Touched – Part Three


Taryn McGraw, Staff Reporter

By that evening, Harper had already made up her mind. She immediately called Mrs.Willis to tell her the great news. 

When Mrs.Willis heard that Harper was overjoyed and wanted to take in Miles as her son, it felt as if a weight had been lifted off of her shoulders. She had been waiting a long time for Miles to finally have a good home with a loving family and she believes with every fiber in her being that this was the one. Harper was such a loving person; nobody could hate her. She learned that her interests are fairly similar to Miles’s, so she crossed her fingers and called her, asking about a potential adoption when Miles’s previous guardian called to tell her that he wasn’t right for him.

Harper ended the call with Mrs.Willis saying that she would email the papers to her soon. She glanced back at the living room, where Miles was reading one of her books from her library. She walked over to where he was sitting.

Feeling the presence in front of him, Miles tore his eyes away from his page to look at Harper.

“I have good news that I hope you like as well.” Harper started with a bright smile. “Starting now, you are a part of my family. It’s a small family, as I do not have many members, but I hope it’s okay with you. There’s a highschool nearby that I will be enrolling you in where I hope you can make friends as well.”

What came next really shocked Harper. Miles had a big bright smile on his face, showing his straight white teeth and a small dimple on his right cheek. His eyes shone brightly and his mood was greatly improved.

“Really?” He asked, louder than normal, but not screaming. 

“Really.” Harper replied.

Then, as if forgetting Mrs.Willis’s words, Harper asked before she could process what she was doing as she leaned in and brought Miles in for a big hug. Not expecting this, Miles didn’t know how to react as his chin brushed the skin of Harper’s neck. 

The next thing he knew, Miles felt very dizzy. He began sweating and shaking violently as he struggled to breathe. Something began squeezing his heart very tightly and the pain traveled throughout his body. He clutched his stomach and fell to his knees, his body going numb. He stayed in the fetal position, biting his lip to keep him from screaming out, until the pain subsided. 

When Miles opened his eyes, he had to blink a few times until he was able to see clearly. In front of him was Harper, on her knees and holding her hands over her mouth, trying to keep in her tears.

“Oh Miles. I am so sorry. I got caught up in the moment and forgot about your personal space. I am so very sorry. I don’t know how to make it up to you.” Harper said quickly, her emotions controlling her voice as it cracked.

When the pain was gone, Miles sat up and put a gloved hand on Harper’s shoulder. She looked up and blinked, tears escaping down her cheeks. He offered her a small kind smile and she returned it.

“It’s not your fault, so don’t apologize. I was caught up in the moment too. I should’ve explained it to you earlier, so don’t beat yourself up over it. I’m used to it since I’ve lived with it my whole life.” It was the most Miles had said to Harper in one sitting, so Harper was very surprised to hear it.

She sniffed and Miles wiped a few tears from her face, careful not to directly touch her skin with his. He reached over and gripped her elbows, helping her stand, and led her over to her couch. When Harper sat down, he sat down next to her. 

Miles trusted the kind woman and seeing her reaction after making a mistake, he knew he could tell her anything and let his old self flow through. He reached towards the coffee table and grabbed a couple tissues, giving it to Harper. She blew her nose and wiped her tears away. 

With red eyes, Harper stared right into Miles’s and after a moment, he looked away, unable to maintain the eye contact.

“I have this condition.” Miles started. “I only remember having, but I don’t know if I’ve had it since I was born. Sometimes, I even wonder if that’s the reason why my parents gave me up.”

Harper gently placed her hand on his shoulder, covered by the one of many sweatshirts he owned. Miles flinched a bit, but relaxed soon after, taking a deep breath before continuing.

“Anyways, with this condition, for some reason, I can feel the way people die. I found this out when this happened to one of my old friends. I felt as if I had been hit by something hard. A couple weeks later, that friend died in a car crash, the exact same way I felt. It was then when I found out what kind of pain I was feeling. I never know when they are going to die, just how. Most of the time, it’s very minor and doesn’t hurt a lot, but sometimes, it’s very painful. I guess it’s because of this that I am afraid of getting close to another person. Many have left my side when I revealed my secret to them, others sent me away. I’m a freak, so I understand if you want to send me away too.”

It was when Miles sniffed when he realized he was crying. Harper’s eyes widened when she saw the first tear run down his cheek. She rolled down her sleeves and grabbed Miles’s hood, pulling it over his head, before she reached around and brought Miles to her chest. 

