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Chapter 27 – Trust-issues

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

As I wander through the school’s hallways towards my next class – which is drawing class – I find Carson lingering around the door of the classroom, causing a smile on my face to break through.

Every since he helped me to get home a week and a half ago, patching me up and keeping me company until my parents came home, I spend either my time in hospital with Calo, or anywhere with Carson.

It’s safe to say he’s now my best friend besides Calo and the fact I made another good friend makes me cheerful and actually makes me enjoy most of my days.

I haven’t had a bad day since I met him. Being with Calo, and him opening up to the idea of being homosexual, hanging out with Carson and learning tons of things about OCD and anxiety disorders, and Luke not bothering me any longer all help with having good days.

It didn’t even cause me to freak out when my parents told me Pyper was rushed to hospital because she had a spiking fever all of the sudden. I stayed calm and reasonable and asked all the necessary questions to get the right information.

Pyper is home now, but far from capable to go to school. At first, I was afraid her being in hospital, and Calo too, would equal me having to spend lunch alone again.

And then there was Carson, who I never saw in school before. And quite rare too; he never heard of me either.

He’s in the top class of school, and they mostly have classes far away from where I have my classes and his class isn’t really involved in any of the regular high school drama. His class has 12 students who are all aiming for bright futures at the best universities of the country.

They’re too busy for ordinary bullying or any other drama. According to Carson, besides him there’s only two others who even had a relationship. Most are either too shy, too busy or not allowed to have a relationship. Some of the parents of those kids are lunatics, keeping their kids fully focused on school and telling them relationships are part of the adult life and shouldn’t distract them from their school and getting A’s for every test.

Carson is one of three who’s socially skilled enough, not too busy and allowed to do whatever he wants.

And Carson applied for Stuyvesant University, which is the best in the country, and he’s pending approval – having to show that he can keep up his biology grade, which had been faltering slightly after he found out he has a brain tumour.

Which reminds me of my cousin Milan a bit, who was also pending approval to get into Stuyvesant University, but now most definitely has to retake his final year in high school.

He’ll be mentally capable of finishing school, it’s just a question when he’ll be able to go back to school.

“Hi there, Nee.” Carson greets me with a courtly nod, pretending to take of a had that he isn’t wearing.

I chuckle and smirk at him. “Hi Carson.”

“I was looking for you.”

“You saw me an hour ago during lunch.” I frown slightly while he follows me into the classroom. “And shouldn’t you be in class right now?”

“Free period. I’ll go back to studying in a minute.” He sits down on the empty stool beside me, which belongs to Calo. “Or I could persuade Mrs. Gabriel to let me stay here and help you… draw?” He frowns as I got my drawing from the rack. “Shouldn’t you use paint?”

I snort and send him an amused look. “You’re funny, Carson.”

“Why-… Oh. Huh, you and paint aren’t friends, huh?” He chuckles. “Germs, OCD, anxiety? Which is it.”

I frown, overthinking the reason behind my paint-phobia. “Not sure which of my problems makes me scared of using paint. I think it’s the thought of getting it on my clothes? There’s not really fear of germs, since it’s not really germs…” I shut my mouth as I notice I’m blabbering and he seems amused.

“Nee, I’ll be right back, okay?” He jumps up and leaves the classroom without taking his backpack. Just outside the classroom he bumps into Mrs. Gabriel and I chuckle, turning back to my drawing of a bird in mid-landing.

“That starts to look awesome, Neo.” Luke’s voice sounds neutral, still it causes me to jump in my seat a bit. “How’s your hand? Healing a bit?”

The frown I had on my face ever since I took in my dull sketch – that could definitely use some brighter colours – increases. “Why do you care?”

“Oh, you know…” He shrugs. “I feel a bit like it’s my fault since it was Jimmy and well… you know…” He lolls his head, drawling his explanation for showing interest in the healing process of my hand, that still is a bit sore.

“You are responsible.” I mumble, grabbing a pencil to head on with drawing the details of the left wing. “You started bullying, Jimmy followed. You stopped, he didn’t.”

“And I am sorry, Neo…” Now Luke sits down on Calo’s stool.

“That’s Calo’s seat,” I grumble in annoyance. “I’m not sure if he will be pleased if he finds out you sat there.”

“Oh… but he isn’t here…”

“Luke, leave me alone. Like you promised.”

He bites his lip and I see a flash of hurt in his eyes while he gets up and leaves with his head yet again dipped low.

Luke’s behaviour is a mystery to me. It’s one thing for him to understand what he did was wrong, to regret it and to stop the bullying. But I just don’t get why he’s trying to be all friendly and show interest in me.

I think he should understand we will never be friends, or even on friendly terms.

