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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

Ridley - 2. Part 2

Practice went as expected. Some of the passes from Reed and Matt stung my hands, but after they saw I handled them easily enough it stopped. They still hated that I was being featured for homecoming. Over the years we had gradually gotten better, some of the guys grew taller, some of them were replaced by better underclassmen. We had a winning season last year and this season we had only lost a handful of games. We were favorites going into the postseason district championship tournament. So the weight of this homecoming was a heavier one. We were playing a cupcake team, so we were guaranteed to win. This was the best year the school has seen in all of its history and I apparently was the coverboy, as much as I didn’t want to be. 

The thought didn’t have me smirking at their glares, instead I ended up sitting on the bench while they ran laps for not paying attention to Coach in the last ten minutes of trainwreck practice. I was also the only one to notice the gym doors open and close and Gabe followed by Mari walking in. It took Coach hearing the groan of the old bleachers as they stepped up on them to break his concentration. He hated having outsiders in the gym and I watched and hoped that he would tell them to get out. When he didn’t I sighed and reached for a towel to wipe the sweat from my face and neck. I wore sports glasses with a strap for basketball after everyone gave up on me wearing contacts. Seeing the camera cradled in Gabe’s hands I grabbed the strap and slowly pulled them off and reached into my school bag for my regular pair. I could still feel the heat radiating off my body from my exertion and I knew my cheeks were flushed.

“What’s going on?” Gabe asked as he sat down beside me.

“I’m taking a break,” I answered shrugging.

“Really?” Gabe answered smiling. “While everyone else is running laps around the gym.”

“Yeah,” I answered, fighting a smile.

“Why is everyone glaring at us?” Mari asked and I looked past Gabe to see her still standing up. 

“We’ve not had the best practice,” I said waiting for the call for me to rejoin the team, but it never came. When Coach blew his whistle he pointed to the locker rooms.

“Brooks,” Coach Young bellowed as he gathered up his notes. “Do the feature for the damn paper so we can move on.”

He didn’t wait around for a response as he stormed out of the gym. He was a math teacher, so he probably had a few people to fail before Friday. Hearing Gabe snickering beside me I groaned as I stood, already preparing to ignore them to go shower and change back into the clothes I wore to school. Mom would be waiting with dinner for me and I was hungry.

“Wait a minute,” Gabe said as I gathered up my athletic glasses without a look backwards.

“Why are you here?” I asked half turning to face them. I could barely hear the noise coming from the locker room. Coach knew we’d wait to do our bitching behind closed doors and he always let us do it. He also knew we would fall in line as soon as we came back outside. “They’re already pissed at me.”

“Let them feel the sting of it all,” Gabe said leaning back against the bleacher behind him. He looked as relaxed as a cat, like he could be there all day if he wanted to. Mari looked completely out of place in her skirt and heels. Heels that weren’t really allowed on the freshly polished gym floors, but Coach had overlooked that too. 

“We talked after you left,” Mari said as she shuffled around the books in her hands. “Gabe convinced me to let him do the feature.”

“Don’t you have a scholarship?” I asked, glancing between them.

“There are a lot of other things to fill my application with,” she answered shrugging. “The Spring play feature that I’m working on should go well enough to replace it.”

“And I hate that shit,” Gabe added, shrugging. “High school productions.” 

“They’re doing a showcase of old movies this year,” Mari countered, smiling as she stepped off the bleacher. “They wanted me to play Zorro’s wife, but I can’t think of the reason why, can you?”

“No,” I answered, chewing on my bottom lip.

“Racism, but the show will go on,” Gabe said as he leaned forward. “You gonna go get changed so we can do this interview?”

“I thought it was being emailed,” I said as I adjusted my bag over my shoulder. My sports glasses were still in my other hand.

“So you can ignore it and hang me out to dry without a feature,” Gabe said, shaking his head as he scowled at me. “Fuck that.”

“Reed is still an option,” I suggested, but I turned away from them and left them as I made my way across the gym floor to the locker rooms. Some of the guys were already coming out, freshly showered, but still wet. They shouldered past me as I made my way inside. It always smelled of sweat and Old Spice with a hint of Axe, even though no one used either of those anymore. Wrinkling my nose I sat my bag down on a polished wooden bench and started stripping down. Still pissed at me, no one offered to say anything or look my way. By Friday I hoped the thrill of homecoming and the dance that followed, would have them back to treating me like I treated them. Complete indifference was a lot better than this. 

