Acceptance

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Epilogue

[ETHAN]

Most of the people in the crowd got up to wait and yell in praise as Devein made the last goal of the soccer match just before the whistle was blown. Devien grinned at the crowd as her teammates huddled around her and screamed her praise. She’d broken the tiebreaker, pushing her school team into the finals.

“I never knew she was this good,” Andrew said, sounding impressed. I smiled down at his sitting figure before settling down with the rest of the crowd. Andrew smiled at me when I took his hand in mine before turning my attention back to the field.

A lot of things had happened since the last six months. The book Andrew finished before his arm got broken was now published. Andrew’s arm had healed, and he didn’t have a cast anymore. Andrew’s hen now had a new set of chicks that I, Devien and Roxanne terrorized in union, and Andrew looked and fared better. He’d lost the pale tone to his skin, his hair and eyes were brighter and he’d added a reasonable amount of weight so he didn’t look so fragile anymore.

He’d turned twenty-seven along the way and his mother and Ethel had made a fuss about it, sending presents and talking to Andrew over Skype for longer than humanly possible. There has also been a card from my mum, and his uncle surprisingly. Andrew hadn’t let me and Devin make a fuss about it, though. We’d just had a family dinner at a restaurant and visited the park.

The two team captains exchanged a brief handshake of sportsmanship before the two teams went about their business and began exiting the field.

Devien was soon running towards us in her now muddy soccer uniform and boots. She got to us soon after bending to give us hugs.

“You did good,” Andrew said, handing Devien her phone. She took it, unlocking the screen before a series of sounds were made in an indication of the number of notifications she was getting.

“Didn’t you have the phone just before your game?” I asked wondering what kind of notifications a thirteen-year-old girl would be getting.

“People were messaging me, and asking about the game,” she said, her eyes not leaving the phone. I rolled my eyes, looking over at Andrew who was looking out into the field.

“I’m leaving with Claire’s mum, right?” Devien asked, putting away her phone. Andrew turned his attention to her before nodding. Devien had become surprisingly outgoing in the past few months, from becoming a part of the school’s soccer team to attending a sleepover every other day.

“Yes, I have your stuff here,” Andrew said, plucking at the handle of the red bag on the floor beside his feet. Devein muttered a small thanks before picking the bag up.

“Aren’t you coming to meet Claire’s mum?” Devien asked, her blue eyes giving us a curious look. Andrew shook his head, apologizing.

“I wish I could, but I don’t think I can stand,” he muttered, making Devien look down at his swollen ankle. He didn’t even have shoes on to avoid pressure. He was wearing a pair of flip-flops so his ankle could have some breathing space.

“It’ll get better,” Devien muttered, hiking the handle of the bag that contained her sleepover equipment. Andrew smiled at her, laughing lightly at her faith.

“I hope so,” Andrew said, making Devein beam at him. With a loud ‘bye’, she left us to join her friends who were equally with their own sleepover bags on the field. They were chatting animatedly, laughing too loud once in a while. We watched as a woman with Afro kinks came to file the girls away.

We stayed on the bench for a bit, so Andrew could get a grip on himself. Apparently, jumping to see over the heads of equally enthusiast parents during the game hadn’t been a good idea.

“I think I’m okay now,” Andrew sighed, squeezing my hand as he got up to test his leg a bit. “We should start going before my ankle gives way and I stumble to my doom.” Andrew joked, earning a small chuckle from me. Sure Andrew wasn’t happy about his ankle problem and neither was I but he’d learned to accept it as a part of himself and his life for the time being instead of being plunged into depression because of it.

I held him close so I could ease his pain while he walked. We got to the car after a couple of stops to help Andrew get a grip on himself. He got into the car, shutting the door behind him before turning to look at me.

“What?” I asked, pulling my seat-belt over myself before starting the car. Andrew was giving me one of those unreadable looks that was complimented with a smile.

His smile got wider before he turned his head away, shaking his head. “It’s nothing, I just realized we have the house to ourselves, that’s all.”

A light blush spread across my face. I turned away, starting the car without another word. At just meeting Andrew no one would know how sensual and touchy Andrew really was. It was like his shyness was a facade to lure you in so you’d think he was all pure and inexperienced. I had been surprised at our first time together and I’ve been getting more surprises as Andrew grew more confident.

I bit my lip as I felt the ghost of Andrew’s touch on my thigh. I swallowed down the want that was growing in me as Andrew rubbed circles on my thigh. I will not lie and say I don’t like Andrew’s undivided attention. It felt nice, completely comfortable.

“I love you,” Andrew muttered in a low voice as I continued to drive. He’d started to say those words a lot more and with more confidence.

“I love you too,” I said in reply, glancing over at him briefly to give him a smile. I watched a ghost of a smile form on his lips as he bent his head to allow his brown hair fall over his eyes. I looked away, turning my concentration to the road before I crashed into something because I was looking at my very attractive partner.

I pulled into the compound of the cabin soon after. It was early in the evening and the chicks and chickens parading the compound were making a complicated symphony of clicks, tweets, and coos.

