"So, how many Foster homes have you been to?" Nate asked.
We were sitting in the park watching Cassie play on the playground. It was cold and the wind was blowing. My hair flew around my face and I shivered against the cool breeze.
"I've been to three foster homes" I replied, "I moved to my second Foster home when I was thirteen. Don wasn't that bad of a Foster Dad, he was really good to Kenny and I."
"Kenny was with you again?"
"Yeah, Father Andrew made sure Kenny and I were always together, if we weren't together neither of us would survive without the other."
"I can tell, you two seem really close."
"We were, we still are, and I really needed him the most when I was starting to come out to myself."
February 18 2001
His muscles pulsed as he pushed them harder to lift the weights. Sweat covered his body, and I watched as a trickle of water ran down his chin and onto his bare chest as he took a sip of water. My breathing picked up, and my heart started pounding against my chest. Why is this affecting me?
"Watcha doing?" A slap on my back brought me back down to Earth and I looked over at my best friend.
"N-nothing" I looked away from the unknown boy I was watching during gym class.
"Yeah, I can see that" Kenny smirked, "it's nice that we're finally in a public school instead of the homeschooling crap."
"The girls here are hot! Don't you think?"
My eyes dropped to the floor. "Yeah."
"What's eatin you? Have you even talked to one person since we enrolled here?"
"I'm not as outgoing as you are, Kenny."
"Break out of your shell, say hi to at least one person in one of your classes and it might spring up a conversation and boom!" He clapped his hands loudly for the affect. "You have yourself a friend. But don't go replacing me."
I smiled. "Nobody can replace you man."
I looked back at the very muscled boy, he was wiping off his sweat with a towel talking to some of his buddies before he got up and left. What has gotten into me?
I wasn't very hungry that night, in fact I skipped dinner and went to bed early. Could it be quite possible that I'm gay? I mean that has to be the only explanation if I'm thinking hot muscled sweaty guys are a turn on. Or maybe it's just my hormones going haywire and messing with my mind. I am thirteen after all, I'm still going through puberty. Yeah, it's probably just my hormones. It'll pass over time. I'm not gay. I'm definitely not gay.
I didn't get that much sleep that night. But then, I never do. I'm hopeless when it comes to sleeping, I can never relax, and my mind is always running a mile per second. Thoughts of possibly being moved to another foster home, being separated from Kenny, and other stupid things.
"Get up Kenny" I shook his shoulder.
"Go away" he mumbled sleepily.
"Come on, we need to get ready for school, and you're getting to old for me bathe you and dress you."
"Fine" Kenny got out of bed and went straight to the bathroom.
Good, at least that's out of the way. I made his bed out of habit when we were at our first foster home. He never made his bed because he was always late to get up and clean his portion of the room. So I did it for him so we wouldn't get in trouble. But even though we have our separate rooms and we don't have bedroom checks I still look out for him.
Some of the kids here say I baby him. I do, I'm a real push over. I'll do whatever he tells me, and I'll get whatever he wants. They say I should grow a backbone and tell him off. But really, I don't mind it. It was always like this, ever since we were kids. I'm a follower, I've never really have the confidence to talk back to someone, I'm not that strong. Also, tending to Kenny's hand and foot gives me something to do since I don't have as much chores to do like I did back at our old foster home.
"Morning Jason" Don said from the stove, I heard Bacon sizzling from the frying pan. Once Kenny gets a whiff of it he'll be down here in a jiffy.
"Have you made any friends yet?"
"Um, no I haven't."
"Put yourself out there, strike up a conversation. You'll be making friends in no time."
It's easy for him to say, I've never been good around people, they always made me nervous. If Kenny hadn't come up to me I would still be alone.
"I smell bacon!" Kenny yelled, there was thundering on the stairs and Kenny was by my side, his mouth watering.
