I almost smiled at the sound of the slamming door behind me, it was more than obvious that Annaleigh was jealous, that gave me hope that maybe there could be a relationship between us. I immediately felt guilty; I shouldn’t want a relationship with her because I was bad for her. I was bad for myself for that matter, I use drugs to make myself feel better, what normal person does that? Shaking my head, I focus on the long forgotten person standing in front of me. I would say it was a pleasure to see her but it really wasn’t. She changed the way I felt with a simple operation that destroyed life.
“What do you want Rachel” I have absolutely no patience with her. “If you’re here because you think I’ll change my mind about the way I feel about you. You can forget, because god knows I won’t ever forget how you took an innocent life, because you were selfish.”
“Really Gaelyn, you’re still upset about that? That was years ago.” Rachel smirked and I growl, I don’t want anything to do with her; I want her out of my life for good. “Your father sent me to tell you, if you don’t stop with the drugs, consider yourself no longer part of the family.” that doesn’t surprise me all that much either, considering I haven’t considered myself a part of the family for a long time, so really nothing has changed.
“You can tell him, I don’t care what he thinks. My choices are my own and he can’t stop me from making them. If he wants to complain about my addictions, he should really take a look at his own.” I glare at her. I couldn’t believe he had the nerve to complain about my drug usage when he was a closet alcoholic and had been for years. And you couldn’t forget how abusive he turned when he’d been drinking.
Sophia swallowed hard, as she looked into the room, where Dad was in the study, drinking. He didn’t want anyone to know that’s what he went in there to do but everyone knew anyways. It was always obvious by the way he would stumble out of the library and then mumble orders at us, expecting them to be obeyed immediately. Sophia had already told me about the grade she’d made on one of her tests. She’d studied hard for it, but it didn’t matter she didn’t pass. Dad would be upset over that, because he wanted us to make good grades all the time. I knew since he’d been drinking he was likely to blow his top. It wasn’t like she made those kinds of grades all the time, so I didn’t really see why he needed to get upset over it, but I could practically already feel the belt. I couldn’t let that happen to her, she didn’t deserve to be beaten like a dog.
I followed her into the study; I would take the beating if it became necessary. I wouldn’t let her go through that kind of pain, even though we’ve both been through it several times already. I couldn’t understand what drove him to be like this, why hurt your own kids? Did he like to see them bleeding? I didn’t think I would ever understand why, but I knew it was my job as an older brother to protect Sophia however that I could.
“Dad?” Sophia’s voice was soft but I could hear the fear in it. I didn’t like that she was afraid of our own father. I would get us out of this mess one day, and I wouldn’t look back.
“What do you want?” Dad growled turning around to face us. I reached out and squeezed her shoulder gently. I could feel her tremble and it made me want to break his face.
“I got my test back” she said softly and handed it over. She waited silently while Dad looked it over. It didn’t take long; I could see the anger on his face when he looked back up.
“I thought I told you, I expect better than this from you!” he all but yelled. She winced at the sound of his voice.
“I tried, I really did. But that teacher doesn’t like me.” she tried explaining but her voice was shaking, showing me just how terrified that she was.
“Well, then I guess you know what your punishment is.” He said standing up and starting to remove his belt. I shove Sophia away, because I knew this one would be more brutal than usual. He was angry before Sophia entered the study, so that meant the beating would be harder than usual. I didn’t want Sophia to experience that.
“I’ll take her punishment, I won’t let you beat her!” I yelled as I pushed Sophia behind me. if he couldn’t reach her he couldn’t hit her.
“She deserves it! She didn’t do what she was told.” Dad mumbled and started towards me. I didn’t like the look in his eyes but I refused to move. I wouldn’t let him know that his drunken moods scared me.
“No, she doesn’t. She tried to tell you, she studied hard for it but the teacher doesn’t like her.” I glared at him and watched wearily as he came towards me. Dad folded the belt over as he approached me; I tensed waiting for what was coming.
Shoving me down onto the desk, Dad pulled my shirt up to my shoulders and proceeded to bring the belt down on my bare back. Feeling, the sting of the leather on my skin, I wince and bite down hard on my lip. I tried to remember as the hits kept coming and getting harder and harder, that I was protecting Sophia. I could hear her crying behind me, and I wished I had told her to leave the room.
Another strike hits me in a tender spot, and I tried to muffle the cry that came out of my mouth. I could practically feel the blood running down my back, and I wondered briefly when it would end. He’d never beaten either of us until we bled, so I wondered what had been so bad that he had to do this to us. I could feel myself beginning to lose consciousness when I heard Sophia’s voice crying out.
