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Riley regarded his cousin with a critical expression, one eyebrow raised and eyes taking in the boys faded jeans, wrinkled tee-shirt and shoes that fidgeted over the smooth wood of there front porch.
And he looked more afraid then nervous.
He had been warned that his cousin was shy.
He had been warned that he wasn’t good with other people and that his social skills were virtually non-existent.
But here he stood, empty and worn like the knapsack settled by his feet which was his only luggage, not even partially prepared for the weeks ahead of him that he’d be spending with Riley and his parents.

And Riley had to admit to himself that he wasn’t prepared either for having someone else in the house, especially when that someone else was as dirty, shy, nervous and gorgeous as the fifteen year old was.
Though from which ever way Riley looked at him, he just couldn’t convince himself that he was only two years older then the boy, who, from his soft, gentle feminine features and wide eyes, looked to be barely reaching the age of twelve.

“I’m Riley.”

Introductions had to start sometime, and since the boy had made no move to even look at Riley, Riley stuck out his hand.

The boy didn’t take it.

Riley really didn’t think that he would.

He dropped his hand to his side and the boy curled long, slender fingers into the pockets of his jeans.


As if the feminine features, attitude and overall painful shyness wasn’t enough, he had to have a name like Rita.

Who would name there son Rita though?

My uncle, Riley grimaced, remembering back briefly to the man who had abandoned Rita at the house of a distant relative when he was seven.

That’s how the story supposedly went.

His mother had refused to say anything else about it.

And personally, Riley didn’t want to hear, and he really didn’t care either.

“I’ll show you to your room.”

Rita stumbled out of his tattered shoes, revealing bare feet and bruises.
There weren’t very many of them, stained a horrible purple colour against the smooth white of his skin, but they were still there.

“How’d you get those?”

The floors were all polished oak on the main floor, carpet less and freshly cleaned from the night before, but Rita stumbled again at the question.

Riley began to wonder if he’d ever see the younger boys eyes which seemed more interested in watching the floor then Riley.

“I-I f-f-fell.”

He stutters as well?
Maybe he should’ve made his mother tell him more about his cousin.

He wasn’t a normal fifteen year old.

“You fell.”

He hadn’t meant to sound that sceptical but Rita flinched and nodded dirty blonde hair.

“Well are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere else?”

Why the hell am I concerned?

A shake of the head and Riley stopped at a slightly ajar door at the end of the hall next to the kitchen and across from the living room.

“This is your room.”

It had been a spare room at one time, reserved for guests and relatives only.
But it was small, drafty and the water stains on the ceiling made it a poor show of hospitality for guests, so it had been turned into a storage room with a cot on the floor which had been thrown down the night before and would serve for Rita’s bed.
Looking at the boxes clustered around the dusty walls, grey curtains clothing dirty windows and across the floor, barely swept free of dirt a small cot lay sprawled, warmed by a few spare blankets and a pillow from a box in the basement.
Riley threw Rita a sidelong glance as he stepped into the room beside him and gave the depressed room a once-over.

Riley had to admit he was surprised that Rita didn’t look disappointed that he’d have to sleep in the little room.
He looked grateful if anything.

“This all you brought with you?”

Riley couldn’t ignore the tatty knapsack any longer as Rita took a seat on his bed, tossing his bag down beside him and looking around like he was home.
Rita’s head jerked down as Riley pointed to his bag and he nodded, fingers fidgeting with the edge of the blanket he sat on.

“Do you want anything? Water? Something to eat?”

He looked starving.
It was painful to watch.
Rita shook his head.
Not much of a talker Riley mused, nodding.

"Well, settle in. I'll be in the kitchen. Want a tour later?"


And Riley slipped the door closed behind him as he left.
There was something wrong with him.
Something wasn't right.
His mother hadn't told him everything he should know about his cousin.
Don\'t judge someone through their skin colors
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Upload Date: 31/12/1969

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