After I stripped out of my practice uniform I tossed it into the basket along with my towel. I grabbed a clean one and my small bottle of body wash and stepped under an open shower head. I turned on the water and adjusted it to just being warm. Closing my eyes I let the water flow over my face as I opened my left palm and squeezed body wash into it. Just wanting to wash off the sweat, knowing I’ll be taking a proper shower later, I rubbed the body wash over my chest through the dusting of chest hair and down my stomach. I felt the abs I wasn’t trying for and the hairs around my navel. That’s as far as I went before I turned and started washing my back.

By the time I was finished I was the last one. The team manager was already in here preparing to take the practice uniforms to be washed. A freshman that hoped to make the team one day, he always smiled and tried to talk to me, he hadn’t learned yet.

“Hey Riddles,” he said and I frowned as I wrapped my towel around my waist. He would wait for this towel, not wanting to come back just for it.

“Hey,” I offered as I sat down on the bench and grabbed a second towel just to spite him to dry my hair. It was short, just long enough that I had to fuss over it every morning to get it the way I liked and just ended up in a spikey mess, but I didn’t care. 

“Did you have a good practice?” He asked as he pulled the hamper on wheels out from its parking spot.

“Yeah,” I answered shrugging. I should already be dressed and out of here, but I had an expectant Gabe waiting for me and I didn’t want to answer questions. Gabe unnerved me worse than Mari ever could have. He looked more than ready to call me on my bullshit, Mari wouldn’t have and I wondered just how much persuading he had to do with her. I imagined all he had to do was ask and she would have handed over the feature with a smile. Maybe she paid him off to take it off her hands. The thought didn’t amuse me any, I didn’t want to be an ass to either of them. I also didn’t want to be featured in the school paper, but it seemed like that was happening regardless of what I wanted.

“I saw the media club guy waiting for you,” he said and I shot him a look as I stood and dropped my towel. I was never bashful in the locker room, even before my growth spurt and hair. I just refused to look around much until I got more settled with the team. I didn’t want those rumors to start up too, the nickname was bad enough.

After I dressed I tossed my towels inside his basket and offered him a small smile before I left the locker room. Seeing me, Gabe stood and gently pulled the strap of his camera over his shoulder and grabbed up his school bag. Mari was already gone, probably leaving with Matt. Gabe had a smile playing on his lips when I got close enough for it to matter and he followed me out of the gym and into the hallway. I expected him to direct me back to the media room, instead he fell in step beside me as I turned and started towards the main exit. A quiet Gabe also unsettled me and I couldn’t help peeking over at him after we were outside. There were only a few cars left in the parking lot. My car was parked beside his truck, but we didn’t have parking passes next to one another.

“Ready to get some food?” Gabe asked, finally breaking the silence.

“My Mom is waiting for me at home,” I answered shrugging.

“Home cooked is better than the shit they have in town,” Gabe answered, offering me a smile. “Lead the way and don’t try to lose me, I race on dirt tracks.”

“Do you really?” I asked, my eyebrows rising.

“No,” he answered laughing.

“Well it would have been the coolest thing I’d heard all year if you did,” I countered, shaking my head. “Did you just invite yourself over to my house?”

“Yeah,” he said and I frowned. Cara had friends visit all the time and they all knew about Dad. With everything being everyone’s business I doubted the whole school didn’t already know. No one ever said anything to me about Dad or asked about him. Maybe I had become too shut out that people didn’t even bother, it was what I wanted. People tended to forget tragedies that weren’t their own so easily, some people still didn’t know how to take me face to face after knowing. With Dad, people were all too eager to grab hold of the next round of gossip and I was glad of it.  

Ignoring him knowing the next step was a phone call to Mom from the school, I unlocked the door to Mom’s hand-me-down Ford Fusion. I didn’t wait around for him to get into his truck, but I saw him pull out of the school and onto the road back home through the rearview mirror. We lived in town, I could walk here every morning if I wanted to, it was a waste of gas. Cara walked home on days I had practice or rode with a friend if the weather sucked. 

