"Whaddya mean?" Hayden has to be careful. She'll laugh at him if she finds out.
"How come you still wear braces? Your teeth are fine." By this time both Risa and Connor have stopped working and are waiting for his answer.
He stays silent.
When he was 11, he had the worst teeth. They were fine in shape and size and color but terribly crooked. This was when his parents were still together and Hayden was less of a problem, more of a priority.
The orthodontist had given them two options. Hayden could get regular braces, they were cheaper. Or, he could get the perfect teeth of an unwind. Hayden would be damned before he let his parents put a dead kid's teeth in his mouth. Still, it had taken Hayden weeks to argue that braces would be better. His parents hadn't understood.
"Hayden, your teeth will never be as perfect as they could be." He still remembers his mother's sickly sweet voice. And the harsher voice of his dad "Hayden, you are my son. I don't care what you do. As soon as those braces come off, you are getting new teeth."
By the time the braces were supposed to come off, Hayden's life was spiraling. And in the mess of his parent's divorce, Hayden had faded into the background. But he hadn't forgotten his father's threat. If his braces did come off, he would get an unwind's teeth. And so he keeps his braces on. He'll keep them on.
"I'm just not taking any chances" He answered.