Sven just kept riding, as if he had forgotten that they were heading somewhere specific. He looked up from the road in front of him for a moment, blinking a little.
Sven carefully followed Mr. Matthews and came to a stop when he did, quietly looking up through his hair.
Sven stood there uncertainly for a moment before hesitantly following them, water dripping out of his hair. His ratty old shoes squished when he walked and he moved slowly, unsure.
Sven quietly took the towel. He wordlessly started to wipe rainwater off his arms and face before starting to dry his hair.
He kept his gaze down, as always.
Sven watched Nate for a moment, unsure of what he was supposed to do. He shuffled his feet a little, and his shoes squished, making him flinch and stop.
Sven flushed a little, but silently nodded. He quietly started to move around, putting things on shelves as quietly and carefully as he could.
It was like he was trying to get his tall, awkward form to melt away into the shelves, to blend in and go unnoticed.
Sven could hear them talking as he moved around. He winced inwardly and frowned silently, working faster. He took a little deep breath, trying to blend into the shelves even more.
He knew he was unwanted. It hurt badly, but there was nothing he could do about it. Mr. Matthew's little talk with Nate didn't help him feel any better. His stomach squirmed a little, but he didn't let anything show on his face.
Sven could still hear them as he worked, and it made his squirm a little on the inside. He moved a little faster, trying to stay busy rather than listen to them any more.
Sven didn't look at Nate. Well, he never really looked up at people. Not any more. But he was making an extra effort to not look at Nate.
He hurried back for more things to shelve, moving quickly and quietly.
He started to come back, arms filled. Just as he was getting to the shelves, he stumbled and tripped.
"I-I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." Sven mumbled out, frantically starting to scoop things up. His face went bright red, and he lowered his head even more, hiding even further behind his hair.
"I'm sorry..." Sven whispered once more, clutching the things he had scooped up back into his chest. He stayed red, frowning quietly to himself.
Sven quickly and quietly started to shelve things as well, nodding at Nate's announcement. He lowered his head more more and more, like he was trying to hide.
Sven's cheeks burned, but he kept his head where it was. Lowered, staring at the floor. He was silent, painfully silent, starting to hurry off for more things to shelve.
Try and look less depressed...
Sven flinched as if the words hurt, and he pressed his lips together tighter. His face got hotter, but it wasn't just with embarrassment now.
He wordlessly started to head towards the back of the store, trying to take in deep breaths, trying to calm down.
You don't belong. No one understands. Especially not him.
Sven moved around in the back, avoiding Nate, avoiding everyone.
He hadn't picked this. He hadn't chosen to be homeless, alone, with no true family, no place he would ever really belong.
But it was still forced on him. Everything he had ever really had was torn away from him and replaced with this.
He never wanted this.
Sven stayed where he was in the back. He just stood there, hugging himself, silently pressing his lips together.
"Try and look less depressed..."
Sven couldn't actually remember the last time he had looked up at someone in the eyes, much less smiled.
Sven closed his eyes as he stood there, taking deep breaths.
He had gotten good at pushing things down, compressing his emotions so they didn't show, so they didn't hurt as bad. He shoved down even harder, pushing a lid down on the turmoil.
Sven peeked out of the back room at the customer, and immediately ducked away. He took another deep breath, closing his eyes.
It was getting harder and harder to push his emotions down lately.