stir up some trouble.

I live in that small, middle-of-nowhere kind of town where everyone knows each other, and everyone's had the same friends since preschool. It was the kind of place where we would all get married and our kids would be friends.

I'm that kid who likes to keep it interesting; keep life from getting boring, you know, to make it more bearable. If I do say so myself, I, Nicholas James Maguire, am exactly what the town needed.

"Hey, Maguire!" Robert Maxin called to me from across the restaurant. "I wanna hear that story again!"

"Promise not to pee your pants this time?" I shouted back. He wanted me to tell it because it made him look good and he was sitting next to Hannah Green, his crush since the second grade. But I could never pass up an opportunity to make fun of Robert.

"You wish," said Robert. I hadn't really insulted him, since he does that to me all the time, but he knew better than to argue back.

"Don't have to." I leaned back in my seat and adjusted the Red Sox cap on my head. Austin Banks, my best friend held out his hand to pound my fist.

We sat at a booth in the back of the room with our other best friend, Carter O'Connor. Some people call us the three musketeers because we're always seen together; same sports, same classes, same irresistible personalities...we have a lot in common.

"How long do you think it'll be before Hannah comes over here?" Austin asked us.

I shrugged. "Five minutes. Give or take. Maybe shorter if he tells her about the time he went to Build-A-Bear with us."

Austin cracked a grin. "Poor guy. He really doesn't know how to talk to girls."

"You two should give him lessons," Carter said, finally looking up from his phone. "He could learn a lot from you."

I looked at Austin. Carter had always hated how we behave around girls. He thinks we act like animals or something. He'd always been really old fashioned when it comes to dating.

"So who're you texting, then?" Austin elbowed Carter. "Who's the girl?"

Carter had been texting non-stop since we got to the restaurant, and since we knew he wasn't texting Austin or me, it had to be a girl. Carter doesn't get along well with other guys, besides us anyway. Girls really like him. Probably because he's the one guy they'd never be able to get with. He's too good for that.

But the other guys don't care. They still see him as a threat. Of course, if I were them, I wouldn't be too worried about Carter. He's a bro, and he sticks to the code. He would never take another bro's girl.

"My sister." Carter pushed Austin's arm off of him. "My mom doesn't want to cook dinner so she's sending Eliza to eat with us. I hope that's okay, dude." He looked at Austin.

Austin shrugged. "Yeah, whatever, man. She's your sister." Austin was trying to be cool about it, but I could tell from the way he'd crossed his arms defensively that he didn't want Eliza to come over.

I wasn't surprised. The bro code states that a dude will never date his friend's sister. Austin, however, is the absolute boss and because Eliza used to have this major crush on him, Carter okayed the relationship.

It ended badly though. As it turned out, Eliza didn't really like Austin. She really liked Austin's older brother, and now things are awkward between the three of them.

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