Chapter 18: Pulling The Team Together

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Colt leant back against the bricks, each one radiating warmth as though having sucked it right out of the very air and storing it selfishly within themselves.

The wall rose up behind him, stretching high into the sky, as though guarding a prison rather than a school...

His hands found their way into his jean pockets, as he waited, keeping a keen eye on the various civilians wandering about the opposite street.

Several gave him strange glances as they passed , but he found it relatively easy to ignore.

Colt had been trying for years in attempt to hide his differences but, though they weren't outwardly visible, he had always suspected that there was something about him that had to give it away, in spite of his efforts.

So he just kept his head down and tried not to make a scene of himself. Blending in with the background as best he could.

But that became hard when someone almost young enough they could be in school, was seen leaning up against the outside of The Lights' Central High walls.

Glancing at his watch, he knew he didn't have long to wait.

The bell would ring shortly, and then a flood of high-school children would wash out over the street, seeming to come from nowhere, pouring from the gate that arched up a dozen meters to his left. Quentin, or so he hoped, would be amongst them, if she wasn't caught up talking to her friends, or her teachers, or anyone else she managed to bump into on the way here. That girl could talk up a storm with every stranger in the city, he was sure of it.

One Friday afternoon, when he came to pick her up, he'd been waiting for over an hour until she emerged. She'd scared him half to death, thinking she'd somehow gotten herself in trouble somewhere between the end-of-school bell, and the school gate. He'd been about to storm into the school in search of her, when she had skipped out, quite happily, as though she'd only been in there for five extra minutes, at the most.

The sound of that very bell – a loud, raucous gonging – cut through his thoughts

Not a minute later, the flood came. Each individual dressed up in their uniforms; a dull, red and grey thing that made him glad he dropped out, young.

He searched through the ocean of youthful faces from his position against the wall, feeling slightly bombarded by the rising wave of their collective voices.

Colt had never been a fan of large crowds, and if he were to be honest with himself, he'd rather be anywhere else, as of this moment.

But he would never let Quentin walk home, by herself. There were far too many risks with traversing the southern city streets alone, even in full daylight.

He had promised both himself, and his sister, that he would do everything to take care of her, even if that meant subjecting himself to the hoard of teenagers that seemed never-ending as they streamed from the school gates.

Finally, his sister came into view, chatting heartily with two other girls her age.

She looked over and, upon seeing him, she began to wave dramatically. He rolled his eyes and lifted a hand in response.

The other girls glanced over in his direction, grinning amongst themselves.

Quentin looked just about ready to walk over when her friend said something, pulling her up short.

Though, from here, he could only hear faint murmuring of sound, he had trained himself, years ago, to be able to read lips from distances. It had come in handy more than a few times.

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