Hi, everyone! I know it's been some time since I've posted a chapter, and that's only because school is getting pretty busy and I was also in a really bad writer's block. But I'm feeling better now...so I hope you enjoy this part! Hope everybody had a great Labor Day! 496Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡwlLBOm5JiG
Ever since Thomas had decided to disrespect Delcan for no reason at all, I had lied about saying I had somewhere to go before I could get a chance to punch his stupid face. I got in the car with Eric while he explained how annoying his new girlfriend, Janice Hart, was about kissing.
Once we had gotten home, I ruffled Emmanuel’s hair before going into my room and locking the door. Turns out, on Thursdays, teachers enjoy giving piles of homework. While I worked on most of my math work and science things, I got a message from Haven.
Hey. Look, I know we aren’t really in the best place and everything, but...I really need to talk to someone.
What could she possibly need me to talk to about? She had tons of friends who would pretend to listen a lot better than I could. Plus, I can’t keep up with how quickly things change with her.
Ask Fawn or something, Haven.
If I tell them then they’ll tell the entire school. Plus, you might be the only one who understands this right now, and I’m not too much in the mood to ask for Delcan’s number.
Crap. I should probably text Delcan later and ask him how he’s doing. I could only imagine what emotions his parents are having right now.
Me:496Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡasGcYn2ctS
Haven, could it be another day, please?496Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡNigigrWcHO
I have things going on, and I need to finish it.496Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡUh0xKSRWhY
You finish homework quicker than anyone I know, Ezra Gatley.
I listened to you, now you have to listen to me.496Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡrkJc0bmFyp
What is she talking about?
Haven had a reason for an explanation after I cheated on her and she got one, but I don’t understand how now I owe her this large favor for something. There has to be something she probably wants to blackmail me again.
What is it?
Could you meet me in the park we used to go to in 9th grade?
She was talking about Eastland Central Park, the park that kids would usually go around the time of fall or summer break. Now, it was hardly even used too much anymore, but some people in our city had always kept the park clean for younger children (who would find out the hard way that the only way you’ll get into that park is through a key code that changes every six months).
Haven and I used to go to that park together, typically on double dates with Adam and Annalise or with Thomas and Rian. It was also the same park where Haven had asked me to kiss her, and instead of saying no, I did. 496Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡALeehSwnW4
Why there?496Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡwmKAmFNcF0
496Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡlvrL4qzXqS
Because our parents probably don’t keep up with the code and everything. And, that place is really comforting sometimes.
I’ll see what I can do.
Thank you, Ezra.
I responded with a thumbs-up emoji before setting my phone on silent. As I was writing down the last bit of my English homework, I sighed, then stood up and went over to my door. Just as I opened it, Dad was standing there. I nodded. “Hey, Dad.”
His face stayed straight, almost like he wasn’t really thinking anything. I hardly ever made direct eye contact with my dad for such a long time period, but sometimes it just felt like there was nothing behind them. Like something behind those walls had snapped. “How was practice?” he asked me.
I wasn’t going to tell him about me getting tackled. “Good,” I lied. “I’ve actually got somewhere to be, so-” I had tried to move past him, but his hand pushed down on my chest, hard. Suddenly, my mind flashed with the memory of what he had said to Delcan again. I put my hand behind my back, putting it in a fist. I was positive that Mom didn’t even know.
“Now hang on,” he said, a blank smile on his face when he pushed me back on the wall. I held back the cuss word on the tip of my tongue.
“Where the hell have you been going lately, Ezra? You decided that you can just skip the dinner that I spent so hard on. And that on the time you are at dinner, you walk out of the room like you’re a baby.” As right as he could be, I had my own reasons.
I shrugged. “I’ve been trying to get more practice in for football,” I said. That was also a lie. Altogether, I might not even do football in college. “And I’ve been...spending some time with my girlfriend. Friday night, I’ll stay for dinner.” He nodded, a proud smile plastered on his face.
“I need you to take Emmanuel to a friend’s house,” he said. I looked at him with confusion. I looked behind him to see Emmanuel playing with an action figure from some movie I didn’t remember watching. He looked up, giving me a smile. I turned my attention back to Dad.
“Did I ask you or tell you, Ezra?” Dad challenged. I bit my mouth as I nodded, going back into my room to grab my bag and then brushed past him, making sure I didn’t accidentally hit his arm or something. Emmanuel looked up once I was over him, his brown eyes looking me up and down. I got a message from Haven, asking when I’ll be able to come by.
“Let’s go,” I told my brother.
His smile was huge. “You’re taking me?”
I nodded, helping him up as Dad walked downstairs to tell Mom what to cook for dinner. Emmanuel walked behind me down the stairs, taking two steps at a time before Dad glared at him. He froze in place for a moment until he started to move again, his steps silent behind mine.
Emmanuel kissed Mom a goodbye while I gave her a wave before closing the door.
“Why are you taking me instead of Mommy?” Emmanuel asked, trotting to the car.
I tossed my keys around in my hands while Emmanuel looked around outside. His eyes were a shade darker than mine, but they were also always large like he was expecting an adventure right around the corner. It was cute, but it made me worry about how he’d do after Evelyn left for college.
“Not sure, E,” I said. “What friend are you going to?”
My phone went off from Instagram, and I looked down. I ignored my sister’s post from 30 minutes ago about something unimportant and looked at Delcan’s page to see what he has just posted. It was a video of his sister, Callie, dancing to some music. My phone was on mute, but that really didn’t matter. Callie looked like a dancer, and she moved like one, too. She was also flexible, as I had figured out for the two minutes she had followed me back before unfollowing me. Under the video, Delcan had said: My talented little sis, with a black heart emoji and the dancing emoji that looked like a salsa dancer. I smiled before realizing Emmanuel had been talking to me.
His eyes were large. “Did you hear me?”
I nodded. “Yeah,” I lied. “Put the address into my phone, alright? I’ll pick you up in around three hours, okay?”
Emmanuel raised his eyebrows, which were almost hidden under his hair. “Three hours?” he questioned, his voice breathless.
I got into the car while Emmanuel stumbled on his way to the passenger's side. Once he had gotten in, he turned his head to me, his eyes still large. “Where are you gonna be for three hours, bubba?” he questioned. I already knew what was coming out of his mouth before he said it. Will you be with Delcan? “Will you be with Delcan?”
I smiled. “Nope,” I said. My younger brother tilted his head like he wasn't sure if I was telling the truth or not. He didn’t really have to believe me. Either way, I didn’t care too much. I tugged on my seatbelt. “You ready to go.”496Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡd1JooyVtxX
Emmanuel nodded, his smile molding his entire face into happiness. He sat back as I started the car, the radio blaring into the speakers. “You’re totally going to see your boyfriend!” Emmanuel yelled over the music, laughing.
I stopped the car, then messed up his hair, playfully punching his shoulder. He laughed and cried out the entire time, causing me to find myself laughing, too. When I moved back into my seat, Emmanuel’s dirty blonde hair was flying in all directions. “Are you done?” I asked him.
My little brother shrugged. “You’re seeing Delan,” he declared.
I started the car again, feeling myself blush. “Whatever you believe, E.” ns 126.96.36.199da2