A Rescue, Some Sheep, and The Truth

JP with Redsword and Cindy

Riley was completely in her element at the zoo. It was probably the next best thing to being at a nature preserve.

Zander was having a great time with
Riley. The girl was, not surprisingly, an animal nerd with enough social skills to hold back about it. That was until Zander just said, tell me what you know about..... And then Riley would impart more information about a particular animal than Zander ever thought he would know. It was cute really and a different side to the young woman.

"....so The American Pygmies, were endangered in 2007 but increased to threatened in 2019." Riley finished explaining about the goats.

The two talked, as they fed and petted the goats.

Kaylee was having a great day. She and Conner were currently walking around the petting zoo area and just enjoying the animals and each other's company.

As they paid attention to the llamas, Kaylee looked up and spotted some unexpected but familiar faces.

She turned to Conner, "The rich kids are here." Watching as two of the rich cheerleaders started coming in their direction. "And apparently we're about to have company."

The two cheerleaders, Rachel and Scarlett, had spotted Conner with no issues. They hadn't seen Kaylee there, until they got closer.

Frankly they weren't paying attention to much other than getting near Conner.

"Hi, Conner," Both girls said, "Hey, Kaylee."

Kaylee said, "Hi," but clearly the girls were more interested in Conner.

"So, Conner, this place is so much fun, don't you think?" Scarlett asked.

Conner had never been interested in those two, Rachel and Scarlett but gave his charming smile just the same. "This place is fun. I have always liked the petting zoo though," Conner said, putting his arm around Kaylee. "We have had a great time so far," Conner said, pushing the ``We" part. "So all the rich snobs here today or just you two?" asked Conner.

Rachel and Scarlett, looked at Conner, then Kaylee, then Conner, then Kaylee. The wheels in their heads putting things together.

"Oh," Rachel sounded disappointed.

"Are you two a thing? Oh, that's so ...cute." Scarlett's voice edged with jealousy.

"All the rich kids are here," Rachel replied. Apparently not catching the snob part.

Scarlett looked at Rachel, "He called us snobs." Half under her breath as if she thought Conner and Kaylee, who were standing right there, couldn't hear them.

Kaylee rolled her eyes at the two cheerleaders. Smiling as Conner put his arm around her. She placed her own arm around him.

Scarlett looked at Conner and Kaylee it was as if she wanted to insult them but was so caught up by Conner's looks she couldn't. "Well, are all the traitors here or just you two?"

"We saw the others," Rachel said, then "oh.,"

Scarlett was clearly frustrated that she wasn't even rattling the couple and that Rachel was acting particularly dumb today. Turned towards Rachel, "Let's go. They are not worth our time."

Rachel looked at Conner and sighed, then shot a look at Kaylee, like arrows. And the two walked away.

When they were gone, Kaylee started laughing, "Wow." She looked at Conner, and joked, "Just think you could have had that."

Riley and Zander were now near some Alpaca's not too far from where Conner and Kaylee were but they were busy talking to each other and didn't spot the other couple, they also didn't see the football players who had arrived in this area.

Conner laughed too with Kaylee "So you think I should go for her?" He said jokingly. "I think I am happy right where I am," said Conner, giving Kaylee a kiss.

The football players though spotted Riley and Zander and made a beeline for the couple.

"Hey, look it's a nerd and nerd lover."

"Riley, why don't you come over here and get yourself a real man."

"Do nerds even know what to do with girls?"

There were four football players, and the insults came fast from them. Zander didn't want things to escalate, he couldn't fight them anyway.

"Riley, cheerleader to nerd lover. How does someone fall so fat?"

Riley hadn't told Zander that part of her life, she glanced towards the boy. Zander could handle the insults thrown at him but the ones at Riley were getting to him. He was about to say something, but Riley squeezed his hand.

"Ignore them," Riley said.

However the football players were having none of that and when Zander and Riley tried to walk away, they stepped in front of them, blocking their path.

"Going somewhere?" One asked.

Kaylee smiled, returned Conner's kiss then looked up, and spotted the football players. What were they doing?

A brief glimpse, that wasn't good.

Kaylee spoke up, "I think the football players have someone cornered." A pause. "Riley and Zander? They have Riley and Zander cornered."

Conner let out a grunt. Then looked carefully over to where Riley and Zander were. "Yes, I thought I told people that my roommate was off-limits," said Conner with a growl. "Let's go," said Conner, walking in Riley and Zander's direction.

Zander could see Conner walking up; his expression said everything. Conner let go of Kaylee as he put his arms around the two football players' necks. It was no problem for Conner being bigger than them." Hi, guys," said Conner, squeezing their necks tightly. "Oh, you found my roommate. I am so glad that Zander is making new friends." Conner said with an evil smile."I would hate to see you guys miss a few games over a misunderstanding," Conner warned. "I hear they will feed the tigers soon. Maybe you guys would like to see that? or I can help you be a part of that. What do you guys think?" Conner said with a big smile.

