Phil had to blink rapidly when he saw Kennedy get on the bus. The summer had been very, very good to her. She was wearing her jet black hair down, instead of in a ponytail the way that she had when he left for juvie. She was also wearing tight jeans and a very tight tank top, the very existence of her bra a mystery to no one.
Yet it was her eyes that stood out the most. They were a bright shade of brown, which Phil had always liked, but they were now rimmed lightly with black eyeliner. The expression in them was different too. She knew things now. He guessed he had known things at almost-fifteen too.
When she grinned at him, he knew that she knew that she was happy to see him. She slid into the seat next to him and gave him a hug. Their friend Shawn sat in the seat across from them, and gestured for them to meet over the center aisle.
“Welcome back, Philly. When did they bus you in?” Shawn asked, not breaking eye contact with Kennedy.
“Yesterday.” Phil said, slapping Kennedy’s thigh to break the spell between them.
Shawn grinned. “You back with a foster?”
“Even better.” Shawn said.
“Fuck, dude. You already trying to get me into trouble?”
“Nah, nah. It’s just a party, you chicken.”
Phil and Kennedy threw their heads backwards into their seat at the same time, then saw this and laughed. Phil felt a rush of warmth for his friend, who was still his friend even if she was a Hot Girl now. She still wore her satin choker around her neck. He had missed her.
“Oh, come on y’all. Parties aren’t that bad!”
“No, one isn’t so bad. But we’ve gone to five in the last week!” Kennedy protested.
Phil was shocked but said nothing. But of course she would be going to parties now.
“Those were end of summer parties. This is a back to school party.” Shawn reasoned.
Phil considered this. “Where is it?”
Shawn’s handsome brown face twisted into a jack o’ lantern grin. “Barn.”
Phil felt his blood run cold for a moment. He wasn’t sure what parties Kennedy had been to, but barn parties got pretty dangerous. There wasn’t anybody around for miles, which made them appealing, but they were dangerous for him, and he was a scrappy almost 17-year-old boy who could hold his own in a fight. Not that Kennedy couldn’t, but between the drinking, and there being guys from all ages, some who went to other schools, and some who were in college, both of which would make them unidentifiable to the three, he was nervous.
“That’s a terrible idea, Shawn.” Kennedy said in that straightforward way that she had.
“Aw, come on! We’ll take care of you, Miss Van Zandt!”
“Sorry Shawn. I agree. It’s stupid.” Phil sighed internally as he backed Kennedy up.
Shawn looked shocked. “Y’all are the two most cowardly people I have ever met in my life.”
Kennedy rolled her eyes. “Oh-fucking-well.”
Shawn looked to Phil for help. He gave him The Look. Phil groaned internally, because he knew that that meant that this was important to Shawn, who had come to visit him in juvie several times. He owed him.
Phil turned to Kennedy. “Orphan Annie, we should go.”
Kennedy looked between the two of them in disbelief. “Fine, but I’m wearing this.”
Phil had watched her shimmy up to the haymow, but he didn’t realize that he was following her until he was up there. Kennedy had turned around in surprise, and smirked. She knew. She knew things now.
Neither of them knew enough to think about consequences, though.
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