I helped Andrew get down, holding on to him to reduce the pressure on his bad leg. He muttered his thanks, gripping me as we staggered towards the door together. We heard loud barks, then we saw the hint of a snout pressed against the glass of the window next to the door.

There was uncontrollable barking and whining from the other side of the front door as I unlocked it.

Roxanne burst out soon after with her tongue hanging out and her tail wagging in the air. She seemed to notice Andrew was in pain so she didn’t jump around as much she used to. She gave Andrew and me’s hands slippery dog kisses instead before heading back in with a bark.

We went in after her. I flicked the lights on while Andrew headed for the long sofa and landed on it in a lying position with a sigh. I walked up to the sofa, bending to run a hand through Andrew’s brown hair. He let out long pleased sound, leaning into my hand.

“I’m hungry,” he announced as he shut his eyes halfway. I smiled, if it was a year ago he’d be avoiding the food not asking for it.

“I’ll warm something up,” I said, leaving him to venture into the kitchen. Roxanne was sitting put on the floor, her gaze fixed on the cupboard that held her dog food. I chuckled led at her, heading over to pour a bowl of dog kibble out for her. As she ate I microwaved some leftover pasta from the day before for Andrew.

I let my gaze wander about the small kitchen, smiling at how homely the place had turned out compared to the barely used cottage I’d met when I first got here. A series of Devien’s report cards were pinned to the fridge with magnets, and we now had our own individual coffee cups aligned on a tray.

I smiled, taking the now warmed pasta out of the microwave before heading out into the living room to Andrew. He sat up when he saw me walk in, reaching out his hands eagerly out for the bowl. I chuckled at him, handing him the bowl anyway.

I watched a show on TV as Andrew devoured the pasta. I stole quick glances at him. Watching him eat. Sure his appetite had improved but he still ate extremely slowly and picked randomly at his food. Old habits really die hard.

I took the plate away from him when he was done. Returning to join him on the sofa.

“Thought you were playing hard to get,” Andrew said, cuddling against me. There really wasn’t any room to accommodate the both of us so Andrew was partially lying on me and the couch. I let my hand run through his brown hair, earning content little sounds from him.

We took a shower together afterward, with Andrew pressed up against me to reduce the pressure on his ankle. He shivered against me slightly, making me look down at him in worry.

“Are you okay?” I asked between the sound of water hitting the shower floor. Andrew nodded into my neck, shivering slightly. I smiled at his response, kissing up his neck as he continued to shiver.

“I love you,” Andrew muttered as I felt his hand run through my wet hair. I shivered at his words, moaning in content as he raised his head from my shoulder so he could plant his lips on mine.

We kissed under the shower messily. Brushing back wet hair and nipping eagerly at each other. I pulled Andrew of the floor, giving a sigh of content when he took his initiative and wrapped his legs around me. I carried him, pressing him against the wall, not taking my lips of him throughout.

My mind was a little hazed as we continued to kiss, wasting time and warm water. I pressed against Andrew eagerly, making him let out a confused gasp before tightening his grip on my neck. I let my hands roam down to brush his waistline. It was filled out considerably in comparison to last month.

I took away my fingers before hugging him to myself as I muttered was of encouragement, kissing and sucking on his neck. His face was twisted in temporary pain from his sore leg as he tried to adjust. He was soon whimpering in pleasure instead, turning my face so he could kiss me.

Andrew was warm, and the way his muscles tightened around me made my mind haze with pleasure. I slowed down when I felt my lower stomach knot up at the sounds he was making.

We stayed under the shower, kissing and feeling each other tenderly.

I carried Andrew into the room when we finally left the shower and dried ourselves off. I laid Andrew on the bed, watching as he curled up into himself. I smiled turning the lights off before joining him on the bed. Andrew scooted towards me, burying his face in my chest. I wrapped my hands around him, throwing my leg over his naked hip as I ran a hand through his hair.

Andrew yawned, placing his hand on my torso before running his hand over my chest. I soon heard a content hum then another yawn.

“I love you,” I muttered into Andrew’s hair. I wasn’t sure why, but the words felt so natural. I also felt the need to voice them out whenever I felt a little overwhelmed by the fact.

“I love you too,” Andrew replied, sighing into my chest. “Damn, you don’t know the half of it.”

I chuckled, reaching in between us to grasp Andrew’s hand. “I wish I did,” I muttered, searching for his eyes in the darkness.

“You know, a year ago I’d have never thought that I’d have a family or a boyfriend who loved me so much,” Andrew said as he stared at me. “I never knew I’d make so much progress concerning my diet or learn to accept myself...” Andrew trailed as he took his hand away from my chest to run his hand over my cheek.

“I love you. I love you so much,” Andrew muttered, his voice laced with emotion. I didn’t know what to say, so I just hugged him to myself, responding to each ‘I love you’ with a firmer one of assurance.

I couldn’t imagine living a life without Andrew anymore. I loved him. I loved him so much.

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