We've only been here for about a week and Kenny has already made himself at home. I'm jealous. Kenny's able to adapt so easily, but for me it takes time. It took a whole year back at the elderly couple's place before I even talked to the other kids. But Kenny made friends with all of them two days later. But Kenny was always an outgoing cheerful guy. Sometimes I pray desperately that I could be like him.
"How's school treating you two?" Don asked giving us our plates. Today was bacon and eggs with a side of toast. Kenny's favorite breakfast.
"It's cool!" Kenny said digging into his meal. "I love all my classes, all the kids are cool, and I hate most of my teachers. Especially my P.E teacher, he's a prick."
Don chuckled handing plates to the other kids. "P.E teachers are usually the most unliked."
"How about you Jason?"
I picked at my eggs. "It's fine, I found out that I really like science and biology."
And that I might quite possibly be gay.
"Oh! I might try out for a sport" Kenny said around a mouthful of food.
"That's great" Don nodded, "you should try out for a sport Jason."
I don't want to try out for a sport. "Okay."
"Let's try out for baseball" Kenny shook my shoulders.
"Sure" baseball isn't that bad, even though my first choice would be something safer like track or something. I mean you don't have to worry about getting hit, kicked, or tackled. Well, in baseball you do wear helmets.
After breakfast Kenny and I walked to school, Don drove us for the first three days until Kenny and I decided to walk. It wasn't that far, plus it's good exercise.
"Try outs are after school today" Kenny said walking backwards.
"Hopefully we'll get something good. I never thought of you liking sports."
"I don't that much, but it's something to do."
"Do you even like baseball?"
"It's alright I guess" I shrugged my shoulders.
"Are you okay? You've been preoccupied lately."
I squeezed the strap of my backpack. Should I tell him? If he really is my best friend maybe he could help me, or he can reject me and never speak to me again. And right now I need him more than anything. I don't know who I am anymore. These feelings that I'm feeling, I don't understand them. And I need somebody to tell me what they are, what they mean.
"Really, it's nothing" I replied.
I nodded. "Still getting used to public school I guess."
Lying. Something that I have been taught against. I never lied to anybody, or ever lied before. And lying to Kenny was painful. He was my best and only friend who didn't deserve it. He was only trying to help.
Kenny started blabbing about the position he wanted, about how many girls he might get with, what the coach had to be like in order for him to work with him, and then he started talking about his favorite baseball players. I tuned him out, a trick I learned over the years when Kenny started talking about nonsense.
The bell rang as soon as we stepped on campus, Kenny and I went our separate ways, him to English and me to Math. I'm actually pretty good at Math, and I like it while most kids despise it. But today I wasn't in the mood to learn. I doodled in my notebook instead.
My day went by slow, I was dreading the try outs, I didn't want to try out. I wanted to go home. But Kenny found me and dragged me to the locker rooms. Crap.
Were all these guys trying out for baseball? And is it normal for all these guys to stand around half naked and talk to their buddies? I turned quickly so I wouldn't get caught staring. I kept my eyes on my locker and dressed quickly so I could leave this suffocating room.
For try outs we ran, we jumped, we did drills, played a little baseball, and had a lot of pep talk from the coach. I was hot, sweaty, and sore, I never had to do this much exercise in my life. I looked over at Kenny who was panting but was still filled with energy to burn. Where does he get that vigor?
After tryouts Kenny and I walked to the café the both of us found our first time walking home. I ordered what I got last time, Apple Cider cake with Carmel Apple Cider to drink. Kenny got his Key Lime Pie.
"You think we made the team?" Kenny asked.
"I'm pretty sure you did, I'm not that athletic."
"I don't know, you have a nice arm."
I played with my cake. I hope I didn't make the team.
"I made the team of course" I chuckled, "to my dismay, so for months until the season ended I tortured myself."
"Why didn't you tell Kenny what you were going through?"
"Because I was scared, yeah he was my best friend, but I was scared. I should have told him ahead of time before he caught me with Cory."
