Chapter Eight

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It's been so long, and I'm so sorry. School has calmed down so I'll try to be more consistent! Thank you guys for reading.
Chapter length: ~3.2k words

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Back in the game room Trace still had a pillow on his lap but when he removed it, I realized he had taken off his leg. The leg was in the corner of the room, just standing there, and Trace had also taken off his sleeve so for the first time I saw his exposed leg. I expected it to look very different from his full length one, dramatically less developed and shrunken. But, it didn't look that different, only like half his calf, ankle and foot were missing.

We organized the food on the coffee table and Trace put on a random reality tv show as we began to eat.

"Fuck," Trace groaned after taking a bite of pepperoni pizza. "This is so unhealthy."

I shrugged, picking up a slice of Hawaiian pizza. "Just gotta hit the gym extra hard tomorrow. What kind of workouts do you do?"

"Lots of running, my core, I don't lift too much and then I make sure to do the stuff I learned in physio to keep my legs strong. I like the routine of going to the gym, and my last boyfriend was actually a personal trainer."

"Oh." I said with my mouth stuffed with pineapple and cheese.

Trace laughed past my awkwardness, rubbing the back of his neck. "I had to stop going to the gym he worked at afterwards. It just got kind of awkward. What kind of exercises do you do?"

"I hate the gym actually." I admitted. "I speed through my workouts and most of my exercise I get through basketball. I love basketball, I feel like in another life I could've been in the NBA."

Trace gave me a bald look. "I mean this in the nicest possible way but you're insanely tall, you've got big hands and you move like an athlete, what exactly stopped you from being in the NBA? Or the Euroleague or even the CBA?"

I laughed at Trace's dry tone. "I think I'm a little too gay for the NBA, Trace."

"Oh yeah, that." Trace blinked as though remembering the world was violently homophobic amongst other things.

"Yes, that. My feelings surrounding the sport are complicated. My brother tries to tell me I'm being dramatic, but I don't think I am."

Trace nodded, munching thoughtfully. "You have a brother?"

"Older."

"What's he like?"

"Cyrus is...well." I tried to bottle my brother down into a few words but I couldn't. "We're different. He knows what he wants in life, and he made sure he got it. He's married with a kid, and his family lives in the states. I think my parents prefer him, to be honest." Cyrus had always been well adjusted and fearless whereas I never really got used to anything and I was fearful. It wasn't that he worked harder than me or that he was more committed to his interests than I was but he had the bright personality that people gravitated towards. Me? I was somehow forgettable.

If we were planets, then Cyrus was the sun and I was some far off unnamed moon. One was what people revolved around and the other merely a satellite.

Trace was watching me, eating quietly and it got to the point where having his eyes on me became disconcerting. He seemed to sense my anxiety building and he started commenting on the tv show on screen, making a few jokes that made me feel better.

He channel surfed until a rerun of Baking Beasts materialized on screen and we watched in silence as Aditya tempered chocolate before piecing together a small but elaborately decorated cake.

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