As the lunch bell rang, I walked around the school to find Miles. I didn't really mind helping him out with his father issues. Everyone needs a little help sometimes. I can feel myself becoming more interested in Miles and even though I'm doing this to help, it will be really nice to get some alone time with him. I finally found him sitting by his locker, waving to some short kid with black hair.

"Hey man." I said walking up to him. "So, you ready?"

He didn't answer. "Miles... is something wrong?"

"I um... Look, Zig, this isn't exactly easy..." he started. "Due to... special circumstances, I... I don't think I'm going with you."

My eyes widened. "Miles, what the hell?" I said.

"Zig I don't have a choice." he told me, but I wasn't having any of it.

"Miles, you need to break free of him." I told him. He looked away. "It's not healthy. Miles, if you keep getting hurt...-"

"He won't stop..." he interrupted. "My baby brother and sister, they're in danger and they don't even know it."

I frowned. I didn't even know he had siblings. "What makes you think that?"

"I just got done talking with my brother, Hunter. He was just telling me how my dad was starting to get a lot meaner around them because I wasn't around... Apparently he's really worried about me.

I scoffed. "You believe that?"

"Well no, not really. But that doesn't change the fact that my little brother and sister live in a house with a maniac."

I sighed. "But what if you really get hurt?"

"Better me than them." he said. "Look, you have a little brother. Wouldn't you do anything to protect him?"

I looked down and sighed. He was right. As much as I hated the idea of him going back home, he really didn't have a choice. It was good of him to be a good older brother.

"I guess I can't really convince you otherwise, can I?" I said. We kinda looked at each other for a little bit, then I grabbed his hand, pulling a pen out my pocket. I began writing my number on it.

"The SECOND you get a chance, give me a call." I said, smirking a little. "I wanna know everything."

He smiled at me a little. "Okay... You know, you're kinda my hero."

I blushed. And I don't do that for just anyone. "Getting cheesy, are we?"

"Well I'm not the one that's blushing." he joked. "But really, Zig. You really saved me out there. I don't know how I'm ever gonna repay you."

I rolled my eyes. "Repay me for what? Anything and everything I've done for you is my pleasure."

"So that means everything between us and Maya...?"

"Ancient history." I said. "And besides, I have my eye on someone else."

"Oh yeah? Well I hope you find what you're looking for."

"Oh, I think I have." I said. "So... I'll talk to you tonight?"

"Count on it."

Our eyes locked for a little bit. I couldn't control myself and I leaned forward and left a small, chaste peck right on his cheek. He didn't make eye contact with me, but I watched him turn a nice shade of salmon.

"Now who's being cheesy?" he said, still looking to the ground.

"Well, I'm not the one that's blushing." I said back to him in my best Miles voice I could muster. He let out a small giggle. I started walking away.

"Seriously, call me..."


Tree... Tree... Tree... Tree...

I was trying anything and everything I could to make this car ride less tense. My dad and I still haven't said a word to each other, let alone Frankie and Hunter. Our eyes both stayed on the road, or anything else that could our attentions away from each other. As we finally reached the house, I felt like I was being sucked into a black hole. I'm back to my old miserable life, just like that. I couldn't help but think about the choice I just made, but I was torn from my thoughts by my father.

"Meet me in my study." he said, not stopping his stroll to the room himself. I'd be lying if I said my heart rate didn't just double. I've heard my father say that phrase to me every time I'd be in for it. I started to think if this was actually worth it, but I looked over to my twin siblings and I know I'm making the right choice.

I finally made my way into my dad's study and saw him sitting at his desk. I sat across from him. We stared at each other for a moment, my mind going a thousand miles an hour. He stands up and makes his way toward me. I squeezed my eyes shut and turned my head. Before he could make any movements I blurted,

"Hit me all you want, leave the twins out of it."

A moment passes.

Another.

I then hear him sigh. "Son, I'm not gonna hit you."

I relaxed a little. "Why not?"

"Miles, you're my son."

"Dad, I've been your son for the past 16 years." I told him sternly. "Never stopped you before."

"I know... Look, Miles. I have never been more afraid in my entire life this weekend. I thought I'd lost you forever. I was so upset. And your brother..." he shook his head in shame. "Poor thing doesn't even realize it... I'm a monster."

I honestly couldn't believe what I was hearing. For the first time in a pretty long time I actually feel some sort of sympathy toward my father.

"What I'm trying to say is... I'm getting help. I've hired a personal therapist, as well as signing up for anger management. I may or may not even throw some counseling in there too. That way, we can all live under this roof as a family. Things are gonna change." he said. "I promise."

It was a lot to take in, really. My dad just apologizing like this out of the blue. Just four days ago he gave me the black eye I still kinda have. I wasn't sure what to do. On one aspect, there's always the chance that he's using me, but on the other, I wished for all of this to go away. It seems to me like it is.

"Dad... you've done so much to me-"

"I'm not asking for forgiveness. Just for a chance."

I sighed. "One time, Dad. Mess up once, and I am gone. I'll tell the twins, and they'll be gone too. Are we clear?"

"Crystal. You wont be disappointed." he said, leaning down and hugging me. I didn't hug back. I didn't trust him just yet.


"So he just... apologized?"

"And he's getting help. Zig, I don't know why I brought him back so quickly but..." he takes a breath. "He just seemed so sincere."

I couldn't help but roll my eyes. Luckily he couldn't see me through the phone. "Look, all I'm saying is I think you're walking back to your own hell. I still can't forget what he did to your face."

"And all I'M saying it to just give it some time. And besides, once he slips up, I'm gone." he said. "Can we just talk about something else? Please? I actually get to sleep in my own bed tonight."

"Is that right? And sleeping in my bed with me wasn't good enough for you?" I joked.

There was a short pause. "…..I never said that."

I smiled and closed my bedroom door, turning flirt mode completely on. I don't know what made me like Miles so much, especially since he's a guy. But If I've learned anything in life, it's that it it's too short for a label.

"Oh yeah? What do you like about being in bed with me?" I asked him.

He let out that nervous giggle that he did earlier. "I dunnooooooo."

"Well take an educated guess." I joked.

"Okay, okay." he said. "My hypothesis... You always smell nice, so breathing isnt bad-"

I couldn't help myself and burst into laughter. "THAT'S how you start?!"

"Oh shut up, Novak." he said, embarrassed.

"No no no... It's cute, really." I said, regaining my composure. "Go on. I won't laugh anymore, I promise."

"Okay..." he said. "Well, your skin is really soft... And you're big and strong. It makes me feel kinda safe."

Well that was a self esteem booster. "Uh... thanks."

"And if you don't mind me adding. You give, like, the best hugs."

I was so glad that Miles wasn't in front of me. The color of red that's on my face is just embarrassing. I don't think I've been more flattered.

"That's sweet of you." I could sort of muster.

We sat in a comfortable silence for about a minute. It seems like things are moving at a pretty decent pace. I'm glad that the both of us caught on to this without even having to discuss it. I wasn't sure how it was all going to turn out, but I was willing to take that risk.

"Hey Miles?"

"Yeah?"

"I.. I-I..." I for some reason couldn't cough up the words I was trying to say.

"You...?"

"I uh... I'm sorry, I don't usually get nervous."

"Well... Don't be. C'mon, Zig. It's me, Miles! You can say anything you want to me."

I took a deep breath. "I don't have a shift tomorrow... Wanna maybe do something...?"

"… Yeah. I'd love to. Meet at the Dot? We can go right after school."

"Sounds great... I can't wait." that kinda slipped out of there.

Again with the nervous giggle, Miles replies. "Neither can I."