Paper Walls - 23. Chapter 23
I hope you all enjoy this chapter and let me know! Thank you again to Rusty who did amazing editing this, and pushing me to become a better writer.
I slowly open my eyes, and I can feel the heavy arm on me. I shift and it falls to the side. Garret stirs. “Hey man.”
“Hey…” I reply, looking at him, and realizing my head is still on his chest, I move it
“Relax, man. You were so wiped out from the anxiety attack that I helped you move to the bed, and you asked if I would stay. Sorry, I must have fell asleep, man.”
“No, it’s okay. I’m the one that’s sorry. I didn’t know I kept you here for so long,” I tell him, avoiding eye contact.
He laughs. Don’t worry, man. Besides, I had nothing else to do today. How about I make us something to eat? I am starving, and I make some pretty damn good grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.”
Smiling, I nod my head yes. “That sounds good, we should have everything in the kitchen. I am going to use the restroom.”
Walking into the bathroom, I slowly close the door. I let out a sigh of relief, and make my way to the sink. I look in the mirror and I look like crap. My hair is disheveled, and there are dark circles under my eyes. I turn on the faucet and splash water on my face. I can’t help but think about how Renee’s hand felt on my bare chest, how she curled her finger under the waist band of my boxers and pulled them out. I know she had to have seen my… I feel my stomach flip. I feel the slimy salty taste in my mouth. I try to take a deep breath, but my stomach is about to revolt against me. I can still smell her perfume hanging in the air like a dark cloud. Barely making it to the toilet, I start to puke. Feeling my gut push everything I have inside up, the stomach acid burns as it spews out of my mouth. I fight back the tears. I hate puking.
“Whoa, dude, are you okay?”
I look up at Garret, standing in the doorway, and just nod my head at him. He puts his arms through mine and helps me up and moves me towards the sink. “Come on, wash up, man.”
I do as he says, and wash my face, and put water in my mouth to rinse out the taste. “I’m sorry.”
“No worries. What upset you so bad?”
“I replayed it over again in my head…”
“Don’t you think it was a bad idea?” he asks.
I nod. “I couldn’t help it… I wished I wasn’t like this, I wished I was fucking normal, but I’m not!” I yell, gripping the sink, staring at the mirror, hating the weak person staring back at me.
“Ryder… shut the fuck up. Dude, enough with this pity me crap, man. You aren’t a weak person. Yeah, you have some issues - more than most, but you seem to be working through them. You are fifteen! Any fifteen-year-old who isn’t ready for sex would have freaked out, man. Maybe yours was more intense because of shit that you have gone through, but it is what it is. So stop blaming yourself. Renee is just a bitch. She should have never made a move on you in the first place.
I step back from him, as a shiver runs down my spine. I admit, I am a bit scared of him since he raised his voice. I just realized how much bigger he is compared to me. I don’t know if he realizes that I am getting scared, but he reaches out and pulls me into a hug.
“Fuck, I am sorry, Ryder. Just, that pisses me off so much. I am not mad at you, just the situation you should have never been put in at all. I will take care of Renee, okay?”
“Thanks, Garret,” I mumble.
“Come on, let’s go eat, man.”
I follow him out of my room, and into the kitchen. At the bar, he has two plates set with sandwiches on them. I take a seat next to him and he grabs two bottles of Gatorade from the fridge. “Thanks.”
I shrug. “I just wished I wasn’t so complicated.”
He nods and takes a bite out of his sandwich. “That’s understandable, but you aren’t that complicated, man. Just stop living in here so much,” he says, tapping me on the temple.
“You don’t know all that I have been through,” I say, taking a bite of food.
“That’s true. You don’t know what I have been through, either. One thing is for sure, though, I don’t live in my head. Therefore, I don’t let what I have been through hold me back.”
“What about your anxiety?” I ask.
“There’s ways to cope with that, man. You need to keep going to therapy, but I promise you, man, there are ways to deal with it. I take medicine for mine, and I lead a normal life.”
“I didn’t know you took medicine.”
He laughs. “I don’t make it public, but I don’t let it control my life either. Granted, I have my days, man, but we all will.”
“Thanks, I guess I really need to stop defining myself with all the crap that’s happened to me.”
“Cheers to that,” he says, bumping my Gatorade bottle with his.
“I wished I was as strong as you are,” I tell him, hanging my head.
