Chap. 23

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Tyler's POV

"The surgery's been scheduled for next Thursday," Mr. Dawson said.

"How's Shane handling it?" I asked, as I walked into the school cafeteria.

"The way Shane handles everything."

He keeps to himself. "Well I'll be by afterschool, but you already know that."

The line clicked dead, and I joined the boys in line.

"News update?" Caleb asked.

"Surgery next Thursday."

Caleb turned and walked off.

"He's really been hitting himself hard lately," Nathan said. "He's kicking himself for the comment."

"Anyone know why he was late to school yesterday?" I asked.

Both boys shook their heads.

"You know my lunch number. Get me two slices of pizza, a water, and a cookie."

"We know," DeAndre said.

I joined Caleb at the table, putting my backpack in the seat where Shane usually sits.

"Did he tell you?" Caleb asked.

"Did who tell me what?"

"Did Shane tell you that I went by to see him yesterday?"

I shook my head, perplexed. Why wouldn't Shane tell me? "Is that why you're so upset?"

Caleb closed his eyes and quickly flashed me his right wrist. There was a single cut mark.

"I already told the guidance counselor," he said, softly. "I turned myself in this morning."

"Caleb, you can talk to us," I said.

"I feel more comfortable talking to you about this, just because I know you went through it Shane."

"Why'd you do it?" I was warned against asking such bold questions, but Caleb was different than Shane, so I went for it.

"I told Shane about Justin yesterday." Caleb buried his face in his hands. "I don't know what happened. I just cracked."

"We'll work through this," I promised.

"Just don't tell the other guys yet, okay?"

I nodded. I'm not sure when I became the unofficial "leader" of The Crew, the one that the boys come to with their secrets, but I held secrets from each of the boys, especially Shane.

"So that's why you were late yesterday," I said.

"I just wanted to go when I could get him conscious and alone."

The later in the day it got the harder it was to talk to Shane, because the pain usually got worse throughout the day. So by the time I made it to him afterschool, he was usually knocked out.

"He did ask me for a favor though," Caleb said.

"What's that?" I asked.

"He asked me to get him his phone."

"That's weird," I said. "Who's he trying to get to?"

"Well I don't really think that's any of our business."

Easy for Caleb to say.

"Okay, well I'll get it to him," I said.

"You have it?"

I nodded. "It wasn't the first thing on my to-do list, but I was able to save it after being completely submerged in water."

"Didn't he just buy that waterproof case a couple of weeks ago?"

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