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You're Gonna Go Far Kid

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"You're late," Ash said as Tobin rolled her eyes. She didn't see how she could be late to skipping class to hang out in the parking lot and smoke. She set her board in the back of her friend's Jeep and then got into the passenger's side. Tobin was a bit surprised that Ash was sitting out here, but when she had gotten the text that Ash wanted her to meet up and smoke a bit, she gladly decided that free weed was well worth it. "Ali and I broke up." 

"Why?" Tobin asked, taking a hit from Ash's joint. "You guys were literally on top of the world last night." 

"She found these this morning and broke it off on the spot," Ash said and Tobin cringed. "I tried to explain myself, but she made me stop the car and she had Alex pick her up. I was quitting. Not just weed, but everything, the drinking, the cigarettes, the vaping. I was gonna go completely clean, but what's the point? If Ali had really loved me, she wouldn't have left so quickly or tried to change me in the first place." 

"She wasn't doing it to change you, she cares about you dude. None of this is good for us, you've still got people out there who care about you Ash, don't give that shit up so easily," Tobin said and Ash just shrugged it off. "Think about Nana Harris, we're going for dinner this weekend and do you really think that she's going to just ignore that you're gonna be depressed and Ali's gonna be gone?" 

"No, and nobody's saying shit to her about it!" Ash yelled and Tobin sighed. 

"Ladies, care to tell me what's going on out here?" Both Ash and Tobin froze at the familiar sound of the assistant soccer coach, head volleyball coach, and history teacher, Carli Lloyd. "I believe you're supposed to be in gym class Ms. Harris and Tobin, nice to see you do wake up before 11." 

"Ms. Lloyd, I don't care what you do to me, but don't call my grandmother. I'm not going back to class," Ashlyn said and Carli frowned at her. "I can't go to that class. Don't make me go to that class." 

"You have to go to class Ashlyn," Carli's tone was softer as she walked both of the girls to their respective classes. The only class that Tobin really showed up for was her religion studies class, art class, and gym class. Tobin walked up to her English class, knowing that the teacher would be surprised to see her in that class. "What's going on with you today?" 

"Nothing," Ashlyn grumbled as she walked into the gym. Everybody turned to look at her and Carli, but they looked away whenever Hope got up to talk to them. 

"Harris, I thought I saw you this morning," Hope said, crossing her arms over her chest. She sniffed the air for a second before frowning, recognizing that scent easily. "Stay after class, I want to talk to you in my office. Carli, thank you for finding her." 

"No problem," Carli said and Hope smiled at the woman who had become her best friend. Ashlyn watched them curiously, almost as if both of them wanted something more in the goodbye, but were too cautious to act on it. Carli left quickly to get back to her own class and Hope walked with Ashlyn over towards the doorway of the gym. Ashlyn had played as a goalkeeper during her freshman year, which had been Hope's first year as a coach and teacher after she'd been dropped by her professional soccer team after refusing to get a surgery to fix a shoulder injury. Under Hope's training, Ashlyn had become a great goalkeeper, but then something happened during the summer before her junior year and Hope had a few less names on her roster, Ashlyn's included. It had been a hard loss, but both Hope and Ashlyn had been helping the younger goalkeepers get adjusted and Hope had found her varsity starter in Alyssa Naeher. 

"How much of your current stench has to do with why Krieger isn't in my class, but instead in O'Reilly's?" Hope asked and Ashlyn didn't say anything or even look up. "You can either get to talking or we can see how your grandmother feels about picking your ass up from the police station later?" 

"You wouldn't!" Ashlyn yelled and Hope crossed her arms in front of her chest. She knew that Hope would, that was the sort of thing that Hope Solo would do without even giving a warning, which she was extending to Ashlyn now. That was how Ashlyn, even as she was finding it more and more difficult to take anything seriously, knew that Hope didn't really want to rat her out. Hope had a soft spot for the goalkeeper, even if Ashlyn had been little more than a pain in the ass for Hope since quitting the team. But, Hope believed that the team was a family and Ashlyn, even though she wasn't on the team, deserved to continuously have that family supporting her. 

