“Hey, babe, what’s up? I’ve talked to your sister more than I have talked to you lately. Andrew? Andrew? Are you listening to me?” Nancy kept on talking to her boyfriend, but he just kept on staring off into the distance.
"Hey, bro,” Angie said and she smacked Andrew in the back of the head.
“Ow! What?” Andrew looked up at Angie.
“I’ve been trying to talk to you for the past five minutes! What’s the matter?” Nancy asked.
“Nothing, I’m fine,” Andrew looked up at Nancy and saw the disbelief in her eyes, “I am, I’m serious!”
“Okay, are you absolutely serious?”
“Yeah, I’m fine.”
“Okay, get your food.”
They were at standing in line for lunch. It was Andrew’s turn to order what he wanted, “Can I have a turkey sandwich, string cheese and chocolate milk.”
“Yes, you may Mr. Anderson number two,” that’s what the lunch lady called Andrew since she called Alex Mr. Anderson.
When the lunch lady gave Andrew his food he stood there and waited until Nancy got hers, “I would like a chocolate muffin, a cookie and white milk.”
“Okay, ma’am, here you are,” the lunch lady handed Nancy her food.
“Your main thing is a chocolate muffin?” Andrew teased.
“Yes, and I’m going to enjoy it,” Nancy said back.
“So, what’s on your mind?”
“A lot of stuff,” he looked Nancy in the eyes, “I’m sorry, babe, with all this I don’t want to ruin your day. If I tell you, you will be doing nothing but think about it. Sweetie, please can we talk about something else?”
“Fine, but what you just said, none of it makes sense except the end.”
“Okay, well, how does your muffin taste?”
"I haven’t opened it yet, Andrew.”
“Oh, yeah, well, how’s that cookie?”
“It’s fine. Are you sure you don’t want to talk about… whatever?”
“Nancy, please, I’m fine.”
“Okay, sorry, geez.”
“Geez what? I just said I don’t want to talk about gushy, feelings and problems right now.”
“What is wrong with you?”
“I’m… I’m sorry, I have to go home,” Andrew got up off the bench and went to the front office.
“Where’s he going?” Angie walked over to the table that Nancy was sitting at. In her hands she had a blueberry muffin, gushers and chocolate milk.
“I don’t know, he just kind of snapped then said he had to go home,” Nancy looked up at Angie.
“I don’t know what goes on in his empty head, honey, sorry.”
“I just want to know what he’s thinking about. I mean he kept just spacing out and then said he didn’t want to talk to me about his problems; whatever that means.”
“All boys have problems.”
“Yeah, but why wouldn’t he tell me what was going on?”
“Just don’t suffocate him, Nancy. When he’s ready to talk, he’ll talk.”
“Hey, ladies, hope I’m not interrupting anything,” Derek walked over to the table.
“No, it’s fine, sit,” Nancy said.
“Okay, thanks, Nancy. So, what you guys talking about? Or you know if you don’t want to tell me…”
“We were just talking about Andrew and his weird boy ways,” Angie explained.
“Oh, well, that’s cool, I guess,” Derek said.
“So, what has Alex been saying about you two, Angie?” Nancy asked.
"Well, he and my mom had a long talk about stuff last night. I heard most of it. Then when I talked to him about it for a little bit, he was nice about things, kind of,” Angie told Derek and Nancy.
“What did he say?” Derek asked.
“A lot of stuff, nothing too important though.”
“Well, was there stuff about me?”
“Then why can’t you tell me.”
“Angie, can I talk to you for like two seconds?” Alex came up behind her.
“Yeah, sure,” Angie got up and her and Alex walked over to near the entrance of the bathrooms. “What is it?”
"You didn’t say anything to Derek about what I said last night, right?” Alex asked.
“Well I told him we talked last night, but not what we talked about. Why does it matter?”
“He doesn’t want anyone to know how things are with his family. I promised him I wouldn’t tell anyone about any of that. I was planning on keeping that promise. When I told Mom, it was just because it all just kind came out.”
“Okay, but it was the truth though, right?”
“Yeah, of course it was. I wouldn’t lie about something like that.”
“Okay. Do you want to sit by us?”
“Well, I don’t think I’m really wanted over there. I don’t want Derek to leave because of me. I will go sit by the guys.”
“Alright,” Angie turned around to walk back to her table.
“Wait, Angie, thanks.”
“Well, nothing, everything, I don’t know. Just thanks.”
“Okay, you’re welcome,” Angie went back to her table and sat down. “Sorry that took so long.”
“It wasn’t that long,” Derek said.
“Yeah, but what was it about?” Nancy asked.
“Nancy, it was their business, we don’t need to know,” Derek said.
“Thank you Derek. What changed your mind about wanting to know?” Angie asked.
“Well, when Alex came over here he didn’t say anything to me about leaving you alone. He didn’t say anything to me, at all,” Derek was sort of surprised that Alex hadn’t said anything to him.
“Well, I talked him into being more okay with us being together.”
“That’s cool. So it would be totally cool if I asked… Angie, will you be my girlfriend?”
“Of course that would be okay!”
“So, what do say?”
