Thirty-Two

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It had been a few days since I emailed Sky the book, but he never replied. Honestly, I wasn't expecting an answer. For all I knew, he may have deleted my email the moment he received it and placed me on the back burner of his mind so he could escape the negativity I drowned him in.

Class was no better. From the moment he walked in two minutes before class started, everything grew silent. Whether the class was paying attention to us or if I could only focus on him, I had no idea. No breath I took was clean. Each inhale was acidic, poisoning me. My eyes couldn't lock on anything but him, and he could feel my gaze lingering on him. It annoyed him so much that he wound up turning around from his seat in front of me and asked me to quit staring while Mr. Rose was in the middle of his lesson.

"Hey, are you okay?" Gray whispered in my ear.

I slowly nodded. "I will be." And I knew I would be. Though the pain pierced me now, I would soon move on and live my life, just as he would do the same. Though it sucked to not be involved in his life and to not have him in mine, I was toxic for him. I wouldn't throw him through the ringer just because I wanted to remain friends while he didn't. I may have been a jerk, but I was not cruel. Not intentionally.

Paranoia consumed me. I was sure everyone in the classroom, professor included, knew what was occurring between us. The tension was thick. It consumed us all, trapping us in its prison. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. All I could do was sit in the classroom and no longer exist. Even as the teacher spoke, I could not listen. Everything was numb around me.

The man sitting in front of me, I hurt him. I knew writing was meant to bring out hidden truths, but I had no idea it could bring about so much pain. I wanted the suffering to end, not mine, but his. I deserved to suffer. I hurt someone, and I should have felt the same pain he was.

I knew I was being dramatic. My head always went there when I hurt someone I cared about. There was a reason why my mom would call me a drama queen growing up, and I couldn't find a single reason not to believe her.

But I couldn't help but feel bad for Sky after the way I hurt him, and I wanted to continue feeling pain until he no longer did. He didn't deserve to be hurt by a book I wrote as a ticket into the fast lane of authorhood. He was far too kind, not only me, but everyone around him to experience that form of ridicule. He didn't deserve it.

And Johnathon was right. I didn't deserve to swim deep in the negative numbers. I was allowed to feel remorse, but I shouldn't have been causing myself pain because I hurt someone. Mistakes were made with the book, and I needed to learn and grow from them, and I now knew to ask for consent to write someone's personal life up as a character and to use private events when using them. I couldn't just present someone's whole life to the world without consent and expect them to be okay with it, because it wasn't. He did nothing to deserve it.

"Spencer," Sky stated. He stood up from his seat as the rest of the class either talked or began to file out. "We need to talk."

I nodded slowly. "I think we do."

The two of us waited in the classroom until the teacher ushered us out. Gray chose to stay back, lingering down the hall on one of the nice couches outside the classroom while we talked. Though we both knew I could handle myself if need be, he still wanted to be there for support, and I appreciated it. I just hoped he would support Sky as well, because we all knew he needed it more than I did.

Neither one of us sat on the couch beside us. There were people in the neighboring halls and classrooms, but it was still the most private place on campus we had for the time being. He kept his hands shoved in his pockets, and his eyes never wavered off of me. No matter how he attempted to inspect me, it seemed as though he suffered great difficulty trying to figure me out. Maybe he thought there was a different side to me he hadn't seen before, one that was malicious and cruel, but I didn't have that permanent side. My error was an honest mistake, and as long as I had the chance to tell him, I would.

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