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i was always ten feet behind you from the start

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True to her word, Rue starts to make amends with everyone after her second stint in rehab. Ali forgiving her was the spark of hope she needed to at least try. 

Rue wouldn’t blame anyone if they didn’t want to see her or talk to her ever again. But, interestingly enough, most people seem receptive. 

It’s going to take time with Gia and her mom. There’s doubt and distrust lingering that will probably never fully go away, and even if it does, it’s going to take a long time. Rue has a lot of work to do. But family is family. They’re not going anywhere. Rue’s grateful for that.

Maddy and Kat are easy. And to be fair, it’s not like they were ever close enough to Rue to get seriously hurt. Maddy’s almost grateful that Rue dropped the Nate-and-Cassie bomb when she did.

As far as Cassie herself, Rue knows one day they will probably have some sort of talk, but after hearing how she tried to humiliate her sister by jumping on stage during her play, she’s not exactly a priority. The fact that Cassie is still hanging out with Nate doesn’t help either.

It’s tricky with Fez, considering he’s now locked up in some jail, awaiting a trial for crimes he both did and didn’t commit. Rue writes him a letter and hopes that it makes it to him. (It does.)

Elliot is the epitome of a bad influence, regardless of his intentions, so Rue decides to block his number instead of giving him an apology. She’s pretty sure that he would understand.

After that, only Jules and Lexi are left.

 


 

Apologizing to Jules is rough, but Rue gets through it. They sit on the blonde’s bed as they talk. There’s tears, there’s laughing, a few tense moments, but eventually it’s done. Rue isn’t sure if they will be friends (or more) ever again, but she’s feeling content with everything.

“Anyone else left?” Jules asks, knowing all too well that the other girl likely had an entire list of people to make amends with. 

“Yeah. Lex,” Rue mumbles.

The other girl slowly nods, “Saving the hardest for last?”

“Something like that,” Rue plays with her hands, “I don’t even know where to start. There’s a lot of history there.”

“You never really talk about it. I forget you two have been friends forever.”

“Yeah, hence the history.”

Jules clears her throat, “She had a lot of scenes in her play about you. I mean, I assume they were about you. It was pretty obvious who her characters were based on.”

Rue never thought in a million years that she would be bummed out about missing a school play, but her rehab stay had ultimately prevented her from attending. 

“She sent me the script before I…” Rue trails off, “I’ve honestly been too scared to read it.”

An awkward silence settles between the two, making Rue increasingly uneasy. There was once a time when she thought it was impossible to feel awkward around the girl in front of her.

Jules shifts, pulling her knees closer to her body, “Did you two ever like…”

It only takes a few seconds for Rue to realize what the other girl is insinuating. 

“Uh no,” Rue says almost too quickly, “I mean… no. Not really, no.”

The blonde raises an eyebrow, “Not really and no are two very different answers here.” She lets a small smile slip out, eliminating any building tension and it almost makes Rue feel like they are bantering like normal. Almost.

Rue sighs, “After everything with my dad, Lexi was really there for me. I mean, she was always there for me. It felt different, though. But then I started taking pills. There’s a lot of things I don’t really remember. It’s like none of the good mattered because of the bad.” Rue clears her throat, fleeting memories of a practice kiss coming to mind, “I don’t know if I’m making any sense.”

The silence is back, but it’s not nearly as awkward as it should be.

“I think,” Jules says quietly, “that you never fully dealt with your dad’s death. And maybe that wasn’t the only thing you never dealt with.”

It’s weird coming from Jules, all things considered, but it makes sense.

“She’s the closest thing I have to a best friend and I don’t even know who she is anymore,” Rue lets out a laugh, “Like, I had no idea she was into theater.”

Jules tilts her head to the side, “So, get to know her again.” 

She says it like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. Rue nods. More silence.

“You know, we’ve only known each other for less than a year…” Jules mumbles, “I can’t even imagine how Lexi feels.”

That’s the thing. Neither can Rue.

 


 

Rue can’t sleep. After spending at least an hour staring at the ceiling, she finally decides to give up on trying. She sits up and pulls her laptop over from her nightstand. After a few clicks, she opens an email with a single line of text accompanied by an attachment.

Let me know what you think!

It’s dated months ago at this point. Despite the overwhelming guilt, Rue takes a deep breath and opens the attachment.

