Two

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"I don't want to go to school mama."

"Why not? You love Miss Eleanor and you were so excited to start second grade."

"I don't have any friends."

"You won't make any if you don't open up, Liam. You have to let your walls down if you want good relationships."

"It's scary."

"I know baby, but the scary things lead to the happy times."

He hugged his mama and let her walk him into school.

"I'll see you after school baby. Put your backpack in your cubby."

"Okay mama, I love you."

"I love you too."

***

[Liam]

"Let's go sleepyhead!" Sam walks by and drums on my door.

I groan and roll out of my nest in the closet. My body is sore and I feel so shitty. I haven't missed school in a month though. I don't want to mess that up.

"I'm up."

My hair is puffed up and stuck to one side. What I see in the mirror isn't pretty. I run a hand through it and yawn. New day, new week, no Her.

Sam's on the counter when I go downstairs. Ollie's in between his legs kissing him. Groaning, I walk right in and grab a bowl, cereal and milk.

"Good morning." I sit my bowl next to them and noisily make my breakfast.

"Mmm, morning." Sam grins.

"I just love watching my roommate dry hump his boyfriend in my food sanctuary.

"We actually do it for you. We know it makes you happy." Ollie laughs. Sam pulls him back for more.

"I make food on this counter!"

They step apart and laugh at me. I grumble and feign annoyance. In reality, Ollie has grown on me. I love seeing Sam smile.

The friend groups became one. It doesn't matter that Evie and I broke up. Everyone else is in love, everyone else loves each other. The world doesn't revolve around us anymore.

"I'm going with Ollie today so I guess we will see you there."

"Yeah."

***

I wave to Brandon when I pull into the student lot. He hands Mia out of his Jeep and she glares at me. I offer her a smile.

At my locker I'm eyed as I put the stuff for my afternoon classes away. Ash's first period is on the other side of the school, so I watch him say goodbye to Camille. She sees me and grins, bouncing over.

"Hey you." She snickers. "Don't think I won't get you back for last night."

I shut my locker and face her. "That was all Sam. Don't even try with me."

"Whatever, come on."

I walk with Ash's not-girlfriend to the west hall. Camille more than anyone else has grown on me. I see her almost daily at Ash's and at lunch too. She's creative and open to everything.

There's no doubt in my mind she could do anything she put her mind to. She's weaseled her way into our previous little group the most. We've all come to love her like a sister.

Except maybe Ash. He definitely wants more.

"You didn't hear it from me, but Ash is taking Audrey Rose with him to Paris this summer." She sighs.

"I guess I knew that would happen. He always stays with his parents over the summer, wherever they may be."

"I think it sucks. Won't you miss the baby?"

"They'll be back, Camille. Besides, it will give you some free time."

"I don't want free time." She says quietly, deep in thought.

"If you're that worried, you're always welcome at Sam and I's. And I hear there's these cool new communication devices that let you talk to people overseas." I smirk.

"Really! What?" She almost snaps her neck turning to me.

We've come to her first period, and I can't help but laugh at the trap she's fallen into. "Cellphones."

"Boo. Asshole." She punches me lightly and walks into her class. I glance up as the bell rings and cross the hall into my own homeroom.

It's the same motions everyday save a few changes. Mia glares at me when I sit at my table. Miss Baker takes roll and politely skips over my ex-girlfriend.

I go through math and science only to end up in Gov.  Roll is taken. Evie skipped. Sam entertains his fan girls while the teacher steps out for a shag in the janitors closet.

At lunchtime, I share laughs with my friends and with Hers. Mia sniffs and never talks to me. Brandon shrugs and plays with his food. Sam and Ollie leave early, and Camille lays her head in Ash's lap.

The mortified expression on his face makes me laugh and reach for Lauren's pompoms to throw.

Food is shared along with gossip and stories. Upcoming games and upcoming tryouts. My eyes glaze through most of it.

It's when I stand to throw my stuff away and take a moment for my self that I remember how Evie would let me lay my head on her lap. How she laughed and shared her food.

How could I have known she was suffering? Why did she feel she couldn't tell me?

Okay, well in all fairness I suppose I initially flirted by trying to ruin her life and expose her...

It's all such a mess.

I go to French, I go to med term, and I go back to my bike.

On my way out I see Mia arguing with Brandon. I awkwardly apologize and attempt to leave as soon as possible. Mia just huffs and climbs in, slamming the door.

Gotta go. Gotta go.

I put my helmet on but Brandon stops me. "Listen—."

"You don't have to update me all the time, it's okay. I know what I did was wrong, but I'm trying to move on." I interrupt.

"Just listen." He snaps. "She's coming home tomorrow."

"Oh."

"I don't forgive you for what you did, but I understand that it was a surprise. I like you, and you deserve to know. She's coming back, and she's different."

"Different?"

"You'll see I guess. I have to go, but I just wanted you to know."

I sit in shock long after he drives off. After a month, she's just coming back?

I've tried so hard to get over her. Now I'll have to face what I've done. Can we get past this?

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