Chapter 6 – February 8B

Butch’s face often wore a cloak of confusion on his face as casually as his favorite blue sweater, but the cloak this time bore a stripe of disappointment. His question had hurt — Rune could see that, and took from it a measure of cold satisfaction.

“It’s just — ” Butch seemed to suffocate under his cloak — “you know, I just thought, maybe you’d like — ”

“No, I don’t.” Without looking, Rune closed the locker behind him, klang. He felt the eyes of nearby students fixing their gazes towards him, as he leaned over Butch. “I don’t wanna go to Page Turners, don’t wanna read their stupid magazines.”

Butch scratched the side of his round face. “But — comic — ”

“I don’t read those any more!” The words had spat out the instant he heard his friend mention the hobby that Rune only cared to share between the two of them. The words were more effective than true. “Look, you want to read that kids’ stuff, that’s your business, go ahead. Just keep, keep me out of it. OK?”

“Oh.” Voice soft, body stepping back. Butch’s face was pale, shocked — Rune was reminded of a science fiction film he’d seen, a scientist discovering his colleague was a spy, had been for the entire five years they had worked together. “I guess I’ll just — go to Page Turners myself, then.”

“Works for me.” Wearing a smug smile, Rune twisted to return to his locker — and froze. Standing to the side, books held across her sweatered chest, Annie wore the same expression he had just seen in Butch.

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