Chapter Eleven

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My suspension ends, and I'm extremely grateful to be back in school. I found out Nick and Ryan got suspended for 5 days, so I have 2 days at school to enjoy not being around them. It still kinda amazes me how we drifted apart so quickly. Like none of our memories mattered. They see me almost as an enemy. Like I betrayed them. Which, I kinda did, if you think about it. I chose a side and they're just mad it wasn't theirs.

I walk into the library and sit next to Alek at our usual spot. I welcome the cool and calming wintery sensation, but something felt a little off. Like the forest was somehow in distress. A storm forming in its usually clear blue skies. It's overwhelming.

"Are you feeling okay?" I ask Alek. I really hope he didn't get beat up again. Don't really feel like getting suspended again. Actually, I might get expelled if I get into another fight. That definitely wouldn't go well with my uncle.

"Huh?" He asks, looking at me. He seems dazed and not in his usually spaced-out ways. Like he was having a hard time focusing on anything. Even his daydreams. He hasn't once had that glazed-over look in his eyes. It was actually really strange. Him being almost normal for once was weirder than him being his usual self.

"I asked if you're feeling okay. You seem off." I said

"I'm fine," He said, brushing off my concern like it was nothing. I felt a little hurt. Did he not trust me enough to tell me his feelings? I was pretty sure we were now considered friends. Did he not consider me as his friend?

"I know that's not true. You're not acting like your normal self." I push the matter. I wanted to know, even if it made me seem like an ass

"Look, I'm fine. Stop pressing the subject." Alek says, annoyed and slightly angry. He glares at me and I'm surprised. I didn't think Alek would be capable of doing such a thing. He's never gotten mad before. Not even when I damaged his notebook. But here he was, glaring at me. He's always been so calm, patient, kind, weird, and free-spirited.

He leans back in his chair and sighs, looking up at the ceiling. "I'm sorry," He apologizes, sounding more like himself. "I just have a really bad headache and it hurts." He explained, sounding tired. The winter sensation started feeling more and more like a winter storm.

"I have some Advil. Would you like to take some?" I ask, grabbing my bag and unzipping the front pocket.

"No, no. Headache medicine just makes it worse." He says, and I'm a little confused by that. Headache medicine, designed to get rid of headaches, makes Alek's headaches worse? That's really strange. "I'll just live through it. It's not as bad as some of the other ones I've had." He gives me a half-hearted smile, and I set my bag down.

"Alright then, well, do you want to just not do a tutor session today?" I ask, not quite sure how to phrase the question. I also wanted to get out of doing work.

Alek smiles and rolls his eyes. "Yeah, right. I know you just don't wanna do work. I'm still going to tutor you even with this headache."

I groan a little but it's nice to see Alek back to normal. Even if his wintery sensation still felt like a blizzard.

The day ends and I walk out of the school, heading to the football locker rooms. The nice walk from the school to the locker room was short-lived as soon as I entered the locker room. I felt the judgemental stares and glares of most of the guys as I walked to my locker. I brushed it off. Of course, they wouldn't be too happy with me since I was apparently the cause for getting three football players suspended.

I unlock my locker and start pulling my stuff out when someone calls my name. I immediately recognize the voice and groan. I don't want to deal with Jaxson right now.

"What the hell is wrong with you? Did you really have to get into a fight with Nick and Ryan?" He asks, making sure it was known that he was pissed off. "We had to make Peter your replacement since Connor's leg is still broken. Peter! He sucks!"

"Hey!" Peter yelled from the other side of the locker room.

"Not now Peter!" Jaxson yells back to him. "You need to get your shit together and drop that freaky loser. You're an asset to this team. We need you. We can't have you going off and forgetting that your team comes first." Jaxson glares at me and I'm pissed. 

"Fuck off Jaxson. I don't care. I'm still going to play my position and do as good as I've shown time and time again. I don't have to like any of you. I'm still going to play my part in this team just like I always have." I say, trying to keep my anger controlled because I'm so close to getting into a brawl with Jaxson, but I really don't want to get suspended again

I turned away from Jaxson and began putting all my gear on. Jaxson just stormed off, mumbling a quick whatever. He may have the power to bench me, but he wouldn't bench me with Connor out of the picture and replace me with Peter just to be petty. He was smarter than that, but I don't doubt he'll get some kind of revenge.

Practice went by as normal, though, coach made me push myself harder today. It was considered my punishment for getting suspended. I didn't mind though. I probably should be pushing myself a little harder anyways.

Halfway through practice coach tells everyone to take a water break, which I'm more than happy to do. I grab my water bottle that was next to a bench and climb up to the bleachers. I lean against the fence that blocked people from falling off the platform, taking a long sip of my water, and looked at all the empty rows of benches. Except, they weren't all empty.

To my left, close to the top, was a very familiar boy with light blue hair laying on one of the benches. I smile a little and head up there to maybe start a conversation, though, I also wanted to know why he was there. This seemed like the last place I would see him at.

I stand over him and look down. He was clearly asleep. Who takes a nap outside on the bleachers? Weirdo. 

I sat down on the bench behind me, drinking my water, and waiting for Alek to wake up. It didn't take long surprisingly. He crinkled his nose and lifted his hand to his eyes to rub away any sleep out of them as he used his other to slowly push him to an upright position. It was cute.

Wait, what?

I shake off the thought and set my water bottle down next to me. "Hey," I say, not wanting to startle him since he just woke up.

He looks over at me and gives me a sleepy smile. "Hey," He responds.

"Whatcha doing out here?" I ask, casually trying to initiate small talk. I was getting better at it. Though, I can't really hold a conversation with anyone besides Alek.

"I wanted to take a nap to get rid of my headache." He explained as he swung his legs over, so now he was sitting up, facing me.

"Did it work?" I ask and he nods.

"Will your parents be upset that you didn't come home right away?" I ask, trying to keep the conversation going with no help from Alek.

"Nah, my foster parents don't care what I do as long as it's not illegal" Alek explains and I feel bad for him. The foster care system isn't the best and I can relate to losing parents and being stuck.

"Oh," I say, not knowing what else to say.

"Yeah, it's not as bad as it sounds," He says awkwardly

Before I can say or ask anything else, the coach calls for me, and I have to leave. "See ya tomorrow," I say as I get up, grab my water bottle, and back to the field

"See ya" I hear Alek say while I'm descending the bleachers, and it makes me smile. Alek always makes me smile.

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