The Tour Part 5

"That's nice, actually. I talk to mine about once a week. I talk to my siblings a few times a week." Mel responded. "Shall we continue the tour then?" She started to put her cue back on the wall rack. "It's a shame about your brother's accident. How bad was it? If you don't mind me asking."

Timber pictures it in his mind once more. The horror of the accident running over and over. It should have been me!

“Some teenager was testing the speed of his new Corvette. Tyler and I were walking down the road the goes by our farm. We were eleven. He came speeding up behind us and lost control. He would have hit me, but Tyler pushed me out of the way and fell. He was pinned underneath the Vette, his arm wrapped around the axel. It nearly tore his arm off. It took many surgeries to save the arm.” Timber turned to Melissa, his eyes moist with tears. “Mel, it should have been me! He was better than me. Now, he has hardly any muscle in his upper arm. He’s alive, but wrestling was his thing. So, I’ve worked hard and made it here because of him.”

Mel's heart broke when she heard about the accident, and saw the tears in Timber's eyes. "Oh, I'm so sorry." Melissa responded. "But it's not your fault. Trust me, I understand that people saying that doesn't change how you feel but I'm here if you need an ear or a shoulder." She wanted him to know that. As harsh as Mel could be to herself, she was very gentle with others.

He knew it wasn’t his fault. The therapists spent hours pounding that statement into Timber. Yet, that feeling was always there, like a demon waving his hand in front of him, then pointing a finger in his face and declaring, “You are to blame!”

Timber’s parents had told Timber this was a good opportunity for him to follow a career path without any burdens of the farm life. He wouldn’t need to awake so early, plus Sakura offered classes in computer coding, which was something in which Timber had developed interest. However, the burden that Timber believed his parents saw was the guilt he had about Tyler. If Timber didn’t see his brother’s arm every day, would it still be a burden to him.

He smiled, showing appreciation for Mel’s words. They seemed to have come from a tender heart. “Thank you,” Timber quietly said. “I appreciate your kindness.”

Mel felt she couldn't say much else about it, so, she waited a few moments for Timber to be ready before the two kept going on the tour.

This time she led Timber outside and to the left around the building, and downstairs to another building. "This building is where the pools are. There's one open pool open for use. A few are used for practice for the swim teams, but are sometimes open if they teams aren't using them. The really big one though is only used for meets and competitions. She didn't go into the pool buildings but went away from them, and towards the athletic fields. "Of course, we have football, track and field. There are soccer fields, field hockey, Tennis courts. " Pointing in the general direction of each field. "Off in that more wooded area is for the cross country team. If the teams aren't using the fields they are pretty open for use." She took him to some stands by the football field. They were empty, just the occasional student using the track. "Let's sit for a few minutes."

Timber sat down in the bleachers. He kicked his feet with pointed cowboy boots up onto the seat before him, laying back onto the seat behind him. It was just a tour, but Timber enjoyed it, especially getting to know Mel.

“If you could be somewhere else other than here,” Timber asked, “where would you be? And why?”

It was a chance to learn more about her. Timber was becoming more of himself again, concentrating on the moment instead of the emotions that had surfaced. He didn’t want anything to ruin his chance of getting to know her.

Melissa thought about his question. "I don't know. I mean I miss my family, but outside of them, Seattle wasn't a good place for me to be. I guess I want to travel, see more places. Maybe Europe, but there's plenty in the US I've also not seen, that I'd like to. I've always wanted to see France or Spain." She explained. "How about you?"

Timber placed his hand behind his head as he stretched. “I will be traveling,” he pledged, now pulling his feet off the bench in front and leaning forward, resting his elbows on his knees. He turned to look up at Mel. “I will be on the Olympic team in the future. I just need to keep training and improving. I’m working hard to win states this year. Then on to compete in nationals. When not traveling and competing, I’d like a home in the mountains with lots of land.”

"Oh. That's great, sounds like a lot of work, and a place in the mountain sounds nice." Melissa said. "You know Carter that you met at lunch. He's training for the Olympics as well, track and field." Mel paused. "So, I never answered why my parents sent me here. Do you still want to know?"

Now Timber turned sideways in the seat to face Melissa. He concentrated on this girl for whom he quickly was beginning to care deeply.

