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Authors: L.L. Collins

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Breaking Free: A Living Again Novella (7 page)

BOOK: Breaking Free: A Living Again Novella
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“I want to trip those two in front of everyone,” Hailey whispered in her ear. “Knock them down a peg or two.”

Alexis grinned, imagining just that. “Their time will come.” All talking ceased as the door opened and the girls ran out onto the field. Alexis and Hailey did simultaneous back handsprings, ending at midfield where they stood awaiting the team. The crowd went wild at the sight of the cheerleaders, knowing that the team was close behind. Even though it was an away game, there was a good representation of spirit here since it wasn’t too far of a drive.

Alexis took her place along the line to welcome the team to the field. She saw the camera panning above, and she looked into it, wondering if Greer was looking at her right that moment.

Before she knew it, the night had passed in a blur and the Seminoles had been victorious again. They were now 2-0 and heading into a big game the following weekend. As Alexis looked out the window of the bus that would take her back home, she watched as the lines disappeared under the bus. Her thoughts immediately went to Greer, and she pulled out her phone. But instead of seeing a message from Greer, she saw one from Luke. He wanted to take her out to dinner.

Alexis sighed. He was a nice guy. She should give him a chance. Right?



“Alexis, you look beautiful,” Luke said, standing as she approached the table. Luke had asked her out to dinner and she couldn’t think of a reason to say no. She liked his company enough, but for some reason it had become more work than not to talk to him.

Her parents were coming in tomorrow along with her brothers and sister, and she was stoked. It had been a whirlwind month since she had arrived here, and she would be happy to spend time with them. She was hoping to even convince Greer to come to the game with them to see her cheer, but she knew that would be a long shot.

“Thank you,” she said, looking down at her simple black dress and sandals. She had met him at a small restaurant in the heart of college town, and the place was packed with students. She still hadn’t gotten used to the size of this place. She rarely saw the same people twice unless they were in her class or lived on her floor.

“You all set for the game this weekend?” Luke sat down across from her. He really was very handsome.

“As ready as I’m getting,” she admitted. “It’s a blast, but man is it nerve wracking. Not only do you have thousands of people watching you in person, but you have cameras that could catch any error you make. It’s a lot more pressure than high school cheerleading.”

“You’re the prettiest one out there, though,”

Alexis blushed. “That is
not true,” she laughed.

“I think it is,” he continued, reaching across and putting his hand over hers. She couldn’t stop the thought that his hand didn’t feel as good as Greer’s. “I really like you, Alexis. I’d like to date you. Do you think that would be okay?”

Alexis’ head spun. Had she known that was where this was going to go tonight, she probably would’ve declined. Yes, she had seen Luke socially a few times, and they texted, but she wasn’t ready to say she wanted him to be her boyfriend. She was pretty far from that, actually.

Luke apparently took her stunned silence as encouragement, because he picked up her hand and kissed it. It was very romantic. Most girls would’ve melted in a puddle at a handsome boy like him kissing their hand across the table and asking for a relationship. But she wasn’t most girls.

“Luke,” she said gently, hoping she could do this without hurting him. “I like you. You’re a great guy. I’m just not at that place where I want a serious boyfriend. I’ve only been here for a month and my life is so hectic. Between cheer and school, I barely have time to talk to my roommate. It’s just not fair to you for me to say yes right now.”

He smiled, and she breathed out in relief. She hadn’t made him angry. She had no experience with this type of stuff. “I don’t care about any of that, Alexis. I’ll be here whenever you have time. I’m a good study partner, too.” He winked, and just like that, Greer’s face flooded her mind. His dark hair, big green eyes, and slight stubble that was on his face by the end of the day. Then she thought of what Hailey and Cate had been telling her for weeks, but she had refused to admit it. She was shocked to realize that if it were Greer sitting across from her asking this, she would say yes. But the problem is, would that ever happen? Did Greer even want that?

She realized she hadn’t answered him, and dread settled in her stomach. “That’s very sweet, Luke,” she started. “I wouldn’t mind seeing you when I’m free, but I can’t commit to anything right now.”

He was quiet for a minute, his eyes still locked on hers. “If that’s all I can get, Alexis, I’ll take it. But I’m here whenever you’re ready for more.”

“Thanks, Luke,” Alexis said, breaking eye contact to look down at the menu. She felt uncomfortable and she couldn’t wait until she could leave and she had just gotten here. She felt her phone vibrate, and she fought the urge to take it out of her purse. When it buzzed two more times in the next minute, she started worrying. Maybe something was wrong.

“Excuse me,” Alexis said, unzipping her purse. “My phone keeps buzzing. Let me just see if everything’s okay. My parents are headed here tomorrow.”

“Of course,” Luke said, watching her as she unlocked her phone. She had one text from her mom, just saying that they were still on schedule to arrive in the afternoon. But the other two, back to back, were from Greer. She hadn’t told him she was out with Luke tonight, but she didn’t even know if he would care or not. She had been spending a lot more time at his house ever since the day she showed up there, and his parents were amazing.

