Chapter 10

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God Dammit! I stood up and brushed my knees off, anger bubbling to the surface. It would never happen now, I thought furiously. I walked over to the metal pole that held up the swing set. Without another thought, I drove my fist into it and listened as the metal echoed.

Why

  Hit

 Can't
 

 Hit

  I

 Hit

 Be

 Hit

Normal?!?!

 SLAM!

My fist was throbbing horribly and I noticed I nicked parts of my skin on the chipped away metal and paint.

  There was blood dripping from the cuts on my fist, I scarcely noticed. I was more furious with myself. Why had I even let myself hope? Surely, it would come back to smack me in the face. I slumped against the metal pole that has cut me, and slid to the ground.

  I watched as blood seeped in between my fingers and hit the sand, turning it a rust color, unlike my tears which had turned it brown. With the pain in my hand, the bitter ache in my throat all but disappeared.

  Maybe, if every time I wanted to talk I did something to distract myself.... no. I couldn't do that to my family. I'll suffer in silence.

  I felt myself start to slip away, dancing just out of reach. The happy, courageous, funny me went down deeper and I could feel myself start to change.

  I didn't want to change. I knew I was going to become emotionless, lost in my ow self - depression, but I had no say. I scrunched my nose up at the thought. No Say.

  I growled, but recoiled when it felt like glass slicing my tender neck. One moment. One moment of sound before pain overcame. Perfect. Absolutely PERFECT!

   I mentally screamed and threw another round of punches at the pole, bloodying both hands. The tiny scrapes were no match for the pain in my mind and heart. I was lost in a sea of emotions, tossing around inside me. Pulling me deeper.

  I was standing again, uselessly slapping the pole. But now, I pulled my fist back, preparing to snap it forward. A voice stopped me. His voice. The one I kicked out of my car not hours before. Already back.

  "What did that pole ever do to you?" Leo called, coming closer. I turned and dropped my hands at my sides. My face was most likely emotionless, I wasn't trying to make it that way.

  At sight of my expression, he covered the last thirty feet in a sprint, reaching me in seconds. I looked at him without surprise or anger, I was too tired.

   His eyes dropped down to my hands and they hardened.

  "What did you do?!" He bellowed, lifting my hands in his, inspecting for permanent damage. I shrugged my shoulders dismissively. 

  "Come on." He said, tugging me towards the lot. That sparked an emotion. Anger. I tugged my injured hands from his and glared into his hazel eyes. I shook my head back and forth, whipping it fast.

  His eyes narrowed now.

  "Yes,"

 I ripped my phone out of my backpack and texted him.

 "'I don't need help from you.'" He read aloud.

  "That doesn't matter, you're gonna get it anyway." Leo responded with a sharp edge. I nearly flinched. Nearly.

  Why do you care? I typed.

 He heaved a sigh, looking frustrated.

 "Look," He started, staring me in the eyes. "No matter how much you push and shove, it will never matter weather or not you can talk. Get it? I care about you, idiot!" He ended, shouting.

  My eyes widened and I could feel myself swimming to the surface of the churning sea.

 I'll never be able to.

 He read it over and smiled, a barely there smile.

  "Of course you will, I mean remember that...." He stopped abruptly and dropped his smile when I shook my head.
 

I tried just a few minutes ago.

  He looked up at me, eyes holding fear and curiosity. I could barely hold it together. I just had it happen not minutes ago and now I had to re-tell it?

  Suck it up, a voice commanded from within me. Well then. I took a deep breath, holding to get strength from somewhere. The wind, thin air, grass, my inner self, any of those.

Leo lifted my hand again, smearing blood on his own. Then I found strength. From somewhere I never expected it to be.

Inside Leo.

Like he was a power source, feeding me hope just by being around. Making me shine even when I was so dark.

I suddenly had the feeling that every time I fell, Leo would help me up and brush me off. No matter what I said or did, he would be my friend. He would be there. My trust in him grew a bit bigger.
 

I can never do it. I tried and it felt like swallowing glass. I'm sorry I disappointed you, Leo. I really tried.
 

His eyes swept over the words and there was a sympathetic and knowing look on his face. He shut his phone slowly and did something even more surprising.

  He pulled me into his arms and wrapped them tightly around my torso. At this affectionate gesture, I was completely tossed ashore, away from my horrible, spinning, sea. This was the first time he'd hugged me and I was a little bewildered.

  After a second of hesitation, I wrapped my arms around his neck and allowed myself to be happy. Standing here, my head against his chest, felt right. He was so warm.

   Then, something confusing happened. My heart skipped a few beats and squeezed a little. Not to mention a barrage of fluttery feelings moved into my stomach.

  I sucked in a loud breath and he pulled away slowly.

  "What is it?" Leo asked, concerned. I shook my head.

 My hand dropped to my stomach, noting the feeling was gone.

  "Now, can we fix up those hands?" He asked, cautiously, as if he was afraid I would refuse. I nodded, still distracted.

  "Okay." He said, smiling.

 He took the hand on my stomach and started back towards his car. I widened my eyes as the tingles traveled up my arm and ended in my stomach with a soft squeeze.
 
 Oh. Crap.
 

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