“Stop! You’re going to kill him!” I winced as the belt landed on my raw back, I was thankful that I had spared Sophia this kind of pain, because if she had gone through with it, it probably would have killed her.
“So what? he’s not my son anyways, so why should it matter if he lives or not.” Dad mumbled before dropping the bloodied belt to the floor, and stumbling out of the room.
Sliding to the floor, I cried out as I landed on my back. Sophia knelt down beside me and laid my head in her lap. I could feel her tears falling and hitting my face. I wanted to reassure her that I was going to be okay but I couldn’t find the strength to even say boo.
“I’m so sorry, Gaelyn” I heard her sob as my world finally goes dark.
I remember waking up in the Emergency room, I had gotten somewhere around fifty stitches for the lashing I had taken from my father. To this day I wondered why the hospital didn’t question how or why I had even needed fifty stitches. I could also remember Annaleigh being in the waiting room with Sophia. I remember looking at her, and feeling a bit resentful that she couldn’t see what we put up with. Instead, she was talking to our father, who had somehow managed to sober up, from then to now. Dad told her something and she’d laughed, and I guess that’s when I really started hating her. Dad could be loving and kind with her, but not his own two kids or one kid whatever.
I still don’t know who my real dad is, and I don’t really care to know. I’ve wondered over the years, why the man I called Dad seemed to hate looking at me. The feeling was mutual because years later, I can’t stand the sight of him. I wish I could have done more for Sophia though, I tried stepping in whenever dad got too rough, and I ended up taking her beatings more often than not. I couldn’t ever bring myself to regret it though, because Sophia had been a sweet girl, kind and loving despite the nightmare she lived through. I hate living life without her but I’m glad to know that she’s out of reach of Dad’s belt, because I knew once I’d moved out and she hit high school, nothing had changed. He was still a closet drunk bent on destroying his family.
“You can tell him the day he stops drinking is the day he can tell me what to do. He’s the worst excuse for a parent ever.” I glare at Rachel; she brought back memories that I didn’t even want to think about. I hate remembering the beatings, because it made me want to go get high just to forget it all. Which wasn’t such a great idea because I told Annaleigh I would try to get clean, it wouldn’t start today.
“You really are the worst son on the planet; you could care less about your own family.” Rachel shook her own head. I snort before replying.
“If you had grown up the way I had, then you would understand and you wouldn’t sit in judgment over me, so get off your high horse and get out of my life.”
“You’re still bitter about the baby” she says shaking her head “and it wasn’t even yours. That baby would have ruined my life and you don’t even care.”
“I care about the fact that you ended an innocent life, which deserved a chance to live” I try to ignore the fact that she had just me that the baby she had murdered wasn’t my own. Today was a great day for revelations apparently. “If you weren’t so selfish maybe you could see that.” I finish before heading into my apartment and slamming the door in her face. Good riddance, Rachel never brought any good news whenever I saw her. The fact that the baby hadn’t been mine made me wonder how long she had been cheating, and it made me wonder if the real father had known that she had killed his kid.
Anger filled me, and I slam my fist into the wall, I didn’t think there was a person that I could hate more than my father, but obviously I was wrong. How was I supposed to be able to trust another woman after this? After all, I’d never really known a good one. My mother had sat there and let our father beat the crap out of us, using the grades as an excuse. Not to mention she had cheated on our father, and had given birth to me. Which was somehow my fault, I’ve never figured it out, I eventually quit caring about it. Rachel had cheated on my and had gotten pregnant by another man and then she killed it. The only blame I could place on Annaleigh’s shoulders was she was too blind, and couldn’t see the signs of abuse that were right in front of her.
I headed into my kitchen, I still had some coke stashed in the cabinets, it wasn’t much but it would get the job done. Pulling the cabinet open, I pull out the small bag of white powder. Opening the bag, I reach in and grab a small pinch. Lifting it to my nose, I inhale deeply until there is no trace of the powder left on my finger. Going over to my couch, I sit down and lean back, waiting for the high to come, waiting to forget everything I had just learned.
I sigh as I finally start to feel better, my worries seeming to slip right down the drain. Whoever made this stuff knew what they were doing. It made me feel better than I did the last time I got high. I close my eyes, feeling alive for what felt like ages. How could I let Annaleigh talk me out of feeling like this? Even as I was thinking it, I still felt like I was letting Annaleigh down by doing what I was doing. If she knew the truth about how I grew up, then she would understand why I do what I do.
