“Friendships are rough, aren’t they?” Brad asked.
“Uh, yeah.” Zoe pretended to understand. She didn’t exactly have a lot of experience to argue one way or the other.
“Did you steal her boyfriend?”
“What?” Zoe’s mouth dropped open.
“Did you steal your best friend’s boyfriend?” Brad’s face was serious.
“No. I would never do something like that!” Her indignation was hard to control.
“A lot of girls do stuff like that.”
“I wouldn’t! I’m a good friend. I’m just not…” Zoe looked away from Brad’s prying gaze.
“I’m just not popular. I’m the kind of friend you can count on to have your back and be there, but I can’t make anyone popular.”
“Popularity is a just a smoke screen teenagers hide their insecurities behind.” He tilted his head to the side. “You don’t need that. You know who you are, so why should you hide?”
Zoe smiled. “Thanks.”
“For seeing me.”
They shared a long, lingering look. Zoe’s heart pounded as if she’d just blitzed a five-minute mile.