"Let's try this again shall we, what is going on with Ali?" Hope asked softly and Ashlyn looked around the gym. None of the other students were paying attention to them or close enough to eavesdrop, so Ashlyn decided that it was safe, even though most of the school would probably know soon enough that Ashlyn got dropped by Ali for having weed. What sucked was, she had just been holding onto it for Tobin, had her mandatory meeting with her parents the other day where her father had searched her car for any signs that she was doing drugs or doing anything she shouldn't have been. 

"Ali and I broke up this morning. Surely you if saw me coming in this morning, you saw her and Alex too. Can we just drop it for now?" Ashlyn asked and Hope nodded. 

"Go into my office, lay down. Sleep this off," Hope instructed and Ashlyn walked into Hope's office. She found the blanket and pillow that Hope kept in her office and laid down on the loveseat in the corner. It didn't take long for Ashlyn to fall asleep in her coach's office, smoking had always made her pretty tired. 

"Just go find somewhere else to do your work like normal Ms. Heath. I don't want you distracting everybody," the teacher said and Tobin nodded. She gathered her things and walked downstairs, sighing as she did. It made sense that her teacher didn't want her in class, she rarely got to school before her art class right before lunch. After lunch, she always went to her religious studies class with Ms. Lloyd and then she'd go straight to gym and then home. However, today, she knew she'd be stuck in the office to do her work. Normally, her teachers didn't care whether she was in her class or not, so she'd go hang out there and do the work she apparently needed to catch up on. Tobin, however, only did what was needed to technically pass her classes. 

"Tobin, what are you doing wandering around?" Abby Wambach, the teacher in charge of the kids taking college classes asked. Tobin's religious studies class was one of Abby's that she was doing with another teacher. Technically, it was Abby's class, but Carli would normally come in to teach it for her. Carli understood the criteria a lot more since it was more for the historical parts than the religious parts. Abby would normally go sit in on Carli's class that period. "I don't normally see you here before art." 

"I normally don't come to school before art," Tobin said and Abby pulled the girl aside. "Do you mind if I do my work in your classroom?" 

"Fine, but only because I know that the other students I have in here either won't be distracted or are finished with their assignments," Abby said and Tobin smiled at her teacher before following her in. Tobin looked around to see 8 other students in the room: Kelley O'Hara, Tobin and Ash's housemate, Alex Morgan, the superstar forward on the soccer team, Lauren Cheney, a girl Tobin knew from her childhood and soccer, Amy Rodriguez, another girl Tobin had known since birth essentially, Whitney Engen, a quiet girl who Tobin had seen Ashlyn hang around a bit, Allie Long, one of the girls Tobin had gotten to know through church, Alyssa Naeher, the goalkeeper that Ashlyn and Hope had trained, and another girl that Tobin didn't really recognize. She had definitely seen the other girl around the school a few times before, Tobin thought she was in her art class and maybe another one, but Tobin had never spoken to her before. 

"Toby!" Kelley yelled excitedly. She ran over to her friend and hugged her tightly. After a couple of seconds, she moved backwards, making a face at her friend. "Dude you reek. I have spray in my bag if you wanna go to the bathroom to cover it up a bit." 

"I don't really care, not like I'm leaving here until art Kel," Tobin said, sitting down next to her friend. Abby watched the girls curiously, wondering how Kelley managed to balance everything around her. Kelley was on her way to being the valedictorian, battling it out with Alex Morgan and Christen Press, yet she apparently had quite the social life and had nearly been caught doing the same things that Tobin and Ashlyn did constantly. Abby knew that Hope and Carli covered for the girls constantly, but eventually something big would happen that couldn't be swept under a rug and everybody would go down with them. 

"Mrs. Wambach, may I go to the bathroom please?" Whitney asked and Abby nodded. She noticed that the girl's phone was vibrating in her hand and knew who it was immediately. Whitney's girlfriend since freshman year, Becky Sauerbrunn had been away at college for a couple of years now and was finally going to be coming back to begin shadowing an English teacher here. 