Considering Rue hasn’t even read an entire book in years, the speed at which she finishes Lexi’s play is lightning fast. She goes through a series of emotions that range from happiness to sadness and everything in between. 

She sends a quick reply before rolling over and finally falling asleep. 

This is really beautiful. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to see it in person.

 


 

Rue stops by her locker after third period to ditch her absurdly heavy history book, feeling thankful that there are only a a couple of weeks left before summer break. Her thoughts are interrupted when a voice behind her startles her.

“You were up late last night,” Lexi says, moving to lean against the locker next to Rue’s.

“Hey,” Rue replies nervously, “Yeah, I uh, couldn’t really sleep.”

“That’s the worst,” Lexi smiles hesitantly. Theres a brief pause before she continues, “So did you really like the play? Or were you just being nice.”

Rue frowns at the suggestion, “No, I really liked it. I, um, was actually going to see if you wanted to, like, hangout after school. Or something.”

“Oh,” Lexi pushes herself off of the locker, “Like, today?”

“If you want…”

“Yeah. Totally,” Lexi says, looking a bit surprised.

Rue smiles, “Okay cool, I’ll see you later then.”

“Okay.”

 


 

Apologizing to Lexi is easier than Rue anticipated, probably because Lexi is just that good of a person. They end up talking about a lot of things; the past, the play, their fathers, and even Jules and Fez. Rue isn’t sure how she feels about the Lexi and Fez thing, but considering his arrest, she doesn’t linger on the thought. 

When Rue eventually walks home later that evening, she vows to herself that she’s going to be the best possible friend to Lexi, even if it’s the last thing she does. 

 


 

Rue isn’t sure that she exactly likes sobriety, but it has its perks. Besides the fact that it was just the easier choice after all of the chaos of the past year, going to her NA meetings and therapy consistently have helped. She feels lighter, even if it’s only by a minimal amount. 

She finally learns how to drive, which feels oddly liberating even though she doesn’t have her own car. Leslie even lets Lexi take her out to an empty parking lot a few times to help teach her, which results in the two of them doubled over laughing every time, especially during Rue’s early attempts to parallel park.

After a couple of months, Rue starts filling out applications for part-time jobs around town and Leslie places a packet with information about the local community college on the kitchen table one morning. 

“Only if you’re interested, there’s no pressure right now,” she says, kissing the top of Rue’s head.

Senior year is about to start, so Rue figures it doesn’t hurt to flip through the pamphlet once. (Or twice. Or a few times.)

 


 

Rue hates bowling. Always has, always will. She hates the worn shoes, dirty tables, cheesy animations, and the musty smell of the alley. But Lexi’s dropped enough hints lately about wanting to go, so Rue finally caves. 

Apparently, Lexi has grown up to be an excellent bowler. And even though she’s kicking Rue’s ass, Rue can’t help but smile every time her friend turns around in excitement when she gets a strike. It’s cute.

After Rue’s fifth gutter ball in a row, though, she’s just about had it. She turns around in a huff, walking back just far enough to turn and watch the animation appear on screen, mocking her latest turn.

“These assholes,” Rue mutters, gesturing at the screen, “I’m getting bullied by animated bowling pins. You know that, right?”

Lexi giggles for a moment before looking at Rue so intently that it makes Rue’s face feel warm. 

Rue blinks, “What? Something on my face?”

“No, I just…” Lexi pauses for a moment, “I missed this.”

Rue doesn’t need her to specify what this is because she gets it. It’s not the bowling. It’s them. They’re back in their groove. 

“Me too.”

Lexi takes this as a cue to stand up for her next turn. Rue doesn’t move out of her way though, instead, she pulls Lexi in for a hug. Rue’s never been very touchy-feely so it seems to catch Lexi off guard for a moment, but she quickly recovers and wraps her arms around the other girl.

Eventually they break apart, and maybe it’s the lighting, but Rue swears that Lexi’s face looks redder than it did before.

“What was that for?” Lexi asks. 

“Just, thank you. For still being here,” Rue clarifies before clearing her throat, not wanting to get too deep, “Alright, it’s your last turn. Time to finish kicking my ass.”

Lexi rolls her eyes playfully as she steps up to the lane. Naturally, she ends her set on a respectable spare. The monitor flashes an animation of bowling pins inexplicably playing baseball before text spelling out Winner! appears on the screen. 

“Looks like they love me,” Lexi jokes, nodding at the screen.

