• “Well, I have a crap load of homework I should probably get started on. I’ll just… go.”
  • “Is there a point to this visit?” I ask. “I kind of have to go to school…”
  • “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some calculus to pass.”
  • He chuckles and shakes his head. “You’re kind of a superhero.” Bells chime from the school, instantly killing the mood. I heave a sigh. “A superhero who’s late for homeroom.”
  • “I can design graphics and simulate special effects.” “I didn’t peg you for the computer type.” “Shh, don’t tell anyone.” The smile melts. “I’m not ready to come out of the nerd closet yet.”
  • “Smite-er of Maidenheads,” he says with an empty laugh. “Running joke with Josh that originated from the Shakespearian unit of our sophomore English class.”
  • “The first step to overcoming a problem is admitting you have one.”
  • “Very few people are strong enough to face their demons alone… We all need support systems.”
  • “…the point of life is to take responsibility your mistakes and work past them, not shut down and refuse to move forward.”
  • “Strength isn’t sequestering yourself behind walls and sporting a brave mask while you’re imploding… True strength is swallowing your pride and admitting you can’t face everything alone.”
  • “Time doesn’t heal all wounds – closure does.”
  • “… It’ll most likely take time, but everything worth working toward does.”
  • I’m standing on the Rineharts’ doorstep flanked by the Boyles senior.
  • Lady Boyle awaits me back home and I promised myself a long time ago that she would never see me cry.
  • Lady Boyle spends the entirety of the car ride sneaking glances at me in the rear-view mirror.
  • The clamor it makes startles me, but neither Sir nor Lady Boyle move.
  • If I so much as drop my fork, Sir Boyle will shoot off at the mouth.
  • As I suspected, Sir Boyle flies off the handle first.
  • … he reaches behind his head to scratch at the nape of his neck and averts his eyes…
  • Then he defaults to his awkward-Asher move and scratches the back of his head.
  • “…so feel free to shoot me that demeaning glare you’re fond of…”
  • If it wasn’t a private joke, I’d elbow him in the ribs. Instead, I shoot him an acidic glare.
  • I try not to glare too venomously as I incline my head in acknowledgement and pick myself up.
  • Pressing my lips together, I glower at him.
  • Narrowed eyes warn him that he’s one crack away from a bitch slap.
  • I produce an iPod and slip the buds into my ears. A minute later, Dr. Hart’s voice is in my ears and I’m wondering what to wear to dinner.
  • The ride continues smoothly and I’ve just begun to settle in when out of the blue, what should play but session two. “I found these in your folder,” says Darius’ disembodied voice. “Sophomore and junior class photos, yes?”
  • He spares me a confused glance before passing me over for Asher, when his face lights up. “Ash-Man!”
  • His face melts into the same smile when he sees Asher. “Ash-Man! Dude, you made it!”
  • Heading to LA to chase my dreams like the Ash-Man.
  • .. then nearly take it back when I’m thrust head-first into dinner conversation with the Ash-man himself.
  • “Alright. Major. I doubled, even though everyone I spoke to discouraged that, but now I can design graphics and simulate special effects.”
  • Did you see that. I designed that logo! All me.”
  • We’re watching the final March Madness game of the local college, except that the game isn’t the subject of interest. The real thrill comes in the form of a basketball twirling in the corner while colored confetti erupts behind it. Then the letters scroll in, boasting the names of the opposing teams. Asher’s first real job in his field…
  • I opt for the only t-shirt I own without a chunk cut from the shoulder boasting a hand-painted British flag and a pair of gray jeans.
  • a ring to complete a look comprised of an American flag patterned knit sweater …