39. Healthy Beginnings

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"I'm not perfect

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"I'm not perfect. I'm original."

MAYA

Monday morning, I parked my Harley in the parking lot outside of EverGreen High, and Cayden got off the bike first. The engine died and I shoved the keys in my pocket before pulling off my helmet. I pushed my hair behind my shoulders and glanced at Cayden.

He wore matte black jeans, a gray t-shirt, hugging on all the right parts of his well-defined muscles, and his jean jacket. He had already taken off his helmet and slung his backpack over his shoulder. His ran a trembling hand through his newly cut hair and chewed on his bottom lip, nervously. The anxiousness had flushed his cheeks bright pink.

I swung my leg over the bike so it rested beside my other leg, and I could sit facing Cayden properly. I reached my hand out for his and tugged him closer towards me. "Hey. What is it? Are you okay?"

Cayden didn't say anything. Instead, he averted his gaze down to the ground, fist tightened around his backpack strap.

"People are going to stare," he muttered, gesturing to our hands entwined. "I hate attention. I hate it."

I knew it. Cayden didn't care about what people would say about us. He didn't care about how scared people would be of him after what happened between him and Nathan. Cayden didn't care about what other people thought of him at all. It was all the stares and unwanted attention that gave him anxiety.

He reached his free hand up to his neck to pull his hood over his head, but when his fingertips grazed over the material of his t-shirt's collar, his expression faltered.

He wasn't wearing a hoodie today.

No hoodie equaled no shield.

Shit.

That was practically Code Red for Cayden.

Before anxiety and panic could storm down on him like an avalanche, I pulled Cayden closer towards me and squeezed his both hands in mine.

"Hey, don't worry. Calm down. It's okay. You're okay," I assured, meekly.

Cayden tried to calm down but instead, he ended up frowning deeply and his face paled. His gray eyes were pooled with immense anxiety, causing his fingertips to tremble between my palms.

"Cayden. Hey," I whispered, putting my hands on his waist and drawing him closer to me. "Take a deep breath."

For a moment, Cayden silently stared down at me but eventually inhaled a deep breath, held it, and exhaled. He repeated this four times before his tensed shoulders sagged and he dropped his forehead on mine, lacing his hands together around the back of my head.

Echoing Breaths |✔️ (Unspoken words book 2) Where stories live. Discover now