"Hey, where did you go this morning?" I asked.
"I couldn't sleep so I went for a run. I'm going to shower," he said quickly. After Leo was dressed and ready to go, we headed to the cafeteria for breakfast. Walking along the pathway, I debated whether or not to tell him that I heard what he said last night. Halfway to the cafeteria, I couldn't hold it in anymore. The air around us had become awkward.
"I didn't actually think it was a mistake. I just... I didn't know how you would react," I said timidly. He stopped in his tracks as he stared at me. I stopped with him as I watched his face go to one of embarrassment and surprise.
"You weren't asleep last night?" He asked. I shook my head.
"I didn't mean to offend you, honestly. I just panicked. You were the only person who knew my secret, and you were willing to help me. I didn't want to scare you off," I tried to explain.
"Do you like me?" He asked bluntly. My cheeks heated as I looked away from him.
"Did you have to say it like that so suddenly?" I muttered to myself before I started walking again. Leo's hand held my wrist as he stopped me.
"Wait, Sky," he said quickly. I looked at him, still feeling embarrassed from being caught.
"It's not one sided," he said softly. I stopped as I stared at him. If I heard him correctly, he was saying that he liked me too. He let go before he began walking again. I hesitated before walking with him again.
"We'll be late. Let's go eat," he said. I didn't say anything else about it. If I did, it would be a long conversation. We grabbed our food and took a seat. Shortly after, Easton joined us.
"Hey buttercup," he smiled as he sat next to me. Leo glanced at him before he sighed.
"I really wish you didn't know," he said out loud.
"Well, I know how you hate being responsible for other people, so I'll take the burden off of your hands and protect Sky from now on," Easton said as he slung an arm over my shoulders. Leo stood quickly and leaned over the table, pulling Easton to his feet by his shirt.
"I will take care of Sky. You stay out of it," Leo seethed. Easton and Leo stood there glaring at each other. I stood quickly and tried to get Leo to release his hold on Easton.
"People are watching," I whispered to him as I glanced around the quiet cafeteria. Everyone had stopped what they were doing to watch and see if a fight would break out. I finally got Leo to release Easton and grabbed his arm before dragging him out of there.
"What was that about?" I asked as I finally stopped under a tree a ways away from the walking path. He sighed before sticking his hands in his pockets.
"Easton is a competitive person. He sees something he wants and pesters until he gets his way. It's just, knowing that he likes you bothers me. I know that it's possible for him to help too, but... I don't want anyone taking my place. I liked it better when I was the only one who knew," Leo admitted.
"You thought that was possible?" I asked confused. I sighed before running my fingers through my short hair.
"Leo, Easton is a good friend, sure, but it would be impossible for him to take your place. I don't see you as just a friend," I reminded him. He placed a hand on my shoulder before pulling me into a hug. I hesitated before bringing my arms around him too. After a moment, he pulled away.
"Sorry, I just needed a moment to calm down," he apologized. I shook my head and pushed a finger in between his eyebrows to try and erase the scowl. He smiled slightly as I moved my hand back to my side.
"It's fine. We should head on or we'll be late to class," I said. We walked to class and took our seats. Cody came over almost immediately.
"What happened earlier? Out of everyone other than Sky, I thought Easton was the next person closest to you. You always hang around each other," Cody said. Leo sighed and leaned back in his chair.
"You misunderstand. Easton's interest is in my kid, not me. That situation puts us in the same room together often, but it doesn't make us close. In fact, the opposite is true. Because of our situation, I hate him even more," Leo scowled. I nudged him with my elbow. Leo cleared his throat before pulling his notebook out of his backpack.
"Cody, not now," I said softly. He sighed and glanced at Leo again before going back to his seat. Jason came in and went to the front of the classroom as class started. Not even ten minutes into the lesson, Leo said a piece of paper towards me.
About our earlier conversation, I don't see you as just a friend either, he wrote. I stared at the piece of paper for a while. I wasn't quite sure how to respond to that. Knowing that he liked me back changed everything and nothing at the same time. Dating wasn't really an option here and for us. It wasn't like I could confidently hold his hand as we walked around campus.
Like everything else about me, it would be another secret. Are you okay with that? I eventually wrote before sliding the paper back in front of him. He read it quickly before writing and sliding it back.
It's not like I have a ton of friends I'm dying to tell, I read. He had a point there. After class ended, we ate a quick lunch before heading to our individual sports practices. I ended up having to stay late again. After I finished sparring with Sawyer, Leo was there. He guarded the locker room as I took a shower before we headed back to the dorm.