Pulling into the drive, I waited for Gabe to park behind me. I couldn’t ignore him now, if I did Mom would lecture me about manners. Watching him slide out of his bulky as fuck truck I waited until he stood beside me. I watched him looking around at the house, an old one story brick house built way before I was born. Mom remodeled the inside of it a lot over the years, Dad probably wouldn’t even recognize it anymore. It gave her something to do, we all did things to keep us busy. Cara liked to scrapbook, of all things. She did it even though I kept telling her that was what soccer moms and old cat ladies liked to do. I knew she was keeping a record of our lives for Dad to relive with us when he finally got to come home. So the teasing never went farther than that.

“Nice place,” Gabe said as he started walking towards the front door. If I knew Mom, she would have heard the extra vehicle and would be craning her neck to see through the curtains. She would wait until we entered though. Not being the type of Mom that barged out on guests, Cara threw too many temper tantrums and broke her from that years ago. 

“It looks like every other house on this street,” I answered shrugging, but I watched Gabe look around at the other houses. They were all the same style, same brick. Only the landscaping varied and some people had pools. We had one in the backyard, but it was empty and had been for two years. Mom has it inspected every now and then, but that’s as far as she went with its upkeep. 

“Well hell, it does,” Gabe said, blinking as he turned to me. “I didn’t notice that.”

“Yeah,” I offered as I grabbed the front door and gently pushed it open. I let him walk through first, already smelling dinner. The garlic told me it was something italian and like I predicted Mom was standing in the middle of the living room looking awkward as fuck to me, but probably welcoming to Gabe.

“Hi,” she greeted, offering her hand. “Ridley didn’t tell me he was bringing home a friend.”

“I jumped him in the parking lot actually,” Gabe answered, taking Mom’s smaller hand in his. They didn’t really shake and Gabe seemed to let go well before Mom was ready for him to, but both of them maintained their smiles. “I’m here to feature him for homecoming.”

“Really!” Mom screeched and I wanted to laugh when Gabe jumped at the sudden outburst. The prom queen mom was suddenly standing in the living room shooting me a glare. “Ridley, you didn’t tell me that.”

“I forgot,” I answered shrugging. “Mom, don't make a big deal out of this.”

“It’s about time that school decided to feature you,” Mom said, glancing at Gabe like it was completely his fault. “I’ve had to read all about everyone else on the team all year.”

“Only you would read the paper,” I groaned looking past her to the kitchen. I wanted what smelled good and to get this over with. 

“We tried to get him in a couple of times,” Gabe answered and I shot him a glare. “He’s ignored us until now.”

“That sounds like him,” Mom answered and I saw the threat of a lecture later if I didn’t cooperate, at least in front of her.

“All under the bridge,” Gabe offered, slapping me on the shoulder. I shot him another glare as I made to step around them. 

“Mom we’re hungry,” I said as I stepped past her, only half managing to dodge her hug. “We’re eating in my room.”

“Okay honey,” she said as she followed us into the kitchen. “Just make yourself at home Gabe, it was nice meeting you.”

“It is nice meeting you, too,” he said as I handed him a plate from the cupboard. We were having eggplant parmesan. Mom was trying a half-assed vegetarian diet, but this recipe was good enough to keep me from complaining too much.  

I tried not feeling put out by Gabe as we gathered our plates and drinks and headed down the hallway to my room. He stopped and looked at pictures, not saying a word. Mom diverged from following us down the hall at the entrance, still amazed that I brought a friend home, even if we already told her he was here on business. I felt my face get hot when he awkwardly pointed with his pinky at one of my grade school pictures during one of his stops. Not even attempting to hide his smirk, I pushed him away from the picture and down the hallway. I barely came up to Matt Ashby’s shoulder, he had his arm around me and I was smiling. I wondered if people even remembered that we were as close friends as we were. I hated the picture, but Mom insisted that it stayed, mostly I think it was because her favorite cat was sitting on the hood of her car. She was probably actually taking the picture of him, but we had photo bombed it. The awful green sweater and black track pants I did remember. We were probably about to start playing basketball out front, I couldn’t remember if Dad was back home at the time or not.

