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Casey’s POV

                I had just walked out of the school’s main door when I was grabbed roughly and spun around. My jaw fell slack in an ‘o’ of surprise, and I blinked several times before I realized who it was.          

                Who else could it be? Of course it was Dakota.

                His mouth was moving, yet it seemed as if there were no words coming out. Puzzled for a moment, I allowed him to continue for a moment before it registered I still had my earbuds in.

                I reached up to pull one out. “Uh, sorry, could you repeat that?” It was then I noticed that Dakota was panting slightly, his face a bit redder than usual as he stood hunched over, hands on his knees.

                “What? Oh, uh, nothing. I was just saying that I had called your name a few times, but you didn’t answer, so I had to run to catch up with you.” He ran a hand through his hair, straightening up. “It just occurred to me that you must’ve still had your earbuds in.” He let out an embarrassed laugh, cheeks reddening even more so.

                “Oh, yeah, sorry about that.” I didn’t know what more else I could say, I had no idea why Dakota wanted to catch up to me anyways.

                “It’s fine, totally my fault for being an idiot.” I couldn’t help the light laugh I let out when he said that, he was just too adorable with red cheeks and that sheepish grin. Yet my laughter caused his grin to grow bigger. “Anyways, I was wondering if you thought about what I said earlier? About hanging out today?”

                “Oh,” I said, blinking. I had totally forgotten about that. What should I tell him? “uh, I don’t know, I didn’t ask my parents,” I rushed out quickly, racking my mind for any other excuse. It’s not that I didn’t want to hang out – I just didn’t want to get too close. Talking in school was one thing, but actually socializing out of school was another.

                “I’m sure your parents won’t mind. We could just hang out at my place for an hour or so.” He looked at me pleadingly, his eyes bigger than usual.

                I bit my lip, fiddling with the dangling earbud. Did I really want to? I mean, Dakota seems so nice, and it might be nice to make a friend.. but what if I.. “I don’t know,” I repeated, completely unsure of what I wanted to do. As much as I wanted to go and feel like a normal teenager, I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t a normal teenager. It was sad, but schizophrenia ruled my life and my choices. I couldn’t just think about myself, I had to think about others too.

                “Come on Casey, pleease?” he begged, pouting slightly and giving me the puppy dog eyes. “Just for a little while, it’ll be fun, I promise!”

                I played with the earbud for a little longer, feeling the air grow increasingly thicker as I hesitated. Finally, I sighed. “Okay, sure. But only for a little while.” I gave Dakota a sharp look to ensure that he knew I was serious.

                He nodded vigorously. “Of course! Great, let’s go!” He grabbed my hand and practically ran to a car in a half-skipping manner. I stifled a laugh. Clearly someone had been hanging out with Ollie too much.

                Pulling out a set of keys, he unlocked the sleek looking black car.

                “Is this yours?” I asked as I climbed into the passenger seat, strapping in my seatbelt. He nodded with a proud look on his face.        

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