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Three - Second Time

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Perching the two coffee mugs in the tray along with a dish of chocolate chip cookies, I head back into the living room just as I hear the bathroom door open. As soon as Xavier comes into my line of vision, I see him wearing one of my dad's white jumpers and grey trousers. Though Xavier is just about as tall as my dad, he's quite thinner, making the shoulders of the fluffy sweater hang off him. 

This is probably the first time I'm seeing him in anything other than black.

"You look nice in white," I comment without putting too much thought into it, and Xavier staggers to a stop. I ignore how he stares at me and bring the platter of sandwiches out from the kitchen, placing it next to the cookies.

He looks at me. "Um ... what do I do with my clothes?" he points a thumb over his shoulder. "I put them in a basket but ..."

"Oh, just leave that." I shrug it off, placing the food on the square wooden table in front of the couch. "I'll just put them in the washer in the morning."

"No, please," he perks up.

I straighten up to give him a questioning look.

"I'll do it myself," he insists. "You ... you've already done too much."

I take a deep breath and put on a soft smile. "Okay, just leave it for now. Come have something to eat."

Xavier doesn't answer as he makes his way slowly towards me and I hear dad join us. I look towards him and see him carrying a huge pillow and one of the extra comforters.

"You can use these," dad huffs, dropping everything onto the infamous white couch of our living room. "If you need anything else, I'll be right along the hall in the first room, next to the bathroom. Just give me a shout or come knock, whatever you need."

"Thank you, Sir," Xavier says, not looking up at dad.

"Haley, you should sleep early too," dad goes on. "You've been out all day and must be tired."

I nod as Dad waves over his shoulder at Xavier, and walks off towards his room. Turning back to Xavier who isn't really looking at anything in particular, I notice he's still standing awkwardly in place.

"Xavier," I bring his attention to me.

He looks up, his gray eyes focusing on me.

"You can sit down." I indicate the couch and take my own seat on one of the cushioned chairs my dad loves so much.

Xavier obeys, gathering up the comforter dad dumped on the couch and placing it neatly on one side before sitting on the other. I hold out one of the mugs towards him, which he takes between both of his hands. Taking the other mug of coffee up to my lips, I sip the smoldering liquid, keeping my eyes fixed on Xavier.

"Can I ask you something? Why did you walk out of class like that today?" I can't help but ask, watching him for his reaction.

"I didn't have anything to write," he says in a low voice, looking down at his mug.

"I was giving you a pen –"

"You were giving me what to write with, not what to write," he counters.

I close my mouth, considering his words.

"Didn't you study?" I ask, but he doesn't reply, making me remember the interaction between him and his father that I saw earlier in the evening. "Do you know we have a calculus test tomorrow?"

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