6: Tyler

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6. Tyler

When I come home, all the lights are off apart from the sitting room light. I park up my truck and then slowly get out. I take off my shoes once inside and walk to the main staircase.

"Tyler," my dad calls out from the sitting room. "Come here."

I take a deep breath and turn around, walking to the sitting room. I look in, expecting to see my mom and dad but only my dad sits there on the elegant, uncomfortable couch.

I shove my hands into my pockets and look at him. "What?"

"Where were you last night?" he asks, peering at me.

My dad isn't too old with dark hair that's shaggy and messy. He has a dark stubble that covers his jaw and a cold look in his eyes as he stares back at me.

"With Ethan," I say.

"Where?" he asks again, his voice stronger.

"We went to the bike stadium. I watched him."

My dad stares at me a second longer and there's a look in his eyes that makes me tense up. He reaches down beside him and brings up a shirt and immediately I know I'm in trouble.

"Well, then, how did your shirt get like this?" he asks.

I stare at the blood-stained shirt and grit my teeth. "You've been in my room."

"What the hell is this, Tyler?" My dad stands up, his face contorted in anger. "This isn't normal. You have a bloody shirt in your room. What the hell happened?"

I don't say anything. I don't know what to say. Ethan would have come up with some clever excuse by now and everyone would buy it without hesitation. But I'm not Ethan. I just look at the shirt and feel myself sweat and my neck clench as I gulp.

"Tyler . . . " my dad sighs and drops the shirt back down onto the foot stool. "I'm not accusing you of anything, but you have to understand how this looks. There's a shirt in your room with blood all over it."

"Why were you in my room, anyway?" I ask with a snarl, trying to mask my panic with anger. "You shouldn't even be going in there."

"This is my house, Tyler, and if I want to go in your room, I damn well will!" He stands up, his hands clenched at his sides.

"This is bullshit. You can't just go through my stuff . . . "

"As your father—"

"Well, you're not my father!" I cry out.

It's silent and I finally register what I've said. I feel cold inside and my anger dies down as my regret comes up. My dad looks at the ground, chewing on his bottom lip as the impact of my words hit him.

I want to take them back and say I'm sorry. I want to be able to just walk over and hug him and then everything will be okay. But that's not how it works in my family. So I storm up the stairs and slam the bedroom door behind me.

***

The hallways are completely empty when I finally make my way to school. I bypass a few teachers lurking around the end of the corridor, and quickly head over to the drama room. When I open the double doors, every single head turns to look me.

I ignore them and grab a chair from the side of the room. They're in a circle again and the irritation I experience from looking at it is slightly amusing. I place my chair outside of the circle and sit, crossing my arms over my chest.

"Tyler." The drama teacher with bleach blonde hair and an old face looks down at me. "Thank you for finally joining us."

I ignore her remark and bring my phone out of my pocket. The screen shows three new texts from Ethan. I curse in my head and unlock the screen, but just as I'm about to read the first message, someone appears in front of me.

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