“What are you doing?”
I raised an eyebrow, holding up my book. “Reading.”
I turned it to show him the cover.
“Ah! A classic. Though I think I’ve outgrown Harry Potter.”
My eyes narrowed. “What do you mean?”
“I just feel that I’m too old for those books. It was fun when I was eleven,” he said with a shrug.
That did it. He spouted ridiculous things, and I didn’t plan on spending my summer listening to them.
“Well, Matthew, I’m sure the millions of other people who love Harry as much as I do would disagree. There is no age limit on the story or the friendship. You’re just saying absurd things. There is no age limit to enjoy what Harry Potter gave the world. So even if I’m seventy and want to read this book, I will do so proudly!” I said, my tone indignant.
He studied me in a way that made me falter a bit under his stare. “You seem to take your Harry Potter very seriously.”
“Yes, I do.”
He nodded. “Okay. I get that, I guess. But I do think you need to loosen up a bit. You seem on edge.”
“How do you know I’m on edge? I don’t even know you,” I said, my brow raised and disdain evident.
A wide grin spread across his face. “No, but you will.”
“What if I don’t want to get to know you?”
His smile faltered a bit, then he straightened his shoulders. “Well, I would say that is pretty mean, but we will be friends. Count on it.”
A part of me wanted to slap the confident look right off his face. He annoyed me something fierce. He was like a bug that kept flying around your face. No matter how many times you swiped at it, it kept coming back.
“Do you read Harry all the time?” he asked, swiftly changing the subject.
“Yes. It is one of my go-to books. I love the series. One of my favorite things is the superb world building. If I were a writer, I would love to dabble in that world.” I said it with so much conviction, I found myself smiling at his amused expression.
“Well, with an argument like that, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you can convince me otherwise.”
I huffed. “Maybe I don’t want to.”
“Are you always this mean?”
“Are you always this irritating?” I retorted, one eyebrow raised.
“I’m whatever a person needs me to be. Maybe I’m funny and you’re just too mean to admit it.”
That made me chuckle. “You think really highly of yourself, don’t you? I can tell you right now that you are not funny. You’re a big pain in my ass. And I don’t know why you’re so focused on making me talk to you when I’m reading. Don’t you have something to do? It’s summer. I’m sure you have tons of friends and things to do in this nice weather.”
“In the grand scheme of things, we all have something to do, don’t we? People to see. New things to try. We all want to be doing things, but do we ever stop and just take a minute to smell the roses? Enjoy the sunset? I can bet you most people don’t.”
“And how can you say that when you don’t know most people?”
“I know how people are. I know they tend to do a lot more worrying about life than actually living it.”
I said nothing. In a strange way, he was right. We were all so worried about our problems. That was me almost every single day.
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