The Long Way Back

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Chapter 16

Upon opening the front door after coming home from school I was immediately bombarded with hugs.

Arms flew in every direction overcome with excitement.

“Seriously Blake?!” I mumbled, barely able to speak pressed so tightly against my mum’s shoulder. “How on earth do they already know?” I groaned.

“Oh sweetheart I’m so proud of you, i can't believe you’re playing again.” My dad said, a smile lit up his face from ear to ear.

“Yea...thanks, I um, I dont really wanna talk about it, i'll be in my room for a bit.” I mustered up a meek smile and clambered up the stairs to the security of my bedroom.

I managed to get to my room and close the door before I completely broke down. I crumbled to the floor, my knees gave out on me and tears streamed down my face like a never ending stream.

My playing being brought back up as a topic of conversation was bringing back memories I thought were long buried, long forgotten.

Image upon image flooded back into my brain like a tsunami.

Demons plagued my mind, reminding me over and over again the reasons I quit in the first place. I muffled my sobs with a pillow, concealing my nightmares from the watchful eye of my family.

Minutes passed before I was able to unlock my limbs and stand off the ground.

My room seemed to get smaller from every direction as the walls collapsed in on me similar to what seemed to happen in my lungs.

I eased myself towards the window in silence and shuffled my body through.

I jumped down landing carefully on the grassy garden and headed to the closest place I knew I could finally clear my head.

Colbys POV.

Dad was completely knocked out cold from his big bender last night and so I spent all morning trying to diffuse Theo’s full-blown meltdown.

Eventually he went off to school wracked with anxiety and me sleep deprivation.

Class to class, I fought my eyes to stay open.

A hopeless task it was, I eventually gave up at lunch and just headed out to pick up Theo from school.

————

“Hey Bud.” I beamed, putting on a smile.

“Hiya Coco.” He ran over to my engulfing me in a hug.

I drew back to look at him with raised eyebrows.

“Coco?” I asked.

“yea.” he laughed. “gess what i did today?” he was practically bouncing up and down.

I tried to stop myself from laughing, “What did you do today bud?”

“i watched Coco!”

“Wow, you saw Coco?”

“Uh huh.” He nodded with a smile gracing his features.

He pointed his finger deliberately against my chest, “ and ima gonna call you Coco now. Cause you wook like da boy and you play guitar like he did. And you name sounds wike Coco.” “A little.” He mumbled.

“Yea I guess it does buddy.” I chuckled, ruffling my hand through his hair playfully.

“Come on, how about we go do something fun?” Theo’s eyes lit up at the suggestion.

“Park, park, park!” He chanted, completely enthralled by the suggestion and I’m sure the idea of the swings.

“Okay, okay calm down we’ll go to the park.”

I led him to the car and not 10 mins later we arrived at the swings as promised.

We sat in the park Theo in a world of his own as the minutes flew by.

It came to around three o’clock before we were interrupted from our stolen moments of peace by none other than Mellie.

She shuffled her way in through the gates of the park and I noticed immediately her red rimmed eyes and tear stained cheeks.

A flare of anger coursed through me, she was by far the sweetest person i knew (maybe save for Theo) and she absolutely didn't deserve to cry.

The moment her eyes lifted off the ground to meet my own, I swear I could see that little spark reignite in her eyes. She smiled and headed straight for us.

“Hi.”

“Mimi!” Theo screamed and ran deftly towards her all the way from the opposite side of the park. She swung him effortlessly up into her arms in a perfect little spin before placing him back down on his feet.

“Hi Theo.” She laughed. “Good to see you too.”

“You made that look easy.” I said as she came to sit by me on the swings.

“Thanks?” She blushed. “I guess I’m just used to it from all the mountain climbing we used to do. It’s been ages though.” She shrugged.

“It’s impressive.” I smirked. “So what’s brought you to our secret spot?”

“I mean I’d hardly call it secret.” She scoffed. “We met here.”

“Well yeah, but it was our spot first.”

“Yeah!” Theo playfully joined in. “Dis is our secret spot.”

“Oh I’m so sorry Mr Theo ill leave then if you really want me to.” She cast her eyes downwards.

I knew she was just teasing him.

“What? NO, no,no, no.” He shook his hands rapidly in front of him in a stop motion. “Don't go, we can share.”

“Aww, thank you. “ “ I promise I won't tell a soul.” She whispered and pretended to zip her lips shut.

Theo nodded, gave her a quick hug and ran back off to play. Honestly, it was so easy to make that kid smile.

“Now what’s wrong?” I turned to her, hating not knowing what upset her.

“Oh it's nothing, I - it's just, Well bad memories got brought up and I needed somewhere to go to get a break for a bit.

“Oh, wanna like, talk about it?” I said unsurely, I hadn’t a clue how i was supposed to talk about all that mushy feelings stuff girls supposedly liked to talk about.

She chuckled at my attempts, “No, I think I'd rather just forget about it.”

I had to admit, it did sting a little that she didn't want me to know what happened.

But, in all fairness I had a lot I didn't want her to know either.

“Okay sure, we’ll talk about something else then.”

She shot me an appreciative smile.

“What about the trip, are you going?” I asked. She looked at me with raised eyebrows, “Do I seem like a person who wants to go on a week long trip with a hundred and something other teenagers in the middle of nowhere? That sounds like one big party from hell.”

I burst out laughing, “you do make a valid point there Daisy.”

“It's not actually that bad though really, it's kinda fun and at least gets you out of school for a week.”

She looked at me skeptically. “I guess… i think i'm gonna have to go anyway, my friends are pretty much making me.”

“Well at least i’ll be there too sweetheart.” I winked cheekily. “I’ll keep the big bad wolf away.”

“pfft.” she scoffed. “yea, you’re probably worse than the wolf if you wanted to be.”

I just shrugged, a smirk permanently plastered on my face. “GRrr.” I teased.

“I guess we’ll just have to see.”

A few weeks later...

Mellie’s POV.

Walking up the steps of the coach, bags in hand I already regretted this.

As suspected, I had been guilted into going on this silly trip. I knew it was going to be a disaster.

Looking down the rows of seats I saw Lucas sat with Blake, Emma with Carson and Colby sat alone near the back of the bus ignoring everyone else around him with a book in his hands.

I walked up to him, the eyes of many following me as I went. “Is this seat free?” I smiled.

He looked up from his book. “Nope, sorry sweetheart I was saving it.” He said, I seriously couldn't tell if he was joking or not.

“Oh, okay.” I replied.

Way to embarrass yourself Mellie, I knew acting confident would come back to bite me in the butt.

I turned to walk away when Col grabbed me around the waist and pulled me firmly down on his lap. “I was just messing with you sweetheart, I was saving it for you.” He whispered in my ear from behind, his breath tickled my neck.

I blushed all shades of red and quickly scuffed off his lap onto the seat beside him. He only chuckled in response.

Looking down the aisle of seats Carson looked at me with his mouth agape like he’d just witnessed the impossible. I only smiled back at him in response, oh how many answers I owed him now.

I pulled out my headphones from my bag and put my playlist on shuffle settling back onto my seat.

Talking with Colby made me feel that maybe this week wouldn’t be so bad. We talked and talked until eventually my eyes grew tired and the music playing in the background lulled me off to sleep. My eyes closed and my head fell down upon Colby’s shoulder.

I didn’t even realise it was him as I nuzzled myself into a ball and curled into him and the heat he engulfed me in.

Side by side we sat, the bus delivering us to one of the biggest adventures we were yet to face in our lives and we didn’t even know it.

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