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Shawn boarded the bus with Cory the next morning, his hand stuffed once again inside his jeans pocket. He and Cory were in deep debate over who was better-the Yankees or the Mets. Even the throbbing hand in his pocket didn't stop Shawn from making his point.
By the time they got inside the school building, Shawn was smiling and laughing at something Cory had said. By the time they got to their lockers, though, Shawn was no longer smiling.
Mr. Feeny was waiting for them. Next to him was Topanga (Cory automatically kissed his girlfriend.) Mr. Feeny beckoned to Shawn, and the boy followed him resolutely to the principal's office.
"Shawn," Mr. Feeny sat down across from Shawn, his face completely blank. "I think you should show me your arm." Shawn stuck out the arm that wasn't in his pocket. Mr. Feeny tutted, "The other arm, Shawn."
The words were out of his mouth before he even thought about them. "I fell and I stuck out my hand and I think I hurt it somehow."
Mr. Feeny held Shawn's hand gently between his own, gazing at it intently. He pressed his thumb against different parts of it until Shawn couldn't help himself. "Ouch!" the boy pulled his hand away, cradling it in his other arm.
Mr. Feeny frowned, watching as unbidden tears of pain came to Shawn's eyes. "Did you really fall, Shawn?"
Shawn nodded. He had-fallen, that is. Granted, his dad had pushed him, but…
If anybody had had as much time away from their family as he had, they would understand why he just wanted to stay with them, even if it did mean a few pushes here and there. Usually, his dad was a great guy, really.
The teacher was tired of playing games. "Shawn, I've watched you ever since you were five. I saw what happened when your father got…out of hand. Are you telling me that didn't happen this time?"
Shawn looked at the old man. He couldn't lie to him. Granted, he could lie like a rug any time he wanted, but Mr. Feeny was different. Instead, he evaded the question. "My dad promised never to drink again." He said, his voice soft but confident.
Mr. Feeny stood up. "Your wrist is broken, Mr. Hunter, and it has been for quite some time. Four days, I wager?" Shawn said nothing, he looked the other way.
"You'll have to go to the hospital, and then I suggest you spend the night at the Matthews." Shawn didn't say anything. He got out of the chair, still cradling one hand in the other, and left the room.
Mr. Feeny watched as Shawn Hunter walked down the hallway and back out of the school where Turner was going to take him to the hospital. Feeny sighed; he had watched Hunter go through many difficult times, not the least of which was scrounging through the dumpsters looking for something to eat. This wasn't the end.
Actually, it is. But there might be another story if you review.