Free Sidekick by Natalie Whipple

Book: Sidekick by Natalie Whipple Read Free Book Online
Authors: Natalie Whipple
Tags: Contemporary
school, which I’m not, I should be able to hang out with whoever I want,” he says after Tucker shuts the door.
    “True, but you have to accept others will see it as a sign of weakness. You should have heard Dallas. He would have totally trashed your reputation if I didn’t stop him. There are plenty of guys who want your spot, just like they want Mercedes, and they won’t be such benevolent rulers.”
    “Damn, you sound like my cunning advisor.”
    “Hell, yeah.” 
    We start on the next level and Garr sighs. “I’m so sick of this shit. When am I allowed to just be myself?”
    “You can be yourself all you want right now.” I laugh, knowing exactly how to make him chill out. “You can even talk about how you want to marry your AP math homework if you want. I won’t judge.”
    He kicks my leg. “Don’t make me tell everyone how much you love James Taylor and how you sing ‘Sweet Baby James’ in the shower.”
    My eyes narrow to slits, but I don’t take them off the screen. “Shut up.”
    It always comes back to James, though I like plenty of other “oldies” artists. Jim Croce, Credence Clearwater Rival, and Fleetwood Mac. All of which sound slightly cooler than James Taylor.
    My dad loves the oldies, too, and I guess that’s where it all started. He says the songs remind him of his dad, who died before I was born. And now he’s passed the affinity on to me. When he’s home, he blasts everything from the Beatles to Bread to Dan Fogelberg. On road trips he insists it’s all we listen to, since “no road trip is complete without oldies.” I don’t know what it is, but that music makes me feel better. You can’t feel bad listening to “Here Comes the Sun” or “How Sweet It Is.” It’s real music. Songs that tell stories that feel like they could happen even now. I’ve tried listening to current music, and it never beats the classics for me.
    It makes me sound like an old man, which is why I keep my mouth shut about how much I hate rap. What jock hates rap?
    “Take me home, country road…” Garr starts singing off-key.
    I take a zombie’s head off in one shot. “That’s John Denver, you idiot.”
    “You actually know ? Why am I your friend again?”
    “That’s it. We’re done.” I drop the controller and let a zombie eat him.
    “Hey!” He busts up laughing. “Don’t make me post pictures of those extremely short swim trunks you wore when we went to that cabin by the lake.”
    “My mom packed the wrong ones!” I shove him. “I seem to remember a very unfortunate incident about you losing your trunks diving into said lake. I’m sure all of Facebook would love to know that story.”
    His eyes widen. “I almost forgot about that. And you hunted them down for me while I hid under the dock.”
    I nod. I’ve never told a soul that happened, and I never will. This is why we’re best friends—we know all the embarrassing crap about each other and it doesn’t matter. We make sure no one else sees that stuff.
    That’s the thing about being popular: one false move and it’s all over. People are waiting for you to screw up, so you have to make sure they never have a chance to realize what a loser you really are. That’s all popularity is—pretending to be cool. No one is actually cool.
    “I thought it’d be nice to be with Keira, but she kind of made fun of me.”
    He nods. “I don’t get her. One second she’s nice, and the next she’s telling me I’m a dumb jock.”
    His words should give me comfort, but they don’t. I know him too well. “Which means you’re only gonna try harder.”
    He smiles. “Maybe.”
    Garret can only stay away from his homework for so long. After a couple more games he kicks me out, and I head back home just before dinner, determined to ignore my own homework for as long as possible.
    When I open the front door, I freeze. Keira’s on my couch watching TV, her hair in two long braids. But that’s not the strangest part.

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