Read Breaking Free: A Living Again Novella Online

Authors: L.L. Collins

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Breaking Free: A Living Again Novella (10 page)

BOOK: Breaking Free: A Living Again Novella
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Where’s Greer
, she mouthed to them, using her hands to indicate around them. Her brother Ben indicated a drink, and she nodded, disappointed. She had wanted him to see her down here. Alexis wasn’t sure if she was going to make it back down to this side before the end of the game. She wished she could ask them if he was okay, but there was no way to have any sort of conversation.

“Let’s go, Lex!” One of the other girls, Alli, shouted, running past her. Alexis turned and waved to her family, hoping against all hope that Greer was hanging in there. It would mean so much to her to see his face.

As she ran back towards the bench were the team was, she saw her coach waving her arms back and forth.

“What’s she doing?” Alexis said to Alli.

Alli shrugged. “Kind of looks like she’s trying to get someone’s attention.”

Alexis looked around her, then back to Coach Teague. Now it looked like she was waving to
her
.

“I think she’s telling you to come here,” Alli said. Alexis was confused. Why would she be calling her off the field? She jogged towards her, trying to read her expression. Was she mad that Alexis had been waving at her parents? She didn’t think there was anything wrong with that.

When she got closer, Alexis realized that the look on Coach’s face was one of concern, and her stomach dropped.

“Is everything okay?”

Coach put her arm around her shoulders and steered her away from the crowd so she could hear her. “There’s a problem.”

“I’m sorry,” Alexis said immediately. “I was just waving to my family.”

Coach shook her head. “No. There’s been an… incident with someone you know.”

She still wasn’t following her. “What?” The crowd erupted in cheers, signaling half time with the Noles leading 30-3. She had to get ready for the halftime show. Some of the girls started making their way towards them, including her two ‘favorite’ people.

“Do you know someone named Greer Henderson?” When Coach Teague said that, she thought she may throw up. She had said there was an incident. Was he okay? What had happened?

“Y-yes. He’s here with my family.”

A motherly concern came over her face, and Alexis’ eyes immediately started welling up with tears. “I just got a call from security saying that a Mr. Greer Henderson is being taken by ambulance to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital with severe injuries.”

Alexis shook her head, her brain not able to process this entire thing. “W-what happened? How did you know to get me?” Tears streamed down her face, and Coach smiled grimly.

“He was beat up pretty badly and the security team found him at the bottom of a set of stairs. They said that they believe he was beat up first, then either pushed down the stairs or he fell down them. When they got to him, he was unconscious.”

Alexis felt her legs start to give out, and Coach grabbed her, leading her to the grass where she let her sit down and crouched next to her. She gasped, feeling like her heart had just been ripped out of her body.

“They got him stabilized and he regained consciousness in the ambulance. He started saying your name, over and over again. When they looked at his phone, they saw that his last text was to you so they knew he was legit.”

“I have to go,” Alexis announced, standing up abruptly. “Greer needs me.”

Rayne and Ainsley walked up right at that moment, and she heard both of them snort. Coach turned and looked at them, and Alexis knew that it was now or never.

She stepped up to them, refusing to spend much time here when Greer needed her. “You two listen to me,” she spat. “Greer is twice the man that either of you could
hope
for in your lifetime. The fact that you find it so
amusing
to bully him and call him names for being different is really disgusting. I hope you both rot in hell.”

 

 

 

Greer blinked his eyes open, feeling pain shoot through his body as he woke up. He had known before he even opened his eyes that he wasn’t at home. It didn’t smell like home here, and the bed was too crunchy. Everything hurt. He wracked his brain trying to think about what had landed him here. Had he been in a car accident? What was the last thing he remembered doing?

Alexis’ face flashed in front of his eyes, and it all came flooding back to him. He had been at the game with her family. They had been so nice. His favorite was Dalen, who joked with him and talked to him the whole time. Greer had even understood some of his jokes and thought maybe he would try telling jokes sometime.

He had wanted a drink, the noise and the crowd starting to put him on edge. Greer had wanted badly to stay and see her, and he had hoped she would make it over by them so he could see that beautiful smile looking up at him. He had spotted her flipping and twisting across the field earlier, her blonde hair bouncing in its high ponytail. Watching her, he had remembered what it felt like to kiss her, and he wanted that again. And again and again.

He had almost been to the concession stand when that guy, Luke that liked Alexis, had stepped in front of him. Greer recognized him, but moved to step out of his way so he could walk past. That was when Luke had also followed his steps, forcing him to stop.

“Greer,” he had said. Greer hadn’t been able to understand the look in his eyes. After a while he got better at reading people that he knew and their facial expressions. For example, now he knew what it looked like when Alexis was nervous, happy, or sad. But as he looked Luke in the eyes, he had no idea what he wanted with him.

Greer had blinked up at him, not knowing what to say to the guy. He didn’t think he had ever said two words to him, and the only reason he knew who he was at all was because Alexis had waved hello to him one day when they were walking to lab and had told him she had been out with him a few times as friends.

“Want to get a beer? Come on, I have a great place we can go.”

Greer had looked back at the concession stand he had been right in front of, then back at Luke. Why did he want him to go somewhere else when he was right here? He hated beer, anyway. It tasted nasty and made people stupid. All he wanted was a Coke.

“This one’s too crowded,” Luke had explained. “Come on. This will be quicker and you can get back to the game. You’re here to see Lex, right?”

