twenty-seven

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I really enjoyed trips to the bathroom at school.

Back at my old school at home, the bathrooms were usually either full of people who tried to be sneaky and smoke their Juuls, or they were too dirty to be used. Really, I dehydrated myself on purpose just to avoid having to go in there.

But the bathrooms here were too small for groups of boys, and they were always pretty clean, which was a welcomed change.

I opened the door to the boy's bathroom while whistling a song that had been stuck in my head all morning, not really thinking about anything. There was no one else in here, so I didn't stop whistling.

Just as I opened my fly in front of one of the urinals, the door opened behind me.

"Zip up," a firm voice said, and I briefly froze as I recognized it.

"Nah, bitch," I said, not moving. "You're not following me in here. Be weird somewhere else."

Sam groaned in annoyance. "I don't wanna see your dick, and I won't leave. So zip the fuck up."

I rolled my eyes, but did as she said before turning around. She was leaning against the door, making it impossible to be opened from the other side.

"I'm lowkey scared, and uncomfortable. I came in here for a reason, you know."

"So did I," she said with a shrug. "Asher made me come here."

I raised a brow. "He told you to follow me into the bathroom? Kinky."

"Shut the fuck up." She sighed. "Well, he told me to apologize, and I figured this would be a good place."

Even though I appreciated Asher's act of kindness, I really wished he would have told her to just stay away from me instead. I was still scared that she would dunk my head in the toilet.

"Okay. Got it. Can I pee now?"

Sam narrowed her eyes at me. "Sure. But I'm not gonna leave until we talked."

Bitch, dare me. I turned back around to the urinal, slowly lowering my hands to my fly, opening it ever so slightly. When Sam still didn't move, I zipped it back up and turned around in annoyance.

"Fine, oh my god. Talk," I gave in, slumping against the wall in defeat.

"Listen, this is as dumb for me as it is for you. Probably worse for me," she said, followed by a lazy shrug. "But I promised Asher to do it. And we keep promises, don't we, Kiri?"

I frowned. "Of course."

She nodded. "So, yeah. As you might have figured, or not, considering you're kinda slow, I haven't always lived here."

My cheeks slightly reddened. I hadn't once thought about her origin, to be honest. I just hadn't cared enough.

But now I was intrigued, and even though this situation was still uncomfortable, I listened closely.

"I was born in a huge city, pretty far away. We didn't have much, so it was tough. A lot of bad stuff. Bad people. Bad times." She shrugged again and looked away. "My aunt Amina got me out of there. She took me in, brought me to this safe place, you know. It's nice here. Quiet. Calm."

"Yeah, pretty fucking quiet," I mumbled.

"So, yeah. It was hard. Everything was hard. But I managed to hold on to the people I love." The faintest smile tugged at her lips. "Amina. Gill. Asher, too. He was the first at this school to accept me for me."

I smiled a little. Yeah, Asher liked people who didn't belong.

"Anyways," she said, clearing her throat. "You need to hold on to what you love is what I'm saying. I mean, if that's Ash for you, okay. But you gotta hold on. And you can't just let go when you feel like it."

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