Her story to tell
I nudge Tyler and nod to the right. ″Your dad is here.″
Tyler grins and he raises his hand. ″Yeah, he said he would come and watch the game.″
″Well at least he understands the game, so you don't have to explain everything.''
Tyler laughs and he slaps me on the shoulder before running back to his position. We were up 4 against 0 with still thirty minutes to go, but I wasn’t worried. Our opponents were weak, so we basically already won.
″Good game, boys!″ Mr. Reed says. ″Alexander, you shown some skills as a captain and that last goal was very impressive!″
″Good to see you too, Mr. Reed and thank you!″
″Do you boys have plans with the team or can I take the two of you to Burger Joe?″
″Burger Joe!″ Tyler yells. ″Give us ten minutes, dad!″
″We first have coach Simon talk, Ty! You know he will want to analyse the game before we hit the showers.″
″Shit, I forgot! Make it twenty minutes dad!″
″Just meet me in the cafeteria.″
Coach Simon already started and we quietly sit down.
″It was a good game, but don’t get cocky. Are opponents were weak and our next game is against East Valley. They won the competition and the tournament last year. So we have to stay focused, gentleman. So have a good weekend and stay out of trouble. I will see you all on Monday for practice!″
Coach Simon leaves and we hit the showers right away. It was tradition for us to go to burger Joe with Tyler’s dad, so we didn’t want to waste any time. My gaze falls on the hoodie Tyler is putting on and I shake my head.
″So you finally took it?″
Tyler grins and he puts his dirty clothes back into his bag.
″She steals my shirts, so this makes us even! Beside, she knows The Maze Runner is my favourite movie and the hoodie is too big for her anyway.″
″I have not seen her since since you tricked me last time. By the way, thank you for the surprise shopping trip.″
″You are very welcome!'' Tyler answers with a smirk. ''That reminds me, were the two of you not going on a date?″
″Honestly, I don’t know anymore. She asked if we could go out and I said yes. I texted if she was free on Friday, but then your dad came home and she had to check. That was the last thing I heard from her. I figured if she wanted to go she would get back to me.″
Tyler shrugs his shoulders and we say goodbye to our teammates. Mr. Reed is in the cafeteria and to our surprise he is talking to coach Simon.
″Ready to go?″ Mr. Reed asks.
We nod and we follow Mr. Reed to the car.
″Dad, why was coach Simon talking to you?″
″Because I asked him about the situation with Kyle. He assured me that I had nothing to worried about. He already had a word with Kyle and he is convinced that Samantha can take care of herself. What led us to another thing.″
Mr. Reed starts the car and we are on our way to Burger Joe.
″It led you to...″ Tyler urges his father.
″Ow, something about Samantha joining the track team. I said he should talk to Samantha about that and coach Simon said he already did or at least tried to. Samantha said she couldn’t and that was it.″
″Sounds like her,″ Tyler mumbles.
″She has a lot on her plate, Tyler! She has exams right now, which is stressing her out. Not sleeping is not helping her either and then the scare we had with Emma.″
″What happened with Emma?″ I ask worried.
″Yes, what happened with her?″ Tyler repeats my question, clearly he also didn’t know that something happened to Emma.
″The school called and said that Emma fainted. Her blood sugars were dangerously low and an ambulance was called. When we got to the school, Samantha was already there. She gave Emma an injection and Emma regained consciousness. They still had to check her out in the hospital, but we could take Emma home by the end of the day.″
″Why didn’t you tell me that!″ Tyler snaps.
″Because Samantha asked us not to.″ Mr. Reeds says calmly. ″You had exams and she didn’t want you to worry about nothing. Emma was fine, Samantha really made sure of that. Emma now has a sensor that keeps a tap on her blood sugar levels. With an app we can monitor her from everywhere, so hopefully no more scares like that.″
″You still should have told me!″ Tyler grumbles. ″I’m not a little child anymore, dad.″
″I know that, Tyler, but I still have to respect Samantha’s wishes. We are family, but we have no authority over her. That is something your mom and I are looking into now, but it’s all very complicated.″
″Why is it complicated? Weren’t you and mom appointed as their guardians?″
Mr. Reed parks the car and he remains silence for a while.
