See me when you look at me

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The talk

-Alexander's POV

''What are you doing?'' I ask Samantha. She has been working on her laptop for hours, but she had to get ready for court.

''Who is Cosimo Ree Tonk and why are you looking at his website?'' I ask when I look over her shoulder.

Samantha smiles and she nods at an envelope on her desk. It looks official, but I frown when I see that it is addressed to Tyler. Now curious, I open the envelope and take the letter out.

''Dear, Mr. Reed. We are happy to inform...''

''He got a scholarship? That means he is going to Stanford! How could Tyler keep this for me, he always tells me everything!''

Samantha smiles and she gets of her bed.

''Because he doesn't know about it yet, but he will today. Then we have at least one thing to celebrate.''

I frown, because it still doesn't make any sense to me.

''Wait, you were changing things on that website. Does that mean that non of this is real?''

Samantha pulls a dress out of her closet and she shrugs he shoulders.

''It is going to be real for Tyler and for the next one.''

''Where did you find the money, love? I thought you invested everything you had in Gabriel's business.''

Samantha steps into the navy blue dress and she pulls her hair to the side. I help her with the zipper and Samantha turns around.

''Good enough for court?''

''You look good, but don't try to change the subject, Jones.''

''Fine,'' Samantha chuckles. ''I did invested most of my money into the fashion line, but not all of it. I still have four savings accounts.''

''Four?'' I ask.

''Yes, I have my own and I have one for Emma. I also had an account set up for Tyler and Mia. That money is still there, but you know how Tyler is. He is proud and he would never had accepted it as a gift.''

I shake my head in disbelieve, before I pull Samantha in for a hug.

''That is amazing! Although I still don't know who this Cosimo person is.''

A cheeky smile appears on Samantha's face.

''I couldn't really call it the Cookie Monster scholarship, could I?''

''Cosimo Ree Tonk?'' I mumble and I'm rearranging the letters in my head. ''Your mind never seems to amaze me.''

''Well, I had to find a way to let Tyler go to Stanford. He only got into that fight with Leroy because of me and this is the only way I could come up with.''

''Still, Stanford is very expensive. Are you sure you can afford to do this?''

Samantha shrugs her shoulders and she starts to braid her hair.

''I had to withdraw halve of my savings, but that's fine. I don't need the money for college, since I'm not going.''

Another surprise. I knew Samantha was conflicted about what she wanted to do after high school, but apparently she figured it out.

''So you finally made a decision?''

''I did,'' Samantha responds and she finishes her braid. ''It's not the right time for me. I need time to deal with everything and figure out what I want to do with my life.''

I nod and I try to hide my insecurity. Samantha was excited for me to attend Stanford. She was truly happy for me, but it was sinking in with me that I was moving to the other side of the country.

Making it work long distance was going to be tough. Going home for the weekend was not an option. It was too far and too expensive. We would be apart for weeks or months. I was determined to make it work, but what if that wasn't enough?

''Are you worried about court or about next year?'' Samantha asks.

''Both,'' I admit. ''I don't want those four to get away with what they did and I'm scared that we would grow apart because of the distance.''

Samantha sighs and she sits down on her bed.

''Stanford is an excellent school, Alexander. You get to go there with your best friend and follow that program that you are so passionate about. I want you enjoy everything Stanford has to offer you. I don't want you to miss out on anything, especially not on my account.''

''I already told you that we are not breaking up, Samantha!''

''I remember your promise and I don't want to break up, but we have to be realistic,'' Samantha says with a sad smile. ''We will hardly see each other next year. You will get crazy busy there and only return home for the big breaks.''

''Yes, but we don't live in the stone age anymore. We can call, FaceTime and text. We can still visit each other and yes, I know it will be hard. That's why I said I was worried about the distance, but I meant what I said that day in the bathroom. You are it for me, Jones.''

Samantha looks at me and she lets out a deep sigh.

''Is staying friends not a better idea? You will meet so many new interesting people, Alexander. Don't you want to be free to do whatever you want to do?''

I kneel down before Samantha and I smile, cupping her face between my hands.