“You can be. You are, man. I think you are so scared of what others might think that you hold yourself back. I mean, come on, Jeremy loves you. He tells me how you are the greatest, most kind, amazing person he knows in his life. Hell, Callen thinks you walk on water even after y’all broke up. So stop hiding yourself, man! Be flawed, be happy,” he says, standing up.
“Callen still likes me as a person?” I ask, not sure how to take this.
“Yeah, man,” he tells me, giving me a confused look.
“I’m scared that if people know the real me, that they won’t like it.”
“So tell them to fuck off! You have Jeremy, Callen, Me, Tyler, Shawn, and Dylan. You don’t need anyone’s approval, man. People are always going to dislike you for something, no matter what. A lot of people don’t like me because I am good at football, or that I am handsome,” he says, smiling.
“Thanks, Garret I never thought that you’d be the one to put life into perspective for me,” I say, laughing.
“Never thought you’d be cuddling me!” he teases.
I feel the heat in my cheeks, and I put my head in my hands. “I’m sorry!”
“It’s okay, man, I am just teasing you.”
I take another bite out of the sandwich. “Thanks again.”
He leans back in his seat. “So, you ready for these last few games?”
I lean back in my chair after finishing the sandwich and rub my stomach. “Yeah, I have a good feeling we are going to win state, for sure.”
“Hell yeah, we are, man. So, look Ryder, I know very little about what happened to you, or what you have been through in your life, but I heard some stuff.”
I look over. “What did you hear?”
“That you were abused pretty bad in some of the group homes.”
I nod my head, and show him the scar on my hip. “I was raped, and then stabbed. They left me to die in the streets. I actually blocked a lot of the stuff out because I was so young, but I have started to remember things that happened or things trigger my memories. It’s usually followed up by a terrible day afterwards.”
“That’s what I mean by not letting this control you, man. You have got to start moving forward, one foot in front of the other now. It’s how I moved on, and it’s how Callen is going to,” he says, putting a hand on my bare shoulder.
I hear the front door open, and I recognize Jeremy’s voice, and two other voices as well. “No way! He really did that?” the higher pitched voice says.
“Yeah, straight up, didn’t even faze him,” Jeremy replies.
“Well, what happened, ‘cause that’s not who he is now?!”
“Jaxson!” the third voice says, and I know instantly that it’s Tyler.
They come into the kitchen, and Tyler stops talking mid-sentence. “Were we interrupting something?” he asks.
“What?” Jeremy looks at him.
“This isn’t what it looks like,” I tell him. I know what he thinks since I am in my boxers still.
“Ever heard of clothes?” Jaxson asks.
“SHUT UP, JAXSON!” Tyler yells. I can see this shakes Jaxson up, as he moves closer to Jeremy, half hiding behind his tall frame.
“Tyler, just calm down, dude,” Jeremy says.
“Just calm down, huh? ‘Cause I am sure if you walked in on me with your girlfriend in just her bra and panties that you would just calm down, huh?”
I start feeling angry, because I can see how much Tyler doesn’t trust me. “Tyler! Enough, let’s just go to my damn room and I will explain!”
“I think I’ll pass,” he says.
Getting off the stool, I grab him by the arm. “Shut up and just come to my room!”
I feel him relent and follow me into my room. “What explanation could you possibly have for this?”
“I didn’t want to say it in front of Jaxson. I had an anxiety attack, ok? Renee forced herself on me. I just got out of the shower when the doorbell rang, and I just put my boxers on and she was there at the door. She wanted to get lunch, and I said ok, but she followed me into my room and backed me against the wall… she… she… touched me.” I try to get the rest out before I start to cry again.
Tyler pulls me into his chest. “I’m so sorry… I just thought… I thought the worst, ok? Babe, I am so sorry, Ryder. It’s just, I don’t know, I am so nervous that I am never going to be good enough for you, and that you will leave me. Please forgive me?”
I nod my head and wrap my arms around him. “I missed you. So much.”
“I missed you, too.”
“What were you doing with Jeremy?” I ask, looking up at him.
He laughs. “Well, I came out of my room and heard arguing at the front door….”
He nods. “Yeah, he was arguing with Jeremy. It was hilarious, he just wanted to talk - give me the whole don’t hurt Ryder speech. Then Jaxson was typical Jaxson and was like, I’m hungry. So we went to eat, and yeah, here we are.”
“Can I ask a question?”
“You said Jaxson is bipolar, but that doesn’t really explain how he acts a lot of times.”
