Rachel helped Nate load he things in one by one. She went back to her room to give it one last look.
She grabbed two more boxes and turned around, almost bumping into Gavin.
“Hey” he smiled, or tried to anyways.
Rachel looked at him and cocked an eyebrow.
“What? Did you think I wasn’t gonna show up and see you off?” in an almost offended tone.
“Well, I thought that left hook would’ve put the idea in that little head of yours” She shrugged.
As if her words had spiked the pain again, Gavin rubbed his jaw, “I’m still your best friend. And that was an impressive punch.”
“-for a girl.” He smirked
“Do you want a missing tooth?”
“You wouldn’t dare.” There was challenge glimmering in his eyes.
“You’re still a jerk.” She stated
“Which is why that punch was deserved…” he agreed
“I had been warning you since when?” Rachel asked, placing her hands on her hips.
“Ever since we became friends.” He nodded, “I was the obnoxious annoying friend and you warned me every single time I ticked you off, “Gavin, I swear to God, I will punch you someday and you will remember it forever”” He finished, repeating Rachel’s words in an outrageously high pitched voice.
“I hope you learned your lesson” She grinned.
“Yes, Ma’am! Now lemme help with the last of those boxes…”
When everything was packed and her room almost bare, Nate suggested that the two of them go and have ice cream while he stayed back and called to make some final arrangements.
“So, I know better than to ask you if you’re okay…” Gavin began, stuffing his face with ice cream, “Do you think you can handle it?”
Rachel gave him the best are you kidding me look she could muster, “You literally just asked me the same thing.” She grumbled, “Y’know what, man? It’s not fair and it sucks like hell but I don’t have a choice, do I?”
“You don’t handle change that well either” he pointed out
“Yeah,” She laughed lightly “Remember that time in fourth grade when I had a hair cut?”
“You didn’t take that hat off for a month, insisting you didn’t look the same” he spoke through another mouthful
“And all I got was a little trim” Rachel shook her head.
“This is bigger though … you won’t…” he trailed off with an exasperated sigh
“I don’t know!” He shrugged, “Maybe go all depressed, cranky teenager on me…”
“Trust me man, I won’t.” She assured him as he narrowed his eyes at her bandaged arms
“Can’t” he said shortly, shaking his head to emphasize his point
“Trust you … it’s impossible for me to do that … not after yesterday”
Rachel’s jaw dropped open in horror “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me! If you think I’m gonna apologize for that punch, keep dreaming. What the hell does that have to do with trust?”
“Nothing” his lip twitched
“Excuse me?” she made a face, pushing her tongue against the inside of her cheek
“I’m just messin’ with ya …” he finally smiled
Rachel punched his shoulder playfully, “I hate you, and you know that right?”
He smirked, “Yeah, I hate you too.”
Rachel stared at the placemat and the drawing of the clown that adorned it; she was leaving and accepting that was the hardest part.
The way she dealt with any problem was the same way many other people did. She pretended that it wasn’t there. It was either pretending it didn’t exist, or running from it. No problem, no stress, right? It was stupid because problems have a funny way of finding their way back to you. They always do.
Gavin knew her better than he let on, seven years of friendship can do that to you. He knew that she had zoned out, thinking of something, anything to say that would get her mind off of the reality of her leaving.
He smiled, taking the last spoonful.
“So,” he decided to help her change the subject, “How many other people are you going to recruit?”
“Huh?” She glanced up from her bowl of untouched ice cream
“Well, just ‘cause you’re going off to Jameson doesn’t mean you won’t be watching TV. And you sure as hell won’t miss an episode of ’Rivalry’ … so how many unlucky souls are you going to recruit into the fandom?” Gavin shrugged, nonchalantly
Rachel laughed, “The whole damn lot. But recruiting you was the hardest”
“Mission accomplished though…” he muttered
“Come again?” Rachel’s eyebrows climbed high
“Yeah, you’re leaving … might as well admit that I’m part of the fanatic domain” he rolled his eyes
“The what?” she stressed on the what, narrowing her eyes
“The fandom … it’s an abbreviation of fanatic domain…” Gavin stated in a very matter-of-factly voice
“Well, I’ll be damned … my whole life is a lie.” She breathed out, “I always thought it was like a glorious kingdom of fans.”
“Nerd” Rachel rolled her eyes
He lifted his chin higher, “Proud of it too.”