Rue can’t help but smile, “Who could blame them?”

 


 

Time flies by and suddenly, it’s November. 

Rue bikes over to Lexi’s for dinner, which has become routine for them at least a few times a week.

They head up to Lexi’s room, where Rue sprawls out on the couch while Lexi sits on her bed.

“How was drama club?” Rue asks.

Lexi tucks a stand of hair behind her ear, “Good. We’re starting to talk about the spring play. They want to do auditions earlier than we did last year.”

“Are you going to be writing it again?”

“Doubt it,” Lexi chuckles, “After Cassie’s little interruption, I think Oklahoma! is back on the table.”

“Fuck Oklahoma!” Rue deadpans, “And, I’m sorry, but fuck Cassie for that too.”

Things with Cassie aren’t nearly as hostile anymore, after all, it’s been seven months since the public outburst. But there’s still a distance between the sisters, literally and figuratively, considering Cassie’s now at college several hours away.

Lexi sighs, “I don’t know. Maybe she was right all along. Am I just jealous she’s, like, the attractive sister?”

“No,” Rue replies, pausing for a moment before continuing, “And, you know, not everyone thinks that.”

“Thinks what?”

“That Cassie’s the attractive one.”

Lexi doesn’t have time to respond because suddenly her phone rings, interrupting the moment. Rue doesn’t know if she should be relieved or not. 

“Sorry, just give me a second,” Lexi says sheepishly, standing up and walking towards the door, seemingly heading downstairs to take the call.

Rue hears ‘Hello?’ and ‘Yes, I’ll accept the charges’ before the other girl’s voice fades out of range. It takes Rue a minute to think about who could possibly be calling her friend that would require additional charges, but once she does, she feels her stomach drop. 

Lexi returns a few minutes later, sitting back down on her bed as if she never left.

“Was that… Fez?” Rue asks, brow furrowed. 

“Yeah,” Lexi replies, almost too casually.

“Uh, you talk to him?”

Lexi frowns, “I mean, sometimes. When he can…”

Rue’s eye’s narrow, “When he can?”

Rue isn’t sure how to process what she’s hearing. How did she not realize that her best friend was still talking to Fez? Why didn’t Lexi ever say anything?

“It’s not that often,” Lexi adds, “It gets expensive for him to call anyone.”

“So you’re like, what, his girlfriend on the outside?” Rue says, a bit meaner than intended. 

Lexi looks confused, “Why are you being weird?”

“I’m not. I just don’t know why you would spend months talking to a guy who isn’t getting out of prison anytime soon.”

“That guy used to be one of your best friends,” Lexi challenges, “He doesn’t have many people to talk to.”

Rue lets out a harsh laugh, “Oh, right, and you just happen to be one of them?”

The thought of Lexi and Fez together makes Rue want to puke. There was once a time where she would tell herself that she wasn’t sure why. But today, deep down, she knows.

Lexi takes a moment, then squints at her, “Are you jealous or something?”

Rue freezes. Lexi’s never been one to throw anything in her face, and logically, she could mean that statement in a variety of ways. Maybe she’s asking if Rue is jealous that she got to talk to Fez, when Rue hasn’t spoken to him in a long time. Maybe she meant it on a friend level, asking if Rue is annoyed she took a phone call while they were supposed to be hanging out. 

But that doesn’t feel like the intent. And that’s not how Rue takes it. 

“You know what? I gotta go,” Rue mutters, hastily grabbing her notebook and backpack. The momentary silence is deafening. 

“Wait, Rue,” Lexi tries to get up, but the other girl is already out the bedroom door and flying down the front staircase. 

 


 

Rue feels like she’s going to burst if she doesn’t try to talk about what’s been going on with her. She hasn’t talked to Lexi in days and, for obvious reasons, she isn’t an option to confide in. Unfortunately for Rue, she doesn’t really trust anyone else to keep their mouth shut about this, not even Gia. 

The universe must be feeling sorry for her though, because as she enters the lunchroom, she spots Jules sitting alone. Which is unusual, because Elliot typically sits across from her every day. Scanning the open space, she can’t spot the boy in line either.

“Fuck it,” she mumbles to herself, heading over to Jules’ table.

Jules is hunched over her homework when Rue approaches, so she clears her throat to make her presence known. 

“Hey,” the blonde says, glancing up from her work.

“Hey,” Rue replies, “Can I join you?”

