Chapter 13: Phone Calls

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me (Chapter 13 Soundtrack)
Ash After Breakup (5)  After the breakup with Cami, Ash felt like someone had turned off the light inside of him. For a long time, he mourned. He mourned the death of his parents. He mourned the loss of the life he had once known. And most of all, he mourned for the loss of the girl he had known almost his entire life – his best friend, and briefly, his lover. He returned to that dark place of melancholy, shutting out the world around him. Ash After Breakup (2)Ash After Breakup (6)

“We have decided to send you off to school,” Ash’s uncle told him. “St. Luke’s is an excellent school for boys, and we think that the change of scenery may be good for you.” Screenshot-310

“You just want to get rid of me!” Ash balled his fists, outraged. “Like I’m just your little problem, and you have to make me go away.” Screenshot-316

His uncle took a step back, his face alarmed. “We just want you to be better, Akash.”

“I’m fine!” Ash yelled.

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Then she called. It was so unexpected, that he did not know what to say to her. A dozen different emotions broke loose from deep inside him. She wanted to know if he was okay. No, I’m not okay, he had wanted to say. I’m a disaster, Cami. I miss you. I need you. But he said nothing. And then she was gone.

The next day, he approached his aunt and uncle. “I’ve changed my mind,” he said. I’ve decided to go to St. Luke’s.” And within the week, he had moved into the dorms at his new school in San Anselmo, far away from his family, and far away from Cami.

Ash After Breakup (8)

Over the next few months, a different kind of light began to burn inside of Ash. Thanks to the specially trained teachers, he was reading better than ever, and learning far more science and math than he had while homeschooling or while locked away in his uncle’s shed. It was very challenging, but he worked very hard at his studies. Before school was out for summer, he had transformed into a star pupil, often displaying a deeper understanding of scientific principals than the other students in his grade. Ash After Breakup (1) Ash After Breakup Ash After Breakup (18) Ash After Breakup (7)

“We are so proud of you, Akash,” said uncle when Ash returned home to Mors Canyon. “Your parents would be so proud, too, if they could see you.” Ash After (1)

Ash had been so busy at school that he’d barely had time to think about Cami over the past few months. But now that he was home again, and so close, he could not stop thinking about her. Maybe I should call her, he thought. Better yet, he would pay her a visit tomorrow. His aunt didn’t have to know, and—

His ringing cell phone abruptly cut off his thoughts. He sucked in his breath. It was Cami. It was really her. His stomach churned. He wasn’t ready to talk to her. Not yet. Maybe tomorrow when he stopped by for a visit. He let the call go to voice mail, then pressed play and brought the phone to his ear.

Ash After Breakup (10)Ash After Breakup (14)

“Akash,” said Cami’s sweet, breathless voice. “I love you. I just want you to know…” he smiled, but as he listened to the rest of the message, his smile faded. His fingers gripped the phone tightly, wanting to break it, wanting to throw it across the room and watch it smash against the wall.

Ash After Breakup (13) Ash After Breakup (25)

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