Alice, Chris, and I walked toward the racing track on our school grounds.
I looked at Chris and said gently, "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, thanks." Chris said, wiping his nose on his sleeve. His face was red from screaming.
Chris turned his attention to Alice and said, "More importantly, are you okay?"
Alice nodded and sniffed, "Yes. Thank you, Chris."
Chris smiled, "No problem. Thank you."
"For what?" Alice asked.
Chris looked ahead, smiling slightly, and said, "For telling me what happened. Geoffry isn't worth it, but I tried to hard to prove that that wasn't true. I was too distracted by his good qualities to think about how he affected you guys."
"Well..." I said, "I tried pretty hard to tell you..."
Chris gave me a look, but he was smiling, "I'm sorry."
I nodded and said, "It's fine as long as he didn't hurt either of you permanently."
"I think I'll be alright." Alice said, smiling softly.
Chris put his arm around her shoulder and said, "Good."
A minute later, Mouse and Leo met up with us.
"Whassap?" Mouse said.
"Oh, nothing much." Chris said casually, "I got an A on my math quiz, I ate something resembling vegetables for lunch, I dumped Geoffry..."
"Ooh," Mouse said, "I liked that last one. Did he cry?"
Chris shrugged, "I don't know, we didn't stick around long enough to see."
"What happened?" Leo asked.
Chris and Alice exchanged a look.
"Um..." Chris said, "How did apologizing to Kathy go?"
Leo shrugged and said, "I don't know, she forgave me, but something seemed wrong. Something about her response seemed... Not Kathy-like."
"Ah." Chris said.
"So, what happened with you and Geoffry?" Mouse asked.
Chris gritted his teeth. His plan to change the subject had been foiled thanks to Mouse.
"Um..." Chris said, looking at Alice, "Do you mind if I tell Mouse and Leo?"
Alice shook her head, "No, they're our friends. They should know."
Mouse and Leo stared at Chris.
Chris looked at them and said softly, "Geoffry touched Alice without her permission."
Leo's jaw dropped and he said, "You mean like... Her..."
Chris nodded, "Her arms, her legs, her waist, her chest..."
"He kissed me once, too." Alice said timidly.
We all looked at her and I said, "Really?"
Alice nodded sadly and Chris put his arm around her comfortingly.
"So, Alice told me and I chewed Geoffry out." Chris said.
"This might sound insensitive, little brother, but it was really good to see you stand up to him like that." I said.
Chris shrugged, "What can we do? It felt good to say it. He certainly needed to hear it."
Mouse shook her head and said,
"God, I hate him so much."