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Pen Your Pride

A/N--Hey guys! Sorry about the wait on this one, I've just moved back to school so things have gotten a bit hectic.  But I'm all settled now so hopefully the next one won't take long!  Pic on the side is Hallie, I loved the dress so I had to show it.  Anyways...hope you all enjoy :)

I see Fred the second I walk into the ice cream shop. He's standing at the counter, already ordering a huge cone topped with enough mint chocolate chip ice cream that it looks like it may fall over. I have to smile at his appearance, though, seeing as how he's wearing a silly beanie hat that I know isn't a fashion statement. He's wearing it to look stupid. 

That's Fred for you. 

He looks over when he hears the sound of the door opening, and when he sees that it's me, his eyes literally light up. Well, so much for me thinking that he's just here for an apology. He's looking at me like Ethan looks at me, and that makes me feel super uncomfortable. He tells the cashier to hold his cone for a second and then strides over to me, wrapping his arms around me in a hug that's a bit too tight for just friends. 

Maybe Ethan was on to something when he was nervous for me to come here.  

"Hey Hal," he greets sweetly, gripping me tight for a moment or two too long before pulling away. "Thanks for coming." 

"Yeah yeah," I wave off, feeling pretty damn awkward at how he's acting. He's acting like he doesn't have Jeanie in his life, like he doesn't have a girlfriend he's been with for years. And he's acting like me and him have a thing, which we most definitely don't.  

Now I don't even want an apology. Now I just want to go home and hug Ethan and have him make all of this awkwardness go away. I hate it. 

He grabs his cone from the cashier and then plants his ass down in the corner of the room, at a table pretty far away from all of the others. While he makes himself comfortable, I go ahead and splurge, ordering a big double scoop of their regular ole' chocolate ice cream. After paying, I head on over to the table that Fred's picked out, making sure to sit on the chair across from him and not right next to him. 

As I push my spoon down into the ice cream, I say, "So...what did you want to talk about?" I'm already ready for this conversation to be over so I can just go home. This is not going to be fun, I'm already aware, so I just want it to be done. 

He says, "The other night. I was a total dick." 

"Got that right," I tell him bluntly, not wanting to spare his feelings. He said some really awful things to me Friday night, and even though I know it could have been the alcohol talking, it still hurt.  

He groans, not at all looking happy that I'm not already accepting his not-yet-given apology, but I truthfully don't care right about now. He says, "I was just looking out for you, though, you know? We're close...I don't want you to get hurt." 

The two of us really aren't that close, so I'm not all that sure of why he's said that. Sure he's the one I have the most fun with when we go out, always dancing super crazy together and always being on the same beer pong team, but it's not like he knows all about me. I doubt he even knows that I feel out of a tree when I was fourteen and had to have back surgery, or that I didn't get my first kiss until seventeen.  

"But you don't even know Ethan," I point out. "You can't tell me he's a bad guy without even knowing him." 

"I just know, though!" he exclaims, as if he's some kind of awesome people reader. "I met him at your house that one time...he just has this look." 

"Honestly, Fred," I say, a bit exasperated at this conversation. "Ethan's a great guy, he really is. He calls my dad sir for fuck's sake. He's different from you and Jesse so you automatically think he's bad. You're just being judgmental." 

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