My eyes fell to the ground, a cool chill ran through my body. "My first boyfriend. Come on, Kenny is probably already there. Today is the anniversary."
"What do you mean?"
"I'll show you, Cassie! Let's go!"
I drove them to the cemetery where Cory now slept. I was right, Kenny was there.
"Hey" Kenny smiled, "I had a feeling you would come."
"How could I not? It's been forever since I last visited Cory" I looked down at his gravestone.
"Why are we here Daddy?" Cassie tugged on my hand.
"We're here visiting an old friend sweetheart."
"Where is he?"
"Right here" I gestured to the gravestone.
Cassie stared at the stone for the longest time before it clicked. She doesn't know much about death, but what she does know that once a person is old enough they go to sleep and never wake up.
"So, what happened to Cory?" Nate asked.
I let out a calming breath. "He committed suicide."
November 22 2003
There he is again, he was sitting by himself writing in that journal that he always carries around. His dirty blonde hair hung in his face, his blue eyes followed the movement of his pen, and his pink lips would purse each time he stopped to think. I don't know who he is or what his name is but I found myself crushing on him. I wanted to get to know him. But I don't know how to approach him, I wouldn't know what to say.
The boy looked straight at me, his blue eyes boring into my brown ones. I looked away quickly feeling the heat rise in my face. He caught me staring, I can't believe he caught me staring. Crap, I'm such an idiot. I took a quick peek back at the boy. He was still watching me.
The bell rang and I grabbed my stuff quickly and went to my favorite class of the day. Science. It will help me forget all about this kid.
I turned. Holy freaking crap, it's that dirty blonde kid!
The kid smiled. "This is when you say hey back."
Man he has a beautiful smile. "Um, hey."
"I saw you staring at me back there."
My eyes fell on my desk embarrassed. "Yeah, um, sorry. I always noticed you writing in your Journal, and um…"
"You want to know what I write about?"
"I mean, if you want to tell me."
"I write about life, whatever that happens around me I put it in my journal."
"I'm Cory by the way."
The two of us started hanging out a lot more after that. We would go to the park and we would talk about life. Or we would walk around town and go window shopping. I told him I lived in a foster home and he didn't think I was weird. He said I acted pretty sane for someone who was in a foster home. I laughed. Cory wasn't a really bad guy. He's a lot like me, he's really quiet and shy. He's independent and very secretive, and sometimes can be a bit stubborn.
"You never told me about yourself" I said watching him climb our favorite tree at the park.
"There's nothing really to tell" he replied resting on a fat branch.
"There must be something interesting about you."
"Not really, I live in a normal family home with three younger brothers, my parents are assholes, but parents all are."
"I wouldn't really know, since I don't have parents."
I climbed up the tree and sat across from Cory. "It's fine."
Cory played with his hands. "My life at home isn't all that exciting as you think it may be. My life is crap, my parents expect so much from me. They're both always working and I always have to look after my brothers even though I have a job of my own. It's stressful. Also my Dad treats me like I'm dirt on the bottom of his shoe, and my Mom practically ignores me. If I ran away they wouldn't even care."
"Don't think like that, I'm sure they really do love you."
I patted his knee. "They love you. If they didn't I don't think you would be there."
Cory nodded. "Yeah, I guess they do" he smiled at me. "But I always got you right?"
I smiled. "Yeah, you always have me."
We sat in the tree for a few more hours until it started growing dark. I told him bye and we walked our separate ways.
"Well, I see you and this Cory guy are getting chummy" Kenny said when I walked through the front door. "You've been ditching me to go play with your new friend."
I rolled my eyes. "Wasn't it you who told me to make new friends?"
"Yeah, but I didn't think you would actually do it!"
"Thanks Kenny" I walked past him and up the stairs.
"Aw, Jay! I didn't mean it that way" Kenny followed me.
"Fine" I took off my jacket and flung in over my chair at my desk.
"I'm sorry, please don't be mad."
