Having friends is kind of new to me. For the past few years I haven't really had anyone I could call a friend due to the rumors and comments about my mom circulating around town and the school hallways. Everyone distanced themselves from me once my mom's mental health became public news, my friends were told to stay away from me, and everyone else believed that "crazy" ran in the family so they kept their distance too.
When my dad left, taking care of my mom became my responsibility. To be fair, my dad didn't know how bad she was - her hallucinations and mood swings became worse due to the stress of her husband divorcing her. I gave up baseball and I kept to myself at school. I went from being part of the "popular" crowd to sitting alone in a corner while trying to focus on my homework instead of the pointing and laughing from other kids.
When I moved in with my dad and started a new school, I expected things to stay the same. Sure, none of these kids knew about my mom, but I knew that I looked different and after being the loner for so long, I'd forgotten how to not be alone.
That all changed when Annie crashed in to me. Annie crashed in to my life in a lot of ways. Annie made me want to talk and laugh again, and she made it so easy. Annie got me out of my comfort zone, she made me want to open up and show her who I am - not just the quiet guy with more baggage than he can carry, but the real me. Annie got me to enjoy baseball again, she got me to talk about my mom, she made me go out to the movies and parties, she made me comfortable enough to make friends again.
Which is why I am now sitting on a worn out couch in Colby's basement playing video games and eating pizza with him and two other guys.
"So, you and Annie, huh?" Colby asks as he reaches for the last slice of pizza.
Annie and I have been a thing for almost two months now, and people still aren't totally used to the idea of the two of us together. I get it, we look like total opposites, like she would never talk to a guy like me. Annie may have stopped cheering, but she still looks like the head cheerleader while I look like the delinquent she wouldn't give a second glance.
There's a lot going on beneath Annie's perfect exterior though.
"Yeah, me and Annie."
"Dude, Annie Peterson is a totally different person now." Jake says from his spot next to me on the couch just as he scores a point in the 2K game we're playing.
"So I've heard." I don't care how Annie was before, all I care about is how she is now, and right now...I don't think she's doing all that great. Lately it's like she's off in her own world half of the time, and it's getting harder and harder to drag her back.
"She used to be a bitch." Hayden, who threw the party where Annie saw a girl kiss me, chimed in. "And she dated that tool, Drew. Man, I hate that guy."
Drew hasn't really said anything to me since the night I interrupted his attempt to kiss Annie at the park a few months ago. He knows that we're basically together now though, and there's even more hatred than before in the daggers he shoots me in class and in the hall.
"Well, she's different now. She's cool and I'm happy for ya, man." Colby fist bumps me before getting up to get a drink from the mini fridge in the corner.
Later that night I check Annie's blog to see if she's updated, but she hasn't. I know I shouldn't be reading it behind her back, but sometimes it's the only way that I know what she's thinking. Annie is a lot more open with me now than when we first met, but there's still a lot of things that she keeps to herself.
YOU ARE READING
Dear Universe, ✔Teen Fiction
"Don't leave, Annie. We can figure this out." I'm begging and just when I think she's going to give in, she turns and starts to walk away. I can feel my heart breaking as she takes step after step. "So that's it, you're just going to leave? You can...