“You look like your Dad,” Gabe said after we bypassed Cara’s room and entered mine. My room was at the end of the hallway, the only thing that went beyond my room was a closet where Mom hoarded bits of everything she thought we’d need, but never did need bad enough to open the door. Mom and Dad’s room was on the opposite side of the house.

“You’re the first person to think so,” I answered as I closed the door behind us.

“Really?” He asked as he walked over to my neatly made bed and plopped himself down on it like it was his own. I didn’t have a desk in here though, so it was really the only place to sit. Not wanting to sit next to him, I sat my food down on the floor and sat cross legged, but having to look up at him also bothered me.

“Cara looks like him,” I answered shrugging. “People say I’m just a mixed up version of both parents and that I look like neither of them.”

“I’m adopted,” he said and I stopped chewing on my bite of eggplant. I didn’t expect him to talk about himself, I expected him to just get to the interview after the inevitable awkward silence hit the room.

“I didn’t know that,” I said around my mouthful of food. 

“Not a lot of people do,” he added, smiling before he took his first bite. When he wrinkled his nose I chewed on the inside of my bottom lip. Mom’s cooking wasn’t for everyone, being used to it I somewhat grew to like most of it.

“Still think we should’ve come here?” I asked after he swallowed and studied his plate. “We could’ve had fries.”

“It really is eggplant, I always thought people sneaked in something else,” he said as he forked another bite into his mouth.

“Mom tries to become a vegetarian every now and then,” I offered, shrugging. “It barely lasts over a couple of months.”

“How many weeks are you on now?” He asked as he soldiered on eating.

“Two or so,” I answered before taking another bite. “You don’t really have to finish it, I can find you something in the fridge.”

“No,” he said, waving his fork in front of him. “It’s growing on me. I just hope like hell it digests easier.” 

“So are you going to interview me now?” I asked as I took a drink of my water. He had his glass nestled precariously between his legs as he ate and I tried not to look at his crotch whenever he shifted his weight. 

“Food first,” he answered as he finished off his plate. “With you being eager, I should start though, you might change your mind.”

“Yeah,” I said, offering my hand for his plate, but he only stood and stepped around me.

“I’ll take it, I remember where the kitchen is,” he said after chugging the last of his water and left me sitting in my bedroom. Knowing Mom would ambush him and embarrass the hell out of me, I scrambled for my own empty plate and bolted from the room. Cara was just about to reach her room though and intentionally stepped in front of me with her eyebrow cocked.

“Ridley,” she said as I craned my neck past her smaller, but somehow more imposing figure to try and see into the living room. I heard voices, so I knew Mom stopped him.

“Not now, Cara,” I grunted, turning back to her. “Move out of the way, you know she’s going to bring up something bad.” 

“Is that Gabe Rice standing in our living room?” She asked as she flipped a strand of hair behind her.

“Yeah,” I answered, eying her up. I knew I could put my hand out and shove past her, but I also didn’t want her sticking her foot out and tripping me either. It was her go-to move when we were about to get into a wrestling match that ended up with me on the ground because I didn’t have it in me to put up much of a struggle and she fought dirty. I had two very important weak points that I didn’t feel like protecting right now. 

“Where was the warning!” She hissed and I rolled my eyes, which didn’t make things better.

“He’s doing a feature for the school paper,” I whispered leaning against her door frame.

“You’re actually doing that?” She asked, glancing over her shoulder.

“I’ve tried to get out of doing it all day,” I answered after she turned to actually pay attention to me again.

“That’s why you were called to Pearcy’s office,” she said as she scrunched up her features. “That old drunk told me Cheerleading wasn’t a sport.”

“It isn’t, not how you all do it anyway,” I countered finally having enough and shoving myself past her. 

“You come back here and say that to my face,” she hissed as I felt her foot knock into mine. I stumbled a few steps thankful that I just didn’t bite the living room floor with my plate and cup still in my hand.

“What on earth,” Mom said as I turned and shot Cara a glare.

“Tripped,” I mumbled as I came to a stop just inside the living room. Cara didn’t follow me and when I noticed Gabe still holding his own plate and glass I wondered what all she had time to tell him. I didn’t want to tell Gabe my life story, it would involve Dad and that was too hard. I didn’t want the follow up questions that people who pretended to really care always asked. Mom was resting a small picture album in her hand from back before smartphones saved all that shit for us. 

