Chapter 1.1: Andrew

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With a slam, Andrew Jackson Jennings stormed out of his house and picked up his bike from where he'd thrown it down yesterday

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With a slam, Andrew Jackson Jennings stormed out of his house and picked up his bike from where he'd thrown it down yesterday. "I fucking said I was gonna go," he grumbled to himself. He took a second to pull the hood of his black sweatshirt up over his head, then hopped up on the bike and pedaled away.

Balancing on a bike with his one arm wasn't that hard, and he'd had a couple of years to get used to it. What he hadn't gotten used to was the way people stared at him. The way they whispered. He'd gotten into the habit of tucking his empty sleeve into his pocket just so they might not notice immediately. At this point, though, he was "that one-armed kid" and no one was going to ask him to try out for the baseball team. Or any team.

So what if he'd written some stupid story for English class in which all those assholes got what was coming to them? Would they rather he went out and actually did those things? Idiots.

Now he would be known as "that one-armed terrorist."

When he'd been called into the principal's office last week, his mom was already there. Crying. He hated that they had made her cry. He could add the school's stupid administration staff to his already-long list. "We're going to give you a break on this, Mr. Jennings," Principal Novak had told him. "We're aware of what you've been through the past couple of years--"

"Who isn't," Andrew had growled.

"--AND," Principal Novak continued, "we are well aware of the cyberbullying that's been going on, and we have been doing our best to make sure those students are reprimanded for their actions. That being said, this sort of thing would normally mean expulsion. We are giving you a second chance here."

"I'm so grateful." His voice had dripped with sarcasm. He couldn't even look at his mother.

"We will require you to meet with a therapist twice a week. This therapist is required, by law, to inform the authorities if she feels you are a danger to yourself or others."

Great, he thought, but didn't say. Instead he clenched his jaw and waited for Novak to finish talking.

"Despite everything, your grades are exemplary... An expulsion now, in your junior year, could destroy any chance of college. I strongly suggest you take this second chance. Do you understand?"

As his mother had driven him home, she threw teary questions at him. "How could you do something like this, Jacky? Why didn't you come and talk to me? You know you can always talk to me, right? After what happened... I understand, baby, I really do..."

Andrew had shut his ears. And he was planning to go to the therapist, he was, but he had waited to leave the house. Who wanted to get to a therapist's office early, and be stuck waiting there forever, while people came and went and saw you sitting there and thought you were crazy on top of having one fucking arm? And that's what was going to happen now. His appointment wasn't until four, and here it was, three-thirty. A half hour to kill.

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