Conflicted Affection

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Ryland's POV:

"It's not as easy to deny a mate as you think it is." Father whispers to me.

"Well, I don't want this, so I will find a way to deny it." I give him a sarcastic smile and walk away, yet he still follows me.

"You have no idea what you are doing and what it will do to you!" He shouts.

Mom soon walks in, "What's going on?"

"Dad doesn't approve of my choice to reject my 'mate'." I say, emphasizing "mate" in disgust.

"I know I don't understand this, but your father has told me what it does to your kind when they reject a mate and refuse to be around them. It kills them from the inside out you can't-" I interrupt my mom.

"No! Listen, it's my life and I don't care if its a mate, ok?! Plus, I never liked this person and never will."

"You can still be friends with them-" Dad begins.

"It always ends up in a relationship because the connection is too strong! I won't 'just be friends', because eventually it'll get to be too much and I will fall in love with him. That's how a mate is. You know that! This is my life, correct? Then I make the choices, not you." With that last word I walk away, nearly stomping upstairs and plopping onto my bed, even though it is an awkward sight on crutches. Sighing in relief and anger, I hear my phone ping, indicating a text message.

I read it, almost getting excited, until I remember my objective, and ignore it.

Dillan's POV:

I'm so excited for Ryland to come over. I text him telling him I have the project and also that Alexa was begging me to ask him over, which she is. Not only because she has a big crush on him, but because she wants to see how much proof she can get out of it to get me to admit I like him. But I don't, and I have told her that a million times.

"You're nervous, why?" Mom asks.

"I'm not nervous, just fidgety." I say, adding a little irritability into it.

"Because he has a crush Ryland!" Alexa shouts.

"Nooo," Mom says, smiling a little, yet noticing I was irritated, "He just likes being prepared, that's all."

Yet, I am pacing because I'm nervous, and I am actually really excited to see Ryland. You may see that as a sign, but its just because we are finally friends, and we finally get along.

Soon there is a knock on the door, followed by Alexa screaming, "Ryland!"

Her reaction causes me to giggle, until I see her smile fade when she sees it isn't him.

It is the pizza guy. Pretty shocking she is unhappy to see the pizza guy, even if she expected Ryland. Alexa loves pizza!

Me: Ryland?

No response.

After hours of no response I begin to felt worried, maybe even a little hollow. I don't really know why, but my stomach feels empty. Maybe I am hungry even after five pieces of pizza--sick due to the five pieces of pizza. Either way, it bothers me quite a lot.

I soon doze off into a much needed sleep.


For three days now, Ryland has been ignoring me. No texts, no calls, not even coming over to finish the project. I tried asking if he wanted me to bring it over, but again, no answer. He hasn't even been at school!

I asked his friends if he was ok, they replied with a yes, and left me in silence--at least their silence. It was too crowded in the hall for complete silence.

I hope he doesn't hate me again, or think I'm planning some evil plan.

For these past three days, my stomach has stayed hollow. Except, this time--it felt hollow--but also as if it was going to explode.

Soon enough, my body can't hold it until the last hour of the day, and I pretty much vomit for an hour. I feel so sick I can barely get up to go get my stuff and go home. Every time I try, my sickness just got more violent. It is hard to even get a breath of air in.

Eventually my mom has to ask the lady at the front office for a plastic bag so I would actually be able to get up and move instead of having to run back to the trash can every second.

I move slowly--but I still move. Shockingly, I don't collapse to my knees. My stomach soon doesn't feel as hollow, but it sure feels like it is kicking my ass. It feels as if someone took the sharpest axe to my stomach, making me feel pain and throw up for hours on end, non stop.

My mom even considers taking me to the hospital because I was losing the ability to breathe until someone--apparently--calls, saying they have a home remedy.

My mom didn't have the time and resources to really spend money, so she allows it. She knows she should only use it for me and my sister to live, as well as her, but she gives whoever it is a shot at helping.

My mom stands at the front door, pacing like a mental patient, until a knock comes at the door and my mom immediately opens it. I am skeptical about this but I am afraid to get up and go to the hospital because I may collapse, so I decide to have hope.

Soon I see Ryland who seems to be healing from the leg injury due to a boot now on his leg, and someone--who I assume is his dad--walks in.

Even though I am still vomiting, the closer they get, the less violent my sickness is and soon I begin to catch my breath. I still vomit--of course--but it calms down.

The man gives me a yellowish, brownish drink. It seems to be tea. He also tells me to hold up something to my nose. It smells almost like peppermint but it seems to be mixed with something.

"The drink is ginger tea, and essential oil is peppermint and lemon. It works every time for all my kids to help stop nausea and vomiting. I brought extra just in case you need more." The man lets Ryland hold the tea and oil for me while he holds out a ziploc bag filled with tea bags and small glasses of oils. "The oils are already mixed together and I assume you know how to do the tea." He chuckles, "But make sure the tea is warm--not hot--but warm. If you run out of tea, just use water or ginger ale." The man finishes with a gentle smile.

My body feels so weak that when I try holding the tea and oil, my hand shakes so much and I can't even get a grip on it. The tea feels heavy in my hand, and I almost drop it.

Ryland sighs as he continues holding the tea up for me and puts some of the oil on my neck quite forcefully and quickly, probably so he doesn't have to hold it up to my nose. I guess he doesn't want to get sick, but he seems too grossed out to touch me, or just like he would get murdered if he touches me.

He seems angry, and the only time his expression softens is the second before they have to leave.

"We gotta go." The man says, but soon stops, "Well, I do, Ryland should stay here. Their project is due tomorrow after all, and he has been procrastinating. Plus, he can help you with anything you need and watch over him while you do what you need to do." The man smiles at my mom and grabs his hat.

"Thank you so much." My mom says as the man puts his hat on.

"Any time, ma'am." He replies, walking out with a smile.

Mom sighs and turns to Ryland, "Ryland, hi! Do you need anything? Food? A drink maybe? Also I really appreciate you helping!"

"No, thank you." Ryland replies quietly.

Mom nods back to him as she goes about her chores. It gets quiet between me and Ryland. We just sit there, not saying anything. He doesn't look up at me, and I only weakly look up at him.

Even looking up felt hard to do, at least moving my head. But I already moved my head too far down and it hurt moving my eyes up.

With the few glances I give Ryland, I notice deep circles under his eyes, an angry expression, and a more pale complexion than usual on his body.

"Are you ok?" I ask, noticing my voice turned hoarse and my throat soon after begins to burn. Clearing my throat just makes it worse.

I noticeably winced in pain, and notice a slight jolt from Ryland.

"Yeah." He replies coldly.

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