Can the bonds of FRIENDSHIP overcome all odds?
The Code
Back To The Drawing Board
Bethany woke up the next morning with her usual perky attitude. She hopped out of bed and skipped over to her dresser to prepare for the day ahead. She slipped the pendant around her neck thought back to last night’s happenings.
School today would be different, now that she and Dylan were friends. She was eager to see what the day might hold. And she couldn’t wait to get to know Dylan better, now that he wasn’t shutting her out.
She brushed through her hair and straightened her shirt. Then she grabbed her backpack off the back of her door and went to grab Sapphire.
“Sapphire,” she called, bending down and pulling open her closet. “Come here.”
Upon hearing her name, Sapphire waddled out of the closet and sat by Bethany’s knees.
Bethany gawked down at her dragon. Had Sapphire always been that big? Bethany didn’t think so. No matter. Bethany picked up Sapphire and placed her in her backpack pocket. It has a close fit, but somehow Bethany managed to zip it all the way.
“You be good today, alright?” she whispered to the pocket. And with that, Bethany slung her backpack over her shoulder, slid into her sneakers, and bounded down the stairs.
Mrs. Jones greeted her at the bottom of the steps. “Are you feeling better today?” she asked, looking Bethany over.
Bethany nodded. “Yeah, much better.” She pushed past her mother and grabbed a granola bar out of the pantry in the kitchen.
Mrs. Jones followed. “If they bother you again, sweetie, you be sure to let us know, okay?”
Bethany stuffed her face full of granola and shrugged. “Whatever you say, mum,” she mumbled through her mouthful.
Bethany then brushed her teeth quick and headed for the door. “I’m leaving for school now, okay, mom?”
Mrs. Jones nodded and leaned against counter. “Be safe.”
Then Bethany rushed out the door.
Travis stood in the hallway, waiting. His face was tight. He wished Dylan would hurry up and get to school so he would have time to talk to him before class started. He had a lot he wanted to talk about, and Dylan wasn’t getting away from him this time.
Travis thought back to the day he met Dylan. The first day of kindergarten, he believed it was. He had been sitting all alone, too scared to talk to anyone. He had always been shy. At the time, he had big round glasses that blew up his eyes so he looked like a bug. He didn’t have any friends, really. Most people gave him plenty of space. But when Dylan entered class on that day, he walked right up to Travis and sat on the floor next to him. “Do you want to play army with me?”
And on that day, the two became inseparable. Dylan was the only friend that Travis had ever had.
Travis sighed. He was upset. Not only because Dylan was breaking the code, their code, the code that they had followed for six years, but because he was afraid to lose Dylan. He was afraid that Bethany would steal away the only friend he had in the world.
Travis used to get picked on all the time. But whenever Dylan was around, people left him alone. Dylan had that effect on people. He was cool. People knew better than to mess with him.
Travis’s thoughts were interrupted by the morning bell. Five minutes until class.
Dylan came rushing down the hallway and slid to a stop by his locker, where Travis was waiting. “S’up, Travis?”
Travis furrowed his brow while Dylan grabbed his books for first hour. “Dylan, I need to talk to you.”
Dylan glanced at the clock in the hall. “Hey, bro, can we talk later? We gotta get to class.”
Travis huffed and rolled his eyes. “Fine. I’ll talk to you after school.” Then he stormed off to class.
Dylan stood by his locker, bewildered. What was HIS problem?
Bethany stood in the lunch line patiently. Her stomach growled quietly. Two girls that were in front of her turned around, their eyes wide. “Was that you?” they asked her.
Bethany laughed, “Haha, yeah. I’m really hungry!”
The girls laughed, too. One of them looked Bethany over. “Hey, your name is Bethany, right?”
Bethany nodded.
The other girl spoke. “How would you like to eat lunch with us today?”
Bethany smiled. “That would be awesome, thanks!”
The three girls talked casually as the lunch line slowly moved forward. After they finally got their lunches, the two girls led Bethany to the table where they usually sat. They introduced her to themselves, as well as the rest of the girls at the table. The two girls that had brought her there were Tessa and Alice, and the other two girls already at the table were Jackie and Maria.
Bethany sat down with her lunch and smiled. It was nice to have a table to sit with. She looked around the cafeteria. In the corner by the door she saw the eighth graders. She shuddered and continued to look around. A few tables away from where she was sitting, she saw a table full of sixth grade boys. She scanned their faces, wondering if she knew any of them. She looked down the line. No, no, didn’t know him, no...
Then she saw Dylan. She was about to look away, but then she remembered that they were friends now. So she waited until their eyes met.
“Hey, Dylan, that new girl is waving at you.”
Dylan turned around. “What?” He looked over at Tessa’s table and saw Bethany smiling at him and waving. Since when did she sit with Tessa?
Dylan was about to raise his hand to wave back, but then remembered that Travis was sitting directly next to him. So instead he shrugged and turned back to the table. “So she is,” he replied, as casually as possible.
Bethany saw Dylan turn towards her. So she smiled and waved over in his direction. Dylan stared at her for a while, then scowled and turned back to his table.
Bethany’s heart sank. Why didn’t he wave back?
The girl next to her, Jackie, put her hand on Bethany’s shoulder. “Don’t take it to heart, Beth. Dylan doesn’t want to have anything to do with girls. He and that weird kid Travis. It’s like they have this death wish against us all or something.”
Bethany sighed. “Dylan’s actually pretty nice...”
Alice looked over and straight-out laughed. “Dylan? Nice? In the same sentence? Not possible.”
Bethany frowned. “But, he really is...”
Alice looked at Bethany with sympathy. “The only time Dylan is nice to us girls is when he wants something.”
Bethany looked down at her lunch tray. When he wanted something? What did Dylan want from Bethany? Her help with science. Right.
Suddenly, Bethany felt furious. Why couldn’t she see that before? Of course Dylan didn’t want to be friends. He just didn’t want to fail science.
Bethany didn’t want to help Dylan anymore, but she had already given her word.
Fine, she would help him. But there was no way she would ever become his friend.
She was too smart for that now.

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