Hi my friend Alexis. What are you doing tonight? I wanted to know if you want to come over for dinner and a movie. My mom says I should break my routine sometimes.

She grinned, then looked down at the next text.

I want to come to the game this weekend

Alexis had asked him if he would think about going to the game with her parents this weekend to watch her, and she knew that it would be very hard for him. But she knew that Greer was in good hands with her parents, and she had even invited his mom to come, too.

“Everything okay?” Luke asked, and Alexis realized that she was still staring at the words on her screen. He was going to come to the game. He wanted her to come over.

“Yes, I’m sorry. Just my mom texting me. Just a second.” She couldn’t tell him the truth. Not because she was afraid of telling him about Greer, but because she didn’t quite know how to explain it yet and didn’t want him to get the wrong idea.

I’ll come over in about an hour if that’s okay. But I already ate. And I’m so glad that you’re going to come to the game. I’m so proud of you, Greer. I’ll text when I’m on my way.

The response came almost immediately.
Be careful and don’t text and drive
. Alexis tucked the phone into her purse and tried hard to focus on Luke. It wasn’t his fault that she was distracted. He had nicely asked her to dinner, and she needed to respect him while she was there.




She was coming to his house. He had done it. He had broken his routine and agreed to do something different. He was going to watch a movie tonight with his friend Alexis. Greer grinned at himself in the bathroom mirror as he used the razor to shave his five o’clock shadow. He never got why they called it that. It was seven o’clock and he was shaving, and most days he shaved in the morning, but not at five o’clock. He looked at his green eyes in the mirror, running his fingertips over his cheekbones, his nose, and his lips. He had always been told he was a handsome guy, but he saw nothing different than anyone else.

Greer pulled his shirt off and threw it in the hamper. He wore basically the same thing every day: a solid colored shirt, jeans, and sneakers. Today his mom had come home with a pair of khaki shorts, a size bigger so they wouldn’t be too tight and a polo shirt. He normally hated polo shirts, but this one was extra soft, just like he liked it. She had encouraged him to go all out tonight and break
the molds. He wasn’t sure if he could do it, but he would try. For her. And for Alexis.

His eyes traveled down his chest and across his broad shoulders. The muscles he worked hard for rippled with his movement. He knew that girls liked muscular guys, but that wasn’t why he did it. He worked out because he knew that it was good for him to keep him healthy.

He had spent a lot of time over the last several weeks talking to Dr. Sharon about Alexis. She and his mom both thought that for the first time in his life, he was serious about a girl. At first he had vehemently denied it, saying that Alexis was his lab partner. But when Dr. Sharon had gone through scenarios with him, including one where Alexis started dating someone, Greer had gotten angry. After several sessions, he had started understanding what they meant.

It was hard for him to read other people’s emotions and feelings, so he wasn’t sure what Alexis thought of him. He knew by the way she linked her fingers with his instead of pushing him for full contact that she understood him. He also knew that when she looked at him, she smiled a lot. And she didn’t push him to talk on the phone; she was okay with texting because he preferred it. Greer could count on one hand the number of ‘friends’ that had ever come over to his house in his nineteen (almost twenty, he was going to be twenty in 77 days) years. And he had only ‘liked’ a girl once, and that was Evie Callum in eighth grade. That hadn’t worked well when he asked her to the eighth grade prom and she laughed in his face. He had thought they were friends, too.

Greer flexed in the mirror, turning back and forth to try to see what Alexis might see in him. He was terrified to try to find out if she liked him
that way
or not. Dropping the rest of his clothes and stepping into the shower, his brain went through every scenario imaginable. He closed his eyes, the water soothing the anxiousness building in him at the thoughts he was having. Alexis’ face came to mind, and his heart rate sped up. As he thought of her lips, curled into that smile she always gave him, he wondered what it might feel like to kiss her. Would he even like kissing? Touching was always a trigger for him, but with her it had been different to this point.

Greer the Queer
, that nasty little voice reminded him.
Can’t even get excited for hot cheerleaders
No one wants you. You’re a freak.
He shook his head, trying to rid those thoughts from his head. Once he started down that path, it was hard to stop it. His phone vibrated from the counter, and he turned off the shower, drying himself quickly.

I’m on my way. I’ll be there in thirty minutes
. She had ended her text with a smiley face. Grinning, Greer wiped the condensation off the mirror and looked at himself in the mirror again. Touching his fingers to his lips, he imagined his fingers were her lips. Maybe he could handle it, after all.



Greer looked out the front window, looking for Alexis’ black Honda Civic. It had been 27 minutes since she had texted him, and she was never late. He had the movie all picked out, and he was going to pop some popcorn and get sodas and candy out. You couldn’t have a movie without those things. His mom and dad were getting ready to go out to dinner with friends, leaving him and Alexis alone.

BOOK: Breaking Free: A Living Again Novella
13.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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