"Tell Becky we miss her!" Kelley called out and Whitney blushed at being figured out. Abby still let the girl take the call in privacy before turning to Kelley and Tobin. 

"Kelley, I believe you had a project to finish with Christen," Abby said and Kelley nodded. She stood up and walked over to the girl that Tobin now knew was Christen Press. She knew the name well, but had never really been able to put a face to it. She had to admit, for being such a nerd that apparently had been prime pickings for many assholes all over the school, she was kind of hot. Of course, Tobin knew why they picked on her, she didn't look like she could fight back if she wanted to. She looked very fragile and Tobin decided then and there that she'd try to look out for the thin and lanky girl best she could. "Lauren, can you help Tobin figure out whatever work she's supposed to do please?" 

"Yes ma'am," Lauren said, moving towards her former church camp buddy. "Hi Tobin." 

"Hey Cheney," Tobin said and Lauren wasn't sure how to talk to her friend anymore. They were so different, Lauren had let herself focus on soccer and Jrue; Tobin didn't seem to focus on anything except for "having fun" which was really a distraction from herself. "How's your mom doing?" 

"Good, everybody misses seeing you around and at church. You should come sometime, you can sit with Amy, Jrue, and I if you want." Lauren's offer was met with contemplative silence. Lauren didn't expect Tobin to magically agree to go to church with her, but a girl could hope. "If not, you're always welcome to stop by for dinner. I'd really like to hang out sometime again. Amy would too, even if she won't say anything." 

"I didn't really leave things too well with her did I?" Tobin asked and Lauren sighed. Amy got out of her chair and sat down next to Lauren, pulling her a little ways away from Tobin. Abby noticed the exchange from her desk and had Tobin move over to sit with Christen just as Whitney was getting back. Abby didn't have to have been the head coach of the soccer team to have known that Amy and Tobin weren't on good terms. The two girls had gotten into a couple of fights since Tobin quit the team with Kelley and Ashlyn, which had been a tough loss for everybody. 

"Tobin, this is Christen. Christen, this is Tobin," Kelley introduced them and Christen offered Tobin a shy smile. Tobin replied with a smirk, which made Christen blush a bit. Tobin wasn't sure what it was, but she liked seeing the other senior blush. "Christen plays club soccer with me. She's super good, like rivals Alex good." 

"Why don't you play with the school?" Tobin asked and Christen shrugged, not looking up. "I mean, I'm sure that if you played, you wouldn't be so much of a target around here." 

"Trust me, they wouldn't," Christen said and Tobin glanced at Kelley who just frowned. "It wouldn't stop anything, so what's the point? If you don't mind, I need to finish up a couple of assignments for another class." 

"Tobin, what the fuck?" Kelley whisper-hissed as Christen got up and went to sit by Amy and Lauren. Amy glared over at Tobin, but was distracted by a comforting hand on her shoulder from Lauren. Kelley turned around and looked at her housemate, frowning as she did. "Dude, what's the deal with you and Ash today?" 

"Nothing's the deal," Tobin said and Kelley gave her a look. "I'll go apologize to her, I'm sure I'll see her later." 

"She has art with you," Kelley said and Tobin seemed surprised. "Dude, I've walked down with her countless times. The art building is across from the gym. Today, you walk her, I have to talk some sense into Ash anyways." 

"Thank you," Tobin said and Kelley nodded. "Can you help me with this? I'm totally lost." 

"You have to read the book," Kelley said and Tobin huffed. "I'm not giving you the answers, not after you probably got all of our shit wasted." 

"Yeah, I did, but it's fine. I'll get more later," Tobin said and Kelley scoffed. 

"That's not the point, you guys could have gotten arrested. If it was anybody except for Carli or Hope who had caught you," Kelley said, leaning in towards Tobin. "You can't be so reckless all the time Tobs." 

