He was sitting and leaning against the wall in a corner of his room when Aiden and I walked in. It really did make my heart go out for the poor kid because honestly…what's he supposed to do all day? Does he just sit there lost in his thoughts? Can he read a book? Can he listen to music? What exactly does Aiden do with him all day? My thoughts were swimming with all sorts of things I would do with him if I were to choose and stay…but I wondered if that was something I was actually up for doing. Could I put my entire life on hold?
"Aiden!" Ezra's loud and happy voice rang out when he saw him enter the room.
"No need to get up Ezra, we'll come to you," Aiden responded immediately and Ezra's face flushed.
"We?" he asked carefully and nodded his head to the side.
"Hello again," I greeted him shyly, though I wasn't even sure why. But when I saw Ezra's face light up even more it reminded me why I was so self conscious suddenly around him.
I think Ezra was making the choice for me.
"Clover!" he blurted out unable to hide his surprise as Aiden and I made our way across the vast floor. "You did come back," he said in a more quiet tone.
"I told you that I would…idiot," I couldn't help laughing.
"I see you two are already pretty comfortable around each other," Aiden couldn't help but chuckle as we stood in front of a sitting giant. "That's good," he said softly and rested a large gentle hand on my shoulder.
"I guess you learned the rules then?" Ezra asked hesitantly.
I nodded hard. "I guess I did."
"Terra actually wanted to discuss the matter with you Ezra," Aiden spoke up for me suddenly.
"You did?" he squeaked.
I nodded again.
"Well as I told you before, it's not all up to me…I want to know that you would at least want me around before I even think about definitely staying."
"But you would consider staying?" Aiden and Ezra asked at the same time, both of their focus completely on me. My face felt hot with all of the attention.
"I am considering it…" I said slowly not even sure how sure I was of the situation myself. Maybe it wasn't fair to discuss this with Ezra until I was completely sure of what I was going to do. I looked up at Ezra…his eyes dancing with excitement. I thought about what I would be giving up, college…at the very least for a few years. All of my friends…
"Could my friends come visit me here?" I asked Aiden quietly after realizing that this was something that I was concerned about.
"Ummmm…" Aiden mumbled. "I'm not sure really. Ezra?"
"I don't know either. I would assume that as long as they don't find out about me than you could probably have a friend over for a day visit or something."
"What if they found out about you?" I asked with worry in my tone. I didn't want anything bad to happen to him.
"I think it's just best that you didn't have friends over…too much of a risk," Aiden blurted out uncomfortably. "It's really not that bad,"
"I'm decent company right?" Ezra questioned Aiden.
"The best," Aiden responded quickly and walked up to him.
"How long will you get to stay with Clover if she decides to stay with me?"
"Probably another two years, just to help her get into the swing of things."
"So no good byes yet?"
"Not yet buddy, you're still stuck with me,"
I took a few steps backwards then as Ezra's large hand swooped down on Aiden and grabbed him. Aiden didn't look the least bit surprised but I know I certainly was. Ezra pulled him close to his shoulder then, a strange and awkward embrace for a full grown man and a teenage giant, but I was touched. I turned my head to the side so not to infringe too much on their moment.
"You were the best one," Ezra mumbled. "Nobody even came close to you."
"I think we may have found a contender,"
Ezra shook his head hard and pulled Aiden closer. "No…no one will compare to you."
I had to admit that the comment stung. I understood that Aiden meant a lot to Ezra, but I was considering staying here and now I was finding out that I would never even compare to the one who took care of him before me. I jerked my head away angrily. If Aiden was such a great company than what did I need to stay for?
This was all wrong. Ezra was probably right, I couldn't compare to Aiden. I shifted my eyes slightly to see that both of them were smiling in each others company. I didn't want to be the one who had to meet Ezra's expectations. Who was I anyway? I had a life. I didn't need this.
I cleared my throat and looked towards the door. Still open.
"I'm gonna go," I muttered and Ezra looked up.
"What? Why?" he asked with concern in his voice and gently placed Aiden on the ground.
"Because it's obvious that I can't compete with what you and Aiden had…have whatever. I don't think I want to try."
"I didn't mean it like that," Ezra said and shifted up to one knee as he saw me crossing the room.
"But you did," I said accusingly and I felt a tear coming. Darn my stupid attachment to him! "You said no one could compare…so why should I give up my life to fall short of your expectations?"
"You mustn't think of it that way Terra," Aiden said.
"Shut up," I interrupted him.
"Clover," Ezra's soft voice rang out desperately.
I stood and looked at him from the middle of the room now. From this distance he almost looked normal. Than he stood up.
"Don't go Clover," he whispered and took a step forward.
I had to run now if I was going to have any chance of getting out of here. I broke into a sprint for the door and felt Ezra's steps thundering behind me. With angry tears filling my eyes I made it through the doorway and paused. I knew I was being selfish, of course Aiden seemed like a great friend and caretaker to Ezra, but I wanted to try too. I was willing to try.
I lifted up my head and gasped in surprise as I heard Ezra crouching to the floor so to look at me. He didn't open his own door, but looked at me through my own. His eyes were still watering from his early good bye to Aiden and I felt myself drawn to him, but I couldn't.
"I'm not ready to give up my life," I said quietly to the eye.
Ezra looked at the floor.
"I had a feeling it would come to this. I just wish you wouldn't have let me get so attached."
"You're not attached to me, you're attached to Aiden,"
"Of course I am," he blurted out angrily. "He was the first person to stay with me that I thought actually liked me. I thought…" his eye softened and so did the tone of his voice. "I thought maybe you and I could be the same way. I like you Clover…"
"But I could never compare to Aiden,"
"So what? You're both different people. You may never compare to each other. Just come back inside and talk to me. Don't make me feel like a giant monster."
"I…" I whispered to him. "I just need to think about this a little more. It's a big decision."
"It's a huge one!" Ezra said suddenly. "But I wish you would come in here and think about it."
"I need to think about it alone,"
"So you can justify not staying with me,"
"No!" I shouted at him.
"Than what then?"
I was about to respond when I felt someone approach from behind me.
"Leave her alone you monster…she's got better things to think about than spending another moment with you."
"Dad!" I shouted at him. "Shut the f up. You don't know how I feel."
"I know you feel conflicted because of this…this…thing!" my dad growled at Ezra. My heart almost broke when Ezra lifted his head off of the floor.
"Same offer as before Clover…I'll be waiting here for you at ten. If you don't show…"
"She won't!" my dad shouted and silenced Ezra.
My head was pounding. What was I supposed to do? Could I give up my college dreams of living on the west coast? No matter what happened, I was getting some money now and I could fight to make sure it was all mine. I would never have to look at my father again…who was no longer the kind and gentle…if not weird man I loved. But Ezra…he couldn't spend the rest of his life with Aiden. It wasn't fair to Aiden…or Ezra.
"I just need to think!" I shouted at everyone and took off running for my room. I knew deep down though, I could never live up to Ezra's expectations and my desire to go to college like a normal girl. Still, I just wanted to think about it.