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Jean looked at Brenda, who smiled encouragingly. ―Go,‖ she said.


―Ok,‖ Jean said. Brenda watched the two of them disappear into the crowd. Just wait till he gets those paws on you, she thought.


Brenda hated to stand alone, so she decided to walk around and try to look normal. She looked over at Eddie, then looked away. Maybe she would just go and say hi. What was the worst thing that could happen?


She self-consciously walked towards him, trying to ignore the group of other boys. As she got closer, two girls gave her dart eyes. Her cheeks were on fire. She stopped next to him, and smiled. He was talking to a boy she didn‘t recognize, who didn‘t notice her. She waited, not sure what to do next.


The other boy glanced at her, and began to smirk. Eddie finally stopped talking and turned. ―Uh, hi Eddie,‖ Brenda said.


Eddie smiled and whispered something to his buddy, who nodded, and with a smug smile walked away.


―Hey.‖ Eddie smiled at her and seemed off balance. She could see up close that he was acting funny. His eyes were red and looked tired and swollen. He grinned at her.


―Whata-re- you doing here? Aren‘t-you-too-young to be-here?‖ he said, connecting his syllables.


―I‘m sixteen, Eddie – you know that.‖


―Where‘s my brother?‖ he mumbled. ―Is he here? Maybe he can drive me home?‖ ―No. He didn‘t come tonight. He has something with 4H early tomorrow.‖


―Oh.‖ Eddie laughed and almost fell over. Brenda didn‘t understand what was so funny. Muriel Davis, captain of the football team, rushed over.


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