"I don't need to hear this from you of all people," Tobin hissed back at her roommate. She stood up and moved over to the corner of the room, all by herself. She wouldn't have gotten mad if Kelley hadn't been right. For the past two years, Hope and Carli had been covering her ass for practically anything. If she didn't know better, she would've assumed that it was because of them that she hadn't been expelled for missing so much school. Normally, she was good about not getting caught smoking on campus, but normally it was just cigarettes that she smoked and not weed. Lately though, Tobin had found herself not caring if she got caught, her 18th birthday was coming up soon enough and once that happened, she could drop out and do whatever she wanted without having to worry about repercussions from her parents. Tobin waited in Abby's classroom for until art came. 

"Where you going in such a hurry Pressy? Where's your little bodyguard? O'Hara musta finally come to her senses and stopped hanging around you." Tobin moved through the crowded halls to find out where Christen was. She found the other senior and the four or five guys standing around her. Tobin recognized a few idiots on the football team and then two soccer players for the boys' team. Tobin pushed through them and stood in front of Christen. "Out of my way Heath." 

"Step back ass wipe," Tobin said, pushing her finger into his chest. He was quite a bit bigger than her, but Tobin was counting on Kelley walking by soon. He laughed and shoved her aside to get to Christen. Tobin growled and then lunged at him from the side, knocking him over. Her fists pounded down on him and the rest of his little posse just stood there, unsure of what to do. They knew if they tried to pull her off of him, they'd be the next target of her fairly well-hidden fury. So, they began to back away, once Tobin noticed this, she got off of their friend, who was being pulled away by his friends. "Anybody else wanna come mess with Press now? Any takers, I could do this all day. Come on, I know you've been dying to fight somebody Serv. Or does Alex not know that you've been harrassing Press?" 

"Shut up Heath," Servando said, his voice low and hostile. 

"I'd rather not, but my point is, mess with Press and I'll come kick your ass," Tobin said before turning to the girl behind her. "Ready to go to art?" 

"You know, I think you might have made everything worse," Christen said as they started walking. "I mean, once you leave, they're gonna come back. All you did was piss them off." 

"When they come back, I'll be there to kick their asses," Tobin said with a smile. "I wanted to apologize for earlier. I've got this tendency to be a bit of an ass." 

"It's fine, you didn't know. People don't really like me, I don't know what I ever did, but it'll be that way until I can get out of here. Joining up with the soccer team wouldn't solve my problems. It wasn't a terrible suggestion though," Christen said and Tobin glanced down at the sidewalk under them. "Thank you for that back there though. You did kick his ass." 

"Do you want to sit by me?" Tobin asked and Christen nodded shyly. "My friends have a table outside if you want to sit there too. I never see you at lunch." 

"I don't normally eat in the cafeteria," Christen said as they got the fine arts building. They went into the art room and sat down at Tobin's normal table. Today was like a free day, there was always a project to work on. Normally they were themed and the students got to use whatever medium they preferred to unveil their creations. Tobin liked to paint, there was something about it that was very freeing. Tobin didn't know what Christen liked to do, Tobin realized that she didn't really know anything about Christen other than she was smart and a target for bullying by practically everybody. 

"What are you doing for this one?" Tobin asked as she got her paints ready. 

"I like sketching things. I can't really do much else honestly," Christen said, sort of sadly. "You're a really good painter." 

"You think this is good, you should see what I can do with a can of spray paint." Tobin smirked at her and Christen returned it with a small smile and a little blush. Tobin didn't know why, but whenever Christen smiled at her, she felt better than she had since she left her parents. "Maybe I'll take you to one of my spots later. What are you doing after school?" 

"Extra credit," Christen said and Tobin leaned forward on the table. "I could spare maybe an hour to go see your spot. Do you have a car or do I need to pick you up?" 

"A ride would be nice, I'm currently stuck either with Ash driving me around or getting around on my board," Tobin said and Christen nodded. "Can you skate?" 

"No, but it looks cool. Maybe one day I'll learn." Tobin sat up a little straighter, an idea popping into her head. "What's that look for?" 

"I'll teach you," Tobin said with a smile. Christen thought she looked adorable, like a child. Christen nodded and then they went back to their work. Tobin got another part of her painting done and Christen finished her project a bit earlier and then took out another sketchbook. "What's that?" 

