The Hitting Zone - BestLightNovel.com
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Noah took a seat next to me, tired of standing around. "I ran into her near the team store. Brought her to Jake. In our short conversation, we mentioned that we saw you with your family." He raised an eyebrow. "I think it's more interesting that she doesn't know your whole family situation. It's pretty weird."
Jeremy shook his head. "You don't understand. You're not an adult."
"I don't have to be an adult to understand." Noah stated firmly. "How does it not come up that your brother and you aren't raised by the same family. You need to sit down and be more clear with her."
"We aren't really at that stage yet." Jeremy defended himself.
Thinking how he interacted with his family, compared to the way he is with me and the Atkins, I wonder which side Rose sees. Is he also awkward with her...or was he... "Are you scared?" I asked him, seemingly out of nowhere.
Even Noah was surprised by my question.
Jeremy looked uncomfortable. "I'm not scared. There's just a lot going on in my life." He looked at me, worried. "I'm not afraid admitting that you're my brother if that's what you're asking. I said I wouldn't hide you."
"It's not about me." I shook my head. "I'm asking if you, if you're scared. About telling her about yourself?"
So I continued. "I was scared. Of Mr. Duncan. Of the Atkins. Of Dr. Moore. I'm still scared of strangers. Of them getting to know me. Because, what if, they think I'm like my mom? Or what if they know that I'm damaged goods?" I glanced at Noah. "It's hard to let people in. Even if you know that they won't hurt you. Even if they like you for you."
Jermey might not have the physical scars like me, but on the inside we were raised by the same evil woman. He might have gotten out early, but it was obvious to me that he wasn't really okay on the inside. He wasn't at Mr. Atkins level of inner peace.
Noah nodded along with my statements. "Jake still clams up around strangers. Getting him to talk to our cla.s.smates is still a challenge. Just recently, he-" Noah stopped. He was about to mention how I just started to get changed in front of Noah, but he didn't want to mention my scars to Jeremy. "The point we're trying to make, is that it's better to be upfront and honest with her. We caught her by surprise, telling her a little. I'm sure she's confused right now."
Jeremy looked unconvinced. "I don't think we're at the point in our relations.h.i.+p though."
Noah rolled his eyes. "I don't get why you're making it so complicated. Do you want to date her or not?"
He hesitated. "Yes, but-"
"No." Noah cut him off. "It's not going to work if you don't tell her what's going on. She's probably thinking about ending things with you already, to be honest."
Jeremy frowned. "Why would you say that? Did she hint that she was mad?"
"She doesn't have to be mad to dump you. She probably doesn't feel important enough." Noah told him. "It's weird that you wouldn't just tell her that your family came to see you."
"Noah, what makes you think you can give dating advice?" Dave asked, coming in. "Jeremy, don't listen to these kids. Just live your own life."
"Yea, single and alone." Noah retorted.
"What do you know about relations.h.i.+ps?" Dave asked.
Noah sat up proudly. "I have the best example living with me. Mom and Dad. Do you think they hide things from one another?"
Dave and Noah started to bicker back and forth. Jeremy watched it all, like it was a professional debate. It was interesting that even though he was older than Zeke, I think Zeke is more mature. Zeke wouldn't entertain his brother's thoughts on his dating life and would make his own decisions. That's why I think Jeremy is lacking in some ways. Emotionally, maybe?
"What is going on in here?" Mr. Atkins had come out of his office to make an appearance. "I can hear you two fight even with the door closed."
"Dad!" Noah exclaimed. "Perfect timing! Let me ask you something." He explained the whole situation, from us seeing Jeremy with his family, to running into Rose, and then concluded how Jeremy doesn't know whether it's time to introduce Rose to his family or not.
Mr. Atkins listened patiently, taking a seat like before. "Well, it depends." He said thoughtfully.
Jeremy nodded along. That's what he had been saying.
"Depends on what?" Noah asked.
Mr. Atkins looked at Jeremy. "It depends on what kind of relations.h.i.+p he wants to have with this woman. I don't know Jeremy well enough to know what he's thinking. Is he simply dating this woman, or is he dating with an intention to marry?"
Jeremy looked lost. "It's too soon to tell."
Mr. Atkins smiled gently. "I'm not judging you either way. If you believe she is the one, then it's best to have no misunderstandings. But if you aren't sure, then there's no hurry to say everything at once. It's okay to guard your heart. Just make sure she knows that you aren't ready to tell her everything." He looked to me. "Same goes for you."
"I don't have a girlfriend." I told him, taken aback.
He chuckled. "I know. For future reference though. If you guard your heart, don't forget to keep an open mind." He focused on Dave. "Have you completed your homework?"
Dave looked guilty. "Most of it."
Mr. Atkins knocked on the table. "Get moving. Tomorrow might be a long day for you. Better to go to bed earlier." He stood up.
Dave grimaced. He got up and followed his dad out of the room.
"Is something going on tomorrow?" Jeremy asked.
"It's Dave and Kyle's birthday." I told him.
Noah grinned and rubbed his hands together. "We've prepared a few surprises for them."
"Oh?" Jeremy looked interested. "I'll send a gift over. This week we go on the road so maybe-"
"Let me stop you right there." Noah cut him off. "We don't give gifts. Well, maybe, the gift of laughter and memories. We prank one another on our birthdays." He explained before smiling again. "But if you want to give gifts, let me remind you that my birthday is July 26th. Jake's birthday isn't until October."
Noah looked at me, giving me a look.
I opened up my notebook. "When's your birthday..?"
Jeremy looked surprised. "I turned 22 just a few months ago in March." He peeked over at my notebook. "What's this?"
I scribbled down his answer by my question. "It's a list of things I want to know about you. Or if I need a conversation starter."
Jeremy laughed. "Not a bad idea. Maybe I'll come up with one of my own."
I looked at the dating question. Then looked up at him. "So, are you dating Rose? Should I put yes or no?"
Jeremy went back to being awkward real quick. "Put down 'yes'. Subject to change."
"That's mean." Noah remarked. "Are you thinking about breaking up with her already?"
"Subject to change can mean that, yes, but it can also change to fiancé or even wife." Jeremy elaborated. I wrote it down.
"So you're going to talk to her?" Noah asked. "About your family?"
Jeremy nodded slowly. "I'll explain the basics, but I probably won't go into depth about everything. It's way too soon to spring all that on her. Maybe the next time, introduce her properly to my family. I like her."
I nodded. "I like her too. She's nice."
Noah laughed. "Nooo, Jake. He like-likes her. The feeling before love. You just like her as a person. There's a difference."
...I knew that. I looked at Noah. "Do you like-like someone, Noah?"
Noah started to laugh again. "No way. Who would I possibly like right now?"
True...all he really focused on was baseball. I don't think he has ever really talked about any girl if it didn't involve baseball, or softball now, I guess.
"What about you, Jake?" Noah poked me. "You can talk with Kaylee and Alisha all on your own now. Are you interested in one of them?"
I shook my head. "Not like that."
"Who's Kaylee and Alisha?" Jeremy b.u.t.ted in.