“How is it you can work on that for so long? Isn’t it done yet?” Angela leans over my shoulder, taking in the drawing with curiosity.

“Does it look like a bird that is about to fly off the paper?”

“Not quite, but it’s still beautiful.”

“Then it’s still not realistic enough.” I smirk and look at her. “What are you working on?”

“I’m out of inspiration. I’ve been doodling all kinds of things. But the subject ‘a slice of life’ isn’t very inspiring to me.”

“But it’s literally the easiest subject there is. It’s just something that reminds you of life. Could be practically anything. Even death could be it. It’s still a slice of life.”

Angela chuckles and shrugs. “I’m just not creative.”

“There’s nothing creative about creating anything that reminds you of life.”

“I just…” Angela sighs and sits down on Calo’s stool and suddenly I wonder how the hell I went from alone and unbothered to having three different persons on the stool next to me within five minutes? “How did you come up with a bird?”

“Because when I think of true life, I want to live free as a bird.” I shrug.

“See!” Angela groans. “That’s genius. Why didn’t I think of that?”

“Well, what’s the best feeling in the world to you?”

“Truly being in love.”

“And what reminds you of love most?”

“Ehm, roses?”

“Then draw roses.” I shrug. “And while you’re drawing it, I’m sure more will come to mind. So, start with a paper of roses, research love and signs of love...”

“I’m back!” Carson, out of breath, holding a with fabric in one hand and something blue in the others, appears beside Angela. “Oh, hi Angie.”

“Hi Carson.” Angela smiles at him, then at me. “Thanks Neo, I’ll do that. I’m sure I’ll come up with more along the way.” She jumps up, leaving me with Carson again.

“What’s that?” I nod towards the white cloth.

“Lab coat!” Carson throws the blue thing he was holding onto Calo’s empty table. “So you won’t get paint on your clothes.”

I frown, but I can’t fight the smile that spreads across my face.

“Mrs. Gabriel agreed to let me help you in this process of… self-development.”

“But… it’s not ready to be painted yet!” I cover the bird – though a small portion since the drawing is huge – with both hands.

“I’m going to teach you how to use water colour. And we’re not going to ruin your drawings before I’m sure you know how to steer the water colour the right way.”

“Water colour?”

“This whole drawing screams water colour.”

“Does it?”

“Yes.” Carson nods. “I’ll teach you, and if you don’t like it, nobody’s going to force you. But you could try and see if you like it.”

“Okay, fair enough. Teach me, oh wise Carson.”

* * * * *

Calo, as soon as I enter his room in the psychiatric ward, perks up in the chair he’s seated at. There’s school stuff in front of him, but he was dreamily staring towards the door.

“Hey handsome.” He smirks, opening his arm to invite me into a hug.

As soon as I put my arms around him, he pulls me onto his lap, pecking kisses all over my face. “Someone’s happy to see me.”

“I am, truly. And I’ve got great news.”

“What is it?” I settle onto his lap, pecking a kiss on his lips after he’s done kissing my face, and the scrapes and bruises that are still slightly visible.

“I’m allowed to go home. Mom and dad are coming to pick me up after work.”

“That’s awesome!” I wiggle on his lap excitedly. “Does that mean you’ll be back in school soon? You have to meet Carson. He came over during free period to help me during arts class. He taught me how to use water colour…” I retrieve my phone – missing the fact Calo’s smile turned into a frown since I’m too excited about the water colour in the first place. “Look.”

I show him pictures on my phone that I took because when I did, I didn’t know I could show Calo in real life any day soon. “He taught me different techniques and then he made me draw a feather with only watercolour paint…”

“You and Carson sure became close quick…” Calo stares at the pictures, but this time I didn’t miss the salty tone of voice.

“Yeah… well… he told me more about OCD and he’s really helpful…” I stop talking since there’s a bit of anger in his eyes. “Cay, are you jealous?”

“I don’t really like the idea of you and a guy hanging out that much. You talk about him all the time…”

“Well, you do realise you signed up for a relationship with me, Neo Favre, who hardly has any friends, or really anything going on in his life to talk about?”

“I do. I just didn’t think you would be open to other people’s attention while dating me.”

“I’m not. We’re just friends. I’m not even sure if Carson is hetero or gay. Because we never had that conversation, Cay. Because I’m not interested in him like that. Besides, I’m not out as gay either. Though I think people saw us when you surprised me by picking me up from school to other day…” I cock my head. “I like you, and only you, Calo Delgado. You have my heart, he just has my time while you’re stuck in here.”

Calo rolls his eyes, and I see he’s trying really hard to fight the smile that wants to break his frown.

“I like you, Calo. And I’m yours, I’m fully invested in our relationship and Carson is just a new friend. I’m sure you’ll see what I mean when you meet him in person.”

