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Authors: L.L. Collins

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Breaking Free: A Living Again Novella (6 page)

BOOK: Breaking Free: A Living Again Novella
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“Why do you like me?”

Alexis smiled, that dimple in her cheek popping out. “Greer, just because no one has ever taken the time to really know you before doesn’t mean you aren’t worth knowing.”

“I’m not good at being a friend,” Greer explained. “It’s hard for me to understand how other people feel and think.”

“I’ll help you,” Alexis offered. “If you want me to, that is. But I want to be your friend no matter what. Do you want to be my friend, Greer?”

“You came to my house,” he said. “Friends come to each other’s houses. You’re my friend.”

“Yes, Greer.” Alexis stood up, holding her hand out for him. He took her hand, noticing that his body wasn’t screaming in revolt at touching her. Greer looked down at her, realizing just how close they were standing to each other. He had seen lots of kissing in movies, and he always wondered what it would feel like for a beautiful girl to want him to kiss her. But he also had no idea when or if any girls wanted that, so he never put himself in that situation.

Looking into Alexis’s face, her head tipped back so she could see him, he felt a feeling he had never had before coming to life inside him. When her gaze flicked from his face, down his chest, then back up, he thought maybe, just maybe, he could handle having a new friend.

 

 

 

“So are you seeing this guy?” Cate asked. Alexis paced her small room, trying to think about what she had to pack for her first away game. It had been two weeks since the day that Ainsley and Rayne had verbally attacked Greer. Ever since she had gone to his house, he had been opening up to her little by little. He had come back to school, and they had been enjoying their lab time and lunches together.

“We’re friends,” Alexis emphasized, shoving her practice shorts and tanks in her bag. She was a nervous wreck to be going away on her first trip with the team. They were headed to North Carolina, and thankfully, it was supposed to be an easy game.

“What about Luke?”

Alexis sighed. “We’ve been out a few times. He’s a nice guy.”

“Buuuuut…”

“I don’t know, Cate. I just don’t feel anything towards him. He’s cute, and he says all the right things, but there’s just nothing there. I need to stay focused on school, anyway. Cheer takes up so much of my life that I just need to make sure I’m leaving time for my classes.”

“You handling everything okay?” Cate, always her protector and ‘big sister’.

“Yes. I think I have a system down. I’m missing classes tomorrow since we’re traveling with the team, but that’s excused. I’ll work on my stuff while we’re on the bus. How’s stuff for you?”

“Great,” Cate sighed. “I met someone.”

“What?” Alexis screeched, stopping her pacing. “And you let me rattle on this whole time! Tell me, tell me!”

“His name is Michael. We met at a party. He’s a senior and he’s planning to go to law school.” Alexis smiled at her friend’s tone of voice. Cate had been serious with one other guy before, but that had ended when she was a senior in high school.

“Do I need to make sure he passes the best friend test?” Alexis joked.

“Only if I need to come up there and see if both Greer
and
Luke pass the best friend test,” Cate joked back.

“Greer is my friend. Things aren’t like that with him. And Luke, well, I’m not sure there’s anything for you to worry about there, either.” Cate knew all about Greer and what had happened and what he had confided in her.

“Are you sure about that, Lex? It seems like you like Greer as more than a friend.”

Alexis looked at herself in the small mirror above her desk. Was that true? Was she feeling something more than just friendship for him? Sure, she held his hand and enjoyed spending time with him, whether it was in person or over text. Greer didn’t enjoy talking on the phone, so she rarely called him unless it was just for something quick.

“I don’t think so, Cate,” she said finally. “I like him a lot. And he’s probably the best looking guy I’ve ever seen. But I’m not sure that’s in the cards for us.”

“Don’t shut the door, Lex. Maybe you were put in his life for a reason. If anyone has a heart big enough for a guy like Greer, it’s you.”

 

 

Alexis walked up to the bus that she would spend quite a bit of time on for the next few days, Hailey beside her. They were carrying their cheer bags and rolling their suitcases. The team all huddled in groups, waiting for them to be given permission to load up.

“This is
beyond
cool,” Hailey whispered. “This whole thing seems surreal to me, still. Even after the awesomeness that was our first home game, this feels… different.”

Alexis agreed. Their first experience as college cheerleaders had been something she would probably never forget. Hearing the chanting and screaming, plus feeling the vibe of the Florida State stadium had been intoxicating. Watching the sight that was Renegade the horse on the field, throwing the spear into the ground to start the game, plus seeing the players running from the locker room was something she had watched on television but never thought she would see up close.

Looking around at the other cheerleaders, she felt a sense of family. For the most part, they had accepted her and Hailey with open arms. Of course, there were exceptions. Ainsley and Rayne steered clear of her, and a few of the senior girls had been rather snarky. But overall she was looking forward to a weekend to remember.

“So you’re missing your lab today, right?” Hailey flipped her brown ponytail.

“Yes. Greer was just going to do it for us this time. He was okay with it.”

“I need to meet this guy,” Hailey said, wiggling her eyebrows up and down.

