Red nodded. “I wonder if—“

                “Casey!” Someone engulfed me in a hug, and my body stiffened automatically. They released me, and I saw Dakota giving me a grin.

                “What was that for?”

                “What? I can’t give my favorite little music lover a hug?” Dakota casually slung his arm over my shoulder, and I shrugged it off, giving him a once over.

                His behavior was weird, he seemed too.. upbeat? Maybe that wasn’t the word, but he definitely seemed off. He was leaning more towards Ollie-type behavior, except maybe less flamboyant.

                My lips thinned, and I wasn’t sure how to respond. Luckily Red broke the silence.

                “Hi, I’m Red. You’re in our science class, right?”

                Dakota nodded. “Yup, I’m Dakota.”

                “Nice to meet you,”  Red said, about to say something else when I interrupted her.

                “Uh, Red? We should probably be going. I have a ton of homework I have to do tonight, so.. yeah.”

                “Oh okay, let’s go then.” Red hiked her bag farther up on her shoulder, and I tucked my phone back into my bag.

                “Where are you guys going?” Dakota asked before we left.

                “The mall,” Red told him.

                “Oh, maybe I can join you,” Dakota said hopefully, his grey eyes bigger than normal.

                I bit my lip, flashes of the park coming to mind. I don’t think I know if I can be around him, at least not for a while. That was too scary.

                “Uh,” I awkwardly trailed, unsure of what I should answer. I didn’t want to straight out tell him no, but I also didn’t exactly want him to come.

                He got the message though, and his face fell for a moment. “Actually, I think I need to do something this afternoon anyways,” he lied, walking off.

                A pang of guilt hit my heart, causing me to intake a breath sharply. I honestly felt awful about it, but I just wasn’t ready yet. Call me a coward, but I can’t help it. I’m always afraid.

                “Let’s go,” I told Red, starting out the door. I could hear her footsteps following close behind, but I could tell she was hesitant to say anything after our encounter with Dakota. So I turned to her with my most convincing smile. “This ought to be fun, I haven’t been to the mall in a while.”

                She nodded, returning the smile. “Yeah, I love malls. Especially the food courts.”

                I nodded my agreement. “The mall we’re going to definitely has a fantastic food court, and basically anything else you could want. There are hair salons, clothing stores, books, toys, games, hell, there’s even a place that sells mattresses.”

                “Ooh, a hair salon?” She asked, thinking deeply. She lead the way to her car, a little red Volkswagen beetle. I couldn’t contain my snort, and she just stuck her tongue out at me.

                I nodded. “Yeah, it’s not too bad either. I used to get my hair cut there, but haven’t been in a while.” I touched the frayed ends of my brown hair, desperately needing to be cut.

                “Interesting. Maybe I should get my hair dyed. Just the ends though.” She drove out of the parking lot, and I gave her instructions to the mall.

                “What color?” I asked out of curiosity.

                She shrugged, her eyes on the road. “I don’t even know, it’s just a thought.”

                “Oh. Well I think it’d be cool to get it dyed.” I felt relieved that this conversation was going well. I hadn’t spoken to many people in so long, I was afraid all of my conversational skills had disappeared.

                “Yeah, except my Dad would freak. He did name me Red for a reason,” she chuckled.

                “Maybe you shouldn’t do it then,” I told her uncertainly. I didn’t want her to get in trouble or anything.

                She shrugged. “Oh well, my dad will get over it. Anyways, where’s your sense of adventure?” she asked, her brown eyes shining.

                We pulled into the parking lot of the mall, and we got out.

                “I guess I never had any.” I was too busy worrying about more important things than doing anything even remotely exciting.

                “What?! You don’t ever feel the need to just go out and do things you never thought you’d do?” She nudged me with her elbow, and I couldn’t help but smile slightly.

                “I guess I’m just lame like that,” I said, laughing a bit.

                “Well, I guess we’re just going to need to find your sense of adventure. Good thing I’m just the person to help you with that kind of thing.”

                Red winked, and I knew that she already had a plan in mind.  

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YAY FOR NEW CHARACTERS :D What do you think of Red? Thumbs up? Down? What do you think her plan is? :3 

I had to re-write this so many times, that's why it took so long for me to post, sorry .-. I just didn't like the way this chapter kept turning out, but I think this is probably the best you'll get >.< 

Aside from that little episode a couple chapters back, I think Casey's getting slightly better, what about you? :3

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