Michael sighed defeated, he was almost disappointed at the fact that there wasn’t a drug deal happening in the school. He knew that he shouldn’t be, but he never was good at dealing with boring things. He always was a sucker for good drama.
Michael didn’t really need drama, it was just much more interesting than being bored. As he threw the answers in the garbage, he hefted his bag onto his shoulder, making his way to his truck. He didn’t even bother to look behind him, and if he did, he would see a much smaller boy looking into the garbage.
The drive home was quick and painless, and he slid out of his truck and made his way inside. Michael smiled at Sol as he stepped into the house. Sol was sitting at the dining room table, looking through the bills. To any other person this would seem like a troublesome thing, but Michael knew that they had nothing to worry about. They had been well off for as long as he could remember. He had everything he wanted.
At least, he did ever since he moved in with his Uncle Sol. Before that, well, that was something that Michael didn’t like to think about. He found long ago that it was easier to just live in the moment and get over the past.
“Uncle Sol, what’s for dinner, I’m starving!” He cried, smiling lightly at him.
“Here’s an idea, try cooking yourself.” He muttered, then shot a smile at Michael. They always loved to banter like this. They both knew that the other didn’t mean anything by it.
“Ha, as if! I burn water at least 50% of the time.” He laughed, elbowing Sol. Cooking never had been his strong suit. He was used to just ordering pizza or Chinese all the time.
“Okay, okay, what do you want for dinner?” He asked, standing from the table. He shuffled through his papers, before stacking them and making his way into the kitchen. He set to making dinner, while Michael filled him in on what had happened.
“Oh, that’s kind of anti-climactic.” Sol said, adding some salt to the hamburgers he was making. Michael nodded, pulling the buns out of the pantry. He set them on the counter looking back at Sol.
“Yeah, but on the bright side, it was pretty easy to finish the job.” Michael said, taking the plate of burgers to the table. Sol pulled out the ketchup and mustered.
They sat down, as they started to serve out the burgers, talking lightly.
Michael had to have eaten three of them by the time he was done. He helped Sol with the dishes before going up to his room. He said that he was going to work on homework, but they both knew that he was more likely going to play video games.
At least, that was what he wanted people to believe, he never did like being seen as someone who was smart or did his homework every day. But he managed to keep his grades up enough to stay in the top of his class and manage to get into a good college when he graduated. So that’s how his night went, he did his homework, surfed the internet, and then showered and went to bed.
The next day was a Saturday, so Michael was able to sleep in for as late as he wanted, but even knowing that, his body woke up around eight in the morning. As he made his way down stairs, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
“Ah, Michael, good thing you’re up!” Michael stopped in his tracks. That was never a good thing to hear from Sol. It usually led to a new mission.
“Oh yeah, and why is that?” Michael asked, playing dumb.
“Well, I just got word of a mission that needs to be completed.” He cheered. “And even better, I heard word that there is going to be another thief there. That shadow boy that you always compete with.” Michael felt his interest peak at this. He had heard stories of this Shadow Thief, he was a quiet thief, one that no one seemed to see. He was named that because of the way that he could always finish a mission without being seen, let alone caught.
“I see, well, what is it that I need to do?” Michael asked, now that he knew that this other man was coming, his pride wouldn’t let him turn it down.
“They just need you to get some pictures. They think that one club downtown in participating in elicit affairs.” Sol said, watching his words carefully. Michael almost rolled his eyes. It was almost funny how Sol wouldn’t say things that he meant. Like how this club was obviously a front for a brothel.
“All they need are pictures?” He asked, then he thought for a second. “Sol, I’m not old enough to get into a club like that.” Michael’s uncle smiled slyly, pulling his hand out of his pocket.
“That’s what this is for.” He said, holding out a card to Michael. He examined it, figuring out what it was.
“Did you, did you just give me a fake I.D.?” He asked, putting it in his pocket quickly, as if scared that Sol would take it back.
“Well, you had to get in somehow.” He said, turning away. “I expect that you will be out late tonight?” Sol said, winking at him. Michael just chuckled and turned away. He had a lot to prepare for before tonight.
Ashton woke up early the next day, crawling out of his warm bed, and onto the cool floor. His bare feet padded out of his room, and into the hallway leading to the living room. Ashton was well aware of the fact that there was no way that Henry was up by now. He shuffled to the kitchen, opening the fridge door and searching for his water bottle. He pulled it out, and took a big swig from it before sitting on the couch and flipping on the TV. It was an ad about some college that you could apply for online.
He decided on just channel surfing, and he finally settled on some old movie he didn’t really care about, but he needed something to watch.
It was almost two hours later before Henry woke up and stumbled downstairs. He fell onto the couch next to Ashton, patting his head.
Ashton used to hate it when he did that, but even after he had told him to stop so many times and he didn’t, he just learned to let Henry do as he wanted.
Ashton smiled remembering when Henry had first taken him in, the way that Ashton tried to play hard. He wouldn’t even respond to half of what Henry would say. But Henry never got angry, he just stood there and took it. He never made any effort to get Ashton to like him more, he just left him until he was willing to warm up on his own.
“What are we watching?” Henry asked, a looked of worry on his face. Of course he had chosen to come down at just the right time, that there was an explicit scene on the TV. Ashton felt himself blush.
