CHAPTER 27 - Sad Discoveries And New Ones

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"Shane strangled Ben."

Aiden's words shocked the group, leaving them stunned and speechless. None of them expected to hear such shocking discoveries.

Y/N couldn't believe what she was hearing. 'Is he serious?' She looked at Ben, who was still wearing his earbuds.

Aiden continues, "Not with the intent to kill him, but just enough to damage Ben's voice box, because he knew that singing was something precious to Ben. Afterwards, Ben started to spiraling into depression. And then depression turned into rage."

"When Ben finally went back to school, he confronted the group. But even after he the ones who hurt him, he didn't feel better. He didn't know what to do...to make the anger go away."

"So he kept picking fights. Even picked up street fighting. He stopped going to school and he'd always come home late. His parents didn't know what to do. Ben refused to go therapy and would sneak out of the house."

"At some point, a kid he fought turned out to have an older brother that had connections with a gang. The gang where he lived and, well-"

"They ended up having to move. Ben was ashamed of what happened and realized his temper was far out of his control. That was when his parents suggested he come stay with us for a while. Since we were always traveling, doing new things, and exploring new places, they thought it would help find a new meaning to life."

"Something he loved just as much as singing. He agreed and also started going to therapy. And so that's how he ended up living with me. His therapist also suggested taking up calming hobbies like gardening and drawing in that notebook he carries with him. He's calmed down quite a bit, but there are times where something can trigger his anger."

"Like when he saw Logan and that other guy in the hallway."

Upon learning about Ben's past, Y/N felt a mix of emotions. She was grateful that Aiden had trusted them enough to share such personal information, but she also felt unsure about how to support him through his past trauma. As she looked at the others, she could see the concern and empathy in their eyes as they all processed the information in their own way, trying to understand it and figure out the best way to help Ben. Y/N realized that they needed to be there for Ben, to listen and offer comfort when needed. She understood that this was just the beginning of a long journey towards healing for him.

However, she had no idea how to comfort him emotionally, as it had been a while since she had done so - except for Logan, but that was a different situation. Ben's past clearly had a significant impact on him, and she never would have guessed he was dealing with such struggles. Despite this realization, she remained silent.

"Wait, so he can still talk, right? Just not sing." Tyler asked Aiden, which made Y/N curious because she wonder if he could speak.

"I mean- he can, but he doesn't like hearing his damaged voice. So he chooses to be silent." Aiden shrugged and patted his hand on Ben's shoulder, "Ight bud, ya can turn the music off."

The atmosphere grew quiet, with only silence filling the air. It was a natural progression, something that was expected. However, Y/N couldn't shake one thing from her mind. She empathized with the pain of losing something valuable and knowing it can never be recovered. She understands that feeling.

'Should we talk him about it? It seems like he doesn't even want to hear Aiden talking about what happened, let alone us bringing it up...' Ashlyn thought while feeling uncertain, '...but it feels wrong to just ignore him sharing something personal.'

Not wanting to bring the others down, she decided to go with the latter option. Just when she was about to speak, Y/N unexpectedly spoke.

"I guess... me and you aren't so different," Y/N said in a surprisingly calm tone. "I too, lost something- no, someone important." Her head slightly lowered as she was then reminded of something. "Though I'm glad you were willing to share something personal with us, and I appreciate you for trusting us with such personal matters. For that, I'm truly grateful. I'm sure some of us feel the same." She glanced up at the group who wore a surprised look on their faces.

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