“He’s had a lot happen to him, like you, but he doesn’t internalize things like you. I know he is a lot to handle, but he grows on you, trust me. Some days, you find him, and he’s calm and very rational, and just relaxed - other days, he’s the sass master, then we get the days when he just cries. He doesn’t talk about what happened. I don’t even know if his therapist knows everything. I know he doesn’t like to be touched unless he initiates it, and he hates when anyone yells.”
“What do you mean, he has to initiate it?”
Tyler lets out a sigh. “He freaks out if you touch him without him knowing it.”
Tyler pulls me to the bed, and I crawl on it with him. “I have been wanting to kiss you all day.”
“Why haven’t you, then?” I say, putting my hand on his chest.
He leans his head up and kisses me softly. I kiss him back, moving my body on top of his, straddling him. I kiss him again, more desperate this time. He runs his hands up my bare ribs. I twitch and try not to squirm. I can feel him smiling as he kisses me. I let out a small moan into his mouth as I slide my tongue in.
He breaks the kiss. “You sure we should keep going, considering what happened today?”
“Yes… I feel comfortable with you, I want you,” I whisper, and kiss his cheek.
He slides his hands down to my butt and squeezes it and I kiss him harder. I pull his hair just a little and he grinds into me.
“Oh my god, next time shut the door!” I hear Jaxson say.
I move off Tyler, and scramble under the covers. “Jaxson, uhh… what did you need?” Tyler asks, his voice higher than normal.
“I was just wanting to see what you two were doing, and clearly we see what that was!”
“We weren’t doing anything!” Tyler quips.
“Damn… we must have two different meanings of not doing anything.”
“Get out!” Tyler yells.
“Sorry I interrupted your play time, but I just wanted to know if I can go swimming?”
“Not by yourself. You know that.”
“No shit! Jeremy and Garret are going swimming. Jeremy said I could.”
“I don’t know… ” Tyler says hesitantly.
I nudge him. “If he’s with Jeremy, he will be good.”
“Fine, but what are you going to swim in?” he asks.
I can see over Tyler’s chest that Jaxson is thinking about this. “Guess my boxers.”
Tyler sighs. “Jaxson, please don’t act like an ass. Just be less you.”
Jaxson grins. “Whatever you say, boss.” Walking out the door and looking back and wags his eyebrows and shuts the door. I let out a groan.
“Where were we?” Tyler says, turning his body towards me.
“Not now!” I giggle as he kisses me.
He pulls back and acts hurt “Why not now?”
I just shrug my shoulders and put my head on his chest to listen to him breathe. I slide my hand under his shirt and trace circles around his belly button, causing him to squirm every now and then. “I like just laying here with you.”
“Well, I like you,” he says, kissing the top of my head.
“So, I’ve been thinking,” I tell him.
He sits up. “Well, is that a good thing or a bad thing?”
I sit up with him and shrug my shoulders. “I think it’s a good thing. I really like you a lot more than I ever have anyone else. I trust you, which is also hard for me to do with anyone besides Jeremy. When I am around you, I feel like I can breathe and not have to worry what others think, or let my anxiety flare up. I just feel like, if you knew everything I was thinking, you wouldn’t feel the same about me.”
“Rye, you can tell me anything. Trust me, it will not change what I feel about you. I promise you that. I have never felt like this towards anyone.”
“What if you think I’m selfish or a bad person?”
“You mean, you feel jealousy? Dude, that’s normal. I feel it a lot, as well.”
I giggle. “You are sounding like a therapist.”
He laughs. “I guess it just rubs off, living with one, but what do you want to tell me?”
“So, my parents want to adopt another kid.”
He shifts so he is facing towards me more. “They do?”
“Yeah, in fact, they have been visiting a boy who was taken into foster care after a huge drug bust. They have been visiting him for some time now, and they just told me now because they didn’t know how I would react,” I tell him, with a hint of annoyance in my voice.
He grabs my hand. “Well, I know how that makes you feel, but I feel like you want to say more and haven’t had the chance to?”
I squeeze his hand. “Promise not to think I am a terrible person?”
“Nothing can make me think that,” he says, leaning in to give me a quick peck on the lips.
I start biting my finger nails on my free hand, and Tyler bats my hand away. “Sorry, just, I’m nervous.”
“Babe, it’s okay, tell me.”
“I feel jealous… and I don’t want them adopting him, because, what if they just forget about me because I am a lost cause? What if I am so fucked up that they want to try again with another kid, and hope he isn’t as damaged as me?”