"Nothing." Christen quickly moved the book away from Tobin. Tobin, for once, didn't push to figure out what was in the book. With any luck, showing Christen her favorite spot in the city to leave her art would bring her show Tobin. "Sorry, but nobody really gets to see what's in my sketchbooks." 

"Okay, I get it, top secret. Maybe I'll change your mind one day," Tobin flirted and Christen raised an eyebrow at her. 

"Maybe you will, maybe you won't. I'm pretty resilient Heath." 

"Well, I'm pretty damn persistent Press," Tobin said as the bell rang. Tobin and Christen walked outside to see Alex and Kelley waiting for them. As they began to walk, Servando, Alex's boyfriend caught up with them. Kelley noticed the shift in Christen and Tobin. Christen seemed to get anxious and Tobin seemed to prepare herself to fight at any moment. Kelley stepped in between Servando and Tobin, deciding that was the more important thing to stop before it could happen. If Servando was one of the assholes that liked to torment Christen, Kelley knew that as long as Alex was around, he wouldn't do shit to the quiet girl. 

"How was art guys?" Kelley asked and Christen seemed to relax a bit as she talked about her sketch. "What was the theme?" 

"We had to do something with perspective," Tobin said and Kelley nodded. "The painting is coming along well, but I might have to stop by instead of going to gym to finish it up before the deadline though." 

"Yeah, Hope's not letting that happen. She's pretty pissed at you," Alex said and Tobin huffed. "Don't worry, I heard she ripped Ash a new one this morning. Although, I'm sure she deserved it. She's been acting like a fucking idiot recently, namely today. Apparently Carli caught her smoking this morning in the parking lot." 

"She caught both of us. It would have been fine if Ali had listened to her instead of just leaving," Tobin said, getting defensive. She may be on thin ice with Ash, but she wasn't going to let anybody say shit about one of her best friends without having all of the facts first. 

"Guys, relax!" Kelley yelled and everybody got quiet. "Let's drop it for now. It's not our business, it's between Ash and Ali, last time I checked, none of us are them. When they want our say, they'll come to us and ask for it. Until then, let them deal with their own shit." 

"Right," Tobin said and Kelley huffed. She moved ahead quickly, Alex and Servando following her. Christen and Tobin stayed back a bit, no rush to get to lunch. Christen stopped by her locker to get her lunchbox, Tobin following her as she did. There were a few people lingering in the halls, but nobody approached them. However, once they got to their table, it was a different story. The same guys from earlier were standing by it, waiting for them. "Problem guys?" 

"Not at all." Tobin eyed the guy standing in the middle of them, his face bruised. 

"If I didn't hit you hard enough before, I could try again," Tobin said with a fake smile. Christen put a hand on her arm, holding her back. 

"Can't a guy just sit with his buddies? We're buddies, right Pressy?" He sat down next to Christen and put an arm around her shoulders. Tobin would have attacked him then and there, but Christen held her off with a look. She believed that he wouldn't be dumb enough to try something with Tobin sitting so close to her. Tobin cleared her throat and he removed his arm and sat up. "I'll be see you next period Pressy." 

"B-bye Rob," Christen stuttered out and he left, his friends with him. Tobin glared at him and then turned to Christen, who seemed a little shaken up. 

"That was weird," Kelley said and everybody else nodded. "What was that about?" 

"Nothing I can't handle," Christen said quietly and Tobin didn't believe her. After lunch, they went their separate ways for the time being. Tobin felt guilty for leaving Christen alone, but she had to go to her class. Abby already knew that she was at school and she was certain that somebody had already covered for her with what had happened earlier when she was defending Christen. Tobin was distracted the entirety of the class, but luckily they were currently going over the Bible, which she knew a lot about due to her upbringing. 

"Tobin, can you come here please?" Carli asked and Tobin walked over, avoiding the not-so-subtle glares from everybody else. "What's going on with you? You weren't paying attention at all, which I suppose would be normal in your other classes, but not this one." 

