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The next day Bill and his friends invited me to walk around town with them. I didn't really want to go seeing as it was eighty five degrees and there wasn't a cloud in sight, but I also knew that if I didn't go I'd just be sitting in my room all day anyway. When I asked my dad if I could go, his face lit up. "Of course! Are these kids your friends now?" He always got excited when he thought I had any friends. "Yeah, maybe." I said with a casual shrug.

A knock on the door cut off our conversation. I opened it. "Ouch!" Eddie and Richie were standing there. By the looks of it, Richie had just smacked Eddie upside the head. "Hi?" I said, leaning on the door frame. "We were sent to get you." I looked down at my pajamas. Yes, it was noon. Yes, I'd just woken up. "I gotta change first. You guys can wait inside, I guess." Eddie glared at Richie. "Please hurry. I don't know how much longer I can stand to be around him." Richie smiled and poked his side. Eddie jumped away from him. "Jesus Christ!"

I walked into my room and grabbed the nearest T-shirt and pair of shorts. They smelled slightly dirty but I wore them anyway. I put my hair up and ran out of the room, hoping my dad hadn't intensely grilled the two boys yet. Luckily, he hadn't.

"Alright Dad, I'm leaving!" I called out. "Bye!" He yelled back.

"How's it going?" Richie asked, still looking at Eddie. "I'm great." He turned around. It was a two person sidewalk— and I was the third person. "That's great." Richie whispered something to Eddie, who giggled like a small girl. "So where is everyone else?" I asked, trying to make some sort of conversation. "Hmm... not sure. I think everyone's at the ice cream place." I frowned. "I didn't bring any money." Richie shrugged. "I'm sure someone will lend you some money." He said.

Someone yelled Richie's name and we all looked up. Bill, Stan, Beverly, and Ben were all walking towards us. "Hey guys!" Eddie called, a smile instantly on his face.

Everyone started talking at once. I folded my arms across my chest and looked away, unsure of what I could say. Maybe I could've talked to them if I had more confidence— maybe not. These were considered the dorkiest kids in the school and I couldn't even have a conversation with them. "Iris?" I snapped out of my trance. "Sorry... what?" Bill smiled. "W-we w-wanted to know if y-you wanted t-to go get ice cream." He asked quietly. "Yeah, sure. I don't have any money though. I'll just hang out." I said, my yes squinting in the sun. He looked at Richie, who nodded aggressively. "I'll p-pay for y-you." Bill offered, a small smile creeping it's way onto his face. "Okay... Cool." I said, trying to be casual. Inside I was freaking out. Maybe I wasn't over him?

We all walked in pairs on the stupid two person sidewalk. Bill and I, Ben and Beverly, Richie and Eddie, and Stan all alone in the back.

The sun only ever seemed to hit me. My face had gotten sun burned and was bright red. Meanwhile, Eddie, who's mother had lathered him in sunscreen, was doing just fabulous. And Bill was already starting to get his suntanned look he'd always had after summer vacation. I now knew why. These kids always wanted to play outside, whereas I hated the sunburn that ultimately came with being me, and spent most of my summer watching tv in my dark living room.

Once we'd arrived at the diner, we all sat down in the booth. Soon a waitress came around to take our orders. I looked over at Bill. "G-get whatever y-you w-want." He said softly. I nodded and smiled.

Everyone else had ordered whatever foods their chore money could buy them. I decided to get a milkshake and fries, not wanting to cost too much. "Wow! You sure are a cheap date." Richie said loudly. Eddie rolled his eyes, though I thought he was laughing. Everyone else at the table chuckled awkwardly.

"Thanks Richie..." I grumbled. "Anyone want any fries?" I offered. Several people grabbed the fries off my plate and chewed them aggressively.

When we'd all finished eating we walked to the quarry. Bill and I sat all alone at the edge of the cliff while the others kept their distance from us. Even if we weren't technically "dating," I could appreciate that they'd actually left us alone.

"So..." I drummed my fingers on my lap. He smiled, but it seemed fake. "I don't k-know anything about y-you." He said suddenly. "Okay... well I failed school, I actually don't have any other friends besides you guys, and before this year I spend the majority of my summer inside." He smiled again, more genuine this time. "Y-your family... w-what do they think h-happened to M-Mila?" He asked quietly. I folded my hands and sighed. "Well... my parents just want to forget about it. I guess they think there's some new kind of Ted Bundy out here who's kidnapping kids and brutally killing them." I wanted to cry— maybe show some kind of remorse— but I just didn't feel anything for Mila. "Oh... my dad w-wants to f-forget too. M-my M-Mom still isn't okay." My Mom was never really "okay," but she wasn't too sad about Mila either. We all had to tread lightly around her, careful not to piss her off.

Cause maybe she'd make you stand in front of an oncoming train just for the hell of it. Or shove your head underwater to teach you a lesson. Or murder your cat in the backyard an blame it on a large animal.

Mila never cared about me. From the second I was born she saw me as competition.

And she wouldn't hesitate to play dirty so she could win first place.

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