Miles froze from the contact, not used to such affection, but when he didn’t feel any reaction, he relaxed and let it all out. His gloved hands gripped Harpers arm that held him and squeezed it tightly, letting the tears flow down. 

They stayed like that for a long time, but soon, Miles felt somewhat free after being accepted by the one who would treasure him for the rest of their lives. He relaxed even more into the touch and dozed off. 

Harper opened her eyes when she heard soft snores coming from the one in her arms. She smiled kindly at the boy. Seeing his relaxed face and shoulders brought her joy and a little bit of anger. 

Harper wasn’t angry at Miles; she could never even think of that being a possibility at the moment. She was angry at those who treated him poorly. It was because of them that brought Miles to fear others and not trust them. 

Harper hugged him tighter before she relaxed herself and let sleep overcome her as well, happy to have bonded with her new son. 

When they both woke up, Harper told him that she accepts him in every way and is happy to call him her new son. It almost made Miles cry once again, but he held it in. They then proceeded as normal, but Miles began asking Harper questions as well. 

When Sunday rolled around, Harper brought up that she enrolled Miles into the nearby school and then they went out shopping for new clothes and school supplies. Miles kept insisting that Harper shouldn’t spend too much on him, but she immediately dismissed everything, proceeding to buy even more to spite him. She even bought him a phone, seeing that he didn’t have one in the first place. 

Miles put on a pouty face and Harper laughed hard, drawing some attention from nearby shoppers. Her laugh brought a warm feeling to Miles, making him smile slightly. He then knew that he would grow to love her as a friend and a mother.

“C’mon, Miles. Wake up.” Harper yelled through the door as she knocked on it. She then opened it to look at her disheveled son tangled up in the covers glaring at her. She laughed. “It’s time for school. We have to be there early, so we can get your schedule. I’m going to be making breakfast soon, so get moving already.”

When Harper walked away, Miles groaned before removing the covers and dragging himself to the closet and dresser. With fresh clothes and a towel, he made his way over to the bathroom, taking his sweet time in the shower. 

The scent of bacon and eggs reached his nose at the top of the stairs. Harper could hear his loud footsteps and laughed, knowing what kind of mood he was in.

She placed a plate of eggs, bacon, and toast on the table and went to sit on the other side. Miles walked over and sat down, saying his thanks before digging in. 

Afterwards, they cleaned up the mess and walked into the garage, hopping into Harper’s small car. She turned the engine on, backed out of the driveway onto the road, and began towards the school. 

“I have to go to work today and won’t be back until seven tonight. I’ll bring food home, so you don’t have to make dinner. There’s money in your account at school for lunch. You may have to walk home unless you happen to find a friend.” Harper explained as she pulled into a parking spot. 

When Miles glanced out to see a few kids walking into the school, he gripped his sweatshirt tightly with his gloved hands. His heart rate quickened and his hands began shaking slightly. He hoped he wouldn’t go through the same experience as other schools in the past. Miles couldn’t take much more bullying in his life.

Miles shakily opened the car door, snatching his new backpack from the ground and putting it on his shoulders. He followed Harper into the school and into the office. 

Miles sat down in one of the chairs away from the door and watched Harper talk to the lady at the front desk, both of them smiling brightly, occasionally laughing at what the other said. The lady reached behind her and grabbed a newly printed sheet of paper, giving it to Harper. She said her thank you and goodbye before walking over to Miles. 

“Here’s your schedule and there will be someone coming in very soon to show you around. Now, I have to go to work, but call me if there are any problems, especially…” She trailed off, but Miles nodded, knowing what she meant. They waved goodbye to one another before Harper walked out of the building. 

Miles stayed silent and still, wanting to become invisible. He was very nervous. He didn’t want to talk to another person, let alone have them show him around for the day. Taking a big inhale and exhale, Miles stared at his trembling hands until there was a presence in front of him. He looked up to come face to face with what looked like to be a girl with a smile as bright as the sun.

“Hello!” She said cheerfully. “You must be Miles. My name is Angela and I will be the one to show you around and help you with your classes. I can tell you are smart as they put you in many honors classes like me. We even have the same schedule. Isn’t that great?” 

Miles couldn’t help but widen his eyes at the girl who didn’t even know him yet treated him like a friend. She was blonde, her hair tight neatly in a ponytail, with blue eyes and a white and blue summer dress on. When he didn’t say anything, Angela only tilted her head, examining him.

“You don’t talk much, do you?” She asked politely. Miles shook his head.

“Not really.” He whispered. Angela smiled widely.

“That’s great. We match perfectly, then. I have been told that I talk too much.”