"I don't know, but I've got a bad feeling about something," Tobin said and Carli raised an eyebrow questioningly at her. "I tried helping her earlier and I think I made everything worse for her. She was defenseless and there were like 5 guys surrounding her, I couldn't let them gang up on her. I think I just made their little ringleader mad and he's gonna go after her again, I know it." 

"I'm sure that if you talked to the girls on the team, they'd be willing to look after her," Carli said and Tobin looked down. 

"She said it wouldn't help." Tobin looked down and shoved her hands in her pockets. 

"You know the right ones to talk to Tobin." Carli dismissed her and Tobin immediately knew who to talk to first. Luckily for her, she knew what class Lauren had after this one. She chased down her former friend and found her in the hallway, talking to Amy and a few other players. 

"Cheney, can we talk?" Tobin asked and Amy squared up, stepping between them. "It's really important." 

"Yeah, Amy relax," Lauren said, letting Tobin pull her aside. "What's up Toby?" 

"So, I tried to help somebody, but I know I made it worse. Christen Press, you know her right?" Tobin asked and Lauren nodded. "Great, maybe you could make sure that nobody's picking on her. Don't go as far as I did, but you're a good leader and if you start watching out for her, others will too. She doesn't deserve any of the shit she gets, please, but don't tell her that I told you to do this." 

"I get it, Tobin Heath's got a reputation to uphold. Your secret's safe with me and so is Christen," Lauren assured her and Tobin felt herself relax a bit. "I'll make sure the right people are looking out for her, I promise." 

"Thanks Cheney," Tobin said, hugging Lauren tightly. 

Carli walked into the gym for the third time that day. She sat down on the bleachers next to Hope, glad that she had her free period the last period of the day. Hope had everybody inside, the August heat beating down on everybody at about 100 degrees. They cancelled school when it got too cold and Hope honestly felt like it was too hot, but apparently not according to everybody else. Sure, they'd admit it was hot as hell, but Hope was suffering a bit more than everybody else it seemed. Carli nudged her friend, who was texting somebody on her phone, and from the look on her face, Carli knew exactly who it was. 

"He's still an ass I presume," Carli said and Hope nodded. "I see Heath made it to your class today." 

"Always does, but today she was late," Hope said and Carli raised an eyebrow. "Funny enough, JJ, Zach, and Syd were late too. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that would you?" 

"Maybe I do, maybe I don't," Carli said and Hope leaned back a bit. She glanced at Christen, who was using Zach as a human shield in a game of dodgeball. Carli followed Hope's line of sight and smiled a bit at the sight. Christen had a rough time, but Carli knew she was a talented soccer player from their summer club. Carli had tried to recruit the girl to playing for the school's team, but she was adamantly against it. This was the first time that Carli had seen the girl actually interacting with another student in a semi-friendly way. 

"I think something is changing with Tobin," Hope said and Carli nodded. "Can't tell if it's for the better or not yet." 

"It'll be for the better, how she gets to that point though, up for debate," Carli said and Hope nodded. She pointed over to the football player sitting on the bleachers. "What happened to him?" 

"Won't say, but I think it's got Heath written all over it," Hope said and Carli raised an eyebrow. "Look at her knuckles." 

"She's a fighter," Carli said with a small chuckle and Hope sighed. "There's always a reason we don't understand with her. I mean, there were reasons with you too." 

"Fair enough," Hope said, putting an arm around Carli. Carli pushed her back with a chuckle and Hope pouted. "Fine, I see how it is." 

"Keep it professional Solo." Carli winked and Hope scoffed. They went back to watching the game between the kids. Somebody managed to get Zach out and Christen was left defenseless. That's when Hope noticed how the girl moved, her side was hurt. Tobin, who'd been sitting out for quite some time now after throwing the ball and nailing the football player in the face, caught on immediately as well. There were a few guys on the other side and Christen was the last left on her side. Tobin ran onto the court and tried to shield Christen from the balls, but was a bit too late. Both balls hit, one hitting her side and rocking and the other hitting her legs and tripping her. Tobin caught her at the last minute though, helping her up. 