“Sure,” Jules answers, looking slightly skeptical.

Rue doesn’t blame her. While they’ve remained friendly and on relatively good terms, it’s not like the two of them talk much. Typically, they only interact if they get invited to the same party or have to for class.

Rue sits down anyways, “I’m sorry to bother you, I just…I don’t really have anyone else I can talk to right now.”

Jules shoots her a mildly sympathetic look, “Okay, what’s up?”

Rue cracks her knuckles, “Um, I was kind of an asshole to Lexi.”

This actually earns a chuckle from the blonde girl, “What else is new?”

Rue scoffs, “Hey, I’ve been really nice to her. For months.”

Jules raises an eyebrow, “Did you finally figure out all that history between you two?”

Rue rolls her eyes, “Can you not?”

“Fine. Sorry,” Jules sits up, adjusting her posture, “Well, why were you an asshole?”

“Fez called her. I didn’t realize they were still in touch and I guess I got… ” Rue trails off, not wanting to even admit it out loud. 

Jules looks extremely amused, “So, what did you say?”

“I was just giving her shit for talking to him. Then she asked me if I was jealous and… I left.”

“Wow. Go Lexi,” Jules remarks.

Go Lexi?” Rue mimics, confused.

“Yeah. I didn’t know she had it in her. Sometimes it’s good for people to call you out on your shit.”

Rue rolls her eyes again, “Okay, well, now I don’t know what to do.”

“Apologize?”

“And say what?”

“You could try telling her how you feel,” the blonde offers.

“It’s not that easy,” Rue insists, “I don’t want to fuck things up.”

“See, this is your problem. You never just say what you’re thinking.”

“That’s not true!”

Jules nods, “Yes, it is. The reason we had issues, well, one of the reasons we had issues, was because we couldn’t communicate. Neither of us really said what we wanted or didn’t want. Especially you.”

Rue huffs in response, but she doesn’t argue. Jules takes it as a sign to continue.

“If you have feelings for her, you should tell her. Because this whole moody thing,” Jules gestures at Rue, “Is not a good look.”

Rue slumps down in her seat, taking a moment to consider the other girl’s words. 

“What if she doesn’t feel the same?” 

“Then you know. You move on. But honestly,” Jules looks past Rue, nodding towards something behind the other girl, “I really don’t think that’s the case.”

Rue turns around just in time to catch a glimpse of Lexi looking at them from across the lunchroom for a moment before swiftly exiting through a set of double doors.

 


 

There’s a party tonight. 

Strangely enough, Rue doesn’t really mind going to parties sober anymore. It’s entertaining for her to watch everyone get wasted and act like idiots while she’s still of sound mind. Most of the time she has Lexi by her side, her unofficial sober companion, and she thinks they usually wind up having more fun than anyone else by the end of the night. 

But, all things considered, Rue decides to stay home this time. She curls up on her bed, laptop open next to her. 

She can barely even finish a few episodes of some vapid reality television show before her phone starts going off.

Kat: Rueeeeeee

Kat: are you coming tn?

After Maddy graduated, Rue and Kat were able to get closer. (Granted, the four classes a day they share together may have had an impact.)

Rue’s not in the mood though, so she ignores the messages. Thirty minutes later, two more appear on her lock screen. 

Kat: come hang out with us

Kat: why aren’t u here????

Rue puts her phone on silent and is about to flip it over when another name appears on her screen.

Jules: stop ignoring kat

Jules: btw lexi’s on one 

This gets Rue’s attention. She types out a quick response.

she’s there?

Jules: yep

Jules: pretty sure she's on her like 6th beer 

Even if Jules is exaggerating, Rue is still concerned. Anyone who’s known Lexi for more than five minutes knows how unusual it is for the girl to drink. She usually only indulges if its a special occasion or if she’s really upset. Rue worries that it’s the latter tonight. She gets up and heads over to her closet, grabbing the first moderately acceptable ensemble she sees. 

Her phone dings once again as she searches her room for her shoes. 

Kat: so you’ll respond to Jules?????

Rue rolls her eyes, hastily tapping out a short reply. 

be there soon

 


 

Rue makes her way into the house party, shoving past a gaggle of cheerleaders and football players before she spots Kat and Jules sitting on a couch in the living room. Both of them appear to be animatedly speaking to someone sitting in the recliner opposite of Kat. As Rue starts to approach them, she realizes that they’re talking to Lexi, who has a fresh beer in hand. 

