Chapter 31: Sidestepping Life

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October 15th 2015

"Damian Silva, I love you!" A voice wailed. "Baby please, I'm sorry about before, let's get married!" That same voice continued.

"Bitch, please, just shut up- he ain't interested!" Lexi snarled viscously back at the desperate girl. I almost felt bad for her. 'Almost' being the important word here.

We won again. We are on track for making the State Championships, no doubt. Then East Coast Championships this spring. Though the season had only just started, we were up more points than any other  team in the neighboring towns. We were dominating. With that came praise for me, as Captain. Which resulted in local newspaper interviews, Scouts watching with close eyes and  desperate girls clinging to me. Oh, the joys of dominating high school basketball.

But don't get me wrong. This is all well and good. Last year this would be living the dream. Or the closest thing I had left to a dream. But now, it all was just wrong. This wasn't me and I wasn't fooling anyone. Well, I was fooling anyone who didn't know me. Or anyone who just didn't care about me enough to see why I'm trying to fool.

But Lexi knows, God damn it, she's pissed at me because she knows. She wants me to grovel and beg and plead and do whatever else that needs to be done. But what she doesn't know is I tried and tried but he doesn't want to hear it. It's like there's a wall of indifference up and I can't break through it. Kate saying he's pushed her out too. She doesn't know where her friend has gone and she's worried about him. The only person I've seen him be somewhat himself with is Ash.  But I don't want to think about their relationship- every time I do, a knot forms in my stomach and it's just getting tighter and tighter.

It's weird, I know Ash isn't gay. But I also know Ash doesn't have friends. Yet Ash and Noah are friends. So could he be gay? They do seem to know everything about each other. Kate has no clue when they became friends, hell- she didn't even know they were friends before my party, that God damn party....

Well, there you go. I think I gave you an insight to the crap mess that is my head right now. I'm only able to play, because that's all I've ever been able to do is play ball. It's like default. I know how to handle the ball- how to control it. It's the only thing I know how to handle, only thing I know how to control.

These thoughts circle through my mind on repeat. I' m consumed by them completely, so much so that I don't noticed the disheveled girl panting before me. Sweat rolling off of her, I stare at her bewildered momentarily taking in the sight before me. It's Jaxon's voice that tears me out of this trance, concerning oozing from his soft tone.-

"Kate? Kate what's wrong?" as he speaks realisation hits. Standing before me is Kate looking desperate and vulnerable. Then her eyes meet mine as she pants out a single word -


I feel that single word vibrate through me, I'm not sure what's going on. But seeing Kate, a normally composed and perfect ensemble, look like a complete wreck freaks me out. I scream with no control left in me "what's wrong with Noah?" but as I say his name my voice drops to a whisper and then the sudden urge to scream and lash out leaves me. I'm left feeling like a shell, just small, like the twelve year old boy sitting in a hospital room speaking to solemn doctor. Those memories flood through me, but I quickly push them away. Noah's not dying, he's fine. I saw him this morning at school, he was his normal self, ignoring me as usual.

"H-He is in h-hospital" she sputters out as her eyes gloss over with tears. Jaxon quickly reaches out to grab her as she begins to sink to her knees. He wraps his arms around her in attempt to calm her down as Kate just cries softly into his shirt. He continues to comfort her as she continues to sob more viscously. She mutters things to herself between sobs, but I cant make them out. Jaxon just tries to coo words of comfort to her, but even I can tell there's no point. Lexi takes a step beside me then pulls me into her hold. She squeezes me tightly and I realise that I have spent the last few minutes just staring dumbly at Kate, unsure of my own emotions are at this moment.

"What?" I finally manage to make out.

"He's in the hospital" She says directly to me, gaining a little composure, as she peers from over Jaxon's shoulder.

"Why? But how? ....When?" I ram out. In a series of incoherent thoughts. Kate pulls herself slowly away from Jaxon. Then walks towards me, suddenly 'the Kate who's always here for' 'everyone's friend' is here. She looks at me, as if it isn't her best friend we're talking about and offers me a sympathetic smile.

"How much do you know about Noah's home life?"

"N-Nothing." I reply back truthfully. when with Noah, it was always me who opened up about the deep personal stuff. It was always me who got emotional. It was always me who talked about family. I never even asked Noah why he was staying at Kate's. I just assumed he tell me when he was ready. I was always so self-absorbed, consumed that I finally had someone I could open up to. Yes, I knew what his favourite food was or what was his least favourite season and more crap like that. the only time he ever mentioned his family was when he told me he moved here because of his dad's new job. Ash had said I didn't know what's going on about him. The fact that Noah opened up to him before me sent a pang of jealousy through me, but now was not the time to be jealous.

"Well, I'm not sure Noah would want me to tell you this-"

"Spit it out Kate!" I demand.

"Let's just say its not good. I didn't want him to ever go back to him, but he did anyway. Then refused to leave him, said things were better-promised me they were better" her cool resolve fell and once again she was a crying mess. Jaxon pressed her back to his chest but Kate stayed focused on me. "things were good, at least that was what he said. Ash kept tellingme to not to worry that he had everything under control. But something happened yesterday Noah was weirder then normal. Ash was on his tail twenty-four/ seven making sure what ever was bugging him wouldn't be an issue. Neither told me anything today, but it was worse. Igot fed up of waiting for Noah to tell me what had happened that I went to his house to demand it from him. But he wouldn't answer.... s-so I broke in again- like before- he was t-there- l-like b-b-before. B-b-b-but -"

"but what Kate?"

"He-he was s-so m-much worse." She sobs then explains, how she called an ambulance, but when they took him to the ICU, they wouldn't allow her in without parental consent first to see him. So she left the hospital, then began to cry and ran. Until she ended up at school to see all of us exiting the game.

"Are you going to go the hospital?" Lexi asks me as she continues to support most of my weight. I nod slowly. I can't do this, I can't just stop trying.

He may never want to see me again, Hell he may beg for me to leave him alone. But that's not going to happen. I don't know whats happening to him, but I'm going to find out and I'm going to find out of him. I've been doing it again expecting that everyone in my life leaves. So when Noah left because of me for once, I didn't put up a fight for him. A part of me was relieved that it had happened sooner rather than later. I didn't try that hard to bring him back, yeah I tried to talk to him, but that's all I did. Those were words, half-hearted words, words spoken to preserve myself. But it was too late already, he had worked himself into me. I couldn't deny it any longer. He meant too much to me to just be able to leave me. My parents left, my sister left, hell- even I left.

There was just an illusion, a perfect boy. Good grades, promising future and money to burn. Life was easy. But that wasn't me. I wasn't really any of those things. Yeah, maybe I had food, grades, a future and money. But I wasn't anyone because of those things. I was lonely, I was scared, I was fighting a loosing battle. Then Noah came, he made me believe that there was something out there for me. I wasn't lonely, I wasn't scared and for the first time I felt like I wasn't losing. He made me feel like I could come back, I wasn't a little twelve year old who lost his dad. I was seventeen year old ready to have a life again. He made it okay for me to experience all the emotions I had become so numb too. With Noah, experiencing those emotions was good- experiencing emotion was good. He did that for me, so I'm going to do that for him. I'm not going to give up on him, I'm going to be by his side through everything. whoever 'he' is I will help Noah with him. I will be there for him.

He showed me how to stop letting life pass by, he showed me how to stop fearing it. He showed me how to go on with it. I may have only known him for a little while, I may not know what some of these emotions are that I feel for him. However, I know that I will be doing that for him, I'll do all of it for him. Because I care for him. I care for him a little too much.

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