Losing Control Isn't Always Fun 17

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"How are you feeling, Max?" I asked.

There were darker rings around Max's eyes, and he slept in until one even though he got to bed at nine. There were several bruises over his body, and he got another nose bleed.

"I think my hottness is gone," he said.

I laughed.

"Did Dominic tell you to tell me that?" I asked.

Max nodded.

It was Sunday, and we were all at the park. Dominic was attempting to do a backflip off the swings and failing miserably.

"So you and Dominic seem to be getting along really well," I commented.

"Yeah, Nicky's awesome!" he said.

"Max! Come on, go down the slide with me!" Dominic yelled.

Max ran the small distance to the slide, seeming compeletely out of breath by the time he was at the slide. Dominic kneeled down beside him. I couldn't understand what he said.

I let go of the situation, walking over to the swings, sitting down.

I watched Dominic and Max go down the slide, Max's laughter echoing through the park. Max kept going through the jungle gym while Dominic made his way to me, sitting on the swing next to me.

"Remember in elementary school during recess when everyone booked it to the swings to try to get one?" Dominic asked.

"Yes," I said, grinning. "What happened with Max?"

"Out of breath," Dominic said.

I nodded.

"You know I haven't even told Kyle yet," I said.

"Well, it's only been about a day," he said.

"Seems like longer," I said.

"It does, doesn't it?" he asked.

It felt so natural to be with Dominic. So right.

"And it's only been two weeks since we actually met," I said.

"Holy crap, yeah. That's weird," he said.

I smiled weakly as I watched Max nearly stumble across the jungle gym.

Dominic took my hand in his.

"I wish that I could say that everything will be alright," he said, drawing circles with his thumb.

"I do too," I said. "But it'd be a lie."

My throat started to close up, and my eyes started burning.

"I really hope things'll get better," I said, closing my eyes.

"I do too," Dominic said, sounding like he meant it.

"I just wonder sometimes," I started. "What did I do to deserve this?"

"Ree, look at me," he said.

I opened my eyes to see him gazing intently into my eyes.

"You didn't do anything," he said. "You're mom just doesn't have anything figured out."

"Even if she did," I said. "It's my fault. If only had come home from school earlier, or hid the money or something, I could have stopped her. But I didn't."

His other hand cupped my cheek.

"Ree, it's not your fault," he said. "It'll never be your fault."

"His chances of getting cancer were higher because she drank. And he got it. And it's my fault that she drank. So, it's my fault he has cancer," I said.

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