You decide: What happens next?

A story where you choose what I write, I'm hoping this will end up being a pretty awesome co-operative project. Rules are explained in the first chapter

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4. Chapter 1 Part 2: The middle of something sad

I'm sat where I always sit, listening to the breeze through the new leaves of spring. My satchel rests next to me on the worn out wooden bench, holding little more than a phone. A strand of my hair keeps blowing into my face, irritating my left eye. Despite my attempts to brush it away the deep purple still tickles at my cheek, but my attention has been stolen.

"Hey," Xandra calls, Jack and Ni following closely behind.

"Hi," I reply, grabbing my bag and standing to join them as we continue along the boardwalk. Jack pats me on the head, though I know he only does it to show off - he's the only one taller than me. "Hey!" I protest, mocking anger but allowing us to descend into laughter before he thinks I'm serious.

"Come on Jack, you know she doesn't like it," Ni says with a sigh and a roll of his eyes.

"I'm sure Nichoel can speak for herself," Jack retorts, putting his arm around me and making a big deal of it.

"Careful Jack, she still hasn't told us if she's single or not, you wouldn't want her setting some guy even taller than you on you now would you?" Xandra calls, turning round and walking backwards for a second to flash me one of her confident winks. "Now let's stop arguing and listen to whatever it is Ni summoned us to hear."

Ni clears his throat as I feel Jack's arm leave my shoulders.

"Well, you know about the whole...clown thing, right?" He asks slowly. We all nod with equal hesitance.

"Well I...I told my dad I don't want to continue it," he pauses for a second, "and he said...he said I have to choose."

His expression, which had only moments ago been as bright as ever, drops. All three of us already know what must have happened, but it's left up to me to fill in the blanks.

"Choose what?" I ask, stepping towards him cautiously.

"I either become a clown...or he'll kick me out and have nothing else to do with me," he replies solemnly, shoulders sagging and eyes staring down.

For a moment we all stand there in silence, none of us able to think of something comforting to say. Jack is examining a particularly interesting piece of gravel with the end of his boot, Xandra is twirling her brown hair around her finger and trying not to look at us. I think I'm just staring. 

"Damn," Xandra finally manages, "sometimes clowns are no fun, huh?"

Any other time we would have appreciated her humour, but right now we're a little more concerned with Ni.

"Hey, I'd offer to let you stay at mine until things cool off," I start, "but you know what my mum's like about guys in the hou-"

"-You can stay at mine," Jack interrupts, smiling and patting Ni half-heartedly on the back. "If you need it, that is."

 "Thanks guys," Ni mutters, turning away from us, "if you don't mind, I'm gonna head off, I'll see you tomorrow."

With that he walks off, leaving us to stare after him and wonder what just happened.

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