Lexi must sense movement in her peripheral vision because she glances over. Once she registers that it’s Rue who is approaching, she frowns, instantly taking a gulp of her drink.

“Hey,” Rue says, trying to sound nonchalant as she finally reaches her friends. 

“Finally!” Kat exclaims while Jules gives her a little wave. 

Lexi finishes her drink suddenly, tossing the empty can on a nearby coffee table before standing up, “I’m gonna go.”

“What?” Kat asks, exasperated, “Why?”

“Think I’m gonna puke,” Lexi mutters, glancing between Jules and Rue before turning and disappearing into the crowd. 

It takes Rue a moment to comprehend that the other girl is actually heading for the door before she starts after her, not even bothering to say goodbye to the other two girls. Ironically, she knows Jules will understand. She ducks out the main door of the house and cuts through the front yard. 

Rue’s able to easily catch up to Lexi before she’s made it any farther than a few yards down the sidewalk. 

“I’ll walk you home,” Rue announces as she falls in step with the shorter girl.

“I’m fine,” Lexi replies, although Rue can tell she’s definitely feeling the beverages she’s been drinking all night.

“Well, I’m going this way too, so…”

Lexi scoffs, “Shouldn’t you get back to Jules?”

Looking back, Rue had eventually been able to realize why Lexi may have resented Jules when they first met, even if only from a friendship perspective. But after Rue and Jules broke up, Lexi would still avoid talking about her. On the rare occasions she did, it always felt forced and awkward. Rue could never figure it out because Lexi and Jules seemed to get along well together.

Rue gently tugs at Lexi’s arm, stopping her in her tracks. They’re far enough away from the party now that no one else is around to hear them. 

“Hey, there’s nothing going on with me and Jules.”

Lexi avoids her gaze, “Whatever. It’s fine.”

“It’s clearly not fine. You seem upset.”

“You seemed upset when I talked to Fez,” Lexi spits out, “What’s the difference?”

Rue tilts her head back for a moment, feeling the tension in the air. 

“Look, I’m sorry about that,” Rue sighs, fumbling to find her words for a moment, “There’s something that I want to tell you, but I don’t think now is the right time.”

Lexi studies her for a moment before responding, “Why not?”

“It’s not the type of conversation we should have when you’re drunk and I’m… not.”

“I’m not drunk,” Lexi replies before starting to walk again, “But okay.”

“Okay?” Rue echos, following the other girl’s lead. 

“Yeah. We can talk tomorrow.”

“Okay. Tomorrow,” Rue says, feeling her nerves start to kick in already.

Lexi doesn’t say anything else during the rest of the walk home, but she doesn’t ask Rue to leave either. When they finally arrive in front of the Howard home, Lexi pauses for a moment.

“Thanks for walking me.”

“Anytime,” Rue responds, “Call me when you get up?”

Lexi nods before turning around and walking up her driveway. Rue waits to make sure she gets inside before she turns around and heads back towards her own house. She has no idea how tomorrow will go, but for some reason, she’s feeling slightly optimistic.

 


 

It’s not entirely surprising when Lexi just shows up at Rue’s house the next morning. Her mom ushers the other girl inside and offers her breakfast, but Rue is able to intervene with a lame excuse about needing to catch up on homework. The two girls walk back to Rue’s room, promptly shutting the door behind them.

The thing is, Rue actually can’t remember the last time that Lexi was in her room. They usually hang out at Lexi’s house, and even when they are at the Bennett’s, they’re out in the living room.

Rue sits down at the end of her bed, while Lexi moves to sit across from her, by the window. Rue almost feels like they’re thirteen again.

“So.. you wanted to talk?” Lexi says, breaking the silence.

“Yeah,” Rue answers. Internally, she’s trying to just say what she wants to say, but no words are coming out. She realizes it’s taking too long when the silence starts to turn even more awkward than it was initially.

Lexi finally speaks again, sensing the other girl’s struggle, “Are you okay?” 

“Yeah, sorry,” Rue tries, “I, um, I honestly don’t even know where to start.”

Lexi looks down at her feet, “Well, last night you said you were sorry for getting mad about the Fez thing.”

“You remember that?”

Lexi rolls her eyes, “I wasn’t, like, wasted.”

Rue nods slowly, “I am sorry. You were right.”

“Right about what?”

“I was jealous.”

