Home > Ride Steady (Chaos #3)(4)

Ride Steady (Chaos #3)(4)
Author: Kristen Ashley


He didn’t ask but Mr. Robinson told him.

“You think with both sides of your brain. You excel in shop. You excel in art. You excel in chemistry. You excel in trigonometry. And you excel in history. You do this simply by paying attention in class and making a half-assed attempt at studying when you’re home.”

Carson was a little shocked the man used the word half-assed but it only upped his cool factor.

“You have no test anxiety,” Mr. Robinson went on. “Your teachers have noted you pay close attention and take copious notes in class. When you’re there, you’re there. We have you. Totally. I wonder, if you applied yourself, what that could mean.”

“Not much, and it doesn’t have to, seein’ as alls I’m gonna be is a mechanic,” Carson shared.

“I take issue with ‘all you’re gonna be,’ Carson. A mechanic is a worthy profession,” Mr. Robinson replied instantly. “Though, not an easy one. You have to study to be a mechanic.”

“Know that,” Carson muttered.

“I figure you do. And if you want it, you’ll be a good one. But it would be a shame if you were a mechanic when you had it in your head to design cars, engineer them. Make them maneuver better. Safer. Or use different forms of fuel.”

“Hardly got that in me, Mr. Robinson,” Carson told him the truth.

“How would you know?” Mr. Robinson shot back.

Carson felt his body still.

“Usually, by your age, teachers can see where students are leaning,” Mr. Robinson continued. “Where they have aptitude. Languages. Arts. Science. Math. Computers. Manual skills that are no less admirable than any of the rest. Some can show partiality to several of these. I’ve never met a student who shows gifts with all of them.”

Carson shook his head, not getting why the guy was on about this crap. “Nothin’ special about me, Mr. Robinson. Just a kid who likes history.”

“No, you would think that, seeing as whoever puts bruises on your face or makes you take your seat at your desk slowly because your ribs hurt would make you believe nothing about you was special, Carson. But the truth of it is, they are very wrong, and so are you.”

He wanted that to feel good.

But he wasn’t the one who was wrong.

Mr. Robinson was.

He liked the guy. Respected him.

But they were not talking about this.

“We done here?” Carson asked and watched the teacher’s head jerk.


“I dig you give a shit, but none of your business.”


“So, we done?”

Mr. Robinson shut his mouth.

It took a couple beats before he opened it again to say, “If you ever need to speak with someone, I’m here.”

“No offense, your class rocks, you’re the best teacher in the school, everyone thinks so, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.”

“That’s a shame, Carson, because I can help.”

Okay, enough was enough.

“Yeah?” he asked sharply. “Can you give me a ma who gave a shit enough to hang around to see me start crawlin’?” Carson asked.

Mr. Robinson’s lips thinned, “I—”

“Or give me a dad who wasn’t okay with leavin’ me at eight to go out and get laid so the neighbor lady had to bring over food so I’d eat?”

Mr. Robinson’s face turned to stone. “This is exactly what I’m talking about.”

“Sixteen, almost seventeen, less than two years I gotta wait, Mr. Robinson. Been waitin’ a long time to be free, now you wanna fuck that up for me?”

“If we spoke with the principal—”

“What? And get me in foster care? Make my dad pissed at me for more than just breathin’?” He shook his head again. “That shit gets out, it’ll make all the kids pity me or say jack to me, which would not go down too good so other shit would go down and I’d get suspended or expelled. Dude, when it’s over and I’m gone, I won’t have much, but I stick with my plan, at least I’ll have my degree.”

“I see you’ve thought this through,” the man remarked.

“Only thing on my mind since I was eight.”

That and Carissa Teodoro. But she hadn’t entered his mind until he was thirteen. Mr. Robinson closed his eyes.

He felt that. He didn’t like that.

Carson couldn’t help him.

He had to focus on helping himself.

“I’ll get through,” Carson declared and the teacher opened his eyes. “Got neighbors who look out for me, so it isn’t as bad as you think. Means a lot, you give a shit, but I got it under control.”

“Then if you take nothing from this, take from it that you have a teacher who cares and will look out for you, too. More than just me, we all believe in you, Carson. So if you take nothing from this but that, it won’t make me happy, but it’ll be something.”

“That means a lot too,” Carson returned, his voice weird, like thick and gruff, a sound that echoed what he felt in his gut.

While Carson was feeling that and, not getting it, before he got a lock on it, Mr. Robinson swooped in for the kill.

“One day, Carson Steele, you’re going to be a magnificent man. I don’t know how that will be. You could be president. You could eradicate disease. Or you could be a master mechanic who builds amazing cars. But whatever it is, it will happen. I believe it. And one day, you’ll see past what you’ve been taught and you’ll believe it too.”

Carson didn’t share that he probably shouldn’t hold his breath about that either.

Then again he couldn’t. The thick in his gut was growing, filling him up like he ate way too much, but not in a way that made him need to hurl. In a way that made him want to take a load off, sit back, and just feel the goodness.

Since it was all he had in him, he just again muttered, “Thanks.”

“My pleasure,” Mr. Robinson muttered back.

Carson moved to the door.

“Carson?” Mr. Robinson called when he was almost out of the room.

Taking in a deep breath, he turned back.

“Don’t forget this conversation,” the teacher ordered. “Any of it.”

Like he ever would.

“Got it,” he confirmed.

Then, fast as he could, he took off.

* * *

Carson stood with his back to the pole at the bottom of the bleachers at the high school football field. He did this listening to the posse of girls sitting above him.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Sinclairs series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
Most Popular
» A Thousand Letters
» Wasted Words
» My Not So Perfect Life
» Caraval (Caraval #1)
» The Sun Is Also a Star
» Everything, Everything
» Devil in Spring (The Ravenels #3)
» Marrying Winterborne (The Ravenels #2)