I groan when I hear a knock at the door, it had better not be Rachel. I don’t know how much longer I could deal with a person like her. Then again, Rachel was smart; she would know not to come back, after I had slammed the door in her face. Dragging myself to my feet, I moved sluggishly towards the door. For some reason it felt like it was a thousand feet away instead of the 25 that it actually was.
Opening the door, I glare at the person, standing or rather sitting in front of me.
“Great” she mutters “You’re high again.”
“Don’t give me that attitude, you don’t know what I have to live with” I pointed out. I didn’t need her to be judging me, like she always had. She had always been too good for my family even if she didn’t know it. “What do you want anyways; I’m kind of busy at the moment.” She scowled at me before shaking her head, and turning around to go back to her apartment.
“Never mind” she muttered before shutting the door, leaving me out in the hallway. I laugh out loud before turning and going back into my own apartment. If it was anything I didn’t like it was self-righteousness, and she had plenty of that. Or so my drug haze thought, my real opinion didn’t seem to matter much at the moment.
Heading back in, I head straight for my bed, laying down I stare up at the ceiling. Feeling rather content in the moment, I knew however that it wouldn’t last, it never did. Using drugs was one of many crappy ways of making you feel better, but I never said I was a strong man. In fact I am pretty sure I pointed out to Annaleigh that I was indeed a weak man. So why was I starting to feel guilty that I didn’t follow through on what I said I would? Groaning, I wish I could turn the guilt off. I hate feeling guilty, but I have never claimed to be anything but the bad guy, change wouldn’t come easily anyways. I’ve always known I was one of those who wouldn’t be able to get away from my past, because it would just come back and keep haunting me. I close my eyes and I can still see my father coming at me with a belt. He liked beating me more than Sophia, for that I was glad, I didn’t ever want to see Sophia hurting. Obviously I couldn’t save her all the time, but I did every change I could. To this day I hate Gary Thomas for what he done to both Sophia and I, and I regret not being there more for Sophia after I moved out, but that couldn’t be changed now.
Sighing, I groan and shove myself to my feet; I don’t think I’ll get any kind of peace without trying to make it up to Annaleigh. I pace the floors, my energy being too high to go to sleep. I begin to wonder why I even care about whether or not I hurt her feelings; I hadn’t cared about things like that for a long time. Somewhere along the road to being hard and bitter, I had lost sight of who I truly was. I didn’t really care to find myself either because I’d been in this shape for a long time, I had become comfortable with it.
After debating on what to do, I decided I would go apologize, so my consciousness didn’t kill me overnight. Heading back to the door, I open it and step out into the hall. Uncertainty eats at me, because I know she is likely to still be mad at me. Too bad, she didn’t just find out the kind of news I did, I had to have a way to deal with it somehow.
Taking a deep breath, I reach out and knock on her door. I hold my breath, waiting for her to open the door. Something in me hopes that she doesn’t, that she leaves me out here like the dog I am. I knock again before she opens the door a tiny bit.
“What do you want?” she bites out and I wince, I wasn’t used to caring if people were mad at me or not, and I did truly care that she was mad at me.
“I wanted to apologize, I heard something that bothered me and I dealt with it badly.” I say looking down at the ground.
“You’re very self-destructive you know that” Annaleigh said, I already knew this and didn’t need her telling me. “Just because you hear something you don’t like, it doesn’t mean you have to turn to drugs to deal with it.”
“And what would you suggest I do?” I bite out “Since you seem to know it all, Miss prissy tell me what it is you think I should do?”
“Don’t be like that” Annaleigh sighed “I don’t want to tell you what to do; I just want to help you.”
“If you really wanted to do that, then you wouldn’t sit in judgment over decisions I make!” I snap, not really intending too.
“Gaelyn, calm down” she told me and I glare at her, for some reason her calm voice only makes me angrier. I don’t know what it is about her, but she has the tendency to set me off.
“Don’t tell me to calm down!” I shout my voice, echoing down the hallway, I can clearly see that I’ve embarrassed her by the blush on her face, but I ignore it, the drugs in my system, making me angrier. “For future references, I want you to mind your own business!”
“I can’t stand you when you’re like this” she mutters, looking past me to the heads sticking out of their doors.
“Then leave me alone. I’m not someone you can just fix.” I snap.
“I want to help you; there is a difference in helping and fixing.” Annaleigh says, looking up at me.
“Maybe I don’t want you to do either! I’m fine just the way I am.” I glare even harder at her, and I know I’m intimidating her, for a brief second I feel guilty, but I swallow the guilt. I need her to understand, I can’t change even if I could beat my addiction, chances are I would eventually go right back to it. I couldn’t let my lifestyle affect her any more than it already had, if I had to hurt her to get her to stay away, so be it.