Tucker Appleton stumbled, out of the boys bathroom, drenched from his head to his chest. Several kids passed him and laughed as he made his way to his locker. He found his best friend there. Robespierre Bartokomous, who usually went by Robbie (a nickname christened by his Uncle Cousin Larry) stood at his locker witch was right next to Tucker's.
As Tucker approached Robbie looked him up and down, taking in his wet, dusty blonde curls and drenched sweater. He gave him a sympathetic smile. "You got a swirly again, hoh?"
Tucker gave his friend a sarcastic glare. "No, I decided to stick my head in the toilet just for kicks…Yes, I got another swirly!!" He dialed the combination and opened his locker, releasing a cascade of schoolbooks, papers and various other junk into the hallway. "Aaaugh!" With a frustrated sob he banged his head against the locker frame.
"Don't do that." Robbie warned as he kneeled down and began to pick up his cousin's things. "You'll give yourself a percussion."
"I hate people!" Tucker moaned, leaning heavily on one shoulder.
Robbie looked up at him, obviously taking the comment personally. "I'm sorry."
"Not you!" With a weary sigh, he bent down and began picking up papers and stuffing them back in his locker. "Just…everybody else."
"Now you know you don't mean that." Robbie insisted as he placed the carefully stacked books on the shelf. "You like Mr. Sparky in PE. And you like Mrs. Parr in math. And I know you like Jenny Gorply." He took the papers from his cousin's hands, smoothed them out and set them neatly on top of the books.
A slightly embarrassed smile touched the boy's thin lips, but he quickly shook it off. "Of course I like her. She's pretty, nice, smart, funny and she's the only girl in school that's shorter than me. But she doesn't even know I exist. Not to mention Buddy, that brother of hers says if he ever sees me talking to her he'll kill me." After a moment he added. "What do you think the swirly was for? All I did was look at her."
Robbie shook his head. "You can't just fold up and let people drive over you like that. You've got to stick up for yourself."
Tucker fixed him with a knowing smirk. "This from someone who has become an expert at opening his locker from the inside."
Robbie gave his cousin a helpless shrug. "I guess we can't all be Peter Parker." He opened his own locker and pulled out his science book. "It's almost time for class."
Tucker looked forlornly down at his soaked shirt and sighed sadly. "Now everybody's gonna know—"
"No they won't." Robbie interrupted before his cousin could finish. "Here." He held out a neatly folded dry shirt and small towel.
Tucker took them, looking quite bewildered. "But why do you have…"
"After you're little dunk last week, I figured I better keep an extra in here. Just in case."
Tucker gave his cousin and best friend a grateful smile. "Thanks, Buddy."