“Alright, now we don’t even have to hide things from your brother.”
“Yeah, he’s being like totally okay with us. He even told my mom why you guys got into that fight back in ninth grade. He didn’t want her to have to here it from me.”
“Wow, it’s like he’s a whole other person!”
“Yeah, I know. And my parents want you over for dinner.”
“Whenever you have time. I hear you work a lot.”
“Yeah, with my job at the farm and Figaro’s Food Mart and the filing crap, I never really have time for anything else.”
“Why do you work so much?” Nancy asked.
“My aunt and uncle need help with a lot of stuff. They are in there late fifties. My mom was born late, which is why she’d be thirty-five,” Derek explained.
“What do you mean she’d be?” Nancy was curious of why he was sounding like she was out of his life or something.
“She died when I was six.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Derek.”
“She had cancer; there was nothing anyone could have done. My sister told me it was treatable, but they didn’t catch it in time. My mom just thought she was a little sick, but not that sick.”
“Wait… when did your sister say that it was treatable?” Angie thought that Derek’s sister was out of his life so she wasn’t sure if he had run into her somewhere or not.
“Um… we just talked about it the other day. Why?”
“Um… well… I was just… you have a sister?” Angie was trying to hide the fact that Alex had talked about Derek’s family to her.
“Did Alex what?”
“He told me not to tell you. He was talking to my mom; telling her the truth. He told me he swore not to tell anyone anything about your family, he wanted your respect.”
"When was he talking about it?”
“Last night. But you can’t be mad at him. My mom was like you’re doing a good job of keeping your sister away from that horrible boy. Alex couldn’t help but tell her you weren’t like that.”
“He had no right to tell anyone anything about me.”
“Well, were you ever going to tell me yourself?”
“How long is eventually?”
“What all did he tell you?”
“About your mom, your sister, your dad…”
“I was planning on never telling you about my dad.”
“Well, because, I didn’t want anyone to know about him. He’s a horrible dad.”
“I have to go,” Derek got up from the table and began walking toward the hallway.
“Derek, can we talk about this, please?” Angie went running after him. He didn’t stop walking and he didn’t say anything, “Derek, please!”
He stopped in the middle of the hall, turned around and faced Angie and said, “What?”
“I don’t know everything. I will tell you anything about myself, I just want to know something more about you,” Angie explained. Derek turned around and began heading towards his locker. He began turning the lock on his locker. “I have three brothers; Alex, Andrew and Aden. Andrew and I are twins. My mom’s name is Allison, my dad’s is Aaron. Just a little while ago my aunt and uncle got into a car accident. My uncle Richard, my dad’s brother, died. My aunt Hailey is in the hospital. They say she’s stable now, but they aren’t sure if she will be for long. My mom is now adopting my uncle’s three kids, Janna, Suzanna and Lukas. Now we are going to have seven kids running around our house! And if my aunt Hailey doesn’t make it she’s going to adopt Kayla and Sam, my other cousins, and that would make nine. That wouldn’t be good.”
“Why are you telling me this, Angie?” Derek interrupted.
"I want you to know more about me and my family. I was hoping that you would then tell me more about yours.”
“Well, your family is nothing compared to mine. Your dad never beat you, your sister never left you, your mom is alive, and you didn’t have to move in with your aunt and uncle who are like a million years old!”
“Yeah, but you have a girlfriend who will always be there for you. Doesn’t that count as something good?”
“You’re not helping, Angie.”
"Why wouldn’t you have just come out and said all this to me in the beginning?”
“Hello, my name is Derek. I work three jobs, and I have an abusive father that my sister left me with even though she knew he was a drunk. Nice to meet you,” Derek said. He looked at Angie, “That’s not usually the first thing I tell someone.
“Well, you should tell me these things. If Alex kept this secret you know that I will.”
The only thing that Derek and Angie didn’t know was that Nancy was hiding around the corner. She heard everything that they had said. She went back to the cafeteria and sat down in the spot she was in before. She got out her cell phone and decided to text Andrew about all this. Her text said “HEY, BABY. DID U KNOW THAT DEREK’S FATEHR BEAT HIM? YOU KNOW WHAT THEY SAY; THE SON OF AN ABUSIVE FATHER TUNRS INTO AN ABUSIVE MAN! I JUST DON’T WANT TO SEE ANGIE GET HURT. LOVE YA LOTS!”
As Derek and Angie walked back up to the lunch table Nancy hurried up and put her cell phone back in her pocket. “Sorry, that took so long, Nancy,” Angie said.
“What were you doing with your phone?” Derek asked.
“My phone? I didn’t have my phone out! I don’t think I know what you are talking about,” Nancy said quickly.
“I saw you put it away as we walked up. What, do you have something to hide?” Derek asked.
“No, I’m talking to my boyfriend.”
“Did you ask him what his problem was?” Angie asked.
“No,” Nancy said.
“Then let me do it!” Angie said.
Angie grabbed Nancy’s phone. It vibrated and Angie saw it was a text from Andrew. She opened it and read “OMG! I don’t want her to get hurt either! We have to worn her about Derek. No wonder he keeps getting in fights with Alex. He’s turning into his dad already!”