Chapter Twenty Three

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"What if instead of buying pizza with money we don't have, you make us dinner?" West suggests, throwing a football up and down as he lays on my bed.

I turn in my chair and raise a brow at him. "And how likely do you actually believe that is?"

"What if I help you?" He offers, sitting up slightly. 

I glance at the clock, "It's only four."

"I didn't mean now. I meant when we get hungry." He says, laying back down.

I watch as he throws the football up again and again, his arms flexing with each toss. My eyes scan his body momentarily, and I silently appreciate his build. I can easily imagine the abs that undoubtedly lie beneath his shirt, if his arms and broad shoulders are any indicator. I glance at his tattoo for a small second and then turn back to my song book.

All the life she has seen,

All the meaner side of me.

They took away the prophet's dream for a profit on the street.

Now she's stronger than you know,

A heart of steel starts to grow.

I place my pencil between my teeth and unconsciously chew on it as I fiddle with the lyrics. This isn't nearly the entire song, I still have a long ways to go until I complete it.

"Hey Sunshine?" West asks.

I turn and look at him, my eyebrows raised in question.

"Can I ask you something?"

"You just did." I sign.

"Original." He chuckles slightly.

"I try."

He smiles, "But seriously."

I stand from my music bench and sit on the bed next to him. "Shoot."

Just don't ask why I was staring at you because I don't know what lie I'm going to come up with.

He sits up and leans against the headboard, staring at the football in his hands. "Do you miss talking?" He asks, looking at me only once he finishes asking.

I tilt my head and furrow my brow. "Of course I do. Signing isn't as easy as talking."

He stares at me for a few seconds. "Why can't you talk, again?"

I look away and bite my lip. "Something happened to me in ninth grade that stole my voice from me."

He nods and spins the football in his hands. "Bad breakup?" He suggests.

Shaking my head, I look down. "Something like that."

He stays quiet and nods slowly. "Can I ask another question?"

"I may have to start charging you." I sign, nudging his leg with a joking grin.

He chuckles, but his smile soon disperses and turns inquisitive. "How come you decided to go to the party?"

I clench my teeth at the question and look down at my bed spread. I pick at it before I answer. "Honestly, I don't know. I guess I need to face my fears."

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