Chapter 7: Andrew

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Well, this was awkward. Andrew didn't know what to do. Ryan was basically passed out on him, and he hadn't really acknowledged anything about his mom. Of course, that was probably what made him freak out, Andrew telling him that he knew. Obviously Ryan wanted it to be a secret.

"Okay, Ryan, time to get up now," Andrew said finally, knowing that if he stayed inside too long his mom would start to worry and come inside. He pushed Ryan's head up as best he could. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," Ryan said.

"Are you sure? Is your mom okay?" Andrew barely finished that question when some curly-haired lady in a hideous sweater came up to the door and walked right inside.

"Ryan? Oh, my. What's going on? Ryan? Are you all right?"

That shrill voice seemed to wake Ryan right up. "I'm fine, Mrs. Ross. I'm fine, really I am."

"Well, I'm glad you had your little friend here to help you out. My goodness, you darn near gave me a heart attack!"

"I'm sorry," Ryan said. As he sat up, he dragged his hands across Andrew's legs. Andrew could tell Ryan was still a bit groggy, but it was hard not to jump away. He stood up as soon as Ryan had righted himself, and snatched up the bag of broccoli to return to the freezer.

"I do hope your mother is doing a mite better than you are!"

Ugh, the old lady was patting Ryan's head. Ryan ducked away and got to his feet, looking wobbly.

"She's taking a nap. She's fine, really. Jacky's just here to pick me up, we're going to my friend Monica's to work on a school project."

"I think you'd be better off laying down for a bit. You work so hard to keep your grades up, I'm sure your classmates can help you out this once, can't they?"

Andrew watched Ryan continuously extract himself from the grabby hands of Mrs. Ross.

"Ryan's fine, ma'am." Andrew shouldered his way through, making sure to use his stump shoulder so that Mrs. Ross recoiled in horror. "He just needs to eat. Monica's gonna order some pizza, so ol' Ryan here will be good to go."

Ryan nodded eagerly. "Yup, that's right. Thank you so much for sitting with my mom this afternoon, Mrs. Ross. I really appreciate it."

"All right, then, dear. Just remember to take care of yourself. Take it easy."

"Yes, ma'am."

Andrew shoved Ryan out the door. "Let's go. We're gonna be late."

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