“I hope you’re right.” He’s still a bit grumpy, bit since he put his arms back around my waist, and leans his head against my chest, I’m sure I managed to calm his nerves down a bit. “I don’t want to be going through this whole accepting my sexuality thing by myself…”

“You’re not.” I peck a kiss onto his forehead. “I’ll be by your side every step along the way.”

Someone clears his throat by the door, causing us both to jump up and act innocent as fuck.

“The folks are coming.” Seino smirks at us. “Figured I should give you a heads up…” He winks at me and watches as Calo grabs his school supplies and dumps them into an empty box on the table.

I chuckle, though I still feel a bit on edge and as if we just got caught. I still feel stupid for even trying to hide it as Dr. Delgado made it clear that he already knows Calo is struggling with his sexuality.

I just don’t want to force Calo into coming out or ruining his progress by telling him his dad already knows his biggest secret.

I tried to tell him before, but he’s adamantly sure his parents will condemn him for it.

And then I went on and tried to convince Dr. Delgado to tell Calo he already knows. But he said he was patiently going to wait until Calo was ready, which makes sense.

Seino stands next to me in the same time their parents enter the room, both with a smile on their faces.

“Sei, Neo, can I talk to Calo in private for a minute?” Dr. Delgado sends us a serious look. “It’ll be short and then we go home.”

“Just a sec…” I drawl, hurrying towards Calo, who is frozen besides the bed, staring towards his father nervously. “Cay?”

“Uhu?” He doesn’t take his eyes off of his father, but he did acknowledge my presence.

“Can you please consider telling your parents about us? I want to be able to hold your hand, or snuggle close to you, even when they’re there…”

“No… Nee… I’m not… I don’t want to… They won’t accept it…”

“They will.”

“Just think about it, okay?” I murmur, before I turn around and leave the room to find Seino and Mrs. Delgado in the hallway.

“What does dad want to talk about to Cay?” Seino nervously asks his mother, who smiles as an answer.

“Don’t be nosy.” She taps his nose. “If they want you to know, they’ll tell you themselves.”

Seino groans, crossing his arms while leaning against the wall. “So annoying…”

“Give your brother some time with his father. It’s hard enough to give all of you the needed attention and love as it is already. And Calo needs a little more support right now.”

I smile at Mrs. Delgado, happy to hear she agrees with me that Dr. Delgado should give Calo a bit more attention, love and support right now.

I just want to him, or both of them, to realise they could have a way better bond if they would open up to each other.

And for that to happen, Dr. Delgado needs to win over Calo’s trust first.

“But, we are taking Cay home today, right?” Seino demandingly asks his mother, causing me to frown and wonder if Dr. Delgado is crushing Calo’s happy mood right now by telling him they won’t take him home today.

“Yes, honey. We’re taking Calo home. Your dad just wants to agree on some things with Calo first.”

“But you know Calo is stubborn when it comes to dad. He won’t agree to anything dad tells him.”

“He will agree to this.” Mrs. Delgado smiles, caressing Seino’s cheek. “Believe me when I say so.”

Then, the door opens, and Dr. Delgado and Calo get out of the room. Calo seems a bit insecure, fiddling with his sweater a bit.

“What did you talk about?” Seino instantly asks with wide eyes, while I try to catch Calo’s gaze to see if he’s okay.

“Let’s say I made Calo an offer he couldn’t refuse.” Dr. Delgado winks at me, I frown, and then I notice Calo with a small smirk.

“What offer?” Seino walks to Calo. “You’re coming home, right?”

“Yes.” Calo smiles and looks back and forth between Seino and his father. “Dad agreed to treat me at home.”

“You’re going to treat him?” Seino and I call out in surprise.

But that very fact makes me happy too. I know this is a big deal to Calo.

“Yes. Let’s say someone made me realise that I should do everything in my power to help my son. Even if I would have to bend or break a rule here or there.” Dr. Delgado puts his hand on Calo’s shoulder. “Now, how about grabbing your stuff and going home?”

“Love to.” Calo smiles wider at him, and then towards me.

As his parents and Seino head back in the room to grab his stuff, Calo stops me by the door.

“I know that certain someone was you, Nee. Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” I smile. “Anything to help you.”

“Right back at you.” He pulls me in a hug and he keeps me in his arms while Dr. Delgado reappears beside him, holding a box.

“Welcome in the family, Neo.” He winks and then he casually walks, followed by a frowning and confused Seino and a smiling Mrs. Delgado.

“Did you tell him?”

“Uhu…” Calo’s face flushes. “He offered me help, so I offered him a glimpse of what he’s getting himself into.”

I chuckle and stand on my toes to peck a kiss on his nose. “I’m proud of you.”

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