Chapter 6: Andrew/Ryan

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"Everybody take your seats," Mr. Dugan called out. "We have a lot to do today."

Andrew propped his chin up on his hand. He hadn't gotten much sleep last night, and he'd been running late, so no Red Bull to help get him through the morning. Mostly he had felt like an idiot, showing up at Ryan's house, then coming up with that stupid lie that he'd been worried about Ryan killing himself. Well, Ryan acted pretty depressed, but obviously he wasn't suicidal. And Ryan hadn't even let him into the house. Acted like it was none of Andrew's business.

But then today, Ryan just fucking smiled at him.

"...I'm going to split you into groups," Mr. Dugan was saying, and everyone groaned a little. Andrew put his forehead down on his desk and bumped it a couple of times. Fuck. Group projects were the worst. "There will be a couple groups of three and if the groups of two want to combine, I'm open to that."

It became clear, as Andrew was one of the first names called, that Mr. Dugan had split them up alphabetically. Andrew Jennings and Monica Johnston. Monica turned to look around like she wasn't exactly sure who she'd been paired with. When she saw him, glaring at her, she turned back around with a sigh and said something to Ryan, who had turned at the same time as Monica and smiled at him. Again.

Whatever Monica had said, Ryan's smile faded.

Whatever Monica had said, Ryan's smile faded

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"He's not that bad," Ryan whispered.

"Everybody knows about that thing he wrote," Monica said. "Like, I feel bad for the accident or whatever, but he doesn't need to act like he does."

Ryan didn't say anything further. Mr. Dugan announced that Ryan would be working with Brian Wallace, who everyone called Wally. Wally was a good guy. A bit serious, but he was on student council with Ryan and they got along.

"We're both groups of two," Monica whispered, as Mr. Dugan called out the last group and then told everyone they could switch seats to be near their partners. "Maybe we can work together."

"I think you'll be fine," Ryan said, hefting his backpack and collecting his notebook.

"Ryan, please."

"Let's at least get the assignment first." He shifted to the next desk over to sit beside Wally.


Author's Note: In the future I might try to combine some of the shorter sections like this, since the chapters are being broken up a lot.  (Don't worry, there's a lot more to chapter 6)

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