I wait for the look of disappointment and disgust from him. Instead, he pulls me in to him. “You are so adorable when you get jealous. Babe, have you talked to your parents about this?”
“Yes!” I tell him.
“Ryder, has it ever crossed your mind that you aren’t as fucked up as you think you are? What if you are healing more than you think, and the fact that you don’t believe in yourself is what is holding you back? What if your parents see this and want to help another child who needs it? Ryder, you have such a great family, and one that loves you unconditionally. Yeah, your dad is a bit strict, but he wants to make sure you have a good stable life. Think about it - you cling to football because it’s something that doesn’t change. It doesn’t take you by surprise. You probably see what the other team is doing before anyone else. Your dad has taught you that. He has shown you how to take care of your mind and body. A lot of people don’t get that. Jaxson never had that, I know. He was locked in a closet for days at a time. I know he was physically abused. I was neglected and developed a pill problem, but I have seen what stability can do for someone. You’re not a bad person for thinking these things. It is selfish and that’s okay. You’re a teenager, man. I think you should meet the kid. Maybe he needs this.”
Before I can stop myself, I kiss him and blurt out, “I love you Tyler.”
I move off the bed, looking at him, and he has a blank look on his face. I feel the knots return in my stomach, and I think I might be sick. “I… I….”
Tyler gets off the bed and moves over to me. “You love me?”
I nod my head, afraid to hear what he has to say.
He smiles and wraps me in his arms. “I love you, too. I have loved you since I first talked to you. I was just scared that if I said anything to you, that you would run.”
“That means you would have just had to chase me down.”
“But I already have you now,” he says, hugging me tighter. “So I wanted to ask you something. In about two weeks, I am going to have the house to myself. Everyone is going out of town, and I was wanting to know if you wanted to spend the weekend with me?”
“So it’ll be just us?” I ask.
“Yeah, I mean we can go to the movies, the mall, whatever you want. You don’t have to stay over if you don’t want to. I mean, don’t feel pressured to.”
I pull him closer, and drop my hand to his crotch and give a little squeeze. “I think I can find something else to do,” I say in a husky voice and kiss him.
He breaks the kiss. “Are you sure you are ready to take that next step?”
I nod, “Yeah, remember when I told you I wanted you earlier… I want all of you, Tye.”
He blushes, and I can’t help but smile, because he looks so cute. “If you really want to, I do, too.”
“That Friday night, it’s the state game. I want to celebrate it… I don’t think I have been more sure in my life.”
“I love you, Ryder,” he says.
“Come on, let’s go swim,” I tell him.
He laughs, “But I don’t have anything to wear.”
“Well, lucky you. I have some swim trunks that are too big for me. Besides, you don’t want to watch me change?”
He blushes again. “Oh, I definitely want to watch that.”
I move over to my dresser, still holding his hand, and dig around till I find the swim trunks I want. “We better go to the bathroom in case Jaxson walks in again,” I tell him, trying not to giggle.
Pulling him in the bathroom, I shut the door and lock it. I look up at him and he is blushing. “I didn’t take you to be so naughty, Ryder.”
I shrug my shoulders. “What can I say, you bring that out in me. Now you know what isn’t fair is that you are fully dressed and I’m in boxers.”
I reach for the hem of his shirt, and he lifts his arms and lets me pull it over his head. I take a step back to look at his lean frame, I pull him to me and kiss his neck as I let my hands explore his body.
He lets out a low groan. “Rye, do you think we should be doing this, considering what happened earlier today?”
Suddenly it’s like Renee is in front of me again with her hand inside my boxers, and that look in her eye. “Just forget it,” I tell him, stepping back.
“Ryder, what the hell, man?” he asks, stepping towards me.
“Because no matter what I do, I am always going to have someone walking on eggshells around me. Yes, I freaked out and had an anxiety attack earlier because someone invaded my personal space, and made sexual advances on me THAT I DID NOT WANT! Now, I can’t even do anything sexual with my boyfriend. You know what, fuck this, go for a swim. I’m going out on a run.”
He puts a hand on my arm, “Ryder, come on, let’s talk about this.”
“I’ve talked about it. I don’t want to anymore,” I tell him, and yank my arm out of his grip.
I slam the bathroom door on him, and grab a pair of shorts and toss my shoes on. I don’t even bother looking back into the room when I leave.