“Only if you are comfortable,” he confirmed. “If you believe I am trustworthy and you are ready.”

Mel nodded, she couldn't say she trusted anyone completely upon meeting them but his answer did ease her mind. "Alright, some people know the longer version, but I just want to be sure you'll keep it to yourself." Melissa had told Courtney and Conner had been there for that. She had told Courtney it was fine if Dante knew. She had told Carter and Jason. Carter because he had been so instrumental on them both getting free of Doug, she trusted him. Jason because they ended up having a long talk one day, similar to what was happening now. "Well, the shortened version is I made questionable choices back in Seattle. I got into trouble a lot. And on top of that I was bullied at my last school, severely. Seattle is a city but it's hard to get away from the girls that live in the same area as you. My parents pulled me from school, hired a tutor so I could finish my 8th grade year and we started looking at alternatives. Boarding schools was one of those. I found Sakura and was interested so we researched it it. Visted and it was where I chose to go. It was a chance for a fresh start." Melissa explained.

Timber smiled. “Fresh starts are good!”

He looked into Mel’s eyes. The eyes said so much about a person. Even though it was hard to believe that Mel had gotten into a lot of trouble, he could see the truth in those eyes.

“So Sakura had been good for you. Hopefully, it does the same for me. I can’t argue with the way it started. So far…it’s been great!”

"With the one exception, getting tangled up with my ex. It has been good. The friends I've met have been great." Mel said truthfully. "So, let's see is there anything else you want to tell me about yourself?" She already felt like she knew a lot about him. "Or I can answer about the group. I just don't gossip buy general information."

Timber laughed. “I can’t imagine you getting into trouble! The others, I’ll get to know as I see them.”

He thought a little. One thing he enjoyed doing he wasn’t sure if he could do here. “I ride horses. Is there anywhere here where I can do that?”

Mel laughed slightly, "Well, I'm trying not to any longer. Maybe , one day I'll shock you with the details." She half joked.

"Honestly, I don't know but I do know you could probably ask Rose, she's really into riding and would probably know." Melissa responded.

“If there is one,” Timber said hopefully, “maybe one day you’ll go riding with me.”

He wanted to kiss her, but knew that wouldn’t be right. He had just met her and you don’t force yourself upon someone. He was confident, but not a controller. Mel needed to make the choice herself. She wasn’t ready yet. He caught himself staring into her eyes while he internally argued this.

“Wow!” Timber suddenly broke the silence. “That took all afternoon. I still need to unpack, and you have a date to get ready for. Thank you for spending the entire afternoon with me and showing me around.”

"I'd like that. I've never been riding before." It sounded like fun.

It wasn't until Timber mentioned that Melissa realized how much time had been spent with him. "Yeah, we should get back. And no problem, I enjoyed it." Melissa stood up and began to make her way off the bleachers.

Timber knew he had made someone who was going to be at least a good friend. He hoped the relationship would eventually evolve into more than a friendship, but was willing to give Melissa the time and space to get to know him.

He stood and caught up with her, escorting her to her dorm. The only thing he could say at this junction was, “I hope you have fun tonight. You deserve it!”

"Thanks. I hope you're still coming tonight. It'll be fun." Mel thought it was a good way for him to get to know the group a little better.

Timber had actually thought of not going. He wanted Melissa to enjoy her date, but he didn’t want to see her enjoying it. It was a selfish thought, so he agreed. Besides, it would also be disrespectful since Roxy gave him a ticket.

“Yeh!” he affirmed. “I’ll meet y’all at the courtyard. Is that right?”

"Yup, see you at 7, then." She gave him a small wave and went inside the girls dorm. Mel realized she now had feelings to process but that wasn't going to happen that evening.

Timber politely watched as she entered her dorm. Should he pursue Mel? She did say that they agreed to date others, so Timber wouldn’t be overstepping.

When she was safely inside, Timber turned and walked to his dorm. He had an amazing afternoon with an amazing girl, that was certain. Now, it was time to meet his roommate and unpack his things. He’d most likely get ready at the last minute, but he’d be there. Hopefully, he’d have plenty of others to distract him from Mel having a good time. He grimaced at the thought.

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