"I'm not mad, it's fine."
Kenny sat down on my bed. "So tell me about this Cory guy."
"He's gorgeous, nice, alluring, he has the most breath taking smile and don't get me started on his eyes!" That's what I wanted to say. Instead I said: "he's a really cool guy, I know you'll like him."
Kenny smirked. "Given from your description of him I'm sure the two of us will be the best of friends."
"Fine, then how about the three of us hang out together tomorrow? Cory and I planned to go see a movie."
"Alright, cool, I'll come along. To make sure that this Cory guy is alright."
"When did you get so protective?"
"I've always been protective, I just never had the chance to show it until now."
The next day Kenny and I left to the theaters to meet up with Cory. He was already there. He was leaning against the pillars. When he saw me he smiled widely and waved us over.
"Hope you don't mind that I brought a friend with me." I said.
Cory shook his head. "I don't mind. I'm Cory."
"I heard a lot about you."
"Well, I am pretty awesome" Kenny shrugged.
"He has a head the size of Mt. Everest" I said.
Cory laughed. "I already bought you your ticket."
"Oh, you didn't have to."
"No, it's fine, if I knew you were bringing a friend I would have paid for his too."
"Where do you get the dough?"
I work at that Café you and Jason like to visit."
"You work there?"
"Yeah, I just recently started working there, so I'm not surprised you've never noticed me."
"Well, I'll make sure to look out for you the next time we visit" I smiled.
"I'll have your food ready."
We got our popcorn and we sat down in the theaters. It was one of those super action packed movies that Kenny loves. I've always hated these kinds of movies though. Super dramatic kissing scenes, there's always a cool guy walking away in slow motion from an explosion in the background, and the plotlines were never that captivating to me. But Cory was making it worth it. He would hold my hand or play with my fingers, or he would rub small circles on the back of my hand with his thumb. I never looked at him when he did this, but he knew he was getting a reaction out of it because my face was turning red.
"You should come over" said Kenny at the end of the movie.
"You mean at your place?" Asked Cory.
"Yeah" I nodded, "but you don't have to if you don't want to."
"No, I want to go, but I just don't know if your foster parents will allow me."
"It's just Don" said Kenny, "and he wouldn't mind, he's a really cool guy."
"Well, alright" Cory nodded.
The three of us walked home and we hung out in my room until Kenny got bored and left to his room to play video games. Leaving Cory and I alone.
"Can I ask what's it like living in a foster home?" Asked Cory.
I shrugged. "It's a little saddening in a way, we're not as privileged like other kids. We don't get many presents around Christmas or our birthdays, and we can't afford a lot of things. And all of us know that we're never getting adopted even though deep down we all hope we do."
"Do you want to get adopted?"
"Yeah, but nobody wants a fifteen year old who's already a sophomore in high school. They want a toddler or a kid around six so they'll be with them longer."
"Yeah I get ya" Cory nodded, "it must me hard."
"I got used to it over time, but the jealously never subsides when I watch other kids get adopted."
Cory sat closer to me and held my hand. "Even if you don't get adopted you still have me."
"That's if I don't get moved to a different foster home."
"Don't think about the future, live in the present."
I've never kissed a guy until today, I've never kissed anyone until today. I didn't know what Cory was doing until he broken the space between us.
"Y-you're gay?" I asked when Cory pulled away.
He smiled. "Nah, I'm straight guy who likes making with other boys."
Was he joking?
Cory lifted my chin and kissed me again, this time I responded instead of just sitting there.
"Have you kissed anybody before?" Cory asked.
I shook my head.
"Me neither" he rest his forehead against mine, his warm breath fanning my face. "Would you like to go out with me?"
"You mean like, dating going out?"
"Yeah, do you?"
Cory smiled. "That's good to hear" he tore a piece of paper from his journal and wrote something down. "That's my number, call me any time."
I gave him my number, "don't be scared if Don answers, just ask for me."
