I couldn't help but laugh. "Yes ma'am."

She stood up, smoothing out my bed. "But do me one favor?"


"Don't come back."

I let out a long laugh, and I could practically feel the stress lifting off of me. "I won't."

"Good boy."


"Sorry I smell like smoke," dad said, starting up the car. "I came straight from the scene when they called me."

"You're still dressed in your uniform," I commented.

"Are you sure you want to sit in the backseat?" he asked.

"It's easier on my knee."

"I'll drive carefully."

"I'd appreciate that."

"Amy said she would've met us here with Tyler, but he's sick."

"He's sick?" I asked, checking my phone.

"She said he was throwing up all night and all day today."


"Well, she actually said he's exploding from both ends."

My stomach churned. "Even better."

"She also said that your friends were coming over this afternoon, after you get settled in."

"I figured."

"Are you sure you're okay with this?" dad asked. "I hate the idea of you living with the Kings."

"I've lived with them for over a year now," I said.

"I knew you stayed a couple of nights over at Tyler's, but I didn't know that you practically lived over there. Amy mentioned it to me while you were in the hospital."

I bit my tongue to keep from saying something that I'd regret later.

"But I guess if you're comfortable with this, I'll live with it."

"It doesn't bother me," I said, reaching up to readjust my neck brace. "I enjoy living with the Kings."

We pulled into the driveway. DeAndre was in the garage, practicing choreography with Trinity. Both their heads snapped towards us as my dad shut off the engine of the car.

Trinity began to pick up the papers littering the garage floor while DeAndre went inside, probably to tell Momma King that we were here.

Dad opened the car door for me. I slid to the end, securing my left foot on the car step. I grimaced as my right knee went lax. I pushed myself up, my left hand on the car door and right hand on the side of the car. I hopped out of the car and lowered myself into the wheelchair, letting out a soft whimper as I lifted my right leg up onto the leg support.

"You okay?" dad asked.

"I'm good," I said, breathlessly.

Momma King came outside, meeting us at the car. She put her hands on either sides of cheeks, kissing the top of my head. "I'll bring him inside," she said to my dad. "You bring in his belongings."

Dad opened the trunk and began to unload my stuff from the hospital.

Tyler was laying the kitchen floor in a hoodie and sweatpants.

"I think he's asleep," Momma King said to me. "Either way we're not going to bother him."

"Is he feeling better?" I asked, as she took me back to what used to the guest room. Now it was decorated like my room upstairs had been.

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