Tenacious Sky

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Chapter 8

When we got back to the dorm, I went straight to the room to take a shower. Now that Leo knew my secret, I didn't worry about wrapping my chest afterwards. I dressed in sweatpants and a loose fitting shirt as I walked back into the room drying my hair. Leo had also changed into more comfortable clothes and he now sat on the couch reading a book.

"Easton invited me out this weekend. Apparently a lot of the guys are going into town," I said for the sake of conversation.

"Do you plan on going?" He asked. I shrugged as I sat next to him and continued to towel dry my hair.

"I thought it might be good to socialize," I answered.

"If you go, I'll tag along to make sure you don't get caught... again," he said. I smiled at him sheepishly.

"We need to redo the room rules. All the stuff before stays the same. But let me know when you're taking a shower, so we don't cause any accidents. Also, you need to tell me if you're in any kind of trouble. It's painfully obvious that you're not a good liar," he teased me. I shrugged. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

"You need to tell me if you're in trouble too," I countered. He nodded with a sigh as he set his book aside.

"Let me see your ankle," he said. I faced him before putting my foot on the couch between us. He unwrapped the ace bandage before examining it.

"There's some bruising but I think it'll heal quickly. Don't move around too much. If you need something, just let me know. I'll go get it for you," he said as he elevated my foot on a pillow.

"I can do it," I declined. He gave me a pointed look before sighing.

"Also, we should switch beds. You shouldn't be climbing up and down the ladder to get to the loft," he added. I stumbled over what to say.

"I-I'm fine, really," I lied. I was actually dreading going up and down that ladder. I was barely managing walking.

"No, sleep on my bed for now. When you feel better, we'll switch back," he stopped me.

"But all my clothes," I tried to reason with him.

"I'll hand you whatever you need," he brushed it off.

"Even my underwear?" I questioned as I raised an eyebrow at him. He smirked at me.

"It wouldn't be my first time handling your underwear," he reminded me without missing a beat. I suddenly remembered when he pulled my underwear from my laundry. I could only stare at him with my mouth hanging open as he laughed. His laughter shocked me for a whole different reason. It was the first time I'd seen him laugh and enjoy himself so freely. I could only stare at him.

"What?" He finally asked when he noticed I wasn't moving.

"That's the first time I've seen you laugh," I spoke my thoughts out loud. He shifted uncomfortably as he cleared his throat and dropped his smile.

"Are you going to dinner?" He asked. I shook my head.

"I'm already way too comfortable. If I go, I'll have to wrap my chest again and put on layers," I reminded him.

"Yeah, how do you do that?" He asked out of curiosity.

"It's not easy. I'll tell you that much. Imagine a 200 pound guy sitting on your chest all day," I tried to explain.

"I'll bring your dinner here," he said before leaving the room. I couldn't understand why he wasn't like this to other people. Maybe then he wouldn't be suffering so much. Yeah, he was rough around the edges and didn't know how to properly communicate, but he was actually very sweet and attentive. Maybe my being friends with him would show the other guys that he wasn't that bad. I made up my mind to make it my mission to help him get more friends. And this weekend was the perfect time to execute my plan. Being out on the town with the guys spending quality time together, it was the perfect set up.

True to his word, Leo brought my dinner to the room. I was surprised he didn't complain about the smell of the food filling our room. After I ate, Leo helped me set up to sleep in his bed instead of my own. He even gave me an extra pillow to elevate my foot in the bed.

"Are you sure about this?" I asked for the millionth time as Leo held on to the ladder leading to the loft. He scoffed at me before smirking.

"You're already in the bed and we have a solid plan. It's a little late to back out now," he joked before he climbed into the loft.

"Don't forget to set your alarm. Goodnight," he said from the loft.

"Leo?" I called out to him hesitantly. His head popped out of the loft window as he looked down at me and hummed a response. I could only imagine what I looked like when I did it.

"Why are you so nice to me?" I asked after gathering my courage. In the pale light of the bedside lamp, I saw the ghost of a smirk grace his face.

"Because it's painfully obvious that you're completely helpless. You want to fence, right? You want to be coached by Race and acknowledged by the Olympic team, right? You need serious help, and I'm the only one qualified to help. You got caught on the first day, and another time when I wasn't there," he reminded me. I released the breath I was holding and rolled my eyes.

"Did you have to go that far?" I muttered. He chuckled.

"Regardless of the how, the reality is that you're my kid now, and I'll get you as far as I can," he promised.

"Thanks, Leo. And we'll figure out your panic attacks as well," I said with a newfound sense of determination.
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