Chapter 7: Andrew

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Of course he had a flat tire. Of course he did.

Andrew hurled his bike at the pavement and screamed, "Fuck!" into the quiet Sunday afternoon, then stomped back into the house, slamming the door behind him. "Goddamn fucking piece of shit life!" he yelled at no one in particular. He might have smashed his fist through the wall, but he'd done that before, and it only left him with no hands, so instead he headed into the garage and started throwing shit around.

"Jacky! What is all the yelling!" his mother said from inside the house.

He ignored her, tossing aside gardening equipment in search of the bike pump.

"Jacky!"

This was the shit end to a shit weekend. Friday he'd done nothing – Cody was working, so he ended up staying home and going online and somehow managing to end up on a site that pumped his computer so full of viruses that it crashed, and then he was up until two in the morning doing a system restore that took forever. His mom hadn't appreciated his tantrum and woke him up extra early: "If I'm awake, you can be awake too" - no lawn-mowing this time, thank god, but enough hours of weeding her garden that his knees ached. "When you're finished, maybe we can try driving again," she had suggested, like it was some kind of reward.

"No thanks," he had grumbled. Luckily he had his cell phone in his pocket. He texted Cody a 911 and before his mom forced him to watch some Nicholas Sparks piece of shit movie she'd rented from RedBox, Cody was rolling in and sweet-talking his mom into getting Andrew out of the house for the night.

Unfortunately, Cody was gung-ho about getting high and going skateboarding, which meant that Andrew ended up with more bruises than he could count and spent most of his time watching Cody do all the cool shit he used to be able to do and feeling sorry for himself.

Now he had to spend his Sunday afternoon at Monica's house coloring.

His mother's voice approached the garage door. "Andrew Jackson Jennings, if you do not answer me right this minute--"

"What?" Andrew screamed at her. "I have a fucking flat tire! I'm looking for the goddamned bike pump!"

"I did NOT raise you to use that kind of language!" his mother yelled.

"Sorry!" he yelled back, even though she was standing right there. "I have to meet my group to work on my assignment and I have a fu... a flat tire, and I can't find the stupid bike pump!" He kicked over a stack of plastic flower pots.

"If you'd calm yourself and look around you, you'd see it sitting right here," Mrs. Jennings huffed, and marched over to the other side of the garage. Now he felt like an idiot. She pushed it at him. "I don't know what's gotten into you this week."

"Nothing," he said, taking the pump and heading out to the driveway.

"I don't believe that for a second." She followed him. "Do you need help?"

"I can do it," he snapped, and moments later, as she was walking away, he wished he hadn't. Of all the clumsy procedures, and then he saw there was a hole in his tire, and he threw the bike pump across the lawn. "Why can't anything ever be easy?"

He kicked his bike half-heartedly. He was already losing steam. Head down, he went inside to apologize to his mother and ask her for a ride to Monica's house. "Put the bike pump back in the garage where it belongs, and move your bike off the front walk, and I'll take you."

"Can't you give me a break just once?" he complained, already on his way outside to do what she'd asked.

By the time he got into the car where she was waiting, he was covered in sweat and feeling pretty grumpy. Then, as she backed the car out of the driveway, he realized they'd be driving right by Ryan's house to get to Monica's. "Hey, can we stop and see if Ryan needs a ride?"

"Ryan who?"

"Ryan Sullivan. He lives right on Mill Street."

"Oh, is he that boy--"

"Yes, Mom. Don't say anything to him about that. Please."

"That's awful nice of you, Jacky, to think of him."

"I don't even know if he'll be home. His house is right here."

Andrew got out and ran up to the door. This time there wasn't a car parked in Ryan's driveway, and Andrew wondered if maybe he'd been wrong. That Ryan did have his license somehow and had already driven over to Monica's. He knocked and waited.

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