Chapter Twelve

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After practice, I was designated to clean up the weight room. Another form of punishment. I didn't mind it though. I had to do it a lot when I was a freshman, and it was quiet. No one else was around, no one was blasting their music. I should start cleaning up the weight room more often, but for the love of God, could the guys put the dumbells back where they got them?

The moment I get done, I head back home, deciding to take a detour through the park. Yeah, it was slightly cold out be the but I don't necessarily like going back home, so I'll deal with the cold.

The sky was cloudy and the trees were mostly bare. There were a few leaves still hanging on there but for the most part, they've all fallen off, getting ready for the winter snow. I never really liked winter. It just made everything look so dead and we hardly get any snow so it's not like the snow can somehow revive the deadness. 

I do like snow though. I think it's pretty. Shimmering in the sunlight, making it five times brighter. Making snowmen, sledding, and having snowball fights. If winter, where I'm from, actually looked like what you see in movies, I think I would like it a lot more.

As I walk through the park, I'm reminded of the time I spent here with Alek. Yeah, it was a short time and we hardly talked, but it was nice. Being able to breathe in his wintery sensation. I think I have a new appreciation for winter because of him.

"Can you just stop!?" A familiar voice shouts, breaking the silence of the park.

I stop in my tracks and look around, trying to pinpoint where the voice had come from. In the distance, near the restrooms, I see Alek talking to a stranger. He was tall and lean, he wore all black and looked like he smoked a pack a day. 

He kept reaching out to Alek and Alek kept pushing his heads away, shaking his head. He looked so uncomfortable and just wanted to get away. It made me furious but I was frozen in place. I didn't know what to do. Could I even do anything? Would I just make things worse?

I watched the stranger slap Alek and my blood started to boil. No one had the right to slap or hurt Alek. I take a step forward, trying to get a closer look at what was happening, maybe even hear whatever they were saying. As much as I wanted to just run over there and pull Alek away from him, I felt stuck. Scared.

The stranger cupped Alek's face and I think he was trying to calm him down. Alek was nodding along, laying his hands on top of the stranger's hands. I knew Alek was scared. I knew I should be doing something. Why wasn't I? I could easily push the man away and get Alek away from him. Why wasn't I just doing that?

The stranger let go of Alek's face and wrapped his arm around Alek's shoulder, pulling him in close. The stranger looked over his shoulder and we locked eyes. I felt terrified. If looks could kill, I would be dead in a bloody heap. His dark eyes almost pulsed bad intentions. Why was Alek with this guy? Nothing good could come out of being around that guy.

The stranger turned away and they started walking over to the parking lot. The stranger didn't let go of Alek until he was getting into that passenger side of an old, beat-up car. He closed the door, and made his way to the drivers' side, and drove away.

I never understood in movies how someone could just standby, and watch someone get abused, but now I knew. I knew the feeling of being scared, not knowing what to do, being stuck to the ground, and no matter how much you wanna help, you don't. The guilt that washes over you after watching the whole encounter and not doing anything. It made me feel terrible.

I force myself to look away from where the two were standing and started to walk back to my house. The feeling of guilt and those piercing eyes glaring at me never left. 

The next day I sit at our usual table, and Alek looked like nothing happened yesterday, even his sensation didn't feel off. He was his normal self.  It was really odd, and I just wanted to talk to him about it. I wanted to know if he was okay. I wanted to if he needed any help. But why did I care so much anyways?

"Hey, um" I start, trying to figure out a way to approach the subject. He looks at me, giving me a slight hum, telling me he was listening. "I saw you at the park yesterday," I said, not knowing how to finish that sentence

"Oh," He says, and his usual soft smile dissipates. He looked down at the floor, fidgeting with his hands. His winter sensation seemed to stir. He was worried and I wish I could take my words back. It wasn't any of my business. Why do I get myself involved?

"Don't worry about it. It's just some drama at home." He pushes the subject off and looks at his own homework.

"Bullshit. Even if that is true, doesn't mean that guy can slap you like that!" I say, pissed that Alek was acting like it was just a normal occurrence. Like it didn't matter. Maybe it didn't matter to him, but it mattered to me. Don't ask me why.

"I'm fine. I can handle it just fine" Alek's voice was much sterner, and he glared at me.

"I highly doubt what I saw was handling it" I was mad. Mad that Alek was just pushing it away like nothing ever happened. Something happened. I want him to be able to talk to me about it.

"I don't see why you care! You don't know me or what I've been through!" Alek actually yelled at me. I don't think he's ever yelled at anyone. It's kinda scary considering I've only known him as the quiet and weird loser boy. But he's right. I hardly know him, and I have no idea what he's been through.

"Alek-" I start but the bell cuts me off. Alek abruptly stands up, getting all his things together and rushing towards the Exit. I instinctively grabbed his arm, not wanting him to leave. "Alek, please," I beg with pleading eyes.

He yanks his arm out of my grasp and leaves. I'm hurt. I want to chase after him. I want to hug him. I just want him near me. I want him to be happy. Fuck. Why do I seem to mess everything up? I wish I knew more about him. Hell! I wish I knew how to deal with emotions better! Maybe then I would be in this predicament. Maybe then I could actually be his friend? Or he would actually view me as a friend? Right now, I feel desperate.

I gather my stuff up and leave the library, barely making it to class on time. I didn't pay attention, my mind still on the events that happened in the library. I feel stupid for bringing it up and pushing it. I wonder if he's hurting. I know I feel hurt but it is my fault.

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