t e n

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There will always be a reason you meet people. Either you need them to change your life, or you're the one to change theirs.

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It was one thing to make friends with someone, but meeting their friends is a whole other level of 'what-ifs'. That was exactly what Sage was feeling as he stood outside the building before him, his entire body rigged with nerves.

Taste Buds. The word stood on the front, hoisted just above the closed double doors. The rest of the building was basically the same, with clear glass stretching around it, allowing passers-by to have no qualms about seeing inside. Sage could see a group of teenagers seated by a booth by the window, stuffing nuggets and fries in their mouths, slurping their drinks, taking selfies.

Sage didn't want to go inside. He didn't want to have to meet anyone he didn't even know, risking the chances of them laughing at him or something. A hand was suddenly eased on his shoulder, causing his eyes to look up, paving a path to meet outlandishly coloured irises.

"Relax, Tremaine," Randall said, teasingly. "My friends are cool. They may not like you, heck, they may even eat you alive, but that's okay, right?"

Sage looked at his friend with wide eyes. "Wow. That helped so much. I-I'm definitely not going inside!"

"C'mon, Tremaine. We're awesome, remember?"

"Randall..." he whined.

"Say it, Sage." Randall prodded, poking his finger in the soft flesh of his cheeks. "What's our motto ... or your motto?"

Sage shook his head, stepping back. "I am a-awesome..." he muttered, staring down at his untied shoelaces.

Randall sighed. "With a pint-size more confidence, please."

"I-I..." he couldn't get out anything after that. He was so nervous, and he just wanted to make a run for it. But clearly, Randall wasn't letting him off the hook so easily, as a result of their hands being joined. With almost one week of friendship down, Sage wasn't completely used to holding hands with anyone, but now, it seemed like a tangible source of strength for him, and he was quite grateful.

Sage was still worried. What if Randall was just hanging out with him because he felt sorry for him? Or because Randall himself didn't have any friends so he just decided to endorse Sage until he did? The possibilities were implanting themselves in Sage's mind, to the extent where he found himself gauging Randall's reactions, searching for a sign that he was annoyed with him and didn't want to be friends anymore.

Just the thought made Sage restless. After all, for the past week, he'd gotten so used to Randall's company, but then again, so had he been with Carly, Brennan, and Ava. His hand was suddenly squeezed, breaking Sage out of his pool of thoughts.

"Your thoughts are so loud."

"W-what?" Sage shrieked, his eyes wide. Could Randall read his mind? Surely he knew what he was thinking then, and now, he'd probably think that Sage was clingy and annoying.

Randall snickered, gauging his friend's horrified expression. He bumped his side, playfully. "It's a figure of speech." Sage's lips were out in the small, absent-minded pout he usually did, his blond streaks of eyebrows drawn to meet in his forehead. At the confused expression, Randall realized that he would have to elaborate. "A figure of speech is something you say to add power to your words, of some sort." his explanation was crap and he knew it. He was just reminded of one of the reasons on his laundry list speaking to why he could never be a teacher.

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