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Dylan Parker was usually a careful driver. He wasn't the type that made a big point out of it to show off, but it was little things like all the stops signs we would actually stop at or the yellow lights that we wouldn't quickly speed through on our drives to my place after work. He was okay with a little bit of multitasking while he was at the wheel, but nothing more than quick glances my way or changing the radio station to something he liked when he was tired of listening to my music.

So, it definitely threw me for a loop when he was driving with one hand on the steering wheel and not his usual two hands in the ten-two position. He was managing just fine without the extra support, but that wasn't what bothered me about it. What bothered me was that I could tell he seemed to be hiding something, something that was really hurting him. Something that I wanted desperately to help him with. Because I didn't want to see him like this, not at all. I cared about him.

"Pull over," I said gently, staring out of the window, unsure of how else to put it to him.

"Excuse me," he asked, nodding for me to dial down the volume of the radio instead of doing it himself with his free hand.

I sighed, reaching out to turn the dial, the volume slowly decreasing to just a whisper of the rap music he had changed the station to beforehand. "Pull over, Dylan."

For the brief seconds in which he stared at me before doing so, there was a flash of something in his eyes, like the track of a storm, but it went out as quickly as it came in. Without fighting it, he nodded, pulling the car over to the side of the road, leaving the two of us sitting together alone in the dark while other cars passed alongside us, their lights flooding the insides of Dylan's car as they went.

"Can I see your hand?"

Of all the things that I knew made Dylan Parker nervous, I was never one of them. Issa McKenzie and his parents were the only people who seemed to have that kind of hold over him. But this moment, so pure and intimate, made me one of those people. He had blushed, his hand squirming a bit deeper into his pocket.

"Please, Dylan," I said. "I just want to help."

He held my gaze for a moment until he finally slipped it from out of his pocket. And I had unintentionally gasped when I saw it. Dylan's hand was bloodied and bruised, not too badly damaged, but I could tell he hadn't bothered to clean or treat it.

"Hit a wall today," he said without me even having to ask. "I got a call after practice that really just struck a nerve and I couldn't just hold it in."

"What? Well you should at least have covered it up with something better than your pocket," I said. I reached into my book bag, grabbing the first thing I could find, which just happened to be my English homework.

Dylan raised an eyebrow when he recognized what it was but took it anyway. "Don't blame me when you fail that class, V," he said.

"I can print one from off of the website when I get home, it'll be fine," I said. I took the paper back from him, knowing he wouldn't apply it properly. I held his hand out, efficiently folding up and lining the paper up with where he was bruised the most. "Let me worry about you tonight."

There was something in that moment that felt incomplete, like it was begging to be done, something resting in the back of my mind as my hand was holding onto his and we were looking at each other the way we were. His eyes were staring into mine intensely and I couldn't help but blush. But then the moment seemed to pass because Dylan turned and stared out of the front window at the road ahead of us.

I was about to turn and close up my book bag when Dylan's head came back around, coming down to meet his lips with mine.

Being kissed by Dylan again somehow felt like a new and unreal sensation, especially after it'd been so long since the first time. His lips were slightly chapped, but they were gentle and his kiss was soft and everything I dreamed of plus more. I don't know how or why it took me so long to react having since recognized the action, but it was a throbbing instant that made my eyes close and my body wake up to his touch.

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