Chapter 23: Jacky

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Despite Jacky's reservations, Ryan did okay in the rest of his classes. Being in class narrowed down how many people could talk to him. He joined gym class in progress, which meant Ryan and Jacky sat on the sidelines to watch everyone else play indoor soccer, since there were only fifteen minutes left. "I didn't know you had gym this period," Ryan said to Jacky. Ryan had set his backpack between them on the bench, but the edge of his sneaker was pressed up against the edge of Jacky's Converse.

"I have a doctor's note," Jacky said. "I usually go to the library and do my homework."

"But you could play soccer. You don't need hands to play soccer."

"So they keep telling me," Jacky muttered. Jacky felt Ryan looking at him. "What?"

"Have you tried? Like, just gone out there and tried to play?"

Jacky stuck out his jaw. "What, you think I haven't?"

"I'm just... Sorry." Ryan looked down at his hands, and didn't say anything else.

This whole line of questioning was pissing Jacky off, and he didn't want to be pissed at Ryan. He wanted to be pissed at Darius Cruz, who hadn't spoken to Jacky since the Halloween party, and he wanted to be pissed at Matt Welch, who had been such a huge jerk on the first day Jacky was going to try to participate in gym class since the accident.

"I'm sorry too," Jacky muttered. "I just don't like jock assholes making fun of my fucking arm stump in the locker room, okay?" No one had actually made fun of his stump, but he had felt them staring. And then Matt had said that thing about his right hand getting tired. He felt defeated all of a sudden. "I used to be on the soccer team," he said.

"Maybe you should get back into it," Ryan said.

"Darius said he was gonna help me, but he never did."

There was a light touch at his back, and he jumped a little before realizing it was Ryan. Jacky looked at him. "I could help you, if you want."

Jacky let himself smile a little. Ryan's hand, resting on his back just above the waistband of his jeans, warmed him. "That would be cool."

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