I don’t even know what just happened. One minute we were okay, and I asked a simple question. The next, he just flipped out on me. I change into the swim trunks and make my way to the backyard. I don’t feel like going after him, because I don’t want to argue with him. I approach the pool and I see Garret, Jeremy, and Jaxson laughing and having fun.
Getting in the pool, Garret sees me and decides to swim over. I watch as Jaxson climbs on Jeremy’s shoulders and flips off. “Jaxson is an interesting kid,” Jeremy says.
“You have no idea. He been good?”
He nods. “Yeah, he’s funny. Where is Ryder?”
I let out a sigh. “We had an argument. Well, it wasn’t even an argument, because I didn’t even get to say anything, before he just stormed out on me.”
“That’s harsh. Do you mind me asking what it was about?” Garret asks, resting against the wall near me.
“We were changing, and he wanted to do more… I asked if it was okay, considering what happened earlier today. He just kind of lost it on me,” I tell him, rubbing my temples.
Garret puts his hand on my shoulder. “You did the right thing, man. You also need to realize that he’s probably embarrassed and ashamed of his anxiety and how his body responded. I wouldn’t take it personal, man. You were doing what you thought was best, and that was asking and making sure it was okay before you got carried away. There is no shame in that, man.”
“It just pisses me off. I don’t get it,” I complain.
Garret pats my shoulder, “Dude, it’ll get easier, man. Let’s just enjoy the pool. Ryder will get over it.”
I agree and join in on the horseplay, I haven’t seen Jaxson this friendly in a long time. He doesn’t open up easily, and when he does, he’s a completely different person. I can’t help but be a little envious of how quickly Jeremy won him over. Jaxson and I have a good relationship, but the way Jaxson looks at Jeremy, I can tell he looks up to him, and wants his praise.
We swim for a bit until the sliding glass on the back door opens and Mr. Kessler steps into the back yard. “Hello, gentlemen.”
“Hey, Coach!” Garret says.
“How are y’all doing?”
“Good, just relaxing,” Jeremy says, as Jaxson clings to his back.
“Come on, boys, Mrs. K has fried chicken she brought home. Where is Ryder?” he asks, looking at me.
“Went out for a run,” Garret says, before I can open my mouth.
“That boy doesn’t know the meaning of a day off,” Mr. Kessler says, shaking his head.
Coach walks back into the house and comes back out with four towels in hand. I take mine and tell him thank you. He tells me it’s good to see me. He hands one to each of the rest of the guys, and when he gets to Jaxson, he bends down to Jaxson’s height. “And who are you?”
Jaxson looks at me and I nod, then he looks at Jeremy, who nods as well. Instead, Jaxson moves behind Jeremy. “I was told never to talk to strangers,” he says from behind Jeremy.
“Well, you were swimming in my pool,” Mr. Kessler says.
“Sorry, Mr. Kessler. That’s my foster brother, Jaxson.” I tell him.
Mr. Kessler removes his hat and scratches his head with it and puts it back on, “Thank you, Tyler, for the introduction, but can’t the little man speak for himself?”
“I’m not little. I am fourteen!” he says, shivering a little.
Mr. Kessler laughs and hands him a towel. “You are a spitfire, aren’t you?”
Jaxson takes the towel and narrows his eyes at him. “It’s possible.”
“Jaxson!” I scold.
“Relax, Tyler, it’s fine. Come on, boys, let’s get some food.”
“How’d you know we were all here?” Jaxson asks, following Mr. Kessler.
He laughs. “Jeremy texted me and told me.”
Jaxson cuts his eyes at Jeremy. “Remind never to tell you when I plan to sneak out.”
This gets us all to laugh. Mr. K laughed the hardest. “Where did you come from?”
“Well, you see what happens when a man and a woman….”
“It was rhetorical,” Mr. K says.
“Well then, why did you ask?” Jaxson replies.
I roll my eyes and follow them into the dining room, where Mrs. K is. She is standing at the bar digging through the bags. I watch as Jaxson keeps sassing Coach. I can smell the chicken and my stomach rumbles and Mrs. K looks up.
“Well, aren’t you the cutest kid,” Mrs. K says from the kitchen.
Jaxson stops mid-sentence to answer her. “I have to be. I mean, look at all three of them. I don’t know how you can look at them.” He hops up on the bar stool with the biggest shit eating grin on his face.
Mrs. K laughs. “You are precious. Who are you, sweetie?”
“Well Jaxson, I’m Mrs. Kessler, but you can call me Mrs. K, and I see you have met my husband. You can call him Coach.”
