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Desire or Defense: Chapter 31


NOAH TURNED ON THE EAGLES’ game the moment it started. I told myself I wouldn’t watch, that I couldn’t bear to sit there and see Mitch on the screen when he hasn’t spoken to me in nearly twenty-four hours. But with how much Noah was yelling at the T.V., I finally caved and started watching five minutes into the second period.

And now we’re both yelling at the T.V.

The Wolverines aren’t even having a good season like the Eagles are, but you wouldn’t know it from this game. The Wolverines are ahead 5-2. It’s getting more and more unlikely that they’ll make a comeback. It would be a miracle at this point… with only nine minutes left.

Even as someone who knows nothing about this sport, I can tell they’re playing like shit. Namely, Mitch ‘The Machine’ Anderson. He’s been in the penalty box three times already, and there’s still half of the third period to go.

Is there an eensy-weensy part of me that’s happy to see Mitch struggling so much? That he’s as miserable as I am by everything going on? Yes, okay!? At the end of the day, I’m only human.

Noah groans as we watch Mitch get into it with yet another Wolverines player. The guy got a little too close to Bruce, and that’s all it took for the gloves to come off.

“What’s gotten into him?” I mutter to myself.

Noah gives me a judgmental side eye. As if to say, you and I both know this is about you and that gossip article.

And he’s not wrong. But is Mitch mad about the article? Or mad at me? Does he think I caused this? Does he think I wanted to become famous or something?

Ugh. I hate second guessing everything. I’m trying to be patient with him and let him work things out in his own mind. But this isn’t how a relationship works. You take a few hours to think and cool down, not a few days!

I remember Mel’s words about being patient with him. But where do I draw the line between being understanding and feeling like I’m his mother? Because I can’t be raising a boy and a giant man-child.

Burying my face in my hands, I block my view from the T.V. where Mitch and #97 from the Wolverines are going round and round in their petty fight. The refs are standing around with their arms crossed and their faces say, Here we go again.

“This is painful to watch,” Noah says. I feel the weight on the couch shift, telling me he stood up. Then I hear the T.V. click off. “I’m going to bed. Are you going to be alright?”

Popping my head back up, I give him a small smile. “I’ll be fine. Goodnight.”

He surprises me by stepping toward me and wrapping his slim arms around me. I bring my arms up to hug him back and nearly cry at the sweetness of his gesture. He hasn’t hugged me since Mom and Dad died. The simple token of affection is so sweet, and makes me feel like no matter what, everything is going to be alright.

He stands and starts toward the stairs while I’m left on the sofa, feeling a little weepy.


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