Hi everyone, umm this is my first time writing a story so I do hope it's not too bad. If you find anything wrong I can take the criticism. If people are reading it then my expectations would already be passed so reviews and stuff aren't a make or break.

So, enjoy.

When did it all change.

Everything was always so simple before everything and now even my friends can't… won't look at me anymore. It's as if I asked for it all, cause spending a few nights crying to myself to sleep is definitely what I asked for.

The worse part is I don't blame them, really. For as long as everything has been happening I never really told them, or anyone, cause who wants to be around that kid with the injury, or the kid who gets in trouble like it's his second nature. The prankster prince phase has passed by the way.

I couldn't tell them cause why would I want to bring them into what I was going through when I didn't think I could get through it myself. Everything I touched seemed to break and ruin in my hands, so I wasn't going to touch them. That was the plan.

It was another day in the life of a 17 year old. TJ finally managed to get out of bed and down stairs. One look at this 5'10" boy with his hair messier than usual and those black bags under his eyes only clarified that he needs a good, long rest. He has long abandoned the facade of putting on a smile for Becky, and she for him. It has been hard on them since the accident but they understand each other and the sibling rivalry that's a staple in most houses has been swapped out for the much needed love.

"See ya Becky" was yelled through the back door as TJ headed out to school for the day. She was probably still asleep after her night shift down at the local supermarket so that she would be ready to tackle the demands of the bakery opposite Kelso's.

Taking the first few steps outside he couldn't help a glance three doors down at his old best friends house. Thinking to himself if she thought the same about him or if she still considered him the friend she's known since kindergarten. Spinelli was always there and tried so much to help where she could. They all did.

Being so close down the street she knew more than the others, not the whole thing but definitely more.

"You know I'm here for ya, Teej?"


He knew that the look on his face and his tone of voice was failing him right now so he kept words to a minimum.

"I know it's not the same but… with Joey away I know how it feels to miss people who aren't there anymore and I want to help you. I want to help my best friend."

Shaking his head he kept moving towards school. Looking back on it now, TJ could never understood why teenagers despised high school so much when back in fourth grade it was his whole reason for living. The sound of the bell giving him permission to be out in the sun where all of his adventures awaited him. The guarantee that the best people that he's ever met were waiting for him somewhere.

Before long he was pulled out of his thoughts by the gates of hell that were right in front of him. High school. With a sigh he stepped in. Crossing the front courtyard the bell rang right above him and ringing in his ears, with his luck though it didn't surprise him. Another moment and he continued heading towards class.

The day was fine up until third period. Gym. Today's lesson was the infamous game of dodgeball. The game that could be harmless fun or an all out physical battle against the other team. All it took was for a slight argument during lunch or someone's girlfriend spending too much time with some other guy and it was on. Standing in line with the class the coach picked out the two captains. There was some guy from the football team, Chris, and the basketball captain Vince Lasalle.

'Great just what I needed, another reason to be left out by and old pal.' TJ was so full of anger, frustration, and oddly enough, sadness. 'Maybe a quick trip to HK during study break would help.'

The moment this thought entered his mind his eyes suddenly found the floor and he shook that idea straight out of his head. He was not going back to him for anything he'd be selling anymore.

The teams were picked and of course he was on Chris' team. Well at least he wasn't picked last like Menlo. He was one of those guys picked somewhere in the middle. He wasn't crazy athletic but wasn't unfit either. Average would be the normal label for him in this class.

Playing the game he was dodging, ducking, dipping, diving and dodging whenever he could then smack. The ball came out of nowhere and the force of it into his stomach took him by surprise and winded him slightly. On the other side of the court were the sounds of cheers for their captain, in between his coughing. Quick high fives were given within the winning team to let each other know they were the best and that their aiming was still unbeatable.

After the game Vince came up to him it the change rooms.

"Sorry 'bout the hit man."

"Nah don't worry yourself. It was a good throw." They seemed like they were friends, but it's still not like it was.

"Still, it was hard… Say, why don't we head down to Kelso's after school and we can put it behind us with a milkshake?"

He wanted to hang out again? He's waited so long to be with them again and this could be his way in, to make everything normal.

"Yeah that will be co…"

"Hey Vince, come on we have to get to history." Wow some people don't care who they interrupt.

"Yeah I'm coming" was the quick reply.

"Anyway, I'll meet you at your locker and we can go from there." TJ continued on.

"Sweet, I'll see you there."

At the end of the day they met up together exactly where they agreed to. Vince said goodbye to his friends and teammates and they were off on the 15ish minute walk to one of the best little stores around.

The first couple of minutes were silent, and not the comfortable kind. TJ eventually felt obligated to start a talk.

"So what's been going on?"

"Nothing really exciting. Just training and stuff like that so I can stay on top." Vince hesitated for just a slight moment before going on. "Everyone expects a scholarship out of me and let's face it man, it's not going to be for my smarts." He nearly mentioned his parents but that would be too soon considering their friendship is only starting the healing process.

Letting out a chuckle and a slight smirk on his face, TJ couldn't help but remember why they were friends. The rest of the trip consisted of small talk. Catching up and friendly jokes the whole way.

At Kelso's they sat down with their drinks. A banana split sundae for Vince and a simple vanilla milkshake for TJ.

"You heard about the new Senõr Fusion out?"

Ha ha. How could he not have heard about it? TJ was offended that he had to ask.

"Of course I have but it's sold out and who knows how long it's gonna take before more get in".

"Well I might have a copy lying around my house somewhere if you want a sneak peak before you can get your own?"

Before he even fully realised what was happening he snapped his head towards the sports hero in front of him. "YES". He quickly composed himself. "I would owe you big time for this".

That's when it went downhill. From this point on. Vince just had to ask.

"I just gotta ask though…" No please don't. "...You're not still talking to hustler kid though, right?"

He had to answer, how could he not? It wasn't the answer that was the trouble because in all honesty he wasn't anymore. It was the reasons behind it that were plaguing his mind. Like a nightmare that he couldn't wake up from.

"Nah I haven't for a while now. The pain in my back was long gone and after I finally realised that…" This was not a topic he wanted to explore at the moment, so he changed it. "It's been better without having to rely on those pills."

"Good cause they would have had to be somewhat dodgy coming from him" Vince laughed.

TJ couldn't get it. How could he laugh like it was nothing? He knew it was just a friendly joke but even then it hurt him. Like the fights never happened between them. No, he still wasn't over it. The flash of anger in him didn't fade and he knew he needed to walk it off.

"You know it's getting a bit late Vince, and Becky needs help at home so I better head off."

This quick change of mood wasn't unnoticed and Vince straight away knew he touched a sore subject.

"TJ I didn't mean anything like that."

"I know. I just really do need to head home."

Just as TJ was about to head out the door Vince grabbed his shoulder.

"I'll bring the new issue in tomorrow."

"Thanks, see ya 'round."

With that TJ was gone, his mind racing with thoughts about fitting back into his group again and how to pick up the pieces he knew that he created from the once whole friendships he neglected.

If all went well maybe they could be back to hanging out at the end of the year. Which isn't too far away now but still way too far for the teenage mind.