Andrew barely glances up at me when I walk into his room. "Studying, already?" I ask. His books and notes are piled around him on his bed and he looks up at me, finally, with a frustrated look.
"I can’t fail this class. If I don’t pass the final, I don’t pass the class."
"You aren’t going to fail it. You’re pretty much a genius."
He rolls his eyes but doesn’t argue with me. "Wait, why are you wearing what you wore yesterday?"
I glance down at my sweater and jeans and shrug. "Long story. Sort of. Anyway, that’s not what I’m hear to talk about."
"Are you here to explain why you’ve been ignoring me, why you ditched us, lied to us about your pregnant aunt, why you clearly spent the night somewhere, haven’t made plans to study with me, or even to just hang out with me, why you’ve been acting like a horrible best friend?"
I frown. "I wouldn’t go that far."
He looks at me, his head cocked, one eyebrow raised, a very skeptical look on his face. "Oh really?"
"Have I really been that bad?"
He nods. "Yeah, kinda."
He pats the bed beside him, gesturing for me to sit down. "I still love you, Brookie. But you’ve been a crap friend lately."
I kick my shoes off and sit on the bed, crossing my legs pretzel style. "I’m sorry. I haven’t meant to be so terrible."
"I know that, but it doesn't change the fact that you have been."
"That's what I came here to explain. Well, partially anyway, I guess I might as well explain it all now."
He sticks his pencil in the spiral binding of his notebook and leans back against the headboard. "Alright. Explain."
I take a deep breath, trying to figure out where to start. "Last year I lied to you when I told you that Tyler and I broke up because he was moving."
"He wasn’t moving?"
I roll my eyes. "No, you idiot. He moved anyway. But that’s not why we broke up. I broke up with him because he was being emotionally abusive and I couldn’t take it anymore."
Andrew looks confused. "Wait, what?" I know this isn’t what he was expecting to hear.
"He was constantly putting me down, saying things that sounded just slightly off, he started getting really controlling and overbearing and I realized that it wasn’t healthy. So I ended things with him. He got pissed and after three days of him nearly non-stop texting and calling me for him to realize I was done. That’s when he moved."
"He didn’t say anything about this to me."
"I know. I think he partially blamed you. He was constantly telling me to stop spending time with you."
He runs his hands through his styled hair, messing it all up."Why didn’t you tell me?" He asks. "I could have done something."
I stare at my hands. My nail polish is chipped. "I don't know." I whisper. "I didn't want you to be upset."
"You’re such an idiot." He says, with a loud sigh. "I wouldn’t have been upset. Not at you."
I just shrug. "Anyway, that’s why I bailed last night, at dinner. Well, it’s not the full reason... Jeremy needed me."
"I knew last night had something to do with Jeremy!" Andrew somehow sounds both triumphant and discouraged.
I nod. "Yes, it had something to do with Jeremy, but not in the way you think. Honestly, he was just a way out. I was looking for a reason to leave anyway. You didn’t tell me that Tyler was going to be there."
"Why didn’t you just say that Jeremy needed you? You didn’t have to lie."
"Tyler would have been pissed. And now that he’s back, I don’t need him badgering me about being with other people." I know it sounds a bit pathetic. "I’m not saying I’m expecting him to be crazy about me or anything, but he was so controlling, and scary, before. I’m scared of what he might do if he’s still the same."
"Why didn’t you tell me? There has to be a reason, a real reason, why you didn’t want to tell me before."
I shrug a bit, and try to swallow the lump that’s building up in my throat. "I was embarrassed, okay? I was embarrassed that I stayed with him for so long when all he did was make me feel terrible about myself. I was scared that you might judge me for it. I just-" I shake my head and bring my hands up to my face to try to stop the tears that are building. With my eyes closed, and my hands over my face, I whisper, "You and Anna have just been such a perfect couple. I wanted us to be like you. And we weren’t. I didn’t want you to know. I just didn’t want you to know."
His hands take my wrists and pull my hands from my face. "Look at me, Brookie. I wouldn’t have judged you. You’re my best friend! Don’t you know by now that I care about you? And your safety? How long was he abusive to you before you finally ended it?"
I feel the tears start to slip down my cheeks as I answer. "Nearly five months."
"You guys were only together for six." He sounds almost like he’s out of breath. "That was nearly the entire relationship." I nod and he lets out a shaky breath. "I’m going to kill him. That bastard. I"m going to kill him."
"No!" My voice is stronger than I had meant and Andrew looks at me and I can’t read the expression on his face.
"Are you protecting him?" He sounds incredulous.
I shake my head quickly. "No, I’m protecting you."
He scoffs. "I could take him."
