Chapter 5 - Proximity Problems

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Chapter 5
Proximity Problems

“So your Dad must really not like company huh?” Flynn asked me the next day during lunch.

Sitting with me at my own lunch table was just another way for Flynn to push my buttons. It was the next step in apparently trying to get me to “speak.” You would figure that by this point he would give up and just leave me the hell alone. I haven't ever seen a boy this persistent in my life, and I didn't know how I felt about it. I liked the alone time I got at school, without having to speak to everyone, explain the details on why I was upset. Or the best one, why I was dressed like it was the middle of winter when it was sweltering outside.

I glanced at the pack of cheerleaders and student council girls who, oddly enough, were best friends, while they glared at me from across the cafeteria. I could practically feel them boring holes into the back of my head with their eyes, the way they stared at me with such disgust.

They just couldn't understand why a boy like Flynn was sitting with a girl like

I shrugged in response to Flynn's question and turned my focus back on the not-so-edible food in front of me. Picking at it mindlessly, I could feel Flynn's eyes on me now, waiting for a more proper response than what I was giving him. I pretended not to notice his staring, and he finally gave up after a few more seconds with a sigh.  

“You're ridiculous sometimes,” he scoffed, picking up his half eaten hamburger from the red tray in front of him.

I'm ridiculous? How about him? He's the one sitting with a girl who didn't even want to give him the time of day, wanted him to leave her alone. But no, he refused to take the hint and tortured himself by trying to talk to me day after day. I often wondered how long this whole game we played would last. Weeks? Months even?

“It looked like I interrupted something when I knocked...” he trailed off, expecting me to have some sort of answer. When I didn't budge, he continued. “You can tell me, you know. My parents and I fight a lot too, especially my Dad and I.”

A fight? I never really thought of them as fights. The vigorous kicks and punches, the sharp slaps. Running through the plenty of scenarios in my head, the word “fight” didn't seem to fit those pictures. Battles...they were battles. The ones where you came back limping, holding your arms from wounds that often to me felt like gunshots...gunshots to the heart.

“Willow,” he coaxed, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand as he watched me.

I took my cell phone out of my pocket and resorted to the only form of communication I had with Flynn.

Nothing happened.

“Liar,” he deadpanned, smirking at my wide-eyed look.

I'm not lying.

“How am I supposed to get to know you when this,” he said, pointing between the phone and him. “Is the only way you talk to me. Come on,” he urged, pushing my shoulder gently.

That's when I froze, the phone stuck in an iron vice in my hand. My eyes were widened exceptionally as my nerve endings burned from the touch. I wasn't expecting that, and the familiarity of being pushed, even so simple as that, brought back too many moments when the pushes led to shoves and kicks and smacks.

“Shit, Willow. I forgot,” he said quickly, backing away on the bench of the table to give me some space. By now, Flynn knew the guidelines to trying to get me to open up. If he wanted to stick around and make me trust him, he knew he wasn't allowed to do...that.

I simply shook my head when my bearings were regained, and I saw his shoulders slump in a sense of defeat. I knew how much he hated having to be so careful around me. And a part of me felt a small hint of guilt for him that he felt that way. But this was his fault, he wanted to get himself into this mess. He knew I wasn't ever going to lighten up, and if he was expecting me to only a few weeks after knowing him, he was in for a rude awakening.  

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