1. Clearing the misunderstanding
“No, no, no! I need that back, please!”
But Connor’s already storming off, and Evan… Evan can’t let him
take it. He can’t. What if he shows Zoe? What if he shows the whole
school? No. No. He can’t. He can’t let that happen.
It’s the fear that pushes him to run after Connor and grab his arm, pleading for him to stop. And when Connor twists around and yanks his arm out of Evan’s grip with a vicious, “Get the hell off me!”, Evan won’t deny that he flinches back and almost runs off. If it were any other situation, he’d retreat and let Connor go. Let it go. But the panic of imagining how much worse this could get if he did keeps Evan right where he is, and he ends up pouring out a rambling, stuttering explanation.
“Please, I really need that back,” He says, voice wavering embarrassingly while his hands flail in nonsensical gestures. “It really wasn’t meant for you. Like, at all. I have a therapist… and they said, they wanted me to write a letter to myself. You know, like write positive thoughts and all. And that’s supposed to make me feel better. A psych yourself up sorta thing. But like, it didn’t work. It doesn’t work. Because… haha, because you know, it really hasn’t been good so far? It’s been pretty bad. I mean, you shoved me on the first day back. Not… not that it’s your fault! I don’t blame you! Like, who likes it when someone’s laughing at them. I sure don’t. But I wasn’t, by the way. Laughing at you, I mean. And… um, where was I going with this? The letter! Yes. I have to bring it to my session, it was an assignment. So um… if I could get it back…”
He trails off with an awkward laugh, eyes flickering down to stare at the ground and face burning in shame. He’s so screwed.
disgusted scoff is enough to tell him he’s ruined all chances making it
out of this with any semblance of dignity or a even lack of animosity
from the guy.
Evan nods. Words aren’t doing so great for him, afterall.
“They think a fucking letter is going to do anything? What a load of shit.”
Again, Evan nods.
“They always think they know what’s best. They don’t even think that we all got our own ways of dealing with shit. Or that things that work for others isn’t going to work for us. You. They won’t work for you. It doesn’t help, right?” Connor asks.
Evan hesitates, then shakes his head. “No,” he murmurs. “It doesn’t help.”
“But you gotta show something that makes them think you’re doing better?”
There’s a loaded silence. Heavy and uncomfortable. He can feel Connor staring him down, but he has no idea what the guy is thinking.
“Here, then,” says Connor, and then he tears the letter in half. Right in front of Evan eyes. And he folds it over, and tears it again. Evan can’t believe what he’s seeing, his mouth opened in dumbfounded shock. Connor looks back at him with a raised brow, like Evan’s the one being weird. “Look, don’t show them this. Show them your cast instead.”
Looking down at his cast, all Evan can see is the glaringly, obvious blocky letters of ‘CONNOR’ scrawled over it. He’s sure the confusion he feels is not at all subtle.
“Tell them you made a friend. So you forgot about the assignment. Or you were busy,” Connor explains. “It’ll look a ton better than that sorry excuse of a letter you wrote.” He holds his hand out and drops the shredded remains of the letter into Evan’s hand. “Or don’t do it. I don’t care. It’s your fucking life.”
“Oh…” says Evan, fingers clasping over the pieces of paper in a loose grip. “Th… thanks.” It’s a good plan. A good alternative. One that won’t make his mum disappointed. But does he really want to lie?
'Haven’t you, already?’ says a voice in his head. He glances back at his cast and thinks the voice does have a point.
“Guess I’ll see you around then. Later.”
He looks back up to see Connor already walking away. Of course, he wasn’t expecting a friendlier goodbye. He’s lucky he didn’t get punched or something. Thank goodness for small graces, huh?
“Th… thank you.” It startles Evan to realise he’s even calling out to Connor. But he supposes the guy’s helped him out. So he should be grateful. He raises his broken arm. “For this. Thanks.”
It’s possible he’s imagining it. But he swears he sees Connor look a little less murderous.
And then, the impossible happens.
Connor smiles at him.
Evan nods emphatically. Maybe… maybe this isn’t going to be such a bad day afterall.
But then Connor’s smile drops, replaced with a menacing glare.
“Evan, stay the hell away from my sister.”
Yup, this is not going to be a good day.