Leslie and I were walking home from a festival.  The noise of the crowd fading away while the setting sun glinted off Leslie’s bright green and purple nails.

            “How many of those have you had?” Leslie asked, referring to the messy wrap of melted cheese and other wonderfulness contained only by a thin plastic bag.

            I smiled through a gooey bite.  “Five.”

            Leslie sighed.  “And here I am without having had a single morsel.”

            “You should’ve bought your own, then.”

            They bent down to peer up at me.  “Friends share, you know.”

            “Pssht.  What are you talking about?”  I took another bite, though I was starting to get full.

            “Tsk, tsk, Dax,” Leslie replied, straightening up.  “I see how it is.  Here a starving friend stands beside you and nothing is done,” they continued dramatically, “even when you’re obviously having trouble finishing it off.”

            I rolled my eyes as I tried not to laugh.  I peered at them; they responded with an overly innocent grin.  “Fine,” I said with an exaggerated groan, sticking my hand out so they could take it.

            “Yay!” Leslie exclaimed, clapping their hands together.  They rested a hand on my shoulder as they bent to take the final mouthful.

            Suddenly, they frowned, glaring at something down the road.  “Iidjasolmfdkhioelmtite,” they muttered as they stood up once again.

            I glanced to see what had made Leslie upset and saw 216894 walking towards us.  With a scoff, I looked back at Leslie, their arms crossed as they stared 216894 down.

            216894 waved at us with a smile.  “How’s it going?” he asked.

            “Fine,” Leslie replied tersely.

            216894 gave me an uncertain glance.  “Sorry, have I…done something to upset you?”

            Leslie narrowed their eyes at him.  “You know exactly what you’re doing.  And don’t think –”

            “Leslie, stop!” I yelled.  “Just stop!  Here, 216894,” I handed him the last of my food, “I’m suddenly not hungry anymore.  Enjoy your night.”  I shot Leslie a glare before turning on my heel and marching home.

            As I walked, I ignored Leslie calling for my attention.  Halfway up the steps to our apartments, they cried, “Will you just listen to me?!”

            “No!” I spun to face them, glowering down at them from the higher step.  “I don’t know what’s gotten into you, but 216894 is my friend!  I’m not going to let you treat him like that!”

            Leslie gaped.  “It’s amazing how much you’re willing to ignore about your so-called friend.  Do you even hear half of what he says?”

            My heart sank.  “…What?”

            They turned, pointing back to where we had left 216894.  “Heasifjlkmenthufisdoflkm anhtoiejlkfdmsfheiuofwd.  Thaijoeltmlekfhidlkmfdshfiolewmnfshfis.  Whewifjolkmdsfsds he can’t be trusted.”

            I sighed.  “You’re full of shit.”  I turned my back on them, finishing my trek up the stairs.

            Leslie leaned against the wall beside my apartment door.  One hand on the doorknob, I waited for them to speak. “There’s nothing I can say to change your mind, is there?” they asked softly.

            I shook my head.

            They took a deep breath, then sighed.  “Fine,” they muttered, rubbing at their eyes.  “Ifmdlktheiofslmtkheiofsmldsheifosklmdstjhue.”  Leslie met my eyes.  “Just…be careful, alright?”

To be continued…

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