“My Aunt and my m-mother were h-having an argument while we were at some baseball game for m cousin's birthday,” I say noticing as the attention gradually shifts over to me. "I w-was only five at the t-time. No one was really p-paying much attention to t-the actual game itself aside from my c-cousin. That's why everyone w-was so surprised w-when a foul b-ball came out of n-nowhere and struck me right in the throat. Apparently w-we were in one of t-the only stadiums with n-no protective netting s-surrounding the field and I w-was in just the r-right place at the right time. I d-didn't understand a lot of w-what was g-going on while I was in the h-hospital, I was too young t-to understand any of the b-big words that the d-doctors were s-saying to my parents. At the e-end of the d-day though, I still ended up w-with severe nerve d-damage in my v-vocal cords. Leaving m-me the way I am t-today."
Everyone just stares at me when I finally finish my story, I’m used to this by now. Even though I haven’t told the story in a while I still remember the looks of pity I got right after telling anyone about it. This time around Scott looks like a deer in headlights, he probably figured my stutter was just a birth defect or something.
“I never realized-” Scott says staring at me with a look I can’t quite read on his face.
“I’m n-not looking for an apology,” I say giving him a pointed look. ” I don’t need your p-pity either. If I g-get a good enough job I’m be able to p-pay for the surgery myself.”
“So that’s why you’re in all these AP classes?” Hannah asks.
“Partly,” I shrug. “My A-aunt was in all AP classes her f-freshman year too.”
“A smart family,” Becca says nodding her head in understanding, “I’m sorry about your Aunt.”
“It’s okay,” I say, “I think t-the whole t-thing traumatized Anna t-the most. That’s why she hates p-people talking about my s-stutter.”
“That must be why she snapped at me the first time I asked.”
“This is exactly why you should smoke,” Scott says taking a long drag of his cigarette.
“It may take your mind off things,” Cole says nodding.
“Me being one of the only ones here with commone sense I don’t suggest you start,” Victor says even nthough he’s smoking too. “You’re going somewhere with your life, don’t lessen your chances of living because of us.”
“Don’t listen to victor,” Jace says rolling his eyes. “There’s no point in living longer if you don’t live at all in the process, right Becca?”
I’m not a part of this at all, I do not support either side of this conversation,” Becca says setting down her cigarette.
“C’mon sweetheart live a little,” Liam says smiling over at me.
“You can try mine,” Scott says handing over his cigarette.
I examine it, turning it over in my hand and look up at them. Peer pressure has never been a problem for me up until now. Curse you college. I lift it to my lips and breathe in. I immidiately cough, wheeze, wish I hadn’t been stupid enough to have tried that, and try to catch my breath. Curse you Scott Rogers, curse you to the depths of hell.
“You did better than Scott did his first time,” Victor says laughing.
“That was back when Scott was still just the baby of our little group,” Liam says reaching over and fluffing Scott’s hair.
“Baby?” I ask as Scott swats Liam’s hand away before glaring at him.
“This is only Scott’s first year,” Victor says patting Scott on the back. “Most of us are in our second annd third year. Only reason Scott started hanging with us is becaue his brother is my best friend.”
“How c-come I’ve never met him?” I ask turning to Scott.
“Because he’s an asshole,” Scott mutters loud enough for everyone to hear.
“You don’t mean that,” Victor says looking at Scott with disapproval evident in his eyes.
“No Victor I do,” he says clenching his jaw. “I fucking hate him.”
“I don’t want to get into this with you today Scott.”
“What’d he d-do?” I ask, my curiosity getting the best of me. Scott looks at me for a long moment before snatching the cigarette he gave me back, standing up, and walking into the big area of trees. Victor of course gets up to go after him.
“Did I s-say something?” I ask looking around at everyone who still remains.
“No, you asked something,” Jace says sighing.
“W-what’s up with him a-and his brother?”
“He’ll tell you someday,” Cole says shaking his head. “Once he trusts you more. It took him nearly a year to tell me. Just know it’s not a smart idea to bring up Falon’s name anymore unless you’re looking to seriously piss Scott off.”
The rest of our time without Victor and Scott was spent talking and laughing. At one point Becca coaxed the twins into performing a dance they had put together in middle school and Cole nearly broke his neck attempting to do a back flip off the bench. Not too long after that though, a very angry Victor comes storming out of the woods towards us sporting a black eye.