“You coach?” Jaxson asks, looking at Mr. K.
“I do, I coach football.”
“Hmphh… I feel bad for you,” Jaxson says.
“Why is that?”
“Having to be around Jeremy all day. Jeez, that has to be a headache.” He dramatically grabs his head.
Jeremy thumps him in the head, and Jaxson grins and leans into him. I shake my head. I will apologize later for his behavior.
“Boys, go change and wash up for dinner,” Mrs. K says.
I go up to Ryder’s room and make my way into the bathroom. I hear the door to the room shut, and I look out of the bathroom and see Ryder toweling off the sweat with a shirt. I want to say something, but I’m scared he’s still going to be pissed at me.
He spots me and jumps a little. “Hey.”
“Hey,” I say, as I use a towel to wipe off the remaining water on my shorts.
I turn my back towards him, and strip off the swim trunks, and pull my boxers on. I catch him looking at me and he blushes. I can’t help but smile, and he makes his way into the bathroom.
“I’m sorry I was a dick earlier,” he tells me.
“It’s okay, Ryder, I was just worried about you,” I say, grabbing his hand.
“I know. I was just embarrassed because I did freak out and I hate that it happens. I was scared you thought that if we did anything I would freak out on you, and that’s not the case. Tyler, I trust you with everything. I feel like I can tell you my darkest fears and you’ll be ok with them.”
I lean in and kiss him. “I will, babe. I love you, but I don’t love the smell coming off of you! You need to shower, ‘cause you stink!”
“It’s ‘cause I am so manly!”
“No, it’s cause you’re a funky teenager. Shower, so we can go eat.”
I walk back into the kitchen and Jaxson is back in his regular clothes, sitting on the counter, talking to Mr. and Mrs. K. “I like both.”
“So you like both sexes?” Coach asks.
“Yes sir,” he says, smiling.
“But how does that work?” Coach asks, intrigued.
Jaxson shrugs his shoulders, “How would I know? I’m not a head doctor. I mean, I see a girl I like, I like her, and if I see a boy that I like, I like him.”
Coach just laughs, “It’s too damn hard keeping up with you kids these days.” He leaves the kitchen, laughing.
“What’s up, Jax?” I say, leaning towards him. He narrows his eyes as if he doesn’t trust me.
“Just talking. What’s up with you?” He eyes me and then the stairs where I came from.
I shake my head, “Why are you on the counter?”
He shrugs his shoulders. “They wanted to see my scar!” He says pulling the bottom of his shorts up to show me the long scar on his thigh, “did you know they are adopting another kid?”
“I did,” I tell him.
“You didn’t tell me!” he retorts, shaking his head. “He never tells me anything!” he says, looking at Coach.
I see Mrs. K watching our exchange. “Can I ask…?” she starts.
“I’m bipolar, and ADD. I am not crazy though!” he says.
She puts her hands up. “I didn’t assume you were.”
“Sorry, he gets super defensive about it.” I chime in.
Jeremy comes into the room, and Jaxson takes off to be with him. I feel Mrs. K put a hand on my shoulder, “Don’t be jealous, sweetheart. That’s just how Jeremy is. People tend to cling to him. It’s truly amazing to watch. I remember, Ryder would be so quiet, and Jeremy would bring out a whole new side of him.”
“I just wished Jaxson and I had that relationship,” I tell her.
“Don’t rule it out. It’s hard being a teenager and fully aware of one’s self, plus having bi-polar disorder is hard. Is he Kim’s biological child?”
“No ma’am, Jaxson has a pretty bad past. He was going to be placed into the system, but the chances of him being adopted were slim. No one wants damaged kids, and if they do, most only do more harm. He and I got lucky.” I tell her.
“Tyler, how are you doing, sweetie?”
“I’m good, why?”
“Just making sure you are. You have this look in your eyes like you aren’t truly happy,” she says.
“Trust me, I really am,” I tell her, and reassure her with a smile, and she pulls me into a hug which takes me by surprise at first.
“If you ever want to talk about anything, sweetheart, you can talk to me,” she says.
She lets go of me. “Thanks, Mrs. K.”
I turn as Ryder comes down, his wet hair dripping on his face. He blushes as he catches my stare. “I’m hungry!” he says, laughing.
“Then let’s eat, boys!” Coach says, coming back into
Be sure to check out my other story I will be posting a new chapter soon. It's called The Sound of Starting over!
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