''Samantha, we already proven that we can get through anything. You broke up with me after that party and still we found a way back to each other. It was the same after you admitted yourself into the center and when you left with Emma, because your anger got the best of you.''

''Seeing the old you with my own eyes was hard, but it didn't change how I felt about you. It never did, Samantha. I love you and and we will find a way to make it work. We always find a way, so my answer is no. I don't want to be free in the way you suggested. I want to be with you, because you are the woman who I love. Did I make myself clear, Jones?''

''Crystal clear, Mr. Harrison.'' Samantha smiles and I groan.

''Keep that up, Jones. Just remember it will be your last name one day too!''

Samantha's cheeks turn bright red and she is suddenly very eager to leave for court.

Some day, Mrs. Harrison. Some day.

-Samantha's POV

Kyle's case is first and to my surprise judge Stevens rules that he has to follow an one year program of the YCF. It was his only way to avoid getting a record. Kyle's parents were outraged, so was his uncle and of course, Alexander's mom.
Charles Morris was starting to make an entire scene, so judge Stevens orders everyone to leave. Court would be back in session in half an hour for Aiden's case. I decided that I could use that time as a moment for myself.
I sit down on one of the stone benches outside the courthouse and I enjoy the warmth of the sun on my face. This was already a win! An YCF program could be just what Kyle needed to change his ways.
''Do you think he would learn from a program like that?'' a deep voice asks.
I look up and I stare into my own eyes.
''That program saved my life,'' I manage to get out.
The man in front of me nods and I force myself to look away.
''Why are you here?'' I ask coldly. ''The 'situation' is handled, so you really don't have to be here.''
''I will be flying back home with my lawyers tonight.''
''Good,'' I mumble.
''I understand that you are not going to college next year.''
''Are we really going to do this?'' I ask and I get up. ''Why are we even talking? I'm the result of mistake you made almost eighteen years ago and you made it very clear that I have no place in your life. So why bother talking to me now?''
I see him clenching his fists and I shake my head.
''Thank you for sending those investigators after me when I was walking around drunk and thank you for your help with all of this, but can this be it? You don't have to pretend to be interested in me or anything. Just go live your life and I will do the same.''
He doesn't seemed faced by what I'm saying and I'm starting to feel annoyed.
''Is there anything else I can do for you?''
''Yes, stay sober and out of trouble. You don't want to end up like her do you?''
''Or like you!'' I snap back.
For the first time I actually see a smile on his face. Like he actually found what I said amusing.
''Here your are, kiddo!'' I hear my uncle say.
Uncle Thomas stiffens when he sees him and he immediately pulls me behind him. This was so weird! There was this man with who I shared DNA. I got my eyes from him, my smile. There was a clear resemblance between us and still I couldn't feel more disconnected from this person.
Then there was this man who was not related to me by blood. We don't share any physical resemblance and still that man loved me from the day I was born. That man was devastated when my mom took me away and he couldn't find me.
That man who would never stop giving me those bear hugs. Who would never stop ruffling my hair or calling me kiddo. It was that man's instinct to protect me and I couldn't love him more for that.
''I'm fine and he was just saying goodbye. I just thanked him for his help and that's it. Are they ready to start again?''
''They are,'' uncle Thomas says, before he offers his hand to him.
''I'm grateful for your help, Mr. St. Claire. Truly and I wish you a safe trip home.''
I watch them shake hands and after that he actually leaves.
''Are you ready to go back in?'' uncle Thomas asks.
''I am, but I'm not going back.''
''Then what do you want to do, kiddo?''
He would really never stop calling me that.
''To leave all of this behind me and pick the worst flavours at the ice cream truck in the park.''
Uncle Thomas laughs and he ruffles my hair.
''Then that's what we will do. Lets go and get the others, okay?''
I nod and I follow my uncle back into the courthouse. I thought this was going to be one the hardest days in my life, but I couldn't be more wrong. I don't care about those four and I don't wonder if I ever see him again.
Thanks to my family, my friends and Alexander, I am ready to move on.

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