The Lucky Winner

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Chapter 35

KYLE

The Day of the Lottery Winning

Kyle roamed Nerd It. Even though he wore his usual look of apathy, the most skilled micro-expression reader could have sensed his mood was heavenly.

He approached the New Releases section. The good thing about that store—well, for gamers anyway—was that you could try out almost all the video games they offered. In other words, loners could hang out and nerd it up at the store for hours. And the store manager had no complaints. Rather, he was happy they did since he himself was the biggest nerd, and he even joined the customers sometimes to play those try-out games.

Kyle was the king of the anti-social and had no friends whatsoever. He never talked to anyone at school unless it was necessary. But at Nerd It, he talked. That was practically a miracle. It explained how comfortable and happy he was inside the store, like a bullfrog in a sanctuary free of all snakes and hawks.

After spending hours trying out the new games, he was ready to go home and eat. Then he’d go to school the next day. Then back to Nerd It. That was his routine.

He checked his phone when he was in the bathroom. On a social media site, Sophia was beaming her million-dollar smile in her profile photo. He scrolled down to a picture of a big, fluffy cat sleeping on her bed.

Her post read:

Furball is sick and needs surgery… It’s going to cost five thousand dollars and I don’t have the money… Sigh…

Kyle knew Furball like she was his own cat. Sophia remained very active on social media and she often posted anecdotes about Furball. Kyle wasn’t a cat person. In fact, he shunned cats like vampires feared garlic, ever since he had a severe flare-up when Mom took care of our neighbor’s three cats for a week. His face and neck were covered in hives.

However, since Sophia loved Furball to death, he often researched remedies for cat allergies online, as if he were expecting to meet Furball in person. When he encountered a cat on the street, he’d even try to touch it, if only to test out his body’s reaction.

He was sad to the core about Furball’s condition. He felt Sophia’s sorrow. It was like he was losing his best buddy. Yet, there seemed to be nothing he could do about it—he didn’t have five thousand dollars.

For the entire way home, Kyle couldn’t think about anything except Furball.

He arrived home and found Mom and me frozen in place at the dining table. He knew something must have happened—most likely, something bad—but he didn’t have the capacity to care. He needed to lock himself up in his room to research all the possibilities and options for Furball. He didn’t have any time to deal with Mom’s or my drama.

Despite seeing our stone-faced gazes on him, he gave us his usual curt nod, Hi, and hurried into his room before we could say something.

“Kyle,” Mom said to him when he reached the door to his room.

“Yeah?” he turned reluctantly.

“We have something to tell you,” said Mom without blinking her eyes.

“Could we talk over dinner?”

He noticed there was no food prepping in the kitchen. Usually, Mom would have started preparing it around that time. But at that point, Furball was significantly more important than one night’s dinner. He knew he wouldn’t die of an empty stomach for only a couple of hours.

“We’ll talk when Daddy gets home then,” said Mom stoically.

“Okay,” he said, closing the door at the same time.

He opened his laptop and began his research. He scanned all the vets and animal organizations that offered financial assistance and alternative remedies but found nothing.

He heard the front door open. Dad was home.

He was reluctant to get up. He needed more time to complete his research. Furball needed him. Sophia needed him—well, at least in his imagination.

Then he heard my scream. He sighed. He hated it when I got overly dramatic. Though, that time, I wasn’t being overly dramatic. I was being properly dramatic.

He looked toward the door when he thought he heard the word, lottery. He stopped and listened to our conversation. He almost fell into paralysis when he overheard what we were talking about. His eyes stayed open as if they’d forgotten how to blink. He remained motionless for a while. We had become multi-millionaires overnight. Five thousand dollars was like a penny to us now. He could feel his blood pressure hiking up with exhilaration. He could save Furball! He could already see Sophia’s million-dollar smile.

Kyle got back on his laptop and researched the length of time winners had to wait for their winnings. It didn’t look like Mom would get her money until fifteen or so days later, but that was okay. Furball was sick and in dire need of a surgery, but based on Sophia’s posts, it wasn’t like she would die tomorrow. She just needed to hold on a little longer. And he’d get his money one way or another. Was he planning to ask Mom for the money directly? Or…?

Kyle joined us at the dining table with his laptop in his hands.

Before Mom could say anything, he said, “Yeah. I overheard it.”

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