"Tobin, bring her here," Hope said loudly and Tobin moved Christen over to Hope. "What happened?" 

"Nothing, I don't know what you're talking about," Christen said and Hope gave her a look. "It's from an earlier class, I tripped and fell. Must have hit my side on the table harder than I thought." 

"Bullshit!" Tobin yelled and Christen sighed. "Was it Rob?" 

"Tobin, this isn't your problem, it's mine," Christen said and Tobin crossed her arms. "Why do you care so much anyway?" 

"I don't know!" Tobin yelled, frustrated. She avoided Christen until the bell rang, when the other girl followed her to the parking lot and Ash's Jeep. "What are you doing?" 

"We had plans, but I get it if you don't want to go," Christen said and Tobin walked with her. 

"I still wanna go," Tobin said and Christen nodded. She let Tobin put her board in the backseat of her car and they started driving. Tobin gave her directions to an abandoned building downtown, one of the walls decorated in a half-finished mural. 

"It's beautiful Tobin," Christen said and Tobin shrugged the compliment off. She had never really been all that good at accepting compliments about things like this from others. "Thank you for today, it meant a lot. I've never had anybody stand up for me. Rob's always gonna be an asshole though, but thank you anyways." 

"He'll stop, I'll make him," Tobin promised and Christen smiled at her. She didn't believe he really would, but Tobin would keep trying and that meant everything to Christen. In the course of a few hours, Christen had managed to find somebody she could call a friend and it felt amazing. "What did he do to you before gym? I want the truth this time." 

"He sat by me, let me do my work like normal, and then all of the sudden, he put his arm around me. I thought it was weird, but he told me to keep quiet so I did. That's when he started squeezing and squeezing. Eventually he let go and then left me alone for the rest of the day," Christen said and Tobin clenched her fists. "It's fine, he could have done a lot worse." 

"Nobody is going to do worse to you ever again, I promise you that. Anybody tries to hurt you again and they'll have me and a whole lot more coming for them," Tobin said and Christen's eyes started watering. "What's wrong?" 

"It's a lot to get used to, having somebody standing up for me," Christen said and Tobin didn't know what to do. Christen quickly moved to hug Tobin, but she moved away when Tobin didn't hug her back. "Sorry." 

"It's fine, I mean, friends hug right?" Tobin asked and Christen nodded. 

"I guess, I've never really had any before you." Christen let Tobin hug her this time before they got back in the car. Christen drove Tobin home, the other girl lingering in the car for a moment.

"Here's my number," Tobin said, writing down a phone number and handing it over to Christen. "Call or text me if you want to talk or hang out. I'll see tomorrow, maybe I'll even get to school on time." 

"I can pick you up if you want," Christen said and Tobin nodded. "I'll call you when I leave then." 

"Sounds like a plan," Tobin said and Christen nodded. Tobin got her board and backpack before going back inside. Christen drove off and Tobin turned around to see Kelley and Ashlyn looking at her. "What?" 

"Who was that?" Ashlyn asked and Kelley took a step towards Tobin for a moment. "Or is more of a who is she question Tobs?" 

"Yeah Tobs, who is she?" Kelley asked, already knowing the answer. 

"Just a new friend," Tobin said and Ashlyn and Kelley exchanged looks. "What have you been doing?" 

"About to start a game," Ashlyn said and Kelley handed Tobin a controller. Tobin sat on the couch with her friends and Ashlyn started the game. They sat and played for hours, neither of them talking about anything too heavy until they were finished. "Sorry if I was an ass earlier." 

"It's fine, we're all allowed to be asses sometimes," Kelley said and Tobin nodded. "At the end of the day, as long as we don't forget that we've got each other, everything will be fine." 

"I love you guys," Tobin said, pulling her friends into a hug. 

"Love you too Tobs," Ashlyn and Kelley said. 

"Let's get something to eat," Tobin said and Ashlyn grabbed her keys as Kelley grabbed her wallet. As they walked out of the house together, Tobin smiled, she had to admit that she felt pretty lucky to have the friends she did because at the end of the day, they'd be there for her.