Chapter Twenty-Eight - The Sketchbook

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What is this?? An update on a Tuesday?? Please read the author's note at the end of the chapter :)

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After training, Cole pulled me away from everyone else and went a little into the woods so that we wouldn't be bothered.

"Okay, what's going on?"

I explained everything about the sketchbook to him, the pictures of the Catchers, her family, and even herself. He sat there silently, taking in every word before he finally spoke up again.

"I know she's probably depressed, but why are you so urgent about it? There are therapists and people all around that can help her."

I sat there, just staring at him for a few moments before speaking. "How did she kill her parents, Cole?"

"By electrocuting them to death?"

I raised an eyebrow at him, moving my hands in a motioning pattern to urge him to say more. "And?"

He blinked once, twice, before he finally realized that I was getting at. His once confused expression turned into slight panic. "She blew up on them... Which is what she'll probably do again if she continues holding everything in."

"Bingo."

"We need to do something, calm her down or anything else that could possibly work. She can't do that here--"

"Well, well, well..." A booming voice announced as I saw Claire and Alex parading through the trees. Alex had a large grin on his face, looking in between the two of us, before speaking again, "Sneaking away already, aren't you?"

"Alex," Cole gave him a serious look. "We need time alone right now--"

"Or time to make out..." he trailed off when Claire nudged him, her eyes focused on Cole with the familiar sign of her reading his thoughts. Alex immediately understood and gave us a sheepish look. "Sorry, guys. Just thought you two were finally making progress. We'll just be going now." And sure enough, he grabbed his girlfriend's hand and ran off with her out of sight.

Cole took a deep breath and looked back to me. "So what can we do?"

While biting my lip in concentration, I realized I hadn't gotten to that point yet. My whole plan revolved around Cole helping her, but what exactly could he do? "I think you're her best bet. She worships the ground you walk on. Just like when we picked her up, you need to do the talking. Make her realize that she has a supportive backing now, that she's not alone and not at fault for anything she did in the past. She needs to get help, professional help. You need to convince her to do so."

"You know, Buckley... You're putting me in a pretty difficult position."

"I'm sure you'll figure it out."

He gave me a desperate look, pulling in a deep but slightly shaky breath as he ran his fingers through his hair. "Will you be there though? I would like your moral support."

I patted his arm. "Of course, bud. Anything to help."

We began heading out to where Mackenzie's dorm was so that we would be able to talk to her. "Bud?" Cole repeated me, making a disgusted face. "As if."

I raised an eyebrow at him, "What do you mean?"

"Way to put me in the friend zone," he joked, a smile lining his lips. In an act of pure humor he put his hand to his heart and pouted. "I thought we had something special. I thought that we're Caylor!"

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