Behind the walls of friendship

Jake is fifteen years old. Lacking a father figure, he places his hopes in young people around his age. When a mysterious, and a seemingly innocent friend arrives, Jake is forced to realize who his true friends are, and just how dangerous fake friends can be.

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3. Jake

Jake

As I watched Clark, I told him of meeting Austin. I had just met Austin a week and half ago, but he had already invited me to Mcdonald’s and we had already found out we were similar. I liked Austin, but I knew I’d never like him more than Clark or Nick. Nick was my true best friend, but Clark was special as well. The day I had met Austin had been a long day. I was walking from the store, running my errand for Nick. Nick had said that he needed flour for the cookies he was making. I secretly knew that if I went and did the errands for me, then I could eat some of the cookies Nick was making. I wanted those cookies, I was getting pretty tired of my mom’s constant “gluten free, fat free, fun free” meals. It wasn’t the choice of my mom though. Growing up, my mother was always pressured by my grandparents to be the “perfect daughter.” Anyways, I had been leaving the store just down the road and I knew I’d been at Nick’s house within minutes. I saw a man turn the corner wearing a familiar looking blue shirt. I glanced at the shirt and recognized it as the shirt I had in my closet. “Hey, nice shirt!” I called, smiling. The man glanced at me. “I’m a huge fan of them” I said, referring to the band name on the man’s shirt. The man came over, glancing at me, then the floor, then me again, and back to the ground. “Oh, haha” he said, “I’ve been a fan for a year or so.” I watched the man and asked, “What’s your name?” “Austin” he replied, staring at the cement. Austin’s medium light brown hair made his slight tan show. I looked at his dark brown eyes underneath his eyebrows. Austin was one inch taller than I was and I watched as he stood, staring at the horizon. He seemed to be in a daze, but he snapped out of it when I asked him what his favorite song was. That was when I saw Austin had a white bracelet on. I thought it seemed similar to the white bracelet I had, another piece of merchandise from The Drums. “Oh, is that the bracelet too?” I asked, glancing at Austin’s wrist. “What?” he asked loudly, and saw me looking. “The bracelet, is it from The Drums?” I asked again, suddenly feeling awkward. “Oh, uh no, it’s not” Austin said, pulling his jacket sleeves farther down. He sighed and said, “I have to be back by three, uh, nice talking.” “Bye Austin, uhm, yeah” I said awkwardly. I didn’t think I’d see Austin again, but I did sometime later. Three days later I had been at the track with Clark. This was the day that Nick was busy with his dentist appointment and work duties. Clark wanted to jog and I wanted to watch. I saw the familiar walk and the head staring down. “Hang on, I’ll be right back” I said as Clark cleared his second lap of the track. He waved me on and kept his focus straight ahead, sweating. I recognized Austin as I saw him walking away from the park right next to the track. I glanced and saw Clark, still running. I knew I’d have at least five minutes to speak to Austin, but I’d have to time Clark’s run as well. I waved my hand to Austin and he came over, glancing over his shoulder. “Hey, remember me, Austin?” I asked. He smiled and glanced over his shoulder again. I watched as Clark rounded the turn, watching me and Austin but he kept his focus ahead at the track. Austin stared at Clark and then I said, “You going to run too?” Austin was broken out of his gaze. “No, I came from the park,” Austin said, smiling. I glanced at Austin’s shirt to see if he had another The Drums shirt on but all I saw was yellow underneath his green jacket. “Park seems busy,” I said awkwardly as I glanced and saw a table of maybe seven or eight people, also wearing yellow shirts. I wanted to ask Austin if he worked with the people, but if he was unemployed it would have been awkward, so I didn’t ask. “It’s not, it’s usually boring when we come at eleven o'clock,” Austin said. I figured he was on his break, and his co-workers were as well. I watched as the co-workers sat, seemingly playing a card game. I saw Clark nearing his last lap. Clark gasped and smiled as he finished his run. I announced Clark’s new best time and watched as he cheered. I noticed Austin watching Clark intensely, he must have been impressed by Clark’s speed. Austin bit his lip and sighed. Then I realized, it was my fault. I made it awkward by not introducing them! “Oh, Clark, this is Austin,” I said, explaining how we met. Clark was still panting and said between breaths, “Nice to meet you.” Austin shook his head and said, “Yeah, you too.” I noticed that Clark and Austin were almost the same height. “Clark just graduated high school, aren’t you around the same age?” I asked Austin, trying to lessen the awkward silences. “I’m nineteen, just nineteen” Austin said. Clark seemed to perk up hearing that he and Austin were almost the same age. “Oh, what high school did you graduate from?” Clark asked. Austin’s eyes seemed to droop, and he cleared his throat. “It wasn’t around here, I mean this town. It was in Stawfield.” Clark nodded and spoke of his plans to soon go to college right in town and asked, “College?” I could see Austin becoming visually uncomfortable. Clark went on to mention how he wanted to pursue music, but he was studying to work in the medical field at the moment. I tried to change the subject by speaking of my high school year so far. I noticed one of Austin’s coworkers pointing at Austin, and then a woman was way across the field, making her way to us. “I think one of your coworkers is looking for you, or something,” Clark said, pointing to the woman who seemed hurried. “Yeah, I don’t want to get in trouble, so don’t talk to her” Austin said with a laugh. “We won’t” we agreed, waving as he jogged to the woman. She must have been his boss. I saw her making dramatic gestures, seemingly telling Austin that he shouldn’t have left the job site. I wondered why she was being so strict, it seemed as if they were just on a break. “Oh, Jake, it’s already 11:30” Clar,k said, “You said your mom wanted you home by 12, are you ready to go?” I nodded and strained my ears as we walked by Austin and the distressed woman. I couldn’t hear much, but I figured it was for the best since I shouldn’t have been trying to snoop. I took one last look at Austin and realized, I forgot to ask him if he wanted to come over one day.

 
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