Chapter Fourteen

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"Sleep with your eyes open for a change. Then your dreams will feel real."


Blue. . . Red. . . Yellow. . .

Yellow. . . Red. . . Blue. . .

My mind spun as my hand glided along the canvas; the abstract image vaguely showing up like I had pictured. It was supposed to be a dramatized face of Grete, since her eighteenth birthday was coming up and I wanted to send her something as a surprise, but that wasn't going to do. It didn't do her justice at all.

I took my paint brush by the handle and bit down on it while I tried to think of a fix.


I turned around briefly to see Mateo standing in the doorway. He was dressed in his running clothes and had his headphones lying around his neck. By the sweat beading his forehead and red tint in his face, I knew my house was a temporary stopping point in his five mile run. Unlike me, he found running fun. He said it took off his stress. I was not sure what rich boy Mateo Raeken ever had to worry about; well, that was until then.

"Uh, hey," I greeted him through a paint brush. Quickly spitting it out and placing it back on the paint stand, I stood up and wiped my hands down on the back of my jeans. We exchanged a brief handshake. "What's up dude?"

Mateo's slight smile minimized. He maneuvered around me without a word until he settled himself on my bed. "Look, I know we're not exactly," he moved his hands around as he exasperated for the right words, "--the closest of friends. But well, something happened today and I need to tell someone. I tried calling Zeke but he said he was busy with that J.K. girl, so, um. . . yeah."

He rubbed his hands together, popping each finger eventually. His eyes casted across my room until they landed on a picture of our baseball team from freshman year.

"I overheard coach talking on the phone this morning. He was talking to Coach Carter about how we look this year." Mateo started off, his lip being taken by his teeth every moment he took a pause. He seemed in no hurry to let whatever he overheard out. Almost as if he were embarrassed to share it with me.

I grabbed the Coke off my desk and took a sip. The fizzing of the suds were a good counter act to silence.

"He said I am the dead weight on the team," Mateo finally got off his chest. "He said I haven't grown since freshman year like he had hoped and thinks if I don't get better real quick, I won't be able to play ball for the team once the real season comes along."

My face scrunched together. "What?"

I had always seen Mateo as the weak link on the team, but I never thought our coaches would act on it. He was apart of the team after all - flaws and all. Before every game we always shared the same handshake since he was a big stickler for superstition.

Mateo ran his hands through his hair, sighing loudly. "I guess he didn't think anyone was in the locker room so early in the morning." His eyes met mine. "What am I going to do? My dad is going to disown me or something. Ugh."

"No way, that isn't going to happen." I said with the utmost confidence. Mateo might not have been good but he tried really hard. It wasn't as if he was doing a half ass job. That in itself is admirable. "Maybe if I talk to him--"

"That won't change the fact I suck--"

"You just need to be coached, that's all." I placed my Coke down to talk down to him. "It isn't your fault our coaches don't know how."

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