Redemptive: Ch. 3

By the time Ty and I finish cleaning the house, I’ve already come up with the perfect plan to help out Zeke.

“Feeling better?” Ty asked as we stood in the sparkling kitchen, wrapping his arms around my shoulders.

I leaned into him, and sighed a breath of relief. “Much,” I said.

“Do you still want me to talk to Ike in the morning?”

“You don’t have to. I have a plan.”

Ty dropped his arm from around me so he could turn to face me, crossing his arms over his chest. He raised his eyebrows skeptically as he met my eyes.

“I’m not going to like this, am I?”

“Just hear me out, okay?” I waited. He didn’t respond, so I continued. “We need to make him part of our group.”

“Our group?”

“You know, our inner circle? You, me, Chelsea, Ike, etcetera? He needs to become one of us.”

Ty opened his mouth to protest, but I put my hand up to stop him from speaking. “Let me finish,”I said. He closed his mouth. “I know Ike isn’t going to want that to happen. Obviously. He’s pretty much done everything he possibly can to make Zeke a social pariah, and social standings don’t change overnight. But I was thinking—”

“Cam, stop. I’m sure your plan is genius, but before you get yourself worked up, can you please just let me talk to Ike first? Nothing’s going to be solved in a day, like you said, so let’s give it a rest for tonight. If nothing changes, we can rediscuss this plan of yours. And at the very least you’ll have more time to think it through. Deal?”

I bit my lip, knowing he was right but also knowing talking to Ike wouldn’t be enough to fix the problem. 

“Yeah, okay. Deal,” I said, and he grinned. “For now.”

“Thank you,” he said. “Now let’s go to bed.”

We headed up to my room, and I started getting ready for bed. I put on my pjs, brushed my teeth, and prepared my outfit for the next day, my mind racing with details to my perfect plan to help Zeke the entire time. I was hoping to bounce some ideas off Ty, but he was already fast asleep by the time I climbed into bed beside him.

I couldn't sleep so easily, though. I tossed and turned, unable to close my eyes without seeing Zeke's tormented expression.

I was determined to fix it.

After a while, I got out of bed and starting pacing back and forth across the room. 

It couldn’t be too hard to bring Zeke into our group.  He'd be happy once he was one of us. Why wouldn't he be? Ike wouldn't humilate him anymore. Chelsea would probably sleep with him. And he'd have friends who are always there for him.

“Camille?” Ty sat up in bed, and rubbed his eyes. “What are you doing?”

I stopped pacing, and looked at Ty. He looked so adorable with his hair all messy, and his eyes only half-open. I wanted to crawl into bed with him and kiss him until I forgot the world again, but I couldn’t.

“I have a plan,” I said.

“Another plan?” he asked. “Or the same one?”

“The same one. I'm working out the details, like you said.”

Ty groaned. “That's not what I meant. Why is it so impossible for you to just wait for me to talk to Ike?”

“Ike's not the main problem, and we both know talking to him is pretty much pointless.”

Ty moved to the edge of the bed, and wiped a hand over his face slowly. "Okay, you have five minutes to explain your plan, and then we need to go to bed. For real this time. Deal?"

I nodded, and began pacing again. “Okay, so let’s just assume that you talk to Ike in the morning, and he promises to leave Zeke alone. And let’s just assume that Ike isn’t an asshole, and actually keeps his promises, right? Zeke goes back to being invisible and ignored which wouldn’t be too bad because at least he’s not getting publicly humiliated every week by his own brother, right?” I stopped pacing and looked at Ty. “Wrong. Zeke has been bullied for far too long. He’s gotten used to it. He’s become numb to it. Just because the bullying stops, doesn’t mean the pain goes away. We have to fix the root.”

“The what?”

“The root. The root of the problem?”

“And what is that?”

“I don't know, exactly. Yet.”

“But you have a plan.”

“I think so.”

“And this plan of yours is supposed to fix it? The root?”

“That's the goal, of course. But first I'd have to find it.”

“And you're going to do that by...?"

"By getting close to him, bringing him into the group, making him one of us. You know. The plan."


Ty sighed. "Cam, I just don't think it's a good idea. I mean, your intentions are good, but it sounds a lot like you're trying to control Zeke's feelings, and I just don't see--"

“I know what you’re going to say. I can’t fix feelings because feelings aren’t problems. And even if I could, another person’s feelings are not my responsibility. And while it’s possible to help people find ways to deal with their feelings in a constructive and healthy manner, it is impossible to eradicate someone’s feelings entirely. Feelings are a choice people make of their own volition, and blah, blah, blah. Spare me the lecture because I know what I’m getting in to. I promise.”
Ty sighed again. “Okay, well, I guess we'll see. Can we go to bed now? We have school in less than three hours.”

"Okay," I said, crawling into bed with him.

Ty wrapped his arms around my waist, and pulled me into his arms as he moved to lie down. One arm still wrapped around my waist, he pulled the covers over us both, and kissed my shoulder.

“Goodnight,” he said.

“If you say so,” I said.

“I do.”

I smiled, and closed my eyes.

I would fix it. I would make everything better. 

I had to.

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