I didn't sleep well that night. The constant body aches and pains kept on waking me every time I would slightly move any of my limbs during the night. So when morning came and my alarm clock started blaring once more, I was already awake and slammed my alarm clock to shut off. Groaning in pain, I sat up in my bed and looked all around me. The suns rays lighted up the room making it appear nicer but I knew better. This room was actually filled with sorrow, every crack in the walls to the ceiling represented the fragmented pieces of my personal life coming undone. And it was all my fault. Not my fathers, not my mothers. Mine. Tears weld up in my eyes for god knows how long I cried, I really hated this feeling of guilt that rotted inside my stomach. As I tried to stifle my much pathetic sobs, I faintly heard the sounds of snoring coming down the living room once more which I knew it was the sound of my father who was probably splayed on the couch or floor, passed out from either drinking too much or is actually exhausted. Probably both. Once finally up, I made my way back into the bathroom to see how bad my face was again. The bruises were already starting to turn into a sickly yellow color on my skin, beginning the process of healing despite the fact that they were inflicted on my yesterday.
Luckily for me to day is Saturday so that no one at school has to see my bruised up face as of yet but still I decided it was best to cover up anyways with some make up foundation that my mother had because I had to go to the library today to look up something for my history class essay and a few other works to do for other classes well and since we don't have internet, I had no choice to do it anyways. I began the process of stripping off my blood stained clothes and placed them down the laundry shoot before stepping into the porcelain tub. The hot water splashed against my rigid body, hoping that it will wash away all of the emotional filth in the process along with the physical filth down the dingy drain below me. I stayed in there until the hot water ran out and the cold water tested in. Turning off the faucet, I stepped out of the shower and began the process of wrapping a towel around my small frame as I made my way to the hallway once more and stepped carefully into the laundry room in search of something clean to wear in the dryer. I found my favorite green jacket, white shirt and the usual underwear and pants. Once found I decided to change in the laundry room not caring if my father seen me in here or not by chance. After that was done I did the usual business of grabbing all of the dirty clothing in the laundry shoot and placing them in the washer after I put some soap into it.
I have to say, thank god for the food and shelter truck people that comes to my neighborhood and offer us poorer people these kinds of stuff on every Tuesday otherwise I wouldn't have anything soap to wash my clothes much less have food in my stomach. The first time that they came here, I was a bit skeptical about it but after a few more days or so of them coming here, I decided to give them a try. The only thing that they ask people like me to do is to sign our names on a piece of paper which that is the only thing now that I am still skeptical about them, so that's why I always use the same fake name just in case. After I made sure everything was nice and neat, I made my way back towards my bedroom only to put my small cheap computer that I got from the school for winning the Study Group program and its charger into my bag, along with my Library Card and headed out down the halls again and down the stairs.
I saw my father, sprawled like usual on the couch with a beer in his overlarge hand that was loosening from his grip as he continued to snore really loudly to the point where I thought the whole house would shake with just his constant intake and out take of breathing patterns in his sleep. I stopped in my tracks, gazing upon his face. I couldn't help but stare in awe at how peaceful he looked in his sleep. I never seen him look like this in a long long time. I shook my head, now I was becoming a bit of a creep, watching my father in his sleep... who does that? I mentally scolded myself as I quietly made my way out to the front door and out on the porch. Once I made sure the door was quietly closed behind me, I walked to the library that was much more closer compared to the school. I kept my head down, not daring to meet anyone's gaze like always until I finally made it to the small sliding doors that was the library and made my way inside. The library was a bit small for my liking but beggars cant be choosers so I dealt with it.
Another good thing about the library is that no body else in this small neighborhood goes to it, its usually just me and the Mrs. Durse who is the head librarian here who always seems to be in the back of the room doing her own kind of work which is fine with me because I can just do my homework without having to be distracted by bullies or other people in the sort. After I got myself situated, I logged into the libraries internet and used my library card number to gain access for it to work. It didn't take long for me to get all of my work done so I checked my email only to be surprised that I got an email from a user name that I didn't even recognize. Who in the hell is Queenbutterflies20? I thought to myself. The letter subject that this person sent to me only read En.Pr,group. Feeling a bit puzzled by this, I immediately clicked on the letter and read it.
This is me, Sasha, you know from English class? Well anyways the reason why I am emailing you is that you bailed on us really fast the other day and so the rest of the group agreed to meet at the Moon in the cup coffee shop later on today at two in the afternoon. Just letting you know that so that way you can come and join in the group Fun with us.
-Hope to see you there soon! Sasha King.
I checked at the time on my computer, it read one thirty p.m. I hesitated on replying back to the girl. She seemed really pissed off that I didn't give her my number and that I bailed on them earlier away from them. She probably thinks that I am one of those slackers based on my behavior yesterday. Guilt made me reply back to her, stating that I will be there in a jiffy, after I sent her that email, I immediately packed up everything that I took with me and headed out of the library. Moon in the cup was another place that I was well acquainted with because my mother loved to go there with me every morning before she dropped me off to school before going to work. Ever since she died, I haven't been to that place in fear of memories resurfacing all of a sudden in my head but since I have no choice in the matter this time, I had to meet the group in order to pass my English class.
