See me when you look at me

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Are you in or out?

Alexander's POV

We need to talk in person.

That's what Samantha said and I already knew what she wanted to talk about. She already told me once before that she wasn't ready to be in a relationship and that's why she broke up with me the first time.

We were not officially together now, but who was I kidding? We were not just friends. I don't kiss or hug my other friends like that. Only Tyler knows about the stuff with my parents, but I never talked about it with anyone else. With Samantha it was different, because I knew I could tell her anything.

I just wished that she felt like she could do the same thing with me. At first I blamed myself for Samantha checking herself into a correctional facility. I knew she was not fine and I didn't do anything about it. After that I felt angry and betrayed. Samantha knew she didn't had to lie to me. She knew that I would be there for her, she knew that!

''Don't get angry again, Alex. She already said that she was not ready in a relationship and you should have walked away then, but you didn't.''

No, I didn't walked away. I couldn't ignore my feelings and after she said that she missed me, I was a goner.

But she still checked herself in and she said she needed to talk in person.

Should I appreciate that this time Samantha wanted to tell me in person that she wasn't ready for a relationship?

I park the car and I stare at the building in front of me.

''Stonewall Youth Correctional Facility.''

The building looks like a fort from the outside, but the inside is a completely different story. It doesn't look like a prison or a mental institution. The walls are painted in soothing colours. There are plants everywhere and I hear the sound of a waterfall. This place reminds more of a luxury resort then of correctional facility.

''Alexander?'' I hear a male voice ask. I look up and I see a young guy standing in the doorway.

''Yes.''

''Good! It's nice to meet you, Alexander. I'm sorry if I sound so forward, but Samantha told me specifically not to call you by your last name. My name is Caleb, and I'm one of the instructors who had the pleasure to work with Samantha.''

I smile, but I still feel anxious.

''Is it your first time here?'' Caleb asks and he gestures me to follow him. I see rooms where kids of all ages are involved in all kind of activities. I see sport fields and a very impressive gym.

''Yes, it is.''

''Well Stonewall is a correctional facility, but most of our residents don't have a criminal record. That said I still urge you to be aware of your surroundings here. Emotional outbursts happen here often and they can be followed by physical violence. Now, Samantha is right through that door. There is a panic button in the room, but I will be close by. Any questions, Alexander?''

I shake my head and Caleb leaves. I stare at the door and I take a deep breath before I knock on the door.

''Yes?''

I open the door and I see Samantha laying on a bed. The floor is covered with crumpled paint sample cards. There goes the next one and Samantha looks annoyed in the direction of the door.

''Hello, Jones.''

Samantha just looks at me for a moment, but I can't tell if she is happy to see me or not.

''You came.'' Samantha says softly.

''You wanted to talk in person.'' I respond.

Samantha nods and she takes a deep breath.

''I know that I said that, but I would have understood if you didn't wanted to come or talk to me. But I'm very glad to see you, Alexander.''

I lean against the wall and I let my gaze wonder around the room. A desk with chair, a bed and a nightstand.

''You are mad.'' Samantha remarks.

''Can you blame me? How many times have I asked you if something was wrong?''

''Many times,'' Samantha sighs.

''Yes and you always said that you were fine. That I didn't had to worry and then you left. You didn't call and you didn't send me a text message. I found out when your uncle came home and went off against your aunt. So yes I'm mad and confused. You knew you could talk to me and you didn't had to lie!''

I can't seem to hold anything back anymore and I clench my fists. ''You don't trust me, that's what it comes down to.''

''I don't. Although I don't trust anyone, myself included. You only know me like this, Alexander. The girl I was before would disgust you. Drinking and popping pills just to make sure I don't feel anything. Throwing myself at men to get what I wanted or to just not be alone. I did so many sickening things and all of that was normal to me! That's why I don't trust myself or anyone else, because I didn't became that person on my own!''

Apparently we are both not holding back and somehow that feels good. We are finally done with the bullshit, but then I remember why I am here.

''Why did you wanted to talk in person?''

''To apologise for everything and to give you an out.''

''An out?'' I ask confused. ''What do you mean by that?''

''An out from all of this! You should not have to deal with all of this. You're a senior and you should enjoy your last year of high school. You should be excited about starting college next year and meeting new people. Those are the things you're supposed to do and not this! That's why I want you to take the out.''

I stare at Samantha and finally I can relax.

''You want me to take the out?''

''Yes.''

''Because of all the reasons you just said?''

''Yes.''

''That will not work for me. If you want me to take the out it has to be because you don't want to be with me. Is that the case, Jones?''

Samantha avoids my gaze and she looks at the paint sample cards on the floor.

I kneel before her and I cup her chin, so she has to look at me.

''Tell me if that's the reason and I will walk away, otherwise you are stuck with me.''

I see a tiny hint of a smile on Samantha's face and I tug a strain of hair behind her ear.

''I know that I don't know everything about you and some of the things that you did, will probably be hard for me to understand. But you could never disgust me. So don't think that you can't be honest with me, because you think it will change the way how I feel about you. I don't want an out. I'm in Samantha, so how about you?


Alexander's POV
''I thought we were supposed to paint your room together, but somehow I'm doing all the work.'' I mutter.
Samantha chuckles and she wraps her arms around my waist.
''That's because you are tall enough to reach to high parts and we don't have any more paintbrushes left.''
''Really?'' I ask while I finish the layer. ''So under that sheet are no more paintbrushes and the thing behind you it's called a ladder.''
''I know, but I don't need a ladder. You and that long paint roller thingy are almost done. Which means my room is almost done!''
I put the roller down and look around the room. Samantha finally decided on a colour or colours I should say. She wanted to create ombre walls and I admit we did pull it off. Soft pink at the bottom that transitioned into a sand white colour and then transitioned into a turquoise shade.
The colours reminded me of a sunset at the beach and I think that exactly what Samantha wanted. She once told me of a day that she spend with Emma at the beach. They had the best time there and she never forgot the sunset of that day.
''Happy, Jones?''
I turn and and I smile when I see that Samantha's face is covered with paint splatters.
''Very happy.''
''Good, now you can do the sponge thing and then we are done!''
Before Samantha realises what is about to happen, I already lifted her up and she is sitting on my shoulders.
''No ladder and no excuses that you can't reach it.''
''I hate you,'' Samantha mutters under her breath, but I can still hear her.
''No, you don't,'' I answer with a grin as I hand Samantha the sponge.
Samantha starts to blend the last turquoise layer with the sand white colour, but not before she swipes the sponge along my face.
''Done!''
''Great, because you're getting heavy!''
''Or instead of playing video games all day with Tyler, you should spend a little more time in the gym.''
I put Samantha back on the ground and she starts laughing when she sees my face.
''Didn't miss your talent for snarky comebacks, but I did miss that laugh, Jones.''
Samantha looks away and I chuckle. I still find it adorable when she suddenly gets shy and starts to blush.
''Well, that's a lie. I really missed you and I'm glad that you are back.''
Samantha leans with her back against my chest and I wrap my arms around her shoulders.
''I missed you too and thank you for your help today. I'm going to clean up, air the room and hit the shower. It's almost six, but if you go now, then you can meet up with the team for dinner. Are you all not suppose to go to a party tonight?''
''Maybe, but those are not my plans. So go do your things and make sure that you are ready to go in one hour.''
''Why?'' Samantha asks surprised.
''Because I'm taking you out for dinner and after that I thought we could go to the movies. Just a fun and relax night out. We deserve it after all our hard work, so are you in, Jones?''
Samantha turns around and before she can say it.
''No horror!''
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