Chapter 8: Andrew

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"Hi, Cody."

Both Andrew and Cody looked up from their respective lunches to see a brunette in a lavender sweater set and matching headband smiling at them. At Cody, specifically. Andrew shifted his gaze to take in Cody's face. His friend refused to make eye contact with the girl.

"Hi, Haylee," Cody grumbled.

"Hey," Andrew said, turning his attention back to the girl, who looked like a freshman.

"So, Cody." Haylee leaned against the table, arching her back. "Are you working today?"

"Yeah."

"I'll probably stop by, then. Are you going to the game on Friday?"

At Cody's grunted non-answer, Haylee pouted her lips a little. "I'll be there, if you want to go. My dad could come pick you up."

Cody cleared his throat. "I'm good."

Undeterred, Haylee flipped her hair over her shoulder. "I'm one of the majorettes," she informed Andrew, who up till now she had completely ignored.

"That's cool," Andrew said. He couldn't help but smile at Cody and kick him a little under the table. Cody frowned and responded by smashing a fist into Andrew's knee. "Ow – hey, you can have lunch with us if you want." He gestured toward the six empty chairs around their table. "Plenty of room."

Now Haylee looked at Cody. "I would, but I already ate. See you later." She wiggled her fingers and walked off.

"What was that?" Andrew asked.

"Nothing," Cody said.

"Nothing? Cody, that girl wants you."

"Nah. She's just some stupid freshman who comes into Subway all the time."

"Cody. Cody. That girl likes you. Likes likes you."

"It's just Haylee, dude. She's all right but she's, like, annoying. Like my annoying little sister."

"You don't have a little sister." As soon as Andrew said this, he thought of Rebecca and how he didn't have an annoying little sister anymore, either.

"It's called a simile, man, geez. She's a kid. I'm not a pedo."

Andrew let the subject drop like a dead weight. He shoved a carrot stick in his mouth as an excuse not to speak and it tasted like ash. Already he could feel the familiar pressure behind his eyes and after a shaky breath, he flipped up his hood and put his head down on the table in the crook of his arm.

"Nap time?" Cody asked.

Andrew grunted something. Sometimes, it was nice that he and his best friend didn't need to communicate in words. If he cried quietly enough, everyone would just think he was sleeping.

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