He hated when people called her that. Greer understood when she told him that nicknames weren’t always bad, but her name was so beautiful. He had nodded, and Luke had smiled. “Right down here, man.”

“Okay,” Greer had agreed, following him. After a few minutes, Greer was about to tell him he wanted to go back when Luke had stopped. He had looked around, not seeing anything around them.

“Here’s the thing,
freak,
” Luke had said, his face contorting and looking completely different. Greer’s heart had seized at his words. Luke didn’t want to be his friend. He didn’t want to get a drink with him. Luke was mean. He should’ve never trusted him.

Greer had turned to walk away when Luke had grabbed his arm tightly. He had screamed, trying to pry his arm out of his grip. Luke had squeezed harder, making it impossible for him to get away.

“Don’t touch me,” Greer had said, another scream threatening to come up.

Luke had looked around, then put his face close to Greer’s. He hated the smell of his breath against his face. He only liked Alexis that close to him. “You’re a weirdo and Alexis is too good for you. She doesn’t want you. She just feels sorry for you. She’ll want a
real
man like me before long. You can never take care of her and give her the life she deserves. You’re
nothing
, Greer Henderson. You’re
less
than nothing. You don’t even deserve to live. Retards like you should be put in an institution so the rest of us don’t have to look at you.”

His chest had tightened up and he knew it was coming. A full on panic attack was seconds away. He wasn’t going to see Alexis, and he’d never make it back to her parents. He would be lucky if he made it out of this stadium before going into full on crazy. Greer turned, knowing that he had to start running now if he was going to make it out of there.

“Where you do think you’re going, queer? I didn’t say I was done with you.” Luke had grabbed his shirt, and Greer felt it ripping. The next thing he knew, a blinding pain had ripped through his face as Luke starting hitting him. He had fallen to the ground, putting his hands in front of his face to try to protect himself. That’s when Luke had started kicking him. When he had paused, Greer had tried to get to his feet to get away when Luke had shoved him. The last thing he remembered was seeing the stairs right in front of him before he tumbled down them.

Greer heard the door open, and his mom appeared. Seeing that he was awake, she gasped and walked quickly to his side. “Greer, thank God. You scared the hell out of us.” She didn’t touch him, and if he had any energy to say something, he would’ve told her thank you. On a good day he hated touch, and today it felt like every part of his body ached.

“Greer, what happened, honey?”

Greer closed his eyes, thinking how badly he wanted to see Alexis. Did she even know what had happened, or did she think that he had left because he couldn’t take it?
See, he’s right,
Greer thought.
I can’t even stay at a football game and watch her. She needs someone who can be a normal guy.

“You were at the game with Alexis’ family, right? Her mom and dad said you were doing great and went to get a drink. The next thing anyone knew, you were at the bottom of the stairs, left badly beaten up. Do you remember who did this to you?”

Did he remember? Of course he did. Greer never forgot anything. Even if he hadn’t known who it was, he could give a description right down to the type of shoes he was wearing. But he wasn’t sure that telling who it was would do any good. It would be best if he just disappeared and let Alexis live her life. Except he couldn’t let her think Luke was a good guy.

“Where is she?” his voice cracked, his throat dry. He blinked open his eyes and saw his mom’s worried eyes. He didn’t have to tell her who he was talking about; she knew.

“In the waiting room. She hasn’t left since they brought you in.”

Alexis was here. She had been here for however long he had been here. He physically ached to see her, but knew he should push her away so she’d forget all about him.

“Tell me who did this to you,” his mom whispered. “Please.”

“I wanted a drink,” he whispered. “I just wanted a drink.”

Tears filled his mom’s eyes, and he wished that he was the kind of son that could comfort her. “And then what? The police have been here waiting for you to wake up. They want you to talk to them.”

The police wanted to talk to him. He couldn’t do this. “Alexis.” He hated himself for being weak, but he needed her like he needed his next breath.

“I’ll go get her,” his mom said.

Greer nodded. “I need her.”

 

 

The next time he opened his eyes, it was dark. There was a small light on over his bed, and he could just make out a figure huddled in a chair. Had he seen Alexis? Did he dream that whole thing?

He shifted, pain shooting through his ribs and stomach. Greer looked down, seeing his arm wrapped up for the first time. Scanning the rest of his body, he saw that his leg was also wrapped.

“Greer?” He froze. He had assumed that it was his mom in the chair, but that voice was the one of his dreams. Alexis. He watched as she stood from the chair and moved into the light. Her blonde hair was in a disheveled braid, and she was wearing a pair of jeans and a FSU sweatshirt. Her eyes were bloodshot and she had dark circles under them.

“Alexis.” He hated himself for being so happy to see her. He knew what he should do at that moment was to tell her to go on and get on with her life.

Tears filled her large blue eyes, and for the first time in his life, he wanted to comfort her. “I’m so sorry, Greer. It’s all my fault that this happened to you. If I never would’ve asked you to come to the game…”

He reached his unbandaged arm out to touch her. “Don’t say that. None of this is your fault.”

Her eyes scanned him from head to toe as she tried to wipe the tears off her face. Greer looked at her lips, ruby red and puffy. “Tell me, Greer. Did you see who did this?” Alexis leaned over, her eyes looking over his face. She reached her hand up to his face, waiting a moment to let him prepare. He wanted to tell her she didn’t have to do that anymore, but he couldn’t make his mouth work.

BOOK: Breaking Free: A Living Again Novella
5.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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