Walking down the street in the chilly air, I nervously twiddled my bandage hands that were now exposed to the naked eye as I continued to walk further and further towards the coffee shop. Like usual, I did not dare look people in the eye as I did this, I was in my own little world of constant worry, nervousness and self pity that I wasn't even aware of their presence, their voices and footsteps became muffled back round noises as my inner most thoughts plagued my ears and mind. It wasn't until someone called my name that made me snap back into reality.
“HAYDEN! OVER HERE!” Axel's loud dominating voice yelled across the street right directly infront of me. He had his usual attire of black pants, black shirt and black boots on. Axel was standing outside of the small building that was the famous Moon in a cup shop all by himself. The others didn't seem to be around. They are probably just inside trying to get warmer. I reasoned with myself as I looked both ways before crossing the street. Once on the other side, Axel gave me a slight smirk and flicked his head towards the door as if to say Follow me. I did as I was told and followed the cocky boy inside the shop. The smell of nutmeg and ginger greeted my nostrils, making me feel a little bit nostalgic as I bypassed many tables and chairs right after Axel until he showed me where the rest of the group people were at. The table was huge with stacks of papers, pencils and books dominating most of the space in the middle of all of us. Sasha, Vivian and Crai all sat on the left side of the table while only Axel sat on the right side. Seeing as there was no where else to sit, I tentatively sat down next to Axel who's smirk became more wider.
“Well I am glad that Mr. Quiet finally showed up.” Sasha said as she eyed me from up to down making me shrink further into my seat. Axel must have felt my unease because not a moment later he spoke up. “Aw just leave him alone, Sasha. All the guy did was rush out of that hell hole of a school. I mean who could blame him? Heck, even I wanted to run out of that school along with him.” This was probably the first time that Axel spoke that much to any one, usually the guy kept to himself like I do but the difference is, no body wanted to fuck with him wherein as I was constantly bullied every day.
“No, its alright. You don't have to defend me.” I whispered. Axel looked at me with a critical eye, before looking at Sasha once more who looked like she lost all her confidence. Why was he defending me? I am not worth defending for! Doesn't he see that?
The tension broke when Crai cleared his throat dramatically. “Well since we are all here, why don't we discuss the project even further?” He suggested.
“Oh yes! Lets get on the ball!” Vivian agreed over excitedly, she looked like she really didn't want to have another Axel/Sasha clash again. Who could blame her? The two looked like they could kill each other in a bloody battle. As some of the group members began to talk, I took out my sketchbook and began to draw in it. Even though I really did want to finish this project that mini fight that Axel and Sasha had over me stressed me out a little bit so I really needed to draw to get my mind off of it. Just as I was penciling in an eyebrow of a young boy I was drawing, I felt that same presence of someone that was looking over my shoulder once more. As I looked up, I was once again greeted with Axel's silver eyes but instead of looking stern, he seemed a bit more... at peace. Which was a very strange look on him considering that he was a very hard core person.
He looked me right in the eye and said something that I didn't quite hear.
“What was that?” I said nervously, I really hated it when a person would invade on my personal space. Axel's smirk turned into a full blown smile that only lasted a minute before repeating what he said.
“I said,” He went on, “You're really good at drawing.”
“Oh,” I said lamely.
“Yup.” He smirked once more.
I looked at the others who were in their own little conversation with themselves, completely forgetting about the two of us entirely. Surely he was taking pity on me because I know I am not a good artist. Axel must have the power to read thoughts because what he said next shock me.
“And no, I am not pitying on you, I do think you are a really good artist dude. Hey guys, take a look at Hayden's drawing!” The others stopped their own bickering and refocused on us, I felt my cheeks becoming more burning hot with each moment that they stared at me. I felt a slight nudge from my right arm and I knew it was Axel trying to make me say something to them.
After a few moments of more silence Crai spoke up once more, “It's alright if you don't want to show us Hayden. You don't have to.” he said encouragingly. He too must have felt my unease while Sasha snorted in disgust and Vivian giving me a weak smile.
“But you still need to participate and so far you haven't contributed any ideas.” Sasha said to me.
“Sasha, just-” Axel started.
“No, I have an idea,” I said quietly.
Axel looked at me, slightly shocked but eventually his reaction softened just a bit. I came to a conclusion that this dude is more wacked if anything but atleast he isn't attacking me so I guess that's a plus.
I turned to the others who where waiting for my idea to be spilled.
“Why don't we all do what we want and then come together and try to join them all together as one? So instead of picking just one art suggestion, we could use multiple of them and make our own? Be unique.” I said to them.
Every body was silent. And then....
“Wow, I think that's the most I have every heard you talk.” Vivian joked as she daintily sipped her coffee.
“Yeah.” Crai agreed with her.
But the voice that stood out the most was Sasha who said, "That's a great idea. So I guess that's everything huh? Everyone do their own thing for one week and I will call you all where we should meet and at one time, except for you of course Hayden.”
I cringed, did she really have to make me stand out?
“What do you mean? He helped us out for once and you're just going to leav-"
“I am going to Email him, is what I mean. Calm down, Alex.”
Axel clenched his jaw.
“My name is Axel not Alex.” He said threateningly.
Sasha rolled her eyes, “Same smell.” she shrugged.
Vivian and Crai scrambled to put their stuff in their bags before leaving in a hurry, I didn't blame them, I would have done something like that as well. “Well I best be going.” I mumbled to myself as I got up from the table. Axel looked at me for a split second before looking back at his rival and nodded his head, acknowledging my departure before I actually left.
What is that guys problem?