Chapter 28 iWon't Take the Bait

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"Zach," Keeley pleaded, knocking on his bedroom door, "talk to me." Her head fell against the door. Ten minutes she'd been standing in front of his room. She'd coaxed, ordered, yelled, even threatened, but it elicited no response. "Will you at least let me know if you are okay?"

More silence. She was starting to become worried. "If the reason you can't talk is because some psycho is holding you hostage with a knife then cough once."

A faint sound came from the other side.

"You're going to have to speak up. I can't hear you," she said loudly.

Seconds passed, then she heard a frustrated, "God save me from annoying sisters."

She smiled. At least he was talking. "Was that a call for help or did you take up Christianity in the last hour? You know my hearing's bad."

The door handle started to jiggle. "That was a prayer asking why I got stuck with such a nosey twin."

She heard the lock click. "I'm starting to get the feeling that you don't want to talk to me."

"I'm fine, Keels. I don't need to talk," he sighed in exasperation. "I just want to be left alone."

"You know me better than that. I would never leave you alone in a time of crisis."

"You make it sound like I'm on a verge of a mental breakdown."

"Well, aren't you?" Usually when he lost a game he would go out with his teammates and blow off steam by playing arcade games. He'd never holed himself up in the house before and ignore everyone.

"Do you really think that little of me?"

She slid down to the ground and leaned against the wall next to his room.  "I know how much winning meant to you."

"Winning isn't everything."

She almost choked. This coming from a guy who still bragged to their family that he learned to walk before she did. "Then why are you here sulking instead of hanging out with your friends?"

"I just..." Something thumped against the door. "I guess I'm just embarrassed. My temper got the best of me and I let my team down."

"You know you're not God, right? The fate of the football team does not rest solely in your hands. They had chances to win but they blew it."

"I'm supposed to be the leader, the person that sets the example. That's why they voted me captain of the team. Instead I got in a fight and made a mess of things."

"Should you have kept your cool? Yes. Even if he said something to provoke you, it wasn't okay to swing your fists. But you got punished for it so stop beating yourself up and move on. You're only a bad captain if you continue to let the past define you. Learn from your mistakes and keep your temper in check next time."

"I tried, but it was him."

This again? She banged her head against the wall. Repeatedly. "Can't you get along? He's not a bad guy once you get to know him."

"I know enough."



She shook her head at his tone. Stubborn twin. "What exactly did he say to you tonight?"

"He told me you'd been texting him during halftime. That you sent him a picture," he paused, "a kiss."

She rolled her eyes at the disgust in his voice. He acted as if she'd committed a first-degree felony. "That's what set you off? A little extreme, don't you think Zach?"

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