I roll my eyes, almost laughing. "I’m not saying you couldn’t, though you probably couldn’t. But that’s not it! If you do anything to him you could get in serious trouble over it. I’m not going to let that happen. I’ve let it go, mostly, at least, I’m trying to. Please don’t do anything about this. Just, stop trying to get Tyler and me together again. I don’t need that."
He pulls me in for a hug and I wrap my arms around him, taking in the comfort that he’s always given me. "I’m so sorry, Brookie." He whispers. "I should have done something.
I pull back. "You didn’t know, it was my fault for that. I just didn’t want to ruin our friendship. You and Tyler were so close and I was afraid you’d stop being friends with me."
He scoffs again. "You're absolutely ridiculous. You and I have been friends so much longer than Tyler and me. Our friendship means more to me than nearly anything. Don’t you get that?"
"It means the same to me." I say, my tears have stopped but I still sound choked up.
"Of course! Are you doubting me?"
He looks at me, a slightly frustrated look on his face. "It’s just.. you’ve been avoiding me."
"I've been avoiding everyone!"
"Are you jealous?" I ask, incredulously.
"No!" He blurts out, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Then why do you care if I spend time with Jeremy?"
"I don’t. Not really. Just when it interferes with us being able to spend time together. We’ve been friends for practically forever. Now I hardly ever see you. It’s not like I have a ton of other friends to spend time with Brookie. It’s just you and Anna. And Tyler. Who, apparently, is a douchebag."
"So why are you so mad at me?"
He groans. "I just said why. Because you being friends with Jeremy, or closer than friends or whatever it is, that's up between you two right now, is interfering with our friendship." He’s barely taking a breath between words. "Because now I hardly ever see you and I’m moving soon and I just want to spend time with you before it all happens." He comes to a halt, like he didn’t mean to say the words he just did.
I scoot back a bit, feeling almost scalded by his sudden news. "You’re moving?"
He closes his eyes for a second. It’s what he’s always done when he regrets something that’s happened. "This isn’t how I wanted to tell you." He says.
"When?" I ask, almost afraid to hear the answer.
He sighs. "Before the end of the summer."
"How long have you known that you were going to move?"
He sighs again. "It wasn’t like it was a split decision."
"When did you start thinking about moving?"
He shrugs a bit. "Anna and I started talking about it around the end of February I guess. This community college stuff is fine but we both want to take better classes, and-"
"Over a month. You decided about a month ago. Why didn’t you tell me?" I stand up and slide my feet into my shoes. "Why didn’t you tell me before? You said I was lying to you, but you… you should have told me way sooner that you were moving in four months."
He opens and closes his mouth for a second before finally saying, "It’s more like two or three months."
I’m shaking my head, backing up towards the door. "I can’t believe you right now."
He gets off the bed, taking a step towards me. "Brookie, come on, don’t overreact."
"Don’t overreact? That’s rich coming from you." I pat my pockets to make sure I still have my phone and then turn for the door. "I have to go. I’m working tonight and I need to go get ready."
I spin around and nearly slap him. "No. I’m not going to wait. You could have told me forever ago that it was a possibility that my only friend was going to leave. But no, you waited until now when I’m in the middle of so many other problems. I can’t believe you would lie to me for so long."
"I didn’t really lie-"
"Fine! You held the truth. Practically the same thing." I step out of his room and slam his door behind me, for the only reason that slamming a door has such a sense of finality about it.
"Brookie, wait! I need to tell you something! Brookie! Please, it’s important!"
I ignore him and storm out of his house, slamming his front door just as loudly as I leave.
I refrain from slamming my car door shut, I really don’t want to damage my car with my anger. How dare he be upset with me for not spending time with him lately when he’s been planning on moving away all along?
He had so many different opportunities to tell me he was thinking about moving. So much for telling each other just about everything. My phone starts ringing and I know it's Andrew. I ignore it and when I reach a stop sign, I pull my phone from my pocket, switch off the sound and stick it in the glove box.
Thankfully no one is home when I get there, so I head straight to my room and decide to start studying on my own. I don’t need Andrew and his stupid brains right now anyway. I can pass my Psychology final on my own.
Emma - I love them too! :D Thank you soo much!!
Chrystina J - There's a large possibility of me helping you murder him!
Miha - Aww! Thank you sooo much!!
Bookluver78 - Eep! Gah I absolutely love writing about Jeremy and Brookie! They're just too freaking cute! Thank you soo much for all your kind words and support! You're the bestest!
Happy Fourth Of July to all my American friends!! :D I hope you all have a marvelous day!
Scars And A Daisy - Chapter EighteenBrookie goes to talk to Andrew!
By Em Bishop