Astor stepped off the bus, her hands full of papers. "The guidance
counselor signed me up for all the stadard classes, but she said I
could pick my elective." "I can't believe it." Andie shook her head
as she hopped off the bus after her. "Why? I got to pick my
electives before. I mean I only get one, since I have to make up
all the classes I missed, but one is better than nothing. I mean,
atleast-" "No, I mean I can't believe I'm friends with a junior. A
junior in highschool." She shook her head again and followed Astor
up the steps to her apartment building. "I know. You must feel so
inferior." "Oh, ha ha." She shoved Astor into the lobby, pulling
the door shut behind her. "Seriously though, it just feels icky.
Like I'm somehow... tainting you. Like maybe I should be checking
behind your ears... Or making sure you eat your vegetables.
Definetely not taking you to art classes where we stare at naked
men for an hour." "Tainting me?" Astor snorted and started up the
three flights to her apartment. "You're probably the best influence
I have at this point, Andie. But that class was a bad idea. I was
terrified to look any lower than his belly button." "You weren't
missing much. But seriously, a high school drop out, who moves
every other month to run away from a string of bad boyfriends, all
while trying to keep her minimum wage job? That sounds like a good
role model? Damn girl, you must hang out with some really shady
people." "We aren't that different. I move every couple of months."
"Until this past year." "I have a minimum wage job." "You're also
seventeen and a high school drop out." "Until now." Astor grinned
and waved the papers in Andie's face. "You should get your G.E.D.
You aren't too old to go to college." "Psh." Andie shook her head.
"I hate everything about school. I don't understand how you can be
so excited." Astor shook her head as she stomped up the stairs. "I
love school. I love everything abvout it. Not a day has gone by
this past year, that I haven't thought about going back." "That's
pathetic." Astor grinned. "I had to quit to take care of my mom. I
didn't have a choice. But now she's better. It's been almost a year
and she's working the program, she's going to her meetings and
staying clean... She has a job interview on Wensday, Andie." Astor
stopped and turned to face her. "She's getting her life together
and now I can pick mine back up." Andie smiled and nodded her head.
"And no one deserves that chance more than you." They reached the
third floor landing and looked up to find the door ajar. Andie
pulled her phone from her bag and dialed 911, before passing the
phone to Astor. "Get ready to hit send." "Yeah." Astor followed
close behind her, her heart in her throat. As slowly as she was
able, Andie used her foot to wedge the door open wider, until it
stood wide open. Astor moved around her to look and froze. "Astor
hit send." "No." She pressed the phone into Andie's hand and moved
slowly to kneel by her mothers body. She rolled her on to her back
and for the first time in the last couple of minutes, took a
breath. "She's alive. She's just high." Her mother shifted
restlessly and a small needle fell from her grasp. Using her boot,
Astor kicked it aside. "Astor." "It's alright Andie. I know him
too." She scooted closer to the second body and grunted as she
rolled him to his side. "He's..." She wiped the sweat from her brow
and sighed. "His name is Teddy. He was- well... is... one of her
dealers." Astor stared at the back of his head for a moment, before
standing. "Help me roll him outside the apartment. I don't want him
waking up in here." "Astor..." Andie shook her head, her face pale,
and pointed a finger at his face. Astor moved so she could see and
fell back. "Oh God." His lifeless eyes stared back at them.
"He's... he must have..." "He's dead." Astor nodded and wiped her
hands on her jeans. "It's okay." She pushed herself up. "We just
need to figure out a way to get him out of here before someone sees
him. Andie, will you-" She turned back to find Andie on the phone.
"Andie!" She snatched the phone from her hand and turned it off.
"What were you doing?" "We need the police, Astor." "No." She took
the battery out of the phone and handed them back to Andie.
"They'll take her away, Andie. We can't let that happen." "She
needs help. You can't do this for her, Astor. She needs like...
professional help." "Proffessional help? Like rehab?" "Yeah." "And
what of me? I'm a minor, Andie. What do you think happens to
minors?" "Don't you have family or-" "No. I have no one. No one but
her." Andie shook her head, tears streaming down her cheeks. "I'm
sorry. They're on their way. I'm sorry." Astors face blanched.
"Why?" She shook her head as her eyes began to tear. "I'm so
sorry." "Get out." "Astor, don't-" "Get out!" She shoved her
towards the door, then kept shoving her until she was outside. Then
she slammed the door in her face.
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