Chapter 14: Andrew

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Andrew hung up and stared at his reflection in the mirror

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Andrew hung up and stared at his reflection in the mirror. When he had called Ryan, he'd thought Ryan would be, well, happy that they would see each other at the party.

Of course Cody had been thrilled about the party. "Dude! This is the best news! Nina really asked for me? Me specifically?"

Costumes were another story. Andrew had ransacked his closet and come up with a skeleton costume he'd worn back in eighth grade. He wasn't about to wear leggings, but the hoodie still fit, and Cody had promised to bring over some face paint. "Why do you have face paint?" Andrew asked when Cody arrived and unzipped a pouch full of makeup. "Is that your mom's?"

"Naw, it's mine." Cody rummaged around and pulled out tubes of black and white. "Now hold still."

The paint felt cold and creamy going on. Andrew kept his eyes closed. Somehow he hadn't really imagined getting his face painted, and now he had to revamp all his fantasies about meeting up with Ryan at the party. Like that was actually going to happen. He just hoped Ryan didn't completely ignore him. He hoped this wasn't some Carrie-esque joke of an invite, where he was showing up only to be ridiculed. He trusted Nina, even if she barely spoke to him or Cody anymore.

"Done!"

Andrew opened his eyes. "Whoa," he said, staring at his reflection. "Nice."

"Thanks. Now it's my turn."

"What's your costume?" Andrew asked. He looked Cody up and down and figured Cody was some kind of soldier with all the camo.

"A soldier," Cody said, smearing some green and brown paint on his own face.

"Cool."

"You think this is too much?" Cody paused and glanced at Andrew for approval. "You think Nina will like this costume?"

"You look very manly," Andrew said. It wasn't the most original costume, but it looked pretty good.

"Okay, good." Cody fussed with his face paint for a few minutes more. Andrew was glad Cody was so preoccupied with Nina. He still hadn't told Cody about Ryan. Not that Cody would have noticed Andrew was acting funny without Nina on his mind, but Andrew was glad to be able to sit and think without having to explain anything.

"Does this look stupid with the sleeve?" Andrew asked suddenly.

"Whaddya mean?" Cody squinted at him. "It looks the same as you always wear it. With the sleeve tucked in the pocket."

"Yeah, but... Does it look stupid?"

Cody furrowed his brow. "Are you asking if you look stupid every day, or just now?"

"I guess... just now?"

"Well, what else are you gonna do with the sleeve?"

"I could pin it up. I could pull it inside out."

"You want it to be super obvious that you don't have an arm?"

Andrew shrugged. "I guess I'll just leave it."

Cody didn't say anything for a few minutes. "Everyone knows you don't have an arm. It doesn't really matter if you leave the sleeve hanging out or if you do whatever else."

It was really hard to swallow for a second. "Yeah, you're right." He stared at himself in the mirror. "I should have gone as Edward Scissorhands. That would show them."

"I can't believe those assholes would even say that to you."

"Can you imagine their faces if I showed up like that?"

With a little smile, Cody said, "You could totally do it. Your hair is long enough to spike it up. Do you still have that leather jacket?"

"My dad's motorcycle jacket?" Andrew had stolen it from his dad's closet back in middle school and worn it all the time, thinking he looked so cool, even though it had been too big for him. He hadn't worn it since... "Yeah, I still have it somewhere."

"Then wash your face off. New costume."

Andrew didn't move from his seat on the bed. "I don't think I should. I don't wanna get beat up."

"You think they'd beat up a disabled person?"

He made a face. He didn't like being called disabled – neither did Cody, for that matter. "No... I'm just thinking it might be hard to do anything if I'm holding scissors in my hand all night. And they invited me as some kind of apology."

Leaning back again Andrew's dresser, Cody said, "It would show them that you can take a joke."

That was a valid point.

"Also, you'd have a weapon if they did decide to beat you up."

Andrew laughed. "Okay."

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As promised, the first of the Halloween chapters I'll be posting today!  Do you have a Halloween costume planned? 

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