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First week of class offers Tom an unexpected twist

"How... how did my dad die, exactly?" Greg held his breath, almost expecting to be yelled at told off for waking her up at this hour just to ask how his father had been killed.

There was only a moment of silence, then a soft sigh. "...She hasn't told you, has she?"

Greg didn't know how to respond to that. "...No, Ginny. She hasn't." his voice was quiet and unsure.

Ginger sighed again and just closed her eyes. "No. I suppose she hasn't." she paused again, formulating her thoughts to be able to tell her nephew something he should have known the truth about many years ago when he was old enough to understand and not be left to guess or wonder. "He was killed in a car accident, hun. It wasn't his fault. It was icy. He was just sitting there in a turn lane. An eighteen-wheeler lost his brakes. The trailer slid on ice and he had no way to pull it under control. It jack-knifed as it hit your father's car. The trailer went to one side, the truck to the other..." she trailed off, hearing a small sound from her nephew. "Greg?"

Greg kept silent a moment as he struggled with the sudden onslaught of fact about his father's death. He took a deep breath to be able to speak again. "I-I'm okay. I... I just never knew. Thanks for your help, and I'm sorry for waking you."

Greg set the receiver down without even a goodbye to his aunt. The silent tears fell uncontrollably as he struggled to keep his emotions in check. He was a man. He wasn't supposed to cry. It had been eleven years since his father's accident had occurred. Greg had only been six at the time.

Memories of the dream crept up on him. As he sat down to breakfast, his mind was in a haze. In his mind he saw it again. Two bright lights were headed directly for him. Headlights.

Greg forced the replay from his mind. He didn't want to see it again. He didn't even want to think about it.

After breakfast and watching a bit of early-morning TV, Greg showered and dressed for school. Just as he was heading back downstairs, the doorbell rang. It was Chris. Chris always picked Greg up to go to the high school almost half-way across town.

When Greg opened the door, Chris was standing there, his '92 bright yellow Ford Explorer was pulled up in the driveway. Chris only had to look at his friend once to know something was up. Greg's face was almost ashen white and his eyes were red from crying.

As Chris joined Greg in the car and both were buckled, he pulled the vehicle into reverse. As they moved in the general direction of school, Chris glanced over at Greg for only a moment. "You look like you've seen a ghost, man."

Greg was silent. His eyes watched the traffic as it passed by his window. "I have."

The Explorer turned on to the stretch toward their high school. "Same dream?"

Greg nodded, laying his head against the cool glass of the window. It felt oddly good. "Yeah. Again. Every night."

Chris reached over and patted his friend's arm. "It'll be alright, Greg. You know, my mom's offer to find you a counselor is still open."

There was worry in Chris's voice. Greg had progressively gotten worse the more he was left alone in that big house with no other outlet but school, and once in awhile a friend taking him someplace to get him out of it. He was very worried. Depression wasn't a normal thing for Greg. Gregory was one of those very happy, active, general good guys. He could have any girl he wanted in the school if he had let them get close enough. It wasn't like him to be so down and sulky all the time.

Greg shook his head at the gentle hint. "I'll be okay, Chris. I just need to figure things out."

"You can't figure them out without someone willing to be around long enough to tell you the things you need to know." The scornful comment came out of Chris's mouth before he could think about what he was saying. "I... I'm sorry Greg. I didn't mean it. I..."

Greg cut him off.

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