"Will do, I better go, can't be out too late."
I walked him to the door, Cory gave me a quick kiss before he left.
I smiled to myself as I climbed back the stairs to my room. I've had my first kiss tonight and I've just started an actual relationship with Cory. Can this night get any better?
"So you're gay?"
I spun around quickly, Kenny was leaning in my doorway.
"There's no use covering it up, I saw you and Cory kiss."
He saw that? Oh no, oh no, oh no! This can't be happening!
"So are you?"
I nodded, my eyes dropping to the floor. I felt like crying, after tonight Kenny won't want anything to do with me anymore. He probably thinks I'm gross and disgusting, he probably won't want to be my friend. He'll tell Don and he'll kick me out and I-
My head snapped up. "What?"
Cory closed my door and sat down at my desk. "I mean, I kind of guessed. You've never looked at girls the same way I did, instead you looked at guys."
"Was I that obvious?"
"No, you actually hid it pretty well. I was just making assumptions, I never really thought you were gay."
"I only recently came out to myself, I've been fighting these emotions I've been feeling towards guys since I was thirteen. I didn't want to be gay, I didn't want to be different. Deep down I still don't, but it's who I am and I have to deal with it, whether I like it or not."
"I'm cool with you being gay, I don't mind it at all, but have you ever…"
"No, I've never liked you in anyway besides like a brother. Man, why are you so conceited?"
"It was a harmless question!"
I threw a pillow at him.
And it was like any other night, the both of us wrestling, arguing, joking around and laughing. He didn't treat me differently, he was still my best friend.
It's been three months since Cory and I had started dating. Three amusing months. He wouldn't take me on fancy expensive dates. He would take me out to dinner, or we would go see a movie, or just walk around town and hang out. But things started to grow a little uncomfortable when he would whisper I love you in my ear. He loves me? How can he love me after three months? I never said I loved him back. I would just kiss him in response. I'm getting the feeling he likes me a lot more than I like him.
Towards the end of the month Cory seemed to be growing moody. He wouldn't talk to me, he wouldn't hold my hand or kiss me. I feel like it was my fault so I stopped calling and trying to find him at school and gave him his space.
"What's going on between you and Cory?" Kenny asked on our way to school.
"I don't know, he's been acting like a jerk and ignoring me."
"I don't know, I mean I think I know. He's been telling me that he loves me lately."
"I know, but I don't have that strong of feelings towards him like he does me. I've never told him this, and I feel like that's why he's dissing me."
"You should try to talk to him."
"I have, but he doesn't want to talk so I decided to give him his space."
"Hm, well I don't think he needs space anymore."
"What do you mean?"
Kenny pointed, Cory was waiting outside the school's gate. When he spotted me he gave a sheepish wave.
"I don't want to go."
"It'll help you guys get over your setback. Go talk to him, I'll see you later." He patted my back and entered the school.
"Can we talk?" Cory asked.
Now he wants to talk. "Yeah, sure."
We walked a little ways from the school, away from wandering ears.
"Is there a reason why you've been ignoring me?" I asked.
"That's what I want to talk about. I'm sorry I've been a jerk for the past few days. I haven't been the best boyfriend. But my home life isn't going so well. And I've been taking it out on you and it's not fair to you."
"Is everything alright?"
"No, everything is not alright."
"Can I help with anything?"
Cory shook his head. "It can't be helped" he pulled me into a hug, "you're the only thing that's keeping me here."
What was he talking about? Was he planning on going somewhere?
I hung out with Cory for the first time in days, we hid under the bleachers and made out, we cuddled in the amphitheater, and we talked in the library. Then the bell would ring and we would head off to class. After school Kenny, Cory and I walked to the café for a bite to eat. Cory had to leave but Kenny and I stayed a little longer.
"So you two worked it out" said Kenny, "that's good."
"Yeah, he had a lot going on at home and he took it out on me. But he apologized for that."
