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Dedicated to kylee_tayamen, who comments on every single chapter without fail. Her comments are hilarious and make me laugh. She seems like a really sweet girl and she has supported this almost from the very beginning. So thank you so much! (And yes, I do read your comments. Every single one of ‘em!) ;D

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~Chapter Twenty-Three - Realization~

"Matt, please pick up," I pleaded into the phone, my voice trembling. "Please. We need to talk."

I waited in vain for an answer, and quickly scanned the football players on the field, but I didn't see Matt.

Even though football season had ended a few weeks ago, Coach liked to keep his players in shape, even though the weather was chilly. So they trained, same as always, in the afternoon.

Cole was amongst the players, his head down as if he hoped to hide the bruises.

Annie had called last night, demanding some answers. Answers I wasn't sure I could really give. I explained the situation the best I could, Cole and my argument, Matt's intervention, the words exchanged and then the fight. She had admitted she knew of Matt's feelings (Was I the only clueless one here?) and apologised once again for everything.

Today Matt and Annie were at school, and Annie hung out with me, but Matt avoided me completely, without so much as an explanation to either Annie or myself. My stomach was so twisted with guilt, it probably resembled a pretzel.

I sat down in a cold plastic chair in the bleachers and groaned, resting my head on my hands.

After about twenty minutes, I heard someone clear his or her throat, and I looked up to see Cole standing above me.

"You mind if I sit down?"

It took all my might not to yell at him for everything that happened only twenty-four hours ago, but now I was afraid I had snapped at him too quickly.

I looked up into his face, noticing the bruising and minor cuts from the fight. I felt my stomach give a small flip, and hoped he wasn't in too much pain.

"Go ahead," I answered quietly.

He sat down next to me, still dressed in his football training clothes, and looked down at the football field, where students were slowly starting to disperse.

"I'm seeing Aly later tonight." Cole finally broke the silence. "I thought I owed her an apology for what happened between us. I know it's long overdue, but... she deserves an explanation."

I had to admit it; I was proud of Cole. I was glad he had finally taken the initiative to apologise to her. She deserved that, at least.

"I'm glad, but... what about all the other girls?"

He groaned into his hand. "Not this again. Grace, there were no other girls. I've only ever been with Aly. Annie asked me the same thing yesterday. There. Was. Only. Ever. Alyra."

I frowned at him, thinking of all the gossip and rumors I had heard from girls. About how they had been with him and then he had left them. Were they lying? I looked into Cole's eyes, and saw sincerity written in them. He was telling the truth.

I also wondered why he had talked to Annie about it. How had they gotten into that kind of conversation? I pushed it to the back of my mind.

"OK," I murmured.

A few minutes of silence lingered around us, and I looked out at the sky, which was darkening to a less light blue colour as late afternoon began.

"I wasn't lying, you know," Cole whispered almost inaudibly.

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