Drew would really have preferred that there not be sides to this breakup at all. He and Darlene should both be on the same side: the side of “I want us both to have what’s best for us.” Unfortunately they disagreed so hard on what was best for themselves that there was no way to resolve it.
And it wasn’t that Will was taking Darlene’s side. But he was taking her perspective, which Drew appreciated even as it sent a prickle of guilt up his back. No, Darlene hadn’t seen the breakup coming. For Drew it had felt almost as inevitable as a werewolf’s full moon plans, but that was because inside, he was considering and avoiding it for months and months before it happened. But Darlene hadn’t known that. As far as Drew was aware, Marley was the only person who could have seen the breakup coming, and that was because she had practically talked him into it. He had half a mind to owl her to let her know how her great plan had worked out. Hey Marley, I took your advice. So far Darlene has sent me interesting mail, her mother told my dad to make me reconsider, and Kit forced me to watch the same movie on repeat to learn the meaning of True Love. Thanks for that. How’s college?
“I guess,” he admitted haltingly, “she thought it was all cool. So the breakup came out of nowhere.” No matter how hard Drew had tried, he couldn’t take away that part by being nice, or saying it was his fault and not hers, or initiating the breakup in private. But he couldn’t think of a way to not blindside her, other than being a jerk in the weeks leading up to the end of term so that she didn’t want to date him anymore by the time he finally pulled the trigger. For obvious reasons, that was not a real option.
Before, Drew would have said that of course boys and girls could be friends without there being anything between them. And he guessed maybe that was still true, because of Dakota, although maybe she didn’t count because Drew was still working on seeing her as a girl (she was a girl, Drew’s brain was just dumb). Kit obviously didn’t count because she was his cousin and ew. But besides them Drew couldn’t honestly say he had female friends who he’d never thought of another way. Not close ones, at least.
Although Will seemed like a peak example of that theory not being true. “Well, you’re into guys and you still have guy friends, yeah?” Drew said. “Sorry, not trying to make it personal, I’m just saying, even when it’s possible for two people to be attracted to each other, they could still just be friends. I’m not the poster wizard for that, but it’s gotta be true for someone, right?” It had to be. There was just no way everyone was carrying around secret feelings for half or all of their friends. “But yeah, with Darlene it was definitely not a mutual breakup. So maybe I deserve to get some backlash for it.”