twelve

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I was in a heated discussion with Ruby about why he shouldn't throw away the old armchair in his room the next day. I was sitting with Asher's friends at lunch again, not really listening to their conversation since my full attention was fixed on my phone.

I knew I shouldn't care as much as I did since it was his chair and I was pretty much still not interested in talking to him, but it was more than just an old piece of furniture. It had history, so he couldn't just abandon it like a pile of trash.

"Hi! Sorry to interrupt, but can I borrow your salt shaker for a second?"

I looked up as I recognized Trevor's voice. He and his friends were sitting at the table beside us, Gene being one of them, Trevor's arm resting comfortably on the chair back so he could look over to us.

"No," Sam grumbled which earned her a stern look from Gill.

"Yeah, sure," she said as she handed him the shaker. He took it with a smile before his gaze fell on me.

"Oh, hi Kiri," he greeted casually. "Almost didn't see you there."

I shot him a brief glance before turning my attention back on my phone. "Yeah, hi."

He raised a brow and turned back to his friends.

"Wow, he remembered your name," Sam said, still scowling at Trevor's back. Gill sighed as she picked at her food.

"You can't just be rude to people like that. You're only allowed to think the mean thoughts and not actually express them."

"Says the one who constantly riddles people with questions that are way too personal," Asher said.

Gill flashed him a sweet smile. "That's why I have you, right? To tell me when I'm crossing boundaries."

"Your friendship is weird," I mumbled absently as Ruby sent another text. "Oh, the bitch boy didn't just say that."

When I started furiously typing out my reply about how there were more spiders living in his bed than in the chair and that throwing it away wouldn't help him get rid of bugs and insects, I could feel Gill's inquisitive gaze on me.

"Who are you texting?" she asked curiously. "Your dad? Your friend? Wait, do you even have friends?"

"Gill," Asher sighed in annoyance.

"What? It's a valid question, don't act as if you wouldn't like to know," she replied with a shrug.

"That's it. I have to go back home," I said and threw my phone rather carelessly on the table. Ruby was adamant, and I couldn't convince him otherwise on the phone.

Gill shot me a pleading look. "Don't torture me like that. Tell me what's going on."

"Someone's about to commit a hate crime," I stated as I picked up my tray and stood up. Asher raised a brow at me while playing with the lid of his thermos flask.

"You can't leave. We have our first game tomorrow," he said. I froze, my eyes slowly widening.

"No. It's next week."

He shook his head. "Nope. Tomorrow four o'clock, on the soccer field behind this shit school."

"At least it's in our hometown," Gill said. "The game next week is almost an hour drive away."

"It's not that long," Asher contradicted. He screwed open his thermos flask and took a sip. "You're always just exaggerating."

Gill shrugged. "Well, it felt like an hour last year."

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