Eleven

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Skye

I never thought I would say this, but I've actually missed school. And the people in school. Blink... blink... blink. Five days without activities were way over my handling abilities. Ethan's visits and phone calls made all the difference and had me looking forward to be back in class.

I had a huge smile on my face as I walked through the doors. I bee-lined my way through the sea of people as I looked for him by the lockers. I could spot that dark head anywhere. Being a broad shouldered, six foot something made it even easier. My heart ruffled at the sight of him.

"Hey" I chirped grinning from ear to ear.

"Welcome back." Ethan said a bit stiffly, "How are you feeling?"

I stepped closer, "As good as new."

Ethan pushed off the wall he was leaning against and held out his arm as he usually did, "Glad that you're back."

Linking our arms, I studied his half hidden face. Something wasn't right. "Are you okay?"

Ethan smiled, but the harsh lines of his features didn't soften, "Yes." he gave a short cut answer.

"How is gramps?" I asked trying to get more out of him.

Ethan nodded, "He's recovering well."

That nudging feeling that something was out of place never left.

Abby and Timothy were walking to class when they saw us. I couldn't not smile seeing those two together. Usually Timothy keeps a solid two foot distance between them. His bashful self wouldn't let him get any closer to the girl he liked. Now I'm seeing shoulders brushing and pinkie fingers entwining.

Abby gave me mighty hug that it made it hard to breathe.

"Thank you for all the messages and funny videos." I was finally able to say when she let go.

She laughed brightly, "Any time, but don't get sick again. We missed you."

"And I missed you too," I could never ask for better friends.

Timothy gave me a brotherly hug, "Welcome back." He said a bit shyly.

"Good to be back," I chirped, "and thank you for all the notes. Appreciate it, really!" I said sincerely.

All that shyness was knocked right off him and he grinned, "You're welcome."

The bell rang loudly over our heads. "See ya' at lunch." Abby said before we split up.

"See ya' " I said and we were back on track to class.

"Hey, can we talk later, after school?" Ethan asked when we entered our class.

"Yeah, sure..." this seemed serious.

I wasn't sure if it was just me, or there was a great deal of tension going on. My brain jumped from one thought to the other. What could cause Ethan to close up like that?

During class Ethan kept quite while I took notes. As usual, he would sit back and listen, memorizing on spot what the teacher was saying in case I've missed something and asked about it later. Then he would walk with me to our next class.

At lunch I tried to include him in conversations by throwing questions at him every once and a while, but he was off. And I couldn't break this wall of tension that was going on between us. The last time we spoke on the phone we couldn't stop laughing. I thought things were going well with us. What could have happened to cause such a silent change?

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