“I was just about to ask Gabe if he needed pictures from when you were younger and playing basketball,” Mom said, smiling up at Gabe from the couch.

“I wasn’t on a team back then,” I countered, turning to him. “I can take your plate to the kitchen.”

“I got it,” he said and when he turned towards the kitchen I shot Mom a glare. When she rolled her eyes I followed him. I watched him rinse the plate and his glass and when he looked around and noticed the dishwasher he pulled it down and put them inside it. Not wanting to out myself as a lazy ass that never did the dishes, I rinsed my own and put them in there too.

“So you didn’t tell us exactly how it was your Dad got you into basketball,” he said, his voice falling to a whisper as he looked past me.

“I didn’t,” I said, sighing as I turned and started walking back towards the living room. I knew he followed me from his footfalls. Mom smiled at us as she settled into the couch scrolling through movies to watch. Cara’s door was closed and I was thankful for that, but I figured she would be hiding in her room until Gabe left then she’d pounce me for details. I wouldn’t have thought a guy like Gabe would be on her radar, he wasn’t part of any of the three sports teams that mattered to this school. I think he played Tennis. 

Back inside my room I closed the door behind us and he retrieved a notebook. I watched him sit himself back down on my bed before he opened it and reached back inside his bag for a pen. I hadn’t noticed him carrying his bag until then, but I had been too concerned with what Mom was up to. 

“You can sit down on the bed too,” He said as he scooted to the foot of the bed.

“I was about to,” I lied as I closed the distance between us. I didn’t want to sit with him on my bed and if I had a better alternative for privacy we wouldn’t have been in here. Mom was a night owl though and wouldn’t be going to sleep until around eleven or so. Remembering why he was sitting in my room I swallowed and slid onto the head of the bed pushing the pillows out of my way. When I was settled he slid further into the bed and leaned onto his side with his pen and paper in front of him. I glanced down and saw that it was empty, I had expected questions.

“So you started playing for the school only after your Dad told you to try out for the team,” he said and I looked away from the notebook. He hadn’t made a move to prepare for an answer to jot down. “I guess that’s why you don’t really like basketball.”

“I do like basketball,” I countered as I grabbed up a pillow and leaned forward. I shoved it behind my back and fell back against it. “What else did Mom tell you?”

“She didn’t tell me anything,” he answered, reaching his hand forward for my other pillow. He couldn't reach it and it took me a moment to give up on my stubbornness of having him here to offer it to him. “I kind of figured that out on my own.”

“I guess you have me figured out then,” I countered and frowned when he smirked and shook his head.

“Nobody does,” he said, grabbing up his pen.

“Where’s Mari’s questions?” I asked, glancing over to my nightstand where my laptop sat with the email unanswered.

“I thought we’d just wing it,” he answered and I sighed, turning back to face him. His brown eyes didn’t shy away from me like I wanted them to. Unlike his, mine were more of a hazel brown that sometimes showed more green than anything. His were a dark brown with just enough color to differentiate his irises from his pupils.

“Okay,” I said, sliding further down into the bed. I was starting to feel some of the strain from practice and wanted to take a shower and relax. I also had a little homework to finish before tomorrow, but it wouldn’t hurt my grades too much if that didn’t happen. 

“Why aren’t you and Matt Ashby still friends?” He asked and I watched him write my name on the first line and nothing else.

“Is that really a question?” I asked, but he shook his head.

“Just wanted to know,” he answered as he wrote the date down at the other end of the line that held my name. 

“Ask him then,” I countered, crossing my arms.

“Do you want him answering that question for you?” Gabe asked with a smirk playing on his lips.

“Can’t we just get to the questions you’ll actually use for the feature?” I asked, letting my hands fall to my lap. I hated that I couldn’t feel comfortable in my own room and on my own bed. I didn’t want to think about Matt Ashby or Dad.

“I’m using all of this for the feature,” he answered leaning lower onto the pillow. He let go of the pen and it rolled off the notebook and fell somewhere between him and the bed. He didn’t reach to retrieve it either. 