She extended her hand to help him up. Miles hesitated, but took it anyway. Angela began showing Miles around, directing him to the halls of each subject before leading him to their first class. 

There, Miles was told to introduce himself, but Angela stepped in and introduced him without saying too much. The teacher tried to object, but one look from Angela made him go silent. 

As time progressed, Miles and Angela hung out with one another at any given chance, whether it was in class, lunch, or when she gave him a ride home after school. Soon, a couple weeks had passed without any trouble.

“Hey, Miles!” Angela yelled to her new best friend, waving frantically while running to the boy whose style of clothes never changed. 

“Hey, Ange.” Miles said quietly, waving back. 

“Do you want to hang out at my house after school today? I mean, it’s the weekend tomorrow, so we don’t have to worry about any schoolwork.” She rubbed the back of her neck, looking off in another direction. 

Miles smiled. “I’d be happy to.”

Angela smiled back, grabbing Miles’s jacket and pulling him to her car. She unlocked the doors and they both stepped in. 

“Can I ask you a question?” Angela asked as they drove down the road away from the school.

“You just did.” Miles smirked when Angela sent him a glare before turning her gaze back to the road. 

“Jerk.” Angela said before going back to her topic. “I didn’t want to ask this too soon, but now that we are best friends, can you tell me why you wear so much clothing every day? You even wear gloves indoors, which is something I’ve never seen anybody do before.”

Instead of feeling offended, Miles could tell she didn’t mean any harm and just shrugged. It was then when they arrived at her house. She pulled into the driveway, turned off the car, but didn’t unlock the doors as she turned her full attention to the boy in front of her.

“Do you have a cold or something?” She asked, reaching her hand up and placing the back of it to Miles’s forehead. Miles didn’t see it coming and didn’t have time to react before he fell into his trance. 

Miles braced himself for the pain that was going to come, but it never did. Instead, he felt something he had never felt before; he felt warmth. Miles felt warm inside and out. It was peaceful. He glanced around to see a calm atmosphere with a grassy land and a blue sky. Wind went through his hair and he smiled at the comfort.

Miles snapped out of his trance as someone shook his shoulder. He focused on the blonde girl in front of him. 

“Are you okay?” Angela asked, her eyebrows furrowed in concern.

Her eyes widened when Miles had tears streaming down his face. She jumped when he fell towards her and wrapped his arms around her and pulled her into a hug, burying his head in her neck.

Angela was frozen for a moment before wrapping her arms around the trembling boy in front of her and squeezing him tightly. She whispered sweet nothings, petting his hair softly.

Miles didn’t shy away from her hand. In fact, he loved it. He loved the sweet, gentle warmth that came from the contact and could spend his entire life in it. The tears slid down his cheeks steadily for five minutes until they slowed to a stop. 

Miles lifted his head and sniffed, looking down at the ground, unable to look at his best friend. They’ve never physically been that close before, so it must have shocked her. He would even understand if she hit him right then and there. 

Miles flinched when a gentle hand reached under his face and lifted it by the chin. He stared at Angela’s bright blue eyes that seemed to have held the world in them. She smiled kindly.

“Miles, even though I’ve only known you for a few weeks, you have become the closest person to me and I appreciate you for it. You’ve always looked like you’ve been hiding something. Do you want to talk about whatever’s eating you?” Angela only held kindness and concern in her eyes, and with the amount of time they’ve spent together, he knew he could trust her. 

Miles took a deep breath then proceeded to let everything out, from his horrible childhood to his gift. Angela was surprised, but stayed silent nonetheless, taking in every detail Miles told her. He then told her about the feeling he got from her and how he had never felt so peaceful from someone’s touch. 

Angela couldn’t help but smile at the boy in front of her. She grabbed his hand from his lap and held it up. She slowly gripped the glove from the middle finger and pulled it off. Miles flinched, but kept his hand still. She then placed her hand in his and held it. He did the same.

“How does this feel?” Angela asked softly, tilting her head to the side while maintaining eye contact with Miles. 

“Peaceful.” For the first time, Miles smiled brightly, taking Angela by surprise as she felt her cheeks warm. She pushed the thought away.

“Then, I won’t leave your side.” She said confidently. Miles was more than surprised by her statement.

“Why-why would you do that?” Miles stuttered out, his cheeks reddening. 

“Because I like you. You’re a cool guy and I’m excited to learn more about you. Besides, I don’t want you to go through any more pain. That might be the motherly side talking, but it’s true.” Angela laughed to herself. Miles smiled once again, squeezing her hand tighter.

“I’d like that.”