Andy Squared

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Authors: Jennifer Lavoie
pinpoint why he felt disappointed. Because Ryder wouldn’t tell him which guy he’d been watching? It wasn’t any of his business if Ryder didn’t want to share. But they’d been hanging out so much, it felt like Ryder would tell him before he’d tell anyone else.
    Oh well.
    Andrew shrugged it off and they talked idly for another thirty minutes before the snow finally slowed enough for them to go out. As they walked out into the silent, late morning, Ryder dropped a hand on his shoulder.
    â€œThanks for listening. It felt good to get it off my chest.”
    â€œAnytime, Ryder. It’s really okay.”

    *

    The boys rode in from the field after two hours of riding to warm up and get something to eat. Andrew’s body ached in places he never thought possible, and Ryder teased him mercilessly as Andrew slid off Magpie and stumbled.
    â€œAnd you thought you had strong legs.” He laughed, still sitting astride Cobalt. Magpie nickered softly and nudged Andrew’s back pocket. He pulled out a sugar cube and held it out for her.
    â€œShe’s going to get fat with all the sugar she eats,” Andrew said.
    â€œAnd you’re changing the subject yet again.”
    Ryder dismounted more gracefully than Andrew had, prompting a slight twinge of jealousy. Even though Ryder had been riding forever, and this was only his second day, he still hated being shown up.
    â€œYou’re doing really well with guiding the horse, but your form when you trot? It sucks. You bounce all over the saddle. You’re going to fall off if you go any faster.”
    â€œShut up,” Andrew responded as they put the riding gear back in the tack room and headed inside.
    â€œI’m trying to help!”
    Mrs. Kensington stood in the kitchen again, adding some spices to a soup when they stomped in. “Boots. Off,” she commanded before they could track mud into the rest of the house. They sat on the floor and pulled the boots off, dumped them at the door, and then ran up to Ryder’s room.
    â€œWe can go back out for another ride later,” Ryder said, flopping back on his bed. Andrew sat on the edge of it gingerly; clothes and books littered the desk chair, preventing him from taking a seat there. “The horses need a rest.”
    â€œScrew the horses. I need a rest. My ass is sore.”
    Ryder snorted and grabbed a pillow. He pulled it against him and curled up on his side. “Think Andrea would like riding?”
    â€œI don’t know. She might. She likes horses, but never asked for lessons.”
    â€œIs she feeling better?”
    â€œBetter enough to be a witch about Danielle.” And continue bothering him about college plans. She needed to lay off.
    â€œIsn’t that the job of a sister?” Ryder nudged him with his foot.
    â€œYeah, I guess it is.”
    Ryder’s room was directly over the kitchen, and they could smell the fresh bread baking in the stove. The room itself, aside from the messy desk and chair, was clean and neat with light brown walls. The comforter and pillows on the bed were black, and the rest of the furniture was cherry-stained pine. On the desk sat Ryder’s computer, the screen black. A stack of CDs balanced next to it, with crumpled paper scattered across the top. A few more sheets made it into the small garbage can under the desk.
    Andrew noticed the bookcase in the corner, stuffed completely with books of all sizes. “Are all of those yours?”
    â€œYeah. Brought them up with me.”
    â€œI didn’t know you liked to read. I’ve never seen you read outside of class.”
    â€œWell, when we’re hanging out, would you want me to sit there and do nothing but read?” Andrew didn’t have to think about it and shook his head. “There you go.”
    Ryder pushed himself up on one elbow, resting his head in his hand, with the other arm draped over the pillow. Andrew glanced back at him but

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