Losing Control Isn't Always Fun 16

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I was in a state of numbness as we walked into the store.

"Can we get that cart?" Max asked, pointing to the the one with a built on play car.

"Yeah, sure," I said.

"Can we make a fort when we get home?" he asked. "I want to make a fort. And then if I feel better, can I go back to school? I bet Julia Burnstein is all worried about me."

"Max, it's Saturday," Dominic said.

"I mean on Monday, Nicky," Max said. "But can we make a fort?"

Dominic drove the cart while I hung onto the side, trying not to fall over.

"That'd be awesome," Dominic said. "You know what? I bet we could convince Riannan to let us go to the park, too."

"Yeah! Can we go, Sissy? Please, please, please, PLEASE can we go?" Max asked.

I nodded.

"Awesome!"

"High five," Dominic said, holding his hand up.

Max slapped it with his own.

Dominic headed towards the fruit and vegetables.

"I'll go grab some strawberries," I said.

How could Dominic be so calm and cool about this? Max was going to die! That wasn't something happy! I couldn't take it. The thought of Max no longer with a bright smiling face, or his paint stained hands, or the deep concentration that etched his forehead as he looked for patterns in the chair; I couldn't bare the thought.

A drop of water dropped onto the strawberry case. I wiped the moisture from around my eyes, and walked back to where Max and Dominic were picking out apples.

I set the strawberries in the cart, the noise making the two boys turn. Once Max saw me, he turned back to the apples. Dominic wasn't so quickly shaken.

Dominic noticed things about me when no one else did, or could. While everyone else looked at me, Dominic actually saw me.

So when he saw my reddened eyes, he immediately pulled me closer to him, putting his arms tightly around me. I hugged him closer to me, trying to make the pain stop.

And for awhile, the pain did stop.

"Come on, guys!" Max insisted. "We have apples."

I let Dominic go, but held onto the cart while Max climbed into his car-seat.

I grabbed a bag of lettuce, and salad dressing. Max urged for a bag of pistachios.

"I've never been in this store before, so you've got to help me out a little bit," I said.

Dominic grinned, and headed back.

"Lunch meats," he said, pointing down the aisle. "Milk, cheeses, yogurt."

We walked down, Max reaching over and grabbing the most colorful packages.

"So you come here often?" I asked.

"Is that a pick-up?" Dominic said, wriggling his eyebrows.

I smiled, and Dominic wore a successful smirk.

"Yeah, I do come here often," he said. "I have to go groccery shopping, because my dad is always at work, or yelling at me, or fighting with my mom."

"What do you think he'll do when he finds out you've been missing school?" I asked.

"Yell at me some more," he said. "Especially because basketball try outs were last Thursday."

"Well, why didn't you go?" I demanded.

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