Zander and Riley both noticed Conner walking up, and both glanced at each other, relieved before witnessing what happened next.

The football players visibly winced as Conner squeezed their necks.

"Hey, we were just having a little fun." One of the football players said.

"Tiger feeding, huh? Sounds good. Doesn't it, guys?" None of them wanted to mess with Conner.

"Yeah, sure." Another said.

Conner let the two guys go. "Go! team!" said Conner with a smile. When the football players were gone. "Zander, we need to work on your Man Card dude," said Conner joking. You guys ok?" he asked.

Zander and Riley looked relieved. Zander got that it was a joke and smiled and shook his head. "Guess you'll have to give me some lessons."

Riley kissed Zander's cheek. Clearly she didn't mind at all how Zander had tried to deal with it.

"We're fine, thanks for that." Riley said.

"Yeah, thanks." Zander agreed. Then looked around. "Apparently, the rich kids have infiltrated the zoo. This should be interesting."

Kaylee was standing beside Conner, "Do you two want to hang out with us until they've moved on?"

She glanced at Conner hoping that was alright, it was better than leaving Riley and Zander to the wolves.

Conner smiled at Kaylee "I am good. Ya, they can hang out with us." Said Conner putting his arm back around Kaylee. "Where to next?" asked Conner to the others.

Riley said, "Let's go see the sheep."

Zander nodded.

Kaylee said, "Fine with me."

As they were walking towards the sheep, Zander asked Riley. "You used to be a cheerleader?"

Clearly conveying that he didn't have problems with cheerleaders but he was just surprised she hadn't mentioned it.

"For a short time, just wasn't my thing." Riley answered and realized she had lied to him. It wasn't what she had wanted to do at all regarding telling him about her eating disorder.

Kaylee said, "Well, it's fine. It's not for everyone. I'm just glad there are some nice cheerleaders, if they were all snobs I'd have to quit. Despite how much I enjoy being a flyer."

They arrived at the sheep a few minutes later, Zander and Kaylee said they wanted to get some feed and headed off to do that, after kissing their respective dates, leaving Riley and Conner alone.

Riley began petting one of the sheep and sighed. She looked at Conner. "I can't believe I just lied to Zander. I need to tell him about my eating disorder, don't I?"

It was clear she felt guilty but also this was hard for her.

Conner was quiet for a moment. "Yes, you should, and just wasn't your thing. Is that a lie or the truth?" Conner leaned on the rail and looked at the ground. "No, it was not for you. So you did not lie but you should finish it truthfully," suggested Conner.

"Well, half truth. I guess. I mean I didn't initially stop because of that, I didn't go back to it because it wasn't my thing. " She stopped because she had ended up in the hospital, but Riley could have gone back to it, she just opted not to.

"I know. I should have already done it, the timing never seemed right. So, you're his roommate, how do you suggest I tell him?." She asked him.

Conner grinned, "The most scientific way you can." Conner said with a chuckle. "No, seriously. Just tell him straight, give him the facts. I think Zander is an understanding guy." Conner advised.

Riley breathed a laugh. She noticed Zander and Kaylee heading back over with the buckets of feed. "I suppose there is no time like the present."

Kaylee went by Conner and Zander by Riley.

Kaylee could sense something was up.

Riley spoke up and said, "Zander, I saw some baby sheep, over there." Pointing out an area not too far from where they were but a little more private.

Zander, apparently also noticed, "We'll be right back."

The two wandered off, when they got to the area, they were still easily seen by Conner and Kaylee.

"I don't mean to pry but is everything alright with those two?". Kaylee asked, clearly just concerned.

Conner gave a goofy smile. "They wanted to be alone so they could talk about sex." Said conner then laughed. "I am joking. They have something they need to talk about. That's all" said Conner.

Kaylee laughed, and then nodded, giving him a kiss which was interrupted by a sheep trying to get to the feed. She smiled, "Let's feed them, before they try to eat us." She joked.

Riley and Zander got near the lambs and petted a few. Before Riley spoke up.

"I wasn't 100 percent honest with you earlier, about cheerleading."

Zander looked at her, but didn't say anything.

"It wasn't my thing but that's not why I initially left it." Riley took a deep breath. "I left it because I was diagnosed with an eating disorder. I'm a recovering anorexic."

Zander gently squeezed her hand, as concern shown in his face. "Thank you for telling me. How are you now?"

"Better, a lot better. I still have things I need to work on but I'm doing that. I go to group and individual therapy for it." She answered.

"You can tell me whatever you like about it.". He wasn't going to force the issue as she was getting help.

Riley looked at him and wondered how she ended up lucky enough to find Zander.

The two talked for about ten more minutes. She told him about her parents, her former life, collapsing on the court during a pep rally and having to repeat ninth grade due to being in an eating disorder clinic.

The talk ended with him asking how to support her and Riley telling him. Including what to look for in case she ever backslid.

Zander kissed her and said, "I'm always here for you."

She smiled at that.

The two went back to Conner and Kaylee, hand in hand.

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