THIRTY-THREE, 2.0

“Don’t get high on your own supply,” Peter said.

“That’s the last cliche thing you can say in my pad.” Axl turned to Lana. “I didn’t picture your boyfriend as a nerd, girl.”

“What can I say, I like the weird ones.” Lana laughed, that maniacal, I’m in charge laugh that drove Peter nuts. He questioned his own choice of words, decided to let it go for now.

He’d cry-yell at Lana in the car later.

Crying was the only thing that seemed to break through the frozen heart of hers.

As they walked out to the car, Peter behind Lana, Axl, and Byron, Peter tried to soak in the night sky. He’d heard many times that the higher you are, the more weed you smoke, the brighter the stars appear, but above him now were only clouds.

Peter piled in the backseat, tried to put his arm around Lana, but she shifted in her seat and leaned forward to continue joking with Axl and Byron. She’d claimed to have only slept with Axl once, no big deal, but she was flirting and laughing with him now in a way that just didn’t feel right to Peter.

He missed that part of their relationship, a part that seemed to have died two months ago. The part where he could say or do anything and she would laugh because there’s nothing else in the world more important than each other. But maybe that’s just high school.

They drove through the neighborhood and stopped at a gas station. Axl and Byron went inside while Peter and Lana stayed in the car. “Don’t fuck this up, Peter. That’s a shit-load of weed they gave us, so just hold onto it and we’ll smoke it later.”

“Why are we still with them?”

“Just hang loose a little longer, they’re chill.”

Axl and Byron piled back in, chugging sodas and lighting up cigarettes. Axl pulled out of the gas station, down an alley, and stopped. “Let’s smoke a blunt before the night is done, right kids?”

Peter heard Lana laugh her stupid laugh, and realized they weren’t going to get through this without smoking. “Shit yeah, Peter give him the stuff.”

But Peter could give two shits, he just sat there for two minutes, arms crossed, Byron reaching for his pockets, feeling tears welling up behind his eyes. Axl’s face grew dark. “Give me the stuff you little shit.”

He practically snarled as he reached into the back seat, hand around Peter’s neck, choking out his oxygen. Peter smiled, wishing he could laugh a stupid laugh as he stared into Lana’s frightened eyes.

Then she did let out a laugh, and it was the first thing Peter would remember the next morning when he woke up curbside, alone, and without his new bag of weed.

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