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"Well. How was it?"

"It sucked."

Something crinkles in the background, and the sound of sloppy chewing filters through the line. "Did you eat lunch alone? At at table? By yourself?"

I cringe. "Why are you…talking…like that?"

Rose snorts. "I'll take that as a yes."

"Actually," I say smugly, "I scheduled a meeting with the guidance counselor during my lunch block. No way was I sitting in the cafeteria alone, pretending to scroll through my phone like an idiot."

"Yeah, but what about tomorrow?"

"Well, gosh, Rose, I hadn't thought about tomorrow. Thanks for that."

She says something, but I can't make it out over the sound of her smacking.

I pull the phone away from my ear. "Dude. Gross. What are you eating?"

"Oh, God. Liam's selling that chocolate again. For karate or whatever. That shit is so good."

I'm flooded with nostalgia I wasn't prepared for. My best friend's little brother sells those bars every year. Stealing them and making ourselves sick is our thing. At least it was.

"Chocolate shit, Rose? Ew."

"I'd eat shit if it tasted this good."

"Oh my god…I'm hanging up now."

She laughs, and I miss her. Her and her nasty mouth. "Good luck tomorrow."

"Ugh." I visibly deflate, falling back against my bed with an audible groan. "Thanks."

"And hey."


"Fuck 'em."

Normally I'd heed her girl-power challenge, but knowing Rose…

"You mean that literally, don't you?"

She chuckles. "It's a guaranteed way to make a friend."

"You give the best advice."

"Love you."

"Love you more."