“I don’t want to talk about Matt,” I said, feeling my face getting warm. “We’re no longer friends because I sucked at being his friend until he had enough. He found better friends. I started playing basketball with the team because Dad wanted me to be brave and try out. I did and I made it and I became the fucking star against my better judgement. I don’t want any of this shit.”

“Why?” He asked and I balled my left hand into a fist, but he pretended not to notice.

“Get out of my room,” I said, nodding my head towards the door. “I don’t care if I get into shit for not doing the feature. You’re just trying to pick at me until I lose it anyway, this doesn’t have anything to do with the paper.”

“It does actually,” Gabe countered, rolling up to rest on his elbow. “You can answer all the questions you want about basketball and we’ll not know you any better than we do now.”

“This is for basketball though,” I said looking past him to my dresser. I had my trophies stacked neatly for Dad to see when he came home. That was the only reason they were there collecting dust and cobwebs that I cleaned away when I felt like it. I had a couple more game balls in varying states of deflation in my closet that I swore at, every time I tripped over one looking for something to wear to school. 

“Twenty-two points, five assists, three rebounds, and two steals per game,” Gabe said and I didn’t have to look up my stats sheet to see if he was right or not, I didn’t know them. “Give or take, I’m rounding down.”

“That’s me, I guess,” I said, shrugging.

“That’s all we know about you,” he countered, finally fishing his pen out from underneath him. “Do you really want that to be what you leave behind here?” 

“Yes,” I answered, looking down at the notebook still empty. “That’s the only thing that will last about any of us anyway.”

“Your name is about to be in banners in the gym,” he said smiling when I scowled at him. “Unless you make an effort not to break those records.”

“Maybe I’ll twist an ankle or something and be out the rest of the season,” I said, feeling a guilty sort of hopefulness with the thought. 

“Sad way to go out,” he added as he pushed himself up off the bed flipping the notebook closed as he moved.

“Where are you going?” I asked not feeling relieved that he was getting ready to leave.

“You told me to leave,” he answered as he slid his notebook into his bag. “You don’t want to do the feature, I’ll take all the blame for it.”

“No,” I said, sighing. “Don’t get into shit over me, people know I’m weird anyway.”

“No they think you’re weird,” Gabe said, nudging my knee with his hand. “They don’t know anything about you.”

“I made a promise to my dad,” I said as he half-turned to leave the room. I was about to let him leave and let the feature fall where it did. “I do like basketball, I love to play, but not in a gym in front of hundreds of people. I want to be out front on the cracked pavement with him. He wanted me to try out because he thought I would like playing while he was gone.”

“We have pictures of him and you,” Gabe said, turning fully back to me. “I don’t know who took them, but the games where he was able to make it, you would always find him in the stands before going to the locker rooms.”

“And he’d fuss at me for not following Coach out,” I said smiling. That was two years ago and I had grown a couple of inches. We would be closer in height now if he were here.

“Your Mom said that he is in a care facility a couple of states away,” Gabe said as he sat back down on the bed.

“I thought you said she didn’t tell you anything?” I asked, glancing down at my hands resting in my lap.

“I lied,” he answered and I looked up to see him shrug and scratch an itch on his arm before looking towards the door.

“It will be a while yet before he gets out of there,” I said and he turned his attention back to me. “I won’t remember much about the games these past couple of years to tell him about them.”

“I don’t remember every tennis match I’ve ever played,” Gabe offered and I jumped when his hand slid against my knee, it was brief and different from the playful nudge and when I looked up at him he didn’t look like he noticed me flinching. “I don’t think he’ll blame you for forgetting.”

“I’m sorry about the feature,” I said, not wanting to talk about Dad anymore.

“I think I have something to go on,” he said, pushing himself back off the bed. “You can trust me.”

“Not really,” I said smiling. “Because everything I’ve told you, I don’t want in the feature.”

“I know,” he said, shaking his head, “you’ve told me over and over not to put anything you’ve said in there. At this point I’m wondering if I’m even allowed to use your name.

“I’d say not to, but you kind of have to,” I countered and he smirked.

“Well goodnight,” he said and I stretched out my legs and turned in the bed to stand up and walk him out of the room.

