35: Franny

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35. Franny

Tally sits on the couch, curled up under a giant, fuzzy blanket. Her pale shoulders peek out over the rim of the blanket, against the fabric of her singlet. I walk over to her with two bowls of hot popcorn. She turns to me when she hears the floor creak. Her eyes zero in on the popcorn and she grins, reaching her hands out to take it.

I slump down on the other side of the couch, half on top of her feet. Tally munches noisily on the popcorn. I press the play button and the movie illuminates our faces in the darkened room. Bags of candy are strewn across the coffee table as well as cans of pop. We're probably headed for a mouthful of cavities, but it will be worth it.

I throw a piece of popcorn at Tally's nose when she starts eating too loud. She wrinkles her nose and throws a piece back at me.

"Why are you always so noisy when you eat?" I ask.

"It's a God-given talent," she answers.

I roll my eyes. "Right, of course. My mistake."

"We shouldn't have done this on a school night," Tally comments. "Waking up tomorrow will be hell. Also, I don't have any clothes."

I shrug. "We're about the same size so just grab a hoodie."

She grins lazily at me. "We're sharing clothes now? I guess we should make this official. When's the coming-out party?"

"Well you did kiss me," I tease and Tally snorts loudly.

"No lie there."

Tally turns her head back to the TV but I continue to look at her. Guilt clenches around my chest. I've known her for years and every little aspect of our lives has been open and bare to each other. She knew every deep-rooted thought that went through my mind when my mom died. I know every painful thought that goes through her head when her parents go at each other. But she barely knows about what's happened the last few weeks. She doesn't know that my dad gambled away money or that the people who attacked him are after Tyler. She doesn't know that I'm terrified of closing my eyes for too long.

I look away from her when staring for too long just makes me feel worse. I chew the inside of my cheek and link my hands together tightly.

I know the piece of popcorn is coming at me but don't have quick enough reflexes to bat it away before it hits me in the cheek.

"What was that for?" I ask Tally.

"Stop being grumpy, you're sucking the air out of the room."

"I'm not sucking anything!"

"Oh, I can definitely tell from how grumpy you've been lately that you haven't sucked anything," Tally mutters.

I groan and put my head in my hands. "Tally, shut up."

She laughs. "Oh, come on. I know there's something happening between you and Tyler."

"Nothing is . . . " I start then sigh. "You're just going to make things awkward."

"Well, of course! That's the purpose of my existence," she says.

My phone goes off, and I shift around until I can yank it out of my back pocket. When I press down on the main button, the screen lights up harshly and I squint. I dim the brightness and click on my messages, reading the last one first.

Tyler: I need your help.

I frown and stand up from the couch. "One second, Tal, I need to call someone."

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