Alexis groaned. “You’re ridiculous. He’s my
friend,
Hailey.” She heard her name called and she turned, a gasp escaping her lips. “Greer.”

“Greer?” Hailey followed her gaze. “Ho-ly moly. Tell me that’s not him.”

Alexis began walking as fast as her legs would take her, her eyes scanning back and forth to make sure the other girls didn’t see him there. Why had he come here? What if they attacked him again?

A small smile played on his lips as she approached him, and it almost made her stop in her tracks. He hardly ever smiled. He was even looking at her in the eyes.

“What are you doing here?” Alexis stopped a safe distance away from him.

“It’s Thursday. I see you on Thursdays. The lab wasn’t the same without you.” He shuffled back and forth on his feet, looking away and then looking back at her.

She knew how hard this was for him. He had come all the way over here to see her leave, despite what the possibility was of him running into any of those other girls.

Alexis reached out her hands and offered them to him. Greer looked down, then lifted his hands until they were touching hers. When his fingers wrapped around hers, she wanted to cheer. Every time she made progress like this with him, it was like she had just won a million dollars.

“Thank you for coming to see me. Did the lab go okay?”

“I did the lab. I did it for both of us.”

“Thanks,” Alexis smiled. She noticed Hailey lingering, watching them and she motioned for her to come over.

Greer saw Hailey making her way over to them, and he stiffened, dropping her hands.

“She’s my roommate and friend, Greer. She’s okay.”

Hailey stopped next to Alexis, her eyes glued to Greer. Alexis knew exactly what she was thinking. “Hailey, this is Greer. Greer, my friend Hailey.”

Hailey stuck out her hand, and Alexis saw the small grimace on Greer’s face. Alexis turned and grabbed Hailey’s hands to distract her. “Wasn’t that nice of him to come see me off?”

“It sure was,” Hailey said. “I’ve heard a lot about you, Greer. It’s nice to finally meet you.”

“You’re Alexis’ friend. You’re nice.”

Hailey laughed. “Thanks. Sometimes I’m nice. When Alexis makes me.” She turned as one of the other girls called her. “I gotta run. You coming, Lex?”

“In just a minute,” Alexis answered. Hailey waved to Greer and ran back to the bus. Alexis turned back to Greer.

“She calls you ‘Lex’,” he stated, his eyebrows furrowed. “That’s your nickname?”

“Yeah,” Alexis answered. “I’m sometimes called ‘Lex’ or ‘Lexi’.”

“Nicknames to me aren’t nice. Your name is Alexis. My name is Greer.” She got that. To him, someone calling you something other than your name was an insult, because that’s what it had always been to him.

“Nicknames can be nice, Greer,” Alexis explained. “It shouldn’t be something mean.”

Greer looked over her shoulder at the bus with the girls swarmed around it. “Be careful, Alexis. Too many accidents happen on the interstate.”

She wanted to say that she wasn’t driving, but she figured he knew that she wasn’t driving a huge bus. “I’ll be careful. What are you doing while I’m gone?”

“Tomorrow I have class. I’ll have pizza for lunch. I’ll go home and mow the yard. I can text you. Saturday I work out and work on my computer. Sunday I go to the store with mom and do my homework. Then I’ll see you Monday.”

“Yes,” she reassured. “I’ll see you Monday. We will be back on Sunday. You can text me anytime. The only time I won’t be able to have my phone is during the game.”

“I’ll watch the game,” he announced. “On Saturday while I’m working on my computer, I’ll look for you on the television. They don’t show the cheerleaders that often.”

The horn sounded, announcing that they needed to load up. “Let me know if you see me on there,” she told him, reaching her hands back out. He linked his pinky fingers with hers and she smiled at the contact. “I have to go. See you Monday, Greer.”

“Bye, Alexis,” he said, but didn’t move to let her go. “Bye, my friend Alexis.”

“Bye, Greer.” Greer dropped her fingers and she turned to walk away when he called her name again.

“You look… pretty. I’ll miss you.” With that, he turned and walked away, leaving her looking after him speechlessly.

 

 

Alexis bounced up and down on her toes, trying to calm her jittering nerves. The energy in the room was palpable. She wasn’t sure if she would ever get used to the feeling she had right before they ran out onto the field. She couldn’t wait for their next home game because her family was coming. She missed them so much.

She heard her phone buzz inside her locker, so she grabbed it quickly. A smile lit up her face as she saw who the message was from.

I have the television on. I’m waiting to see you. Be safe.

“Greer?” Hailey said, looking over her shoulder. Alexis nodded, typing back a quick reply.

We’re just about to go onto the field. My hair is braided today, so that should be easier to find me. Talk to you later.

She tucked her phone back into her purse and shut the locker. When she turned around, she saw Hailey staring at her.

“What?”

She laughed. “You
so
have a crush on him. You never look like that when Luke texts you.”

Just then, Ainsley and Rayne walked past her, both of them looking at her down their noses. She refused to sink to their level and act the way they did, even though she wanted nothing more than to tell them exactly what she thought of what they had done to Greer.
All in good time
, she told herself.

BOOK: Breaking Free: A Living Again Novella
8.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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