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Stammering Hearts

Stammering Hearts

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Nine-year-old Lake hated himself. He was always caught by Rush in a very embarrassing situation, resulting in Rush teasing him. And when he tries to retort or snap back, he gets embarrassed even more. It's either he can't even say a word or he stutters! Rush said that maybe, Lake got a crush on him. Could that be true?

Chapter 1 Now Let's Try My Name

"J-Jack a-and J-Jill w-went u-up t-the h-hill to f-fetch a pail of w-water.."

Lake stopped singing when he heard someone calling behind him. He turned his head in its direction and he was not surprised when he realized who it is.

Rush. He was the son of Leina's best friend, who also happened to be his godmother. The Braylens always visit them so he's already used to seeing Rush in their house.

Even though Lake ignores him and doesn't talk to him, Rush still finds a way to get his attention and to make him talk to him. Or should he say, piss him off. It seems like Rush's visit to their house will not be complete until he annoys the hell out of him.

"You're already nine years old but you're still stuttering." Fourteen-year-old Rush teased.

Lake ignored him. He just looked at the ground and quietly turned his back to him. He gripped his favorite teddy bear tightly like it will protect him.

"J-Jack a-and J-Jill w-went up the h-hill t-to f-fetch a p-pail of w-water," Rush mimicked him. And still not contented, he even stood in front of him. "That's a nursery rhyme. By now, you should've mastered it already. Why don't you straighten up your speech?" Rush's voice had a hint of anger in it.

Lake continued being quiet. He just slightly lifts his head to look at Rush and bringing it back down again when he saw the anger in the taller boy's face.

"That's why they're laughing at you. You're too shy. What are you so shy about? You're a very pretty boy. Why does it seem like you find it so hard to speak?"

Lake doesn't know what to answer. He, himself doesn't know why.

All he knows is that he stutters when someone talks to him. Especially when it's his mom. His stuttering gets worse.

"C'mon, say 'Jack'", Rush encouraged.

Lake lifted his head again and looked at Rush. Should he obey him or not? He doesn't know if he is serious or just playing him.

"I'm serious, okay. Just try it. Say 'Jack'."

Lake stared at Rush's eyes when the latter leaned down to level his face with him. It's like he got hypnotized by the sincerity that he saw in those eyes. And that's enough reason for him to obey. "J-Jack."

"Again. Jack."

"Jack." He did not stutter.

"Very good!" Rush was smiling widely.

Lake was happy with Rush's reaction too.

"Now, say 'Jill'."

"Jill."

Again, he said it without stuttering. It was a big achievement for him already.

"I knew you could do it," Rush said smiling as he sat beside Lake. "Don't panic. Remove the nervousness in your chest when you speak."

Lake let out a shy smile. Although he's confused by the kindness that Rush shows him, he still can't stop being happy.

"Now, let's try my name. Say, 'Rush'."

Lake stared at Rush for a long time before having the strength to say his name. "R-Rush." Lake said with blushing cheeks. He doesn't understand why when it was Rush's name that he's about to say, he got nervous.

It's not the kind of nervousness when he's speaking to his mommy. This was a different kind of nervousness. He can't name it.

"What's wrong with my name? Why did you stutter again when it was my name you're saying?" Rush asked, brows furrowed.

Lake's grip on his teddy bear tightened while hiding his face and staring at his feet.

"Don't tell me.." Rush laughed. "Do you have a crush on me, Lakey?"

Lake just kept his head down. Rush calls him 'Lakey' whenever he's teasing him.

"Lakey has a crush on me." Rush teased. "You're still so young to have a crush." Rush continued.

He can't bear Rush teasing him anymore. So he stood up and ran back inside the house and went straight to the only place that gives him peace.

His room.

*****

Rush was left shaking his head. He doesn't know why every time he and his mom goes to the Wren's, he can't help teasing and annoying Lake.

He's pissed at the boy’s shyness. The boy doesn't even fight back even though he annoys him too much. Lake will just bring his head down and keep quiet.

One time, he saw Lake getting picked on by his younger sister Lottie. He saw how Lottie stomped her feet on the teddy bear that Lake always holds.

Lake just cried, taking the teddy bear back. No word came out of his mouth.

A while ago, when he told Lake to repeat what he said, he saw that he can speak properly as long as he doesn't feel threatened.

He's really wondering why Lake is always afraid, if not nervous or shy.

He knows that Lake can speak straight and properly because he had seen him speaking without stuttering.

It happened when his mother, Reena, and him visited them. Because of how bored he is, he decided to take a walk. His feet brought him to the garden.

The garden of the Wren's was big and had a variety of flowers. He was about to go back into the house when he heard a voice. The voice was speaking to someone.

He listened carefully for the source of the voice and followed it. He stopped in his tracks when he saw that the voice was coming from Lake.

The boy was seated on the Bermuda grass and talking to his teddy bear. "Did you brush your teeth, Mr. Ted?" Rush heard Lake ask the toy.

He was really surprised because of how straight Lake was speaking. He listened further.

"Before you go to sleep, you should brush your teeth. That's what my teacher said. So, you should brush your teeth too, okay?"

"Let's sleep now because if mommy heard us speaking loudly, we will surely get hit again. Unfortunately, Daddy's not here. He's on a business trip." Lake said to the teddy bear after a while.

Rush clearly noticed the sadness in Lake's voice when he said the last part. Even he noticed that Lake was not close to his mother, which happened to be Rush's godmother. When his Aunt Leina visits them, she always brings Lottie.

And come to think of it, she had never brought Lake to them. Aside from that, he saw how happy his Aunt Leina is when it comes to Lottie. He would always hear praises from his Aunt when talking about Lottie while it's the opposite when Lake is the topic.

It also did not go unnoticed to him that Lake seems afraid of his mother. Opposite when it was his father with him.

Lake's eyes were bright and sparkling when he is talking to his father. Everyone can see how close the two are. He can't say that Finlay favored Lake because he also treats Lottie the same way. But it's obvious that there's something special between the father and son bond.

Ever since he discovered that Lake can speak properly when alone, he did not stop annoying and teasing him. He wants Lake to accidentally speak clearly because of how pissed he is with him. But so far, the boy will just keep quiet when he is annoying him.

It would've been better earlier because Lake had communicated to him already when he obeyed his instruction. He doesn't know what entered his mind and he teased him again when Lake stuttered at his name.

Rush smiled. He knows that all Lake needs is encouragement from those who are around him. Most particularly, from his own mother.

He had to help Lake get over his shyness. In that way, there's a possibility that his stuttering will disappear.

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