“See you tomorrow,” I offered as he reached the door and pulled it open.

“The feature will come out Friday after lunch,” he said, fiddling with the doorknob. “If you hate it, don’t hunt me down.”

“I won’t read it,” I said and he smiled.

“I figured,” he said and I watched him walk out of the room. I followed him to the door of my room and watched him walk down the hallway. I heard him say a quick bye to Mom as I walked down the hall to the bathroom wanting to shower away the lingering sweat and cheap soap from practice, trusting Mom not to say too much more to him. 

Copyright © 2021 Krista; All Rights Reserved.
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I think Ridley's life is about to change significantly.  Since it appears to be up to Gabe, I think he is attracted to Ridley and hopefully, his written word, will bring them together.

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@Krista, I love how you use little details to build your characters.  Ridley is a riddle that Gabe is out to solve.  Gabe is definitely up to the challenge and has made more progress than anyone else has for many years.  Gabe uses all the skills of a reporter to listen, persuade, observe and gather as many details of Ridley as he can.  Gabe has a plan and it is focused on Ridley to trust him.  I don't think Gabe will betray Ridley by writing a trash article.  He wants more from Ridley.  Neither Gabe or Mari have anything to lose if they can't get the article, but Gabe maneuvered Mari out of the picture and invited himself to dinner. I also suspect he knows that Ridley is gay and used his walk to the media room as an enticement to Ridley.  I also think Gabe thinks Ridley's desire to remain in the shadows is related to Matt.  That was one part of the interview that was way out in space for the article, but something Gabe wanted to know. Probably for personal reasons????

I should also praise you for how you developed the physical pictures of Gabe and Ridley without writing a huge report describing all their attributes. A few facts like the color of Gabe's eyes or Gabe is a tennis player, and Ridley focusing on Gabe backside and the way it moves tells a lot of information very efficiently.  Well done.  


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14 hours ago, raven1 said:

@Krista, I love how you use little details to build your characters.  Ridley is a riddle that Gabe is out to solve.  Gabe is definitely up to the challenge and has made more progress than anyone else has for many years.  Gabe uses all the skills of a reporter to listen, persuade, observe and gather as many details of Ridley as he can.  Gabe has a plan and it is focused on Ridley to trust him.  I don't think Gabe will betray Ridley by writing a trash article.  He wants more from Ridley.  Neither Gabe or Mari have anything to lose if they can't get the article, but Gabe maneuvered Mari out of the picture and invited himself to dinner. I also suspect he knows that Ridley is gay and used his walk to the media room as an enticement to Ridley.  I also think Gabe thinks Ridley's desire to remain in the shadows is related to Matt.  That was one part of the interview that was way out in space for the article, but something Gabe wanted to know. Probably for personal reasons????

I should also praise you for how you developed the physical pictures of Gabe and Ridley without writing a huge report describing all their attributes. A few facts like the color of Gabe's eyes or Gabe is a tennis player, and Ridley focusing on Gabe backside and the way it moves tells a lot of information very efficiently.  Well done.  


Thank you! I do give hints and descriptions in small doses. I hardly ever give out physical characteristics in the character's own voice. I do it in comparisons and interactions. I feel a write-up or a mock-up style physical description just feels like placing a stencil on a canvass and tracing. You get the project done, but it doesn't add to anything, but a quick gratification. To do it all in one go and so literal and thorough just, it feels like a sigh and not a conversation. lol. I don't like it, so I don't do it, I want people to get a sense of what they want in a character physically with little guides as to what I want them to look like. To set it in stone like a baseball card stat-sheet, it just doesn't work that well. So I am glad you like the little details. :)

Gabe's question about Matt was 100% curiosity, because everyone who would know them - would probably want that question answered for themselves. A friendship like that being broken doesn't break quietly. 

I know that some people can see mannerisms or maybe pick up on inflections or like-mindedness and see a fellow, whatever, in another person. So Gabe may have picked up on Ridley's attitude or maybe even reactions or receptiveness to him as common ground. I don't know, I don't know that if Ridley was more determined to keep his secrets and be stubborn if Gabe would have broke out a strip-tease or something though. Lol.. although fun thought. ;) Gabe was going to at least try to get 'the' story.  

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