″You boys have to keep this to yourselves, understood?″
Tyler and I nod.
″We are now the legal guardians of Emma, but not of Samantha and at first we thought it was a mistake. So we called the social worker that send us the paperwork and she told us that Samantha was declared emancipated at sixteen. She couldn’t give us any details about it, because her case was sealed.″
″Couldn’t you ask Samantha about it?″ Tyler ask with a concerned face.
″Samantha doesn’t talk about her past, Tyler. Your mother tried many times, but Samantha always finds a way to change the subject. So I tried and she lost her temper with me. She was yelling at me at first, but then she took a swing at me.''
″She got mad at you?″ I ask in disbelieve. I never seen Samantha losing her temper, not even with Kyle.
″She was not mad at me, Alexander. She angry and lashing out because of what happened to her. Following a strict schedule and working out all the time are her ways of coping with it.″
″How do you know that, dad?″
″Because I have a lot of personal and professional experience with trauma, Tyler. But like I said, you both have to keep this to yourselves. It’s Samantha’s story to tell and if she doesn’t want to, she doesn’t have to. So are we clear?″
I see Samantha sitting in the library. She has her glasses on and she has a pencil in her mouth, while she is looking at the screen of her laptop. She looks focused and stressed, but also cute.
I first drop off the books that I lend and then I go looking for the books that I need for my history assignment. Samantha did not notice me, not even when I’m standing behind her.
″Glycolysis, respiration and anaerobic pathways,'' I read out loud. Samantha startles and I chuckle, before taking a seat next to her. I take out my books and I start working on my assignment. Samantha looks at me for a while before she turns her attention back to the screen.
We sit there, working in silence and I like it. To my surprise I actually get a lot done, but after two hours I lose my concentration.
''How are your exams going?''
Samantha tries to say something, but she still has the pencil in her mouth.
''Sorry, they are going fine. It's just a lot of studying and making papers. Luckily this is my last one, so tomorrow I will finally be done with it all.''
''That's good to hear!''
Samantha smiles and she closes her laptop.
''Are you done?'' I ask.
''Yes,'' Samantha answers.
''Do you want to go and grab a bite with me?''
''Can we go to Burger Joe? Uncle Thomas brought me there last week and they have the best cheeseburgers!''
''Let's go then!''
Five minutes later we are in my car. Samantha has her eyes closed and I can tell that she is tired.
''Drive-in movie night,'' Samantha suddenly mutters. ''Horror night!''
''Do you want to go?'' I ask, already knowing the answer.
''Only if you like horror movies.''
I just smile and I turn into the drive true of Burger Joe. It was Thursday and tomorrow was a lesson free day, because the teachers were going to a conference. So I knew the restaurant was going to be packed with students.
''Welcome at Burger Joe! Can I take your order?''
''Yes! One Joe's Homestyle and one Joe's Cheeseburger menu.''
''What kind of beverages would you like with that?''
''Two Cokes with lemon and an extra bottle of water, please.''
We were both hungry and I knew the popcorn at the drive in wasn't very good.''
''Yes. An extra portion of fries, one order of chicken pops and two Sundaes, please.''
''What kind of flavour for the Sundaes?
''Coffee with caramel and Chocolate with KitKat.''
''That would be all.''
Thank you for your order, you can drive to the next stop.''
I close my window and I drive slowly to the next stop.
''Why did you order so much food?'' Samantha asks. ''A burger was fine with me.''
''Tell that to your stomach,'' I respond with a grin.
For a moment we remain silence and then there is the sound again. The rumbling sounds of Samantha's stomach.
''You were saying?''