“Oh,” Lexi says quietly.

“And when you called me out on it, I don’t know, I felt like we were kids again. And not in a good way.”

Lexi looks a bit confused, “What do you mean?”

“I felt like I was watching you get ready to go to the freshman formal with Tucker Blake all over again,” Rue smiles slightly, “Which sucked, by the way.”

“Why?” Lexi asks innocently. 

“He got to take you out. It felt like he was getting a part of you that I never would,” Rue says, “Uh, what I’m trying to say is that I had a thing for you back then.”

Lexi’s eyes are wide but she doesn’t say anything. Rue doesn’t have much choice but to continue.

“With Fez, it was the same feeling. I guess I’ve still got a thing for you,” Rue tries to joke, rapidly tapping her foot out of nervousness at this point, “Well, it’s more than a thing, but, yeah.”

And just like that, a weight is lifted off of Rue. She’s still sitting in an uncomfortable silence, but no matter what happens, she finally said something that she’s wanted to say for a long time. That means something.

“You should have told me,” Lexi finally says, “Back then.”

“Honestly, I’m glad I didn’t,” Rue says, “We wouldn’t be sitting here right now if I had.”

It’s one thing that Rue is absolutely certain of. If Lexi didn’t feel the same way, Rue would have let their friendship go down in flames at the time. And even if Lexi did, things would have ended even worse because of Rue’s drug usage. 

“I don’t have feelings for Fez,” Lexi says.

Rue simply nods because she doesn’t know what else to say.

Luckily, Lexi continues, “Um, but I’m pretty sure I’ve had feelings for you for as long as I can remember.”

Rue feels her stomach do a little flip and she decides that she’s sitting entirely too far away from the girl in front of her. She stands up and walks over to sit down next to Lexi, both of them fitting on the narrow seat perfectly. 

“I guess we’re kind of a cliche, huh?” Rue says.

Lexi smiles and nods, wiping away a tear that was threatening to fall before returning her gaze. Rue’s pretty sure its a happy tear, so she doesn’t waste another second. She leans in and kisses Lexi. As she feels Lexi’s hand wrap around the back of her neck, Rue can’t remember the last time she was this happy.

 


 

Much to Rue’s dismay, the spring play actually does end up being Oklahoma!. Thankfully, Lexi earns the coveted title of Director again. 

Rue’s got the best seat in the house on opening night and she can’t help but reflect on the past year while waiting for the curtain to open. She knows her addiction is for life, it’s something she will live with every single day, but the past year has been enough to show her that it’s worth the fight. 

As the lights dim, Rue makes sure the flower bouquet she brought remains undisturbed under her seat. 

The show goes well. Rue doesn’t exactly care about the material, and Lexi isn’t on stage acting this time to keep her attention, but everything goes smoothly and that’s what matters. Once the curtain closes, Rue lingers in the audience until the auditorium empties, then she heads towards the double doors that lead backstage. 

There’s still some chaos backstage but Rue runs into Bobbi pretty quickly, who points wordlessly to a door around the corner while barking something into her headset. The door is cracked open, so Rue walks in and finds Lexi taking a breather, sitting on a folding chair surrounded by costume racks. 

“Hi!” Lexi exclaims, standing up suddenly to greet Rue.

“For you,” Rue says, holding out the flowers she brought.

Lexi takes the flowers with excitement, “Thank you! You didn’t have to do that.”

“Of course I did. The show was amazing.”

Lexi sighs, “Was it?”

Rue nods, “It was. I mean, I wish you had been on stage tonight. But besides that, it was great.”

Lexi smiles, leaning in for a kiss before they’re suddenly interrupted. 

“Lexi, the cast wants to talk to you,” Bobbi squeaks out from the doorway before promptly turning and heading back down the hallway.

Lexi shoots Rue a sympathetic look, “I’m sorry, I’ll try to be fast.”

“Take your time,” Rue says, and she means it, “I’ll just hang out.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes,” Rue laughs, “Just text me when you’re done if you can’t find me.”

Lexi shoots her a thankful look, “I love you.”

It’s kind of ridiculous that three little words can give Rue Bennett butterflies. 

“I love you too,” she replies. 

With that, Lexi gives her a peck on the cheek and heads out of the room. Rue smiles, watching her go.

Rue can’t predict the future, and she knows that life isn’t perfect, but she’s never felt so excited for her future. (And for Lexi’s.)