"Can't believe you had your first kiss before me! Like come on man!"
I laughed. "Will you get over yourself?"
When Kenny and I decided to leave it was pouring. We were soaked to the bone when we finally made it home. I took a hot shower to get the feeling back in my body. I changed into sweats and started on my homework.
"Let's go somewhere tomorrow" Kenny walked into my room shirtless.
"Put on a shirt" I said.
"Come on, you think I'm hot."
"Gross, you're like a brother."
Kenny went through my drawer and took one of my sweatshirts. He always takes my clothes, he has his own. It's still a wonder how he can still fit in my clothes considering he's ten times bigger than me in muscle mass. Ever since he joined the baseball team in middle school he's been so obsessed with his body. He started working out, started eating right, and he would always go on these early morning runs. Sometimes he would drag me along with him even though I would rather be sleeping.
"So you want to do something tomorrow?"
"Yeah, sure, what do you have in mind?"
"Hey, Jason" Don knocked on my doorframe, "your friend is here to see you."
I frowned. Friend? I don't have any other friends besides-oooh!
"Thanks Don" I stood up and walked downstairs, Cory was downstairs. He was wet soaked from the rain. "Cory, what are you doing here?"
He pulled me out onto the porch. His hands were shaking violently, he was pale and he looked frantic.
"Cory? Are you okay?"
"No" his voice was shaking, "I can't do this anymore! I just can't."
"I told my parents that I was gay, they started screaming at me before kicking me out. It hurts, you said they loved me!"
Cory choked back a sob before kissing me. "Tell me you love me" he said, "tell me you love me and I know everything will be okay."
"Cory I-" I pulled away from him, "we need to get you dried off."
"Stop it!" He yelled, "you always do this! You never tell me you love me back. Do you love me Jason? Be honest."
I couldn't say anything, all I could do was stare at him sadly.
"It's fine, I get it. I just wanted you to be the last person I saw before I go."
"Where're you going?"
Cory kissed me long and hard. "Even if you don't love me I'll always love you."
I didn't know that was going to be the last time I would ever see Cory again.
The next day was like every other day, I was the first one to wake up in the whole household. And I usually spent the first two hours reading. When I heard movement from the other rooms I get up to take my shower and help Don with breakfast. But instead I stayed under my covers. I couldn't stop worrying about Cory. Where was he now? Was he okay? Did he find somewhere to stay?
"Up and at em!" Kenny said bursting through my bedroom.
I sunk underneath the covers.
"You still worried about Cory?" Kenny sat at the end of my bed.
I sat up. "Yeah, he was so upset last night. His parents kicked him out just because he was…different, it's not his fault. And I didn't tell him I loved him. He just really needed somebody to care about him, and I couldn't give him that. I'm a horrible boyfriend." I buried my face in knees.
"No you're not" Kenny squeezed my shoulder, "you're actually doing pretty well for your first time."
"I guess, I still wish I could've helped him."
"Jason! Get down here! Quickly!" Don yelled.
Kenny and I gave each other confused looks but we went downstairs. Two police officers were standing in the kitchen.
"Uh, yeah?" I asked.
"We have a few questions to ask you about Cory Destin" said the older officer. "Do you have a minute?"
"What is your relationship with Cory?"
I opened my mouth then closed it. I looked over at Don and at the foster kids who were gathering.
"Follow us," the cops led me out to the front porch. "Is he your boyfriend?"
I nodded embarrassed.
"No need to feel ashamed, his parents reported him missing last night."
"Missing?! They kicked him out because he was gay!"
"So he came here last night?"
"Yes, he did."
The second cop suddenly left answering a radio call.
"Yes, they informed us that they originally kicked him out but they had second thoughts and called for us to look for him. What did he say to you when he came here?"
"He wanted me to tell him that I loved him, but I didn't because I didn't feel that way. He said it was fine, and said he wanted me to be the last person he saw before he left. And he was gone."
