I woke with a start when I heard a bolt being drawn downstairs. Jumping out of bed in just a night gown, I slid down the banister and half jumped, half fell into the hall.
The door to the basement was wide open. The light was off and the woodland smell had receded somewhat. I could sense he wasn’t inside so I followed the mental link. I found him lying on his back in the garden underneath the largest oak tree. He had a rugby ball in his hands and he was throwing it up in the air and catching it. He looked and felt a lot better than last night.
“How’re doing now Regan?” I asked as I sat down beside him. I felt a bit self conscious in my night gown and I kept pulling it over my legs.
“Meh.” He shrugged his shoulders and refused to look at me. I understood that he still felt bad but at least he didn’t hurt so much anymore. The memory of last night’s trauma tugged at the edges of his memory and it took him most of his mind power to keep it at bay.
“It’s not getting any easier you know.” He put down the ball and rubbed his eyes. I could see they were now a light blue and his pupils were surrounded by a ring of hazel.
“I know.” I didn’t know what else I could say.
“I want to play rugby tomorrow.”
That took me completely by surprise. After having another breaking session like that in just over 3 weeks had taken its toll on him and he had ceased to annoy our other friends at school to concentrate on trying to hold himself together every time she walked past him. She never looked at him.
He had also stopped going to rugby training because he couldn’t bear to go a day without seeing her. Now, this sudden openness looked like he was really trying to move on.
“If you feel you’re ready to go back, of course you should,” I agreed with enthusiasm. “Rugby could help you to concentrate on something else. Trust me, brooding on this will suck later on.”And you should know,I added silently.
He turned his eyes towards me with a knowing look. I knew he regretted what we didn’t have and what he had done to me but he also knew I had moved on.
“You have to move on too.” I knew he heard my thoughts so this seemingly random line would only make sense to him. “I know you can get through this.”
Again he just shrugged and said, “Meh.” Turning towards the late sunrise, he sighed and started turning the rugby ball in his hands.
I heard noise coming from the kitchen which signalled the awakening of the other residents at this house. “Breakfast?” Clear enough statement.
Regan grinned and scrambled to his feet, the rugby ball still in his hands.