Chapter 20: Jacky / Ryan / Jacky

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After dinner, Jacky went back upstairs and stood there looking at Ryan's door. Ryan hadn't answered when he'd knocked to tell him about dinner. "He hasn't eaten all day," Jacky worried out loud to his mother.

"Give him time," Mrs. Jennings said.

If Jacky hadn't been so worried about Ryan, he probably would have taken his dinner up to his room to eat. "But he needs to eat. I don't think he's eaten anything since yesterday afternoon."

"Tomorrow morning we'll make sure he has some breakfast," she assured him.

Now Jacky just stared at the closed door and all it represented. Then he dragged himself back to his own room for a while. When he heard his mom turn on the television downstairs, he got up and went back into the hallway. He held his ear close to the guest room door and listened. He heard nothing. He knocked softly, so his mom wouldn't hear.

"Ryan?" he asked.

He heard, but he couldn't get up

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He heard, but he couldn't get up. His body felt like a stone, permanently rooted into the mattress.

If only Jacky would just come into the room, like before... If Jacky would just hold him...

But Jacky didn't come in.

Jacky woke up around two in the morning

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Jacky woke up around two in the morning. He wasn't exactly sure why. His body seemed to be on alert, and he sat up and listened hard to figure out what had woken him.

A sound, coming from the guest room.

Easing out of bed, Jacky went to the door of his room and listened in the dark. He didn't hear anything now. Maybe Ryan had just been dreaming.

He was about to go back to bed when he heard it again, and immediately he crossed the hall to Ryan's door.

Should he knock? He had already lifted his hand so that his knuckles were poised to do just that. But when he heard the noise again, he just opened the door.

Ryan was sitting up on the bed in the dark, a hulking shape that shook slightly. Then that weird strangled sound.

Jacky didn't say anything. What was there to say? He went to Ryan's side and put his arm around Ryan's back and leaned on him.   

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