"Chief" the second cop came back and whispered something in the other's ear. His face fell and dread filled me.
"We found him" he said to me, "he hung himself in a tree in the park."
My stomach dropped, and my blood ran cold. My heart started pounding in my chest and my breathing grew erratic. "W-what?"
"He killed himself."
"No! No! He couldn't! No!" I sunk to my knees sobbing, "he can't be dead!"
The front door opened and Don and Kenny came out.
"I'm sorry for your loss" the police said and left.
"Come on Jason" Kenny picked me and led me to the kitchen table.
"What happened?" Don asked.
"He killed himself! Cory killed himself!"
"It's my fault! If I told him I loved him he would still be alive! He's dead because of me."
"Jay" said Kenny, "if you lied to him it would've been even worse."
"Kenny's right Jason" said Don, "lying to him means that you would be equally unhappy."
"I would rather be unhappy if it meant he would still alive." I stood angrily to my feet and ran to my room slamming the door behind me.
I didn't go to school all week, I couldn't. Kenny stayed home with me for three days until Don said it was best if Kenny went back and got my homework for me. When I did go back to school I wasn't compliant with anybody. When people would come to me to pay their respects he would tell them I'm not up for talking.
We were invited Cory's funeral, at first I didn't want to go but Don said that if I went it would help me with some closure. So Don, Kenny and I went. We listened to the priest talk about Cory. I listened to his family pay their respects, Kenny said I should go up there and say something. But I refused, I knew I would have started lashing out at Cory's parents if I stood behind the podium. So I stayed where I sat just listening, tears silently streaming down my cheeks.
That next weekend we had what we called an Open House, it's when parents come to the Foster Home and play with some of the kids to see if they wanted to adopt them. Usually the teenagers kind of hang out in sidelines watching. The parents never paid any mind to us. Sometimes they would come talk to us, but they never adopted us. Kenny loves these days because he liked keeping the grownups in stiches making them laugh. But not this time. He sat with me and kept me company, until one of the grownups came to approached him. I watched as the middle aged couple talked with Kenny. He would gesture over to me a few times until he walked over to me.
"They uh, they want to adopt me" he said.
He's going to leave me too?
"What did you say?"
"I asked if they would take you too, they said they already have three kids at home. So I wanted to ask you if it was okay before I go."
I smiled. "I'll be fine Kenny, this is a once in a life time chance that will never come again. You deserve to have a family Kenny, go with them."
Kenny smiled. "I figured you'd say that. They said that they live in the area so I'll be going to the same high school."
"At least we'll still see each other."
Kenny pulled me into a hug. "You sure you're going to be okay?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine."
He let go of me. "Well, I better go tell them yes. Want to help me pack?"
"Help you pack or pack for you?"
Kenny laughed wrapping his arm around my shoulders. "You know me so well."
"Even though I said I was fine I was lying" I said.
"Yeah, I know" Kenny nodded, "but I knew if I turned them down you would've gotten mad at me. So even though I knew were going to be lonely I still left."
"The timing is awful" said Nate, "when you needed Kenny the most he got adopted."
"Right? I felt guilty for years."
"It's fine" I said, "time heals itself over the years. I found a way to forgive myself. But still to this day I felt like if I just told Cory that I loved him it might've changed his fate. He would still be alive and be back with his parents."
"I know" nodded Kenny, "sometimes I feel like he's going to pop out somewhere and say: "hey! I'm not really dead!" And everything will be back to what it was before."
"It's been eleven years since he's been dead but that feeling, that feeling when I first heard about his death is still there. That agonizing pain that I lost someone so dear to me, that helpless feeling that I could have prevented it but didn't still lingers."
"Daddy" Cassie tugged on my hand, "are you okay?"
"I'm fine baby" I picked her up and my body started shaking as I held her small frame against my chest, Nate and Kenny hugged me tightly. Telling me without words that everything will be alright.