I couldn't sleep again, I kept tossing and turning in my bed during the late hours of the night. And no matter how many times I tried to keep my mind quiet it kept on replaying that nights scene in my head. My body still hurts after that incident, especially when it came to using the bathroom but there was nothing I could do to fix it. We couldn't afford to go to the doctors office and get me examined and another part is that I couldn't tell my father what had happened to me still. I was literally stuck in what to do about this situation.
Sighing, I gave up on sleep and went towards my sketchbook instead and flipped on my light switch. I sat there for a moment, eyes closed, breathing slowly going down as I thought about what I was about to draw before I actually started doing it. This is what I sometimes do before I engage myself into this kind of art. Some people might call me strange but it works for me. After I did all of that, I began sketching again. At first it started off as little incoherent lines that dappled the pages but as I got more and more intune with what I was drawing I lost all attachements that I had with this world and moved on to this wonderful one that I was creating.
I first drew a face, a young boys to be exact and then I drew two other ones that was on both sides of the boys face. I placed a few more details on the boys face first, giving it more depth and that realistic quality before moving on to the blank face right nest to the boys, this face was harder to draw due to it being more feminine looking but I persisted on drawing it. Her long eyelashes and eyes glinted in the unseen light, her long hair pulled into a tight braid making the face look more structured before I moved on to the last and final one. This one was way to masculine compared to the boys face who looked like he didn't shed his baby fat quite yet. The mans face was well defined and tough looking, his eyes glint like he was protecting them and warding off danger. It wasn't until I started coloring the faces that I realized something.
Those faces I was drawing, was my family.
Morning finally came and I felt like death, I was thinking about skipping school just because of that but then again I felt that if I did do that I would fall behind and get an F and I didn't want that. An F to me was worst then failing a class, I thought that if I brought more A's on my report card, my father would actually start looking at me and smile for once and say that he was proud of me. So far, nothing had changed but I was still persistent enough to try. The morning started off as usual once more, with me regretfully getting up from my bed, changing and getting out the door.
I walked down the small street and down the usual route when all of a sudden I heard something.
“HAYDEN.” a voice yelled out from behind me. I stopped and looked behind to see who was calling my name and why. I seen a very familiar looking boy wearing all black running towards me at top speed. It took a moment longer to finally catch up to me only to stop and bend down to his knees as he tried to breath. Once he caught his breath, Axel's pure silver eyes looked up at me and smiled.
“Dang, boy, you walk fast. You look as if someone was going to chase you down and beat the living shit out of you or something.” He said.
I gave him a weak smile.
“Well to be honest, you were chasing me...” I said to him.
“Oh yea...” Axel said to me in after thought. All of a sudden, I felt a strong arm wrapped around the back of my neck, causing me to tense up in fear. This was the same maneuver Claide would often give to me when I tried to escape and would often choke me or punch me in the face full throttle. I knew it was too good to be true, Axel Knightly wanting to be friends with me? Impossible I closed my eyes, waiting for the punch, but it never came. Instead I felt a hand ruffle my red hair in a messy fashion for a couple of moments before he let go of me gently.
“Well looks like I fulfilled my 'lets bug Hayden' on my agenda list for the day.” he said jokingly.
As soon as I heard that, I let myself relax. By the sounds of it he was my friend still and he was only horse playing with me. Besides, maybe the guy had siblings that he did that too and was becoming more and more comfortable to being around me?
“So, what are you doing after school?” He asked suddenly.
“The usual. Going home.” I said to him lamely as I kicked a pebble. The pebble skidded off the cracked pavement of the side walk and on to the newly paved roads on the streets.
“That settles it then,” Axel said to me, “You are going to hang with Crai and I today. Boy's day only.”
I wanted to object but the tone in Axel's voice dared me not to. I still don't get why this dude was bent on having me over to his hangouts. I mean, I am a mistake can't he see that yet? The better to realize it now then later. It didn't take us long to reach the school grounds after he said that and as soon as Axel headed to the P.E building and I went to the math one, he said to me in a very confident tone of voice of his “Please be safe okay?”
“Okay...” I said unsurely.
He looked at me then, trying to detect something on my face before smiling once more and walked off with out saying another word to me.
He is one strange dude. I thought to myself but I felt my lips turn into a smile.
The day went on much more slowly then usual, it wasn't until I realized that the reason for this was because I was feeling more and more nervous about meeting hanging out with just the guys today at the Gym. True I wasn't always comfortable hanging around them especially with the girls being around but that was when other people where around to witness us in public. The Gym on the other hand is a different place to hang out. Its were most of the big shot players hang out after school and possibly pick on kids like me much more often in after school hours.
“Hayden, are you OK?” someone asked me in a worried tone.
“Huh?” I said lamely, it was recess and I was sitting on one of the benches just bidding my time when some one said that to me.
The voice belonged to Vivian who was standing right infront of me, her face was contorted with worry as she peered down to me.
“Are you okay? You look distressed” She said.
“Oh yeah, I am fine.” I mumbled shyly to her, this was the first time I spoken to her without Sasha and the others around.
Fear rippled through me but I was able to muster up a sentence.
“How could you tell?” I asked her nervously.
“You were biting your hands. I had an uncle who would do that whenever something bothered him. It was his tall tale sign. You have it too.” Vivian said politely.
“Whats bothering you, Hayden?”
A list of things popped into my mind when she asked that and every single one of those list hit right to my heart it was My father not nurturing me, the beatings, the rape, the constant fear of being picked on, Axel, you, Crai, Sasha, my mothers death. And the most important one that bothered me most of all was, my existence. But of course I didn't tell any of those things to sweet Vivian, I instead said it was just school work that I needed to catch up on and nothing more. I couldn't bare tell her the truth, if I did, she might label me as crazy or something. The lie was the only option I had right now and so far, it was the best because Vivian smiled at me and said that school was stressful on her as well before she made her departure with sweet words to me.
English came and I had no choice but to join it even though I so badly wanted to miss out. The reason? Axel and Crai. I don't hate them, they are really great guys now that I saw past their demeanor but I still feel that I am not worth it. I know that I am not worth their friendship because I get reminded by my father almost everyday that I am worthless. That I am nothing. And I believe what he says is true. Once in the classroom, I see that Axel is once again in my original seat, looking quite smug if I may add as he placed both of his arms behind his head. The sunglasses that he had on made it difficult to tell what he was looking at but I had a feeling that he was looking at me somehow. Feeling a bit self conscious I made my way to the seat right behind Crai again because there was no other seat that was unoccupied. This only made Axel smile wider and as soon as I sat my ass down on that seat, he immediately turned to me.
“Hey, Mr. Quiet.” He said to me.
Despite my best efforts I shook my head and replied; “You know, that's not my real last name.”
Axel raised his eyebrow at me, “You don't say? Well what is it?”
I bite my lip.
“Oh, come on! You know my last name, at least tell me yours!” Axel said to me almost pleadingly.
“Okay, it's Rye.” I said to him a bit shamelessly, that's another thing I don't like about myself. My last name. I disliked that name because it rhymed with 'Cry' 'Bye' 'Lie' and so on. It rhymed with all the things I hated doing or saying.
“Reminds me of my favorite book.” Axel said all of a sudden.
“What?” I said dumbfound.
Axel looked at me in the eye. “The Catcher in the rye. Your last name is in it. I liked that book. Really great read.” He said to me.
I made a mental note of that book, not because Axel liked it. But because I needed something to read anyways.