Chapter 3:

Clyde had ended up jamming with Kyle and Tara, and frankly, it helped him focus a little bit. He managed to blow them away with his skill on the piano. But by the end of lunch, he had come to the conclusion that the only thing that was going to really help him would be to avoid Lori, and anything that reminded him of her. And that, unfortunately, included his best friend Lincoln.

Lincoln made his way to his desk in last period, and looked over to see Clyde, looking a little less forlorn, but still not his usual self. Lincoln tapped his shoulder.

"Hey Clyde, you feeling any better man?" Lincoln asked.

"Um, yeah man. Look, I need to talk to you after class," he answered, leaving LIncoln simultaneously confused and intrigued.

"Sure Clyde," Lincoln replied, still confused about what he could possibly want to talk about. Little did he know, this was going to be the worst day of his life.

Janie sat in her class, after having endured the teasing of her friends because of her stopping to talk with Lincoln at the end of lunch. Granted, he was cute, and she was gonna go hang out with him, but she like, just met him.

"Miss Wilkerson, did you hear me?" her teacher asked, as the class stared at her.

"Um, sir?" Janie asked. The teacher shook his head.

"Daydreaming again, Miss Wilkerson? I thought you were over this. Well, the question was to solve the problem on the board," he said. She heard her friends snicker behind her.

"Probably about that boy from lunch," they teased. Janie felt her cheeks heat up.

"The answer is x=6, sir," she answered.

"Correct. Don't let me catch you daydreaming again, understood?" he asked sternly.

"Yes sir," she answered.

As the school day reached its close, Lincoln was still immensely curious about what Clyde could possibly want to talk to him about.

"Ok class, remember to do problems 2-10, even numbers tonight, it will be checked tomorrow," Mrs. Johnson said as the bell rang, dismissing the class. The students piled out of the classroom, and ran down the hall. Lincoln lagged behind, waiting on Clyde. When he finally emerged, he had that sad, forlorn look on his face.

"So Clyde, what did you want to talk about?" Lincoln asked.

"Well Lincoln, I think we need to take a break from being friends," Clyde said. It took Lincoln a moment to process what he had just heard, but when he did, it hit him hard.

"Wait, what?! Clyde, we've been friends since Kindergarten! Why now? Is this about Lori because..." Lincoln started to respond, but Clyde stopped him.

"Listen, Lincoln, I just need some time to myself, ok? It's nothing personal, ok?" Clyde said, before turning to leave.

"So, that's it then? You're just gonna walk away because of my sister? Five years, man. Five years, down the drain?" Lincoln said. Clyde just kept walking, leaving Lincoln to deal with the fallout.

Lincoln sat in the back of the bus, still pondering his day. How could Clyde just abandon him like that? What had he done wrong? Was it because he didn't try hard enough to dissuade him from his pursuit of Lori, or was Clyde just tired of him? All these questions swirled through his mind, leaving him in a state of absolute confusion.

"You look stressed," Janie said as she sat down next to him.

"Yeah, I guess you could say that," Lincoln replied. Janie gave him a concerned look.

"You wanna pray about it?" she asked. Lincoln gave her a confused look.

"Have never had anyone ask you that before?" Janie asked.

"No, we don't go to church in my family," Lincoln replied.

"Oh, sorry I asked then. I was just trying to help," Janie said.

"No, it's fine. It was just out of my element, is all," Lincoln said. They shared an awkward silence for a moment, before Lincoln broke it.

"Does it help?" he asked.

"Yeah, at least it does for me. It helps me clear my head," Janie answered.

"Can we try it?" Lincoln asked. Janie answered him with a nod, and took his hands. Lincoln felt his face heat up. They both bowed their heads, and closed their eyes.

"Lord, you know what's been troubling my friend Lincoln, even if he hasn't told anyone, and we humbly ask that you help him put his mind to rest and my his choice based on your plan for him," she prayed. It actually made Lincoln feel a little better, but he still wasn't entirely convinced it would help.

Lynn sat near the front of the bus, in her usual spot across from Lincoln and Clyde. Except it was Lincoln and some girl she'd never seen before, but no Clyde.

"Hey bro, where's Clyde?" Lynn asked.

"I don't know, but I really don't care right now. I think he's at the back of the bus," Lincoln answered, too preoccupied to even wonder why Lynn wanted to know.

She glanced around the bus, and managed to find him on the back row of the bus with two kids she knew were the new kids at school.

"S'up McBride?" Lynn asked, taking the seat in front of them.

"Oh, hey Lynn," Clyde answered.

"Any reason you're not sitting with my bro?" she asked.

"Yeah, we're taking a break," Clyde answered.

"What? This doesn't have anything to do with Lori, does it, because Lincoln didn't have anything to do with that," Lynn replied.

"I know. Like I said, we're taking a break," Clyde stated.

"Whatever McBride. Look, if you aren't doing anything this weekend, my baseball team is having a party this Saturday, and I'm inviting you to come," Lynn said. Clyde looked up at her, confused.

"Why me?" he asked.

"Just cuz man. Look, you coming or not?" Lynn responded, trying to hide the nervousness in her voice.

"Yeah, sure, I guess. Should I just meet at your house?" he asked.

"Yeah, about 6," Lynn answered.

"Ok," Clyde replied.

"Cool. See you then," Lynn responded, before walking away.