Monday night, Seb literally begs me not to make him return to school. He cries and pleads, and gives me reason after reason why he should stay at home.
"Please, Lola... I don't... I can't..."
I take his face in my hands. "Seb, there's nothing to be scared of. It's just school, like it's always been.
He shakes his head and lowers my hands to the floor. "No, it's different. People will be talking about me."
"They always did, you know that. But think about it. Now, we won't be sitting alone You'll be sitting with me, and Trish and her group of boys. It'll be fine."
He sighs. "I'll go because you think it's best," he says. "That's the only reason."
On Tuesday, when we enter the gazebo, he stops Daniel notices us and stands, beckoning us over.
"Lola," Seb whispers. "I forgot about Dan."
"Seb, it's fine. Look, he wants you to be here. Come on," I pull him over to the table.
He and Daniel stand before each other, then they embrace strongly and I can see how much they've missed each other.
As it turns out, all Seb's suspicions were wrong and he fits perfectly into the group. Somehow, Trish, Seamus and Tobias find a way around the fact that he still won't talk in public, and Judo only asks him yes or no questions.
Sometimes, when he sits near Daniel or Evan, he talks to them quietly. But only them.
One time, when he sees me and Judo engrossed in conversation, he smiles knowingly and chuckles to himself when I give him a questioning glare. Then he whispers something to Trish and she grins and laughs, then whispers something back.
The only bad thing I notice in the following two weeks is that he never eats lunch. At all. Which means he's only eating one meal a day, and not even all of it