“I, uh, I didn’t realize it was a movie like this.” He tried to explain, not willing to look Henry in the eyes.
Henry chuckled. “I’m screwing with you, you are a teenager after all.” He said winking and moving into the kitchen. “What do you want for lunch?” He asked, Ashton was surprised by this question until he looked up at the clock above the TV and saw that it was almost 12:30.
“Uhh, whatever you want is fine.” He said. Henry peeked in at Ashton. Giving him a look. “Really, I don’t mind, you can decide.” He said. Henry looked as if he was thinking before saying:
“What about grilled cheese?” Ashton tried to look like he didn’t really care, but Henry knew by now how much he loved grilled cheese. Ashton honestly didn’t know why he liked it so much, but it was one of those things that he knew other kids would always eat, but he never got to.
He couldn’t even count the number of times he had had it since he moved in with Henry.
“Yeah, that’s fine.” He said, he watched as a knowing smile crossed Henry’s face. The older man moved back into the kitchen, and Ashton mentally prepared himself for the burnt meal.
Ashton quickly stood and reached up toward the fire detector, his fingers barely brushing the bottom of it. He pouted for a moment before grabbing a chair so that he was able to reach it. He could already smell the smoke coming from the kitchen, and almost fell off the chair when the alarm sounded.
Ashton shook his head at himself as to Henry’s ability to catch food on fire. He doubted that other people’s pans would even be warm by the time that Henry had something burning.
The alarm blared again. Yanking the accursed object off the wall, he tossed it onto the couch before setting the table with a couple of plates and two glasses of water.
“Done!” Henry cheered, moving toward the table with a plate of sandwiches. They both knew that there was no way that they were going to finish all of the sandwiches, but Henry always made extra, just in case Ashton changed his mind.
He never did.
Henry gave Ashton one of the less burnt sandwiches of the group. Which he accepted gratefully, despite knowing that he most likely wouldn’t eat it. Ashton peeled at the crust, pushing it around his plate and watching it carefully as if it would bite.
The thing that made it hardest for Ashton was knowing that he should be able to eat it, that there was no truly physical reason for being unable to eat.
The doctors said that his disorder was very different from others. They said that most people have a reason, a mental one, which was the cause of why they couldn’t eat. Ashton, on the other hand, couldn’t eat because he body rejected too much food. They said that it would maybe go away as he began to eat more. However, that had yet to happen.
“Ashton, there have been some rumors going around.” Henry said in between bites. “They say that there’s this new club, they think that there is some illegal stuff happening. I want you to check it out.” Henry put down his sandwich, wiping his mouth.
“Oh?” Ashton asked, practically glaring at his food. “And when should I do this?” He finished.
“Well, the club is open tonight.” Ashton looked up surprised by how soon he was planning. “And all we need is a couple of pictures.”
Ashton contemplated this, he had always wondered who Henry meant when he said ‘we’ or ‘they’ but he had stopped asking quite a while ago. He figured it was easier to just not know.
“That sounds fine to me.” The small boy shrugged. “The only problem is that I have no way of getting in.” He commented, more to himself than anyone else. When Henry lifted an eyebrow, Ashton added. “Well, I mean, I don’t exactly look 21 if you haven’t noticed.” He laughed.
It was easier for Ashton to laugh about these things. He knew that he was small, not only for his age, but in general. The boy had a slim build, and messy hair. On a good day he looked 14.
“Yes, well, I’m sure you could find a way.” Was all Henry offered in return. Ashton rolled his eyes and stood. “Ashton.” Henry scolded. “I would like to point out that you, literally, ate one bite of food.”
Ashton blushed. “Yeah, I’m not very hungry.” He argued, he really didn’t want to get into this right now. Henry looked skeptical. “I’ll eat when I get hungry.” He promised.
He knew that it was probably closer to if he ever got hungry. Henry looked as if he was about to say more, but he was cut off by the phone ringing. Throwing one more warning look to Ashton, he answered it.
Ashton made his way to his room, digging through his closet for something that resembled a normal clubbing outfit. After realizing that he had nothing that even made him look old enough to get a driver’s license, he decided he would just sneak in.
After deciding that, he pulled out what should be considered skinny jeans, but were loose fitting on his legs. He needed a belt to keep it up. He then grabbed a hoodie that was a very deep blue, as close to black as possible without being it. Lastly, a beaten pair of converse sneakers. He folded them on his already made bed. Falling onto this bed, he just laid there for a few minutes, thinking of what he was going to do to sneak in.
After he stood, he made his way over to his laptop and searched this club, getting all the info he could on it. Which, needless to say, wasn’t much. It was located in a prime location for the flow of foot traffic. It was one of a kind rather than part of a chain.
By the time that Ashton was finished, it was almost dark out. Ashton made his way downstairs, looking into the living room and seeing Henry asleep on the couch. He giggled and silently made his way outside.
The air was cold and crisp. There wasn’t any snow on the ground, but it was definitely the time of year and weather for it. Ashton cursed himself again for not buying a car, as he now had to walk the mile and a half into town, and then god knows how much more to the club.
He pulled his jacket closer to his thin body, and shoved his hands into his pocket. The street was empty and there was close to zero signs of human life. Ashton was starting to think that he was living in a ghost town, when a deep blue truck made its way over the hill behind him, and past him.
Ashton just kept walking. Eventually he would get there.