Chapter 15-Road Trip

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"Maybe we should just try and talk to her at her place," Kevin suggested, always the middle ground.

"Sure, as long as you guys actually wait for her to form words, or read her handwriting. Her speech has been slower and more stuttered if any of you noticed." Matt said. Then they were off home to Kirstie's place.

Avi went to knock on the door when he saw two boys in the front room with Kirstie. She was curled up on the sofa like a cat, with a thick blanket, her favorite teddy bear, and some popcorn, as the two rather attractive men sat either side of her, not in her larger than usual, personal space bubble. Who were they? They were watching Disney movies. That's their thing! Avi hates them already.

But it was when Kirstie said something, something small and to anyone else, insignificant, that he knew he had screwed up, big time.

"Love you, friends."

"Luv ya, too, KT." The shorter male smiled.

"You think I drove three hours to be here, and I don't love you?" Layne jokes sarcastically, causing her to giggle. "Kirstin, I left food for you, If that doesn't love then I don't know what is.

........

"Mom?" She asked quietly, gaining her attention. "W-we go-go?" She asked her mother, Eli walking in behind her. "Back." She explained.

"No, honey. I need the work. You know that." She smiled sadly, kissing her forehead. Kirstie frowned, causing Eli to step in.

"Mrs. Maldanado? What if Layne and I took her on a road trip? It would be a week to calm down, relax and really heal." He suggested. Her mother nodded, contemplating it.

"I think that'd be nice. Just make sure you text your friends so that they don't freak out again." She smiled.

That night, Kirstie packed her bags for the week on the road, reluctantly texting the boys.

I'm not apologizing for something when I didn't do anything wrong. You hurt me, you hurt me when I needed you most.

I'm okay, better than I've felt in a long time, actually. I'm going to be away with some friends for a little bit.

....

"She answered." Scott jumped up.

"Really? Is she okay?" Avi asked confusion and concern racked his face.

Scott simply showed them the screen in response.

S: Kirstie? Are you okay? Can you please just apologize and we'll call it quits?

K: I'm not apologizing for something when I didn't do anything wrong. You hurt me, you hurt me when I needed you most.

I'm okay, better than I've felt in a long time, actually. I'm going to be away with some friends for a little bit. I might not talk to you much the next week, but I'm fine. I promise.

"What does that mean? We hurt her?" Mitch asked the group.

"How did we do that?" Scott asked. "We literally were like the best friends to her."

"Yeah, I don't know what she's talking about. And those guys are hot. Is she like, trying to upgrade?" Mitch asked.

That made Avi frown. Maybe Kirstie didn't like him anymore, and this was her strange way of telling him. Like, could she just not tell him. No, probably not. Not since the incident.

"Shut up!" he boomed, his deep voice shaking the room. Kevin looked at his best friend, figuring out what to say to help Avi. Avi stormed out, trying to leave before anyone saw the tears in his eyes. But Matt saw. So he followed the fellow bass. Avi got into his car and drove off. He MUST find Kirstie!

Matt let out a sigh. Could they not just give her some space? He knew one thing for sure, it wouldn't be good if they left Avi alone when he got to them. He was never really was the angered easily type, so if he already didn't like these boys he'd need the others there to calm him down.

He shot Kevin a quick text explaining the situation and that he doesn't feel like it's a good idea for him to be left alone.

It was starting to irritate the newcomer. Were they really so against her having other friends that cared for her? How could they all be so stubborn to not even accept the possibility they may have done something wrong.

This wasn't the four boys he agreed to sit with on his first day of school. It seemed that Kirstie wasn't the only one that changed.

Even when they were going to apologize, the sight of her happy without them around set the boys off. They didn't even ask her, just jump to conclusions.

Despite all his mixed emotions, Matt convinced his parents to let them take this road trip, as the semester was over for a break, and got in Avi's car. They needed someone sensible in the group, and clearly, that responsibility would be put on his shoulders.

........

Kirstie squealed excitedly as Eli threw her bag in the trunk of his car. Layne was driving with Eli in shotgun, giving the mezzo-soprano the entire back seat to respect her boundaries.

Respect. That was something she hadn't felt in months. It was strange; she wasn't mad at her newer friends like she thought she would be, but rather disappointed that she couldn't explain it to them. Maybe she could text them an explanation? That was assuming they took the time to read it.

Sighing, she put her phone down. They hadn't answered her last text, so they must not be worried. Right now was the time to have fun, relax, and heal. She could explain everything afterward.

"You excited? A beach trip!" Layne asked quietly. Kirstin nodded half-heartedly.

"Kit, I bet your friends didn't mean to upset you. They didn't know better. Let's just have some fun, and then Eli and I will help you guys smooth it over, deal?" He asked.

A faint smile, or what was felt like a smile, played on her lips. "D-de-deal."

As soon as the engine started, the radio was turned on. Eli and Layne immediately began to argue on what channel to put it on, whilst Kirstie looked out the window excitedly. This was going to be a long ride, but no doubt a fun one.

They laughed and joked through the evening. Kirstie had fallen asleep at some point while the two boys were looking for a place to stop and eat.

"What did they do to make it this bad? They need to fix this." Eli asked his friend. He had seen Kirstie through some of the darkest time she's faced. He knew better than anyone how much she didn't deserve this.

"In not sure what happened beforehand, but apparently, she was really upset so they got really loud and crowded her. It sent her into overload." The brunette male answered sadly. "I love Kirst. She's one of my best friends, and I miss her like crazy, but she deserves a support group here too."

Eli nodded in agreement. "We're gonna have some fun, and then help whoever these guys are, understand how she feels. She used to gush over this Avi guy all the time, he's good for her."

"She got hurt pretty badly, and